A A A

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Qatar Doha Visit by Lara Salha

By Ian G Evans, on 16 October 2018

As part of my dissertation for my MA in Archives and Records management, I decided to research and write my thesis on language in the archive profession with a specific focus on Arabic. My aims were to highlight the ways in which language, a system of signs, impacts how we perceive ourselves as archivists, how we ‘dress’ ourselves with these signs, and how in turn this may mean others perceive us too.

Upon discovering the UCL branch in Doha, Qatar, with a department related to archive studies, I took the chance to apply to the Dean’s Fund in hopes of potentially covering my travel expenses and this leap of faith definitely worked in my favour! I was able to travel to Doha and meet various professionals in a variety of settings.

 

 

 

 

 

My first stop was at the Qatar National Library (QNL), which has recently opened a heritage section. Various professionals have been working towards setting up an archive that will hopefully set a precedent for a high standard of archiving in the country. The library itself is magnificent, utterly brand new, and the tools and equipment being used for the growing archive is of excellent quality. The current exhibition of Qatar’s history is definitely an amazing site to see – especially the records and documents relating to pearl hunting, one of main forms of income of the Qatari economy in the first half of the twentieth century (See: left, a thesaurus of the different types of pearls). My visit to QNL meant I was able to meet all those on the archive team and see how their roles fit into the expansion of the archive and its progress. This trip to the QNL helped me understand the struggles that the institution is still facing and how the team at QNL are working hard to overcome them.

 

 

 

 

 

My second visit was to the UCL branch of Doha and I was able to meet the head of the archives course, Dr Sumayya Ahmed, and discuss not only my own dissertation ideas but also the ways in which the region of the Middle East is coming to grips with archives and the various archive legacies that have existed in the region prior to the contemporary ‘version’ of the role of archivist. Dr Ahmed kindly advised me to visit a nearby mosque that was utterly breathtaking and definitely worth taking time out to walk around and experience myself, even in 45 degree weather! (See: left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

My third visit happened entirely by chance due to the friends I already knew in Doha and their connections with others – I was able to have my own personal tour of the Al Jazeera media network! Not only was I put in touch with the longstanding head archivist there, but I was also able to spend an entire morning with the news media archivist and was given the chance to see their bespoke Collection Management System that is accessible and used across the globe for all other Al Jazeera archivists working in the News department. In addition to this, I was also able to visit their onsite storage and see how a news channel works in tandem with archive material on an almost hourly basis. While not necessarily related to my dissertation, this trip meant I was able to see how much an archive is valued from a corporate and business continuity perspective, and utilised at a much faster rate and in a much more busy environment. It was an invaluable experience and I’m extremely grateful I was given the opportunity to walk around and see an archive support an entire organisation in order for it to function.

My trip to Doha, Qatar was an incredible and eye-opening experience. I’m eternally grateful that the fund was able to help support this goal of mine and I am extremely glad I took the opportunity to apply. Thanks to this visit I was able to reposition my perspective on the archives in the region of the Middle East, shift my academic lens that may have otherwise have been quite limited, and was able to meet a whole spectrum of people related to the archive profession.

By Simon Cloudsley, MA student on the LIS programme

By Ian G Evans, on 18 June 2018

In the next few days I will be travelling to Athens with fellow LIS student Justine Humphrey to volunteer with the ECHO Refugee Library. As Justine has eloquently written in a previous post, this wonderful mobile library project aims to ‘nurture a space of learning and creativity, a place to cultivate the mind – that one part of us that can never be held captive.’

Like Justine, my involvement in this project came about in an equally serendipitous way. In April last year, just before a volunteering trip to Thessaloniki for the charity Help Refugees, I was thinking about the need that refugees in Greece must have for books as a vital way of stimulating their minds and escaping their difficult circumstances. The next day I came across a blogpost by a volunteer who had worked with ECHO and luckily, on my final day in Greece, I was able to meet with Esther and Laura, the inspirational co-founders of the library, who had run the project full-time for several months. I went away determined to do what I could to support them in their work. In August I embarked on a 5-day fundraising walk from the Bodleian Library to the British Library, and in November was privileged to ‘host’ the mobile library outside the Bodleian as well as attend a talk by Esther and Laura at the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford as part of their advocacy trip around the UK.

In the meantime I had started the MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL and met a like-minded individual in Justine, so it was only natural that we organised a volunteering trip ourselves to work with the project on the ground. I am grateful for the solidarity and support shown by our department in the generous funding that has been given. My desire to help with the ongoing refugee crisis, finding the ECHO Refugee Library, and starting my librarianship qualification, have all combined to steer me in the direction of studying the vital role that libraries can and do perform for society, marginalised groups, and for those who find themselves in crisis situations. Like Justine, I hope my experiences and studies will provide a foundation for a dissertation within this area.

Why a library for refugees? I am reminded by what Simon Schama said in the final episode of the BBC series Civilisations, that refugees are the “shipwrecked of civilisation”, who are “cast adrift on an infinite ocean of terror and despair.” I returned to this thought due to the recent story of the rescue ship Aquarius, laden with migrants but sailing aimlessly at sea when no country would open its ports. This perfectly captures the refugee’s state of wandering and waiting: sometimes they cannot even find dry land, let alone a permanent new home. Having read much literature over the past year and having talked to people on the ground, it has struck me that there is minimal provision given to help refugees, as a friend of mine succinctly put it, ‘build a life beyond mere survival.’ Basic humanitarian needs of shelter, food, water, and medical care, are the priority of the major aid operators—and quite rightly so, even though these are sometimes woefully inadequate themselves. But beyond this, essential services that help motivate, educate, entertain, and maintain a healthy mind, are often only found where grassroots volunteers have seen a need and independently acted—like Esther and Laura. And the longer refugees are forced to wait, the more vital these become. Boredom, anxiety, depression and, tragically, suicide are on the rise.  The recent insightful book Lost Connections by Johann Hari talks about the need to be connected to various things to maintain your mental health. I have realised that refugees are disconnected from so much: home, family, friends, work, and a secure and meanignful future.

Access to a library is not, of course, a panacea. But the service that the ECHO Refugee Library provides is one important way in which a refugee can reconnect to reading, education, interests, and community, and to mentally start to build a future even if the physical reality of that future is still a long way off.

 

Simon Cloudesley, Library Assistant

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Please show solidarity with us and the ECHO Refugee Library by going to:

https://chuffed.org/project/echorefugeelibrary

Travels with a mobile library – Part 1

By Ian G Evans, on 16 May 2018

By Justine Humphrey, MA student on the Library and Information Science programme

At the end of May I will be finishing my library job for the summer, but just in case I miss the library environment I shall be working for ECHO Refugee Library http://echo-greece.org/projects/   in Athens, Greece. Together with, Education, Community, Hope and Opportunity (ECHO) the aim of the library is to nurture a space of learning and creativity, a place to cultivate the mind – that one part of us that can never be held captive. It is a place where goals and ambition can be worked towards, regardless of the grim reality of the present. The library space provides the following:

  • Books and a quiet reading space
  • Access to online learning and information on educational opportunities
  • Language learning resources and informal small group tutoring
  • Advice on university and job application processes
  • A space for community-led creative workshops

Back last September I discovered the project from a poster in the staff-room at work giving details about Simon, who was walking from the Bodleian to the British Library to raise awareness and funds for the project. It caught my eye and I immediately thought about volunteering, but as I had just returned to work for the new academic year and was about to embark on a Masters in ‘Library and Information Studies’ I decided now was not appropriate, so I put it to the back of my mind and decided to wait for the right time to make contact. I started my course at UCL in early October and within two weeks I discovered that my fellow student was the Simon in the poster at work. This brought the project to my full awareness again and I started to wonder if I might be able to focus my dissertation around it.

Soon after this I had a meeting with my supervisor where I discussed the possibility of working as a volunteer for ECHO Refugee Library and using the research to write my dissertation. I expressed my concern around the sensitive nature of the refugee situation and how I did not feel comfortable using interviews and questionnaires under such fraught circumstances. My supervisor suggested I approach it as an auto-ethnography; with a degree in anthropology this was music to my ears.

With the coincidence of meeting Simon and the support of my supervisor it was confirmation that I was meant to volunteer and work for the project. So, plans have been made and both myself and Simon have committed to spending initially three weeks in June as a volunteer team to operate and support the mobile library in Athens. The cherry on the cake was when we both bid for UCL’s Dean’s Funds of £200 and were offered the full £700 for travel costs and expenses, I was blown away. Apparently this is unprecedented and confirms the commitment from UCL and their support for this unique project.

So the plan is to travel to Greece, work with ECHO Refugee Library and write about the experience as an auto-ethnography for my Masers dissertation. Along the way I hope to support and raise awareness of both the refugee’s plight and the importance of a mobile library.  On my return and having lived the experience I will share more of my travels with a mobile library.

Justine Humphrey, Library Assistant

Oxford Brookes University

If you would like to support ECHO and help them keep ‘dreams and drive alive’ go to:  https://chuffed.org/project/echorefugeelibrary

We That Are Young – Preti Taneja

By Jessica B S Brotman, on 28 April 2018

Announcing the Carnegie Medal Shortlist

By Jessica B S Brotman, on 15 March 2018

The CILIP Carnegie Medal is the longest-running award for children and young adult literature in the United Kingdom, and yesterday, its shortlist for 2017 was released. The list highlights the importance of social commentary and diverse representation in children’s and young adult literature, and Patrick Ness’ inclusion sets him up to be the first author ever to receive the award three times. We are excited to see a shortlist of beloved authors and inclusive works, and we are eagerly awaiting the prize’s final announcement on June 8. Please see below for the full shortlist for the Carnegie Medal!

     Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne Publishing)

     Rook by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)

     After the Fire by Will Hill (Usborne Publishing)

     Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans (David Fickling Books)

     Release by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)

     Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (Corgi)

     The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)

     Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)

The shortlist for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, awarded for outstanding achievement in children’s illustration, has also been announced and can be viewed here.

Publishing the Future Event

By Hannah M Smith, on 12 March 2018

Interscipt header

Interscript is hosting a panel event, ‘Publishing the Future,’ covering topics of diversity and inclusivity within the publishing industry as well as digitalisation and the future of academic publishing. With fantastic speakers, including guests from Knights Of, don’t miss your chance to ask the panel your questions and the opportunity to hear their thoughts on the future of the publishing industry. The event is this Thursday so make sure to reserve your seat here!

When:

Thursday, 15 March 2018 from 16:30 to 19:00 (GMT)

Where:

G12, Torrington (1-19)

University College London

Torrington Place, London

London, WC1E 7HB, UK

Organisers:

Interscript is an academic student-led journal and magazine that publishes research and articles on publishing topics. We welcome submissions from professionals, academics, and postgraduate students.

International Women’s Day & a Fabulous Longlist!

By Hannah M Smith, on 8 March 2018

So it’s International Women’s Day and, if there wasn’t already enough excitement surrounding the celebration of all the wonderful women in our personal lives and those who have shaped lives for women across the ages, the Women’s Prize for fiction has also released their 2018 longlist!

Set up in 1996, the Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously Bailey’s Prize and the Orange Prize) ‘celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world’. The winner receives £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’.

One of this years judges Sarah Sands said: “What is striking about the list, apart from the wealth of talent, is that women writers refuse to be pigeon-holed. We have searing social realism, adventure, comedy, poetic truths, ingenious plots and unforgettable characters. Women of the world are a literary force to be reckoned with.”

The books in the longlist are:

H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The shortlist will be announced on 23rd April and the winner announced on 6th June. Get reading and decide your favourites!!

World Book Day

By Hannah M Smith, on 3 March 2018

World Book Day 2018 logoEvery year the beginning of March brings World Book Day – a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. The campaign gives children in over 100 countries the chance to read/own a book and is often marked by children dressing up as their favourite literary character (or whatever character their parents can scramble together). For publishers, it is an opportunity to drive more children into bookshops and encourage children to read for pleasure. Lots of authors every year write a book as part of the campaign and bookshops across the UK sell these titles. This year, Penguin Random House organised the single largest volunteering effort – donating over 6,000 books to the local communities and with 500+ colleagues visiting over 130 schools, libraries and children’s centres (although it was rather affected by the snow!). Here is a little history of the campaign, its values and this years WBD books!

History of World Book Day

Now in its 21st year, the WBD campaign aims to ‘encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own’. It does this by sending 15 million book tokens to schools across the UK along with resource packs containing activities, ideas and display material. It is all possible thanks to National Book Tokens Ltd, publishers and booksellers.

How do the tokens work?

The tokens are each worth £1 and, to ensure that every child can purchase a whole book (as opposed to half…), ten exclusive new books are released as part of the WBD initiative. The tokens can also be used to get £1 off any book or audio book worth over £2.99 at any participating bookshop. For teens, there are now also five titles for only £2.50 – so only £1.50 with a WBD token!

WBD 2018 Titles

World Book Day Childrens titles

Children’s titles:

Oi Goat! by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Mr Men: My Book About Me by  Roger Hargreaves

Paddington Turns Detective and Other Funny Stories by Michael Bond

Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story

The Baby Brother from Outer Space by Pamela Butchart

Terry’s Dumb Dot Story: A Treehouse Tale by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Brain Freeze by Tom Fletcher

The Bolds’ Great Adventure by Julian Clary

The Girl Who Thought She Was a Dog by Clare Balding

Marvel Avengers: The Great Heroes

World Book Day Teen titles

Teen Titles:

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge

 Gangsta Rap by Benjamin Zephaniah

I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson

Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Booktube with Annie!

By Wendy C Tuxworth, on 27 February 2018

Today we’re very happy to be talking to Annie about booktubing (book YouTubing, for those who aren’t in the know!)

1. Why did you start your booktube account?

Truthfully – I was living in Austria and had a lot of time on my hands and nobody to talk to about books, so it seemed like an obvious solution to a problem. Now I have much less time and a lot more ‘real life’ people to talk to about books – but I keep it up anyway because it’s such a lot of fun.

2. Who are some of your favourite booktubers?

I love Eric at The Lonesome Reader because we have very similar reading tastes and Jen Campbell because she is so knowledgeable! Lauren at Reads and Daydreams was the first channel I ever started watching and I also really love Simon of Savidge Reads because he makes me laugh.

3. What do you think is the most difficult thing about booktubing?

Finding time to film and being consistent with uploading a video every week. I don’t have any fancy lighting so I try to film during the day when the sunlight is good (which isn’t often). I also have to be in the right mood to film… and then there’s the problem of my internet connection being so weak that I can only upload videos on the UCL WiFi…

4. Talk us through how you film an average video for your account.

First I’d think about what I want to talk about – if it’s just a regular chatty video like a round-up it won’t need too much scripting, but if I’m going to talk in detail about a single book or topic then I’ll definitely do some research or at least think about what I’m going to say before I press record. Then I’ll wait one (or two or three) weeks to be in the mood to be on camera and have good lighting. After I’ve filmed, I spend about an hour editing (I used to take me way longer because I edit out loads – I umm and ahhh so much). Then I design the thumbnail, upload the video and spend a little while longer faffing around with the description, cards and end screens. Oh, and I also reply to comments as much as I can. Writing all that out has made me realise that it’s actually quite time consuming… hmmm. Assignments? What assignments?

5. What advice would you give to someone interested in booktubing?

Give it a go and see if it’s for you! You won’t regret trying. Your first video will probably be a bit rubbish because they always are – if you’re like me, you’ll feel awkward on camera and you won’t know how to edit or upload or any of those things, but it absolutely doesn’t matter. The Booktube community are suuuuper friendly and welcoming and they don’t care if your lighting is bad or if your audio quality isn’t great (I film on my phone, nobody cares). You really do have to learn by doing and it’s so easy once you get started.

“Ok, that’s all from me guys, don’t forget to hit thumbs up if you liked this and hit the subscribe button so that you never miss any of my videos!!!!” (I’m joking I don’t say that).

Thanks so much to Annie!

Interview with Samantha Rayner

By Hannah M Smith, on 26 February 2018

Following on from our interview with Daniel last term, we’ve heard from Sam about how she fell into publishing, her favourite books and her advice for Publishing MA students!

Sam Rayner Head Shot

Favourite book:

What kind of fiendish question is that?! There are old-time children’s favourites (Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, anything by Alison Uttley, Susan Cooper, Joan Aiken…..); favourites for comfort reading (Georgette Heyer); favourites for historical fiction (Dorothy Dunnett), for fantasy/sci fi fiction (Robin Hobbs, Tolkien, Lois McMaster Bujold), for literary fiction (A. S. Byatt, Ishiguro, Sarah Perry)….and, of course, for my academic work, it has to be Le Morte d’Arthur, by Thomas Malory!

How did you get into publishing?

It’s a story of happenstance, perseverance, fate, and how sometimes being pushed to do something can result in amazing things! Books have been the one constant in all my jobs – except, like Daniel, for a miserable few weeks working for an insurance company, and doing lots of farm work while I was at school (I grew up on a fruit and hop farm). I started with a Saturday job in my local town library, Tonbridge, and then worked in a bookshop, Hammicks in Tunbridge Wells, during my gap year and then every vacation whilst I was at university in Bangor, doing a degree in English. I went on to do an MA in Literature (on the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins), and then got married, did more bookshop work, and then a PGCE in Secondary English and Drama. A few years of teaching in Kent schools followed, before I had my son: and then my tutors from Bangor suggested that it would be a good time to do a PhD! So I did – in medieval poetry, and during the course of this, fate took our family back to Bangor, so I was able to start teaching English at the university part-time, whilst I finished my thesis. When that was done I was asked to take on a Research and Development Manager role to help set up a new School of Creative Studies and Media. This gave me interesting experiences not just of putting together new courses (including publishing ones!), hiring staff, and helping to facilitate research bids, but also useful things like having to kit out a new building, from scratch (I am still very proud that ten years on the red sofas I chose are going strong in the lobby area!) This was a two year contract, so when that ended my boss pushed me to apply for a part-time, senior lecturer post at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, in Publishing. It seemed a crazy idea at the time, but I applied, setting out what I’d do if I had to build a new MA in Publishing, and got the job!

Moving to a new place was hard, but this job allowed me to spend time within a publishing company (Cambridge University Press mentored me for the first couple of months I was in post, so I got to see all the different depts there), and I loved seeing the course develop. After a year, I was also involved in setting up a new Research Institute about Digital Culture, so that also linked in my existing developmental facilitation experience and skills.

And then, in 2012, I was encouraged to apply for a job at UCL, and did, again not thinking I stood a chance of getting it – and the rest is history! I am living proof that at some point, all those random bits of work experience do come together (even the fruit and hop-picking have been useful training in perseverance, and attention to detail!).

How do you interact with your chosen field?

That’s a good question! Publishing is such a truly dynamic area, and is moving so fast, so you have to keep up with what’s happening. Twitter is a vital tool, as is The Bookseller, and all the different conferences and seminars that happen. The London Book Fair is a great annual hub of activity. On the academic side, I have two academic families – my publishing one, and my Arthurian/ medieval one, and I interact with them by attending conferences, meetings, and collaborating with people on research. You are always learning something new, and I love that!

Favourite piece of research you’ve been part of?  

I really enjoyed the Academic Book of the Future research, which was a huge project, with lots of different strands and activities. I worked with some amazing people, and got the chance to make real impact within the academic book world. At the moment, I am really loving the research I am doing with two friends and Arthurian/ publishing colleagues (yes, there are more of us!) Dr Leah Tether and Dr Bex Lyons, on the Penguin Archive at Bristol University. We’re looking at how Penguin worked to make classic texts available to a more general readership, and finding some fascinating stuff…it’s detective work, and finding material that sheds new light on how we perceive these canonical works. Publishers do more than you might think!

What advice would you give a Publishing MA student?

Make the most of your investment. Use all the opportunities the course and UCL offer you – not just the classes, but beyond that. Be prepared to push outside of your comfort zone, to take creative risks, and to use the space the MA gives you to explore what your strengths are, and what kind of job you really want to pursue….

A fun fact about yourself:

Um….I’ll confess to being a complete Alan Rickman fan!

A book that we might be surprised you have read? 

Well, when doing Admissions interviews, I always take note of any books people say they enjoy when they answer that first question! So, this past year, I have enjoyed reading Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, and Sigrid Unset’s Kristin Lavransdatter as a result of student recommendations: so I do listen! (and thanks, guys!)

 

Thank you Sam for your wonderful answers. I was pleased to note I’m not the only one who struggles to choose a favourite book (or ten)!