The impact of library administrative responsibilities

One of the biggest changes since taking on library administrative responsibilities is the reduction in traditional library tasks such as the reference desk. I am still required to supervise and assist library readers, but this is only needed when they have booked an appointment to use the Library and its facilities. The awareness of the libraries within the organisation is growing through object handling and teaching sessions with students. However, requests to use library materials are only a few per month.

This has freed up my time to organise and manage library projects such as the Southeast Asia books move, while continuously cataloguing our retrospective stock. The ability to personally shape the library's collection development through administering library budgets in acquisition, journal subscription and binding, has allowed an overall strategic plan for the library to develop.

For example, my budget management responsibilities have assisted me to effectively resource manage…

Visit to V&A Archives

Joining mailing lists such a APML is a great way to find out about upcoming events and tour. My most recent tour was of the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) Archives at Blythe House located in Olympia. Initially the Head Office of the Post Office Bank in 1900s, the grand building was taken over by the V&A, British Museum and the Science Museum in the 1950s. With the addition of a study room, storage facilities and Textiles Room, Blythe House became known as the building to house the archives and collections of these 3 institutions. 
At the start of the visit, Christopher Marsden, Head Archivist of the V&A Archives printed the picture of the development of the V&A archives. With focus on design education in 1830s, mainly British art and design industry from 1920s and the Great Exhibition of 1982 the importance of archives and record keeping policy came into play. It became necessary to record correspondence to matching objects in the V&A collection in nominal files…

Frustrations and solutions for library outreach

Every so often you find a surprised visitor who enters our study room and says, “Oh! You have library?” to which with a sad sigh I respond, “Yes. We have about 9”. Specialising in art, archaeology, anthropology, numismatics, conservation and scientific research from around the world, these libraries are available to the public. To be fair, each Museum department with public research facilities require a pre-booked appointment except the Anthropology Library and Research Centre. So, why do stories of readers being told that “there are no libraries at the British Museum. All our books are at the British Library” keep cropping up? 

Archiving artistic heritage in museums

Last November, I attended a conference for 'Unboxing the Archive: how Tate is transforming access to our artistic heritage' at Tate Britain. As I have started a new project on listing the Asia Department Archives in the British Museum (BM), considering the prospect of digitising such an archive has become an increasing thought.
A vast majority of the 20th-century objects in the BM collection have archival correspondence detailing how the object became part of the collection and related files to multiple exhibitions. Whereas the BM Collection Online Database holds the basic information about each object, their corresponding archival files demonstrate the processes and attitudes regarding acquiring art during the time period. This information is valuable to understand how collections develop and change over time and can help people trace family members connections to the BM. Therefore, it is unfortunate that this information is not readily available especially online. As Rosemar…

Experiences transitioning to RDA

The British Museum has recently switched from Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) to Resource, Description and Access (RDA) in a hybrid-catalogue intervention.
Alan Danskin, Collection Metadata Standards Manager at the British Library recently presented to the Association of Pall Mall Librarians on the introduction of RDA. He pointed out that for many; RDA was created due to the perception that AACR2 was not fit for purpose. This is because it has not adapted well to recent changes in user expectation and technology where information in presented on different platforms such as the web. Therefore, managing the cataloguing environment has become increasingly complex and the metadata captured needed to change. There are free online training materials and webinars available for learning about RDA. However, the main issue with implementing RDA in small libraries or museums is that there are not many training courses or advice available. I have only come across the ‘RDA in a day’ cour…

Ranganathan, India and LIS education

In July, we had a visiting academic and Assistant Professor from the University of Calcutta, Dr. Susmita Chakraborty gives a talk on LIS education in India.
History of LIS education in India During the 1950s, there were only 370 colleges and 27 universities. This has risen to around 719 universities in March 2015. Punjab University was the first institution to have a course in Librarianship during 1915. Since then LIS education has grown in popularity and 79 universities (divided by state, private and some deemed to be institutions) had LIS courses in 2001. For example, the Bengal Library Association have Bachelor and Master's degrees running for 1-2 years and a 5 year integrated MLIS. Further education courses also exist at PhD level across Indian institution along with MPhil degree. This level in education is in between a Masters and PhD level and not currently available within the UK. Although, in 1950 only 2 PhDs were awarded, further research in LIS has seen 345 PhDs awarded i…

Can we tear down the wall between the researchers and the library?

"Can we tear down the wall between the researchers and the library? Research support services at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology" by Marius Haugen.

A long time ago, I went to a UCL DIS event into the current issues in LIS. This event really highlighted the difference between libraries in the UK and elsewhere in regards to research support services. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) it is a science and technology specific university, however, it has a humanities department. NTNU is definitely a complex institution with 12 different libraries and its rare books, special collections and a medical collection spanning 4 departments.

It was very interesting to learn the differences of librarianship in Norway. For example, focus in university research support to satisfy user needs has recently become a trend. Furthermore, from what I could understand, unlike in the UK where librarians are expected to have a LIS qualification and work experie…