Tag Archives: digitisation

What’s been happening?

It’s been a little while since I last wrote anything, and that’s partly because I forgot, and partly because not much has happened. Recently I’ve been doing a lot more of the same stuff at work – withdrawals list, podcasts, rinse, repeat. I got some feedback on my last set of podcasts which was basically “too small, too blurry, too quiet”, so I’ll need to redo them this week. I finally finished the large chunk of the withdrawals list that I was given, but it’s not the end – I’ve got roughly another 150 pages to go, but I’m taking a break from that at the moment as we have a new toy to play with at the library. It’s called a Digital Library Assistant and looks like an alien ray gun. It reads RFID tags inside books on the shelf and generates a list of exactly what we’ve got, which is really useful for when the stock gets moved to its new home in 2014. However, we’re having some teething problems with it, in that it seems to not have recognised everything on the shelf, so I’m going round the stock finding books that it missed so we can work out what happened there. It’s almost identical to my withdrawals task, but it feels different, so I’m enjoying the “change”.

Other things I did this week and last:

– Fill in a book order card for the first time in months, completely mess it up and have to start again. Argh!

– Receipt and process 3 parcels-full of new books, which weighed a ton. One of the books was tiny – about 5cm by 10cm, spiral-bound, 30 pages long. Very cute, but very fiddly when it comes to getting a stamping sheet inside.

– Create new shelf-end signs for the book rooms, to make it a bit easier to navigate the shelves. They look great, but I had some trouble getting the old ones off – I had to take a ruler and scissors to a few of them to lever them off as they’d been stuck down with miles of sticky stuff, and in the small book room I had to use a screwdriver as they were screwed on. This caused a bit of a panic when I thought that I had accidentally dismantled a shelving system, but turns out the shelves are just wobbly anyway. Phew.

– laminate a LOT of things. As well as the shelf-end signs, I made new “New Books” signs and one explaining how to locate books. That all adds up to a lot of plastic pockets to fight with.

– digitise a book chapter for someone, get to page 26/30 and very nearly press the “cancel” button on the scanner. Almost had a heart attack.

– not much else! It’s slow at the moment, but we’ve got new students in, so there’s a lot of teaching and a lot of people needing help at the enquiry desk. Every so often we get floods of students coming to the counter after their induction session, all wanting their PINs for their library accounts. We’re heading towards dissertation season, so things will pick up soon.

– on Friday and Monday I took annual leave, and went off to a tiny village in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales for some much-needed fresh air. Here is a picture of said air (and some scenery):

Here is where I was at the weekend. Bliss.

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Just brilliant. We watched the Super Bowl on Sunday night, and I was really glad to have Monday off to recover! Tuesday was hard going at work, but as I have Wednesday mornings off, I am feeling very refreshed and relaxed now.

It’s been mentioned that I might do a blog post for some friends of mine about my job and future plans, which will be nothing new to regular readers of this blog, but I’ll post a link to that for you if it happens.

That’s about it for now – hopefully something interesting will happen soon, and then these posts will be a bit more interesting!


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Day Five

Day Five heralded my first TGIF moment of my career; I was so tired by the end of the week I could barely stop yawning!

I had an easy start to the day on the counter, with hardly any customers to deal with. Afterwards, I went up to Room 203 and learned what has been happening at the library with stock editing. In 2014 Elizabeth Gaskell Campus will close and the faculty will move to a new site currently being built. The library will merge with the central library at All Saints, but there’s not a huge amount of space at All Saints as it’s already merged with another site and will be merging with two more around the same time as Gaskell. This means that we are having to cut down our stock hugely to be ready for the move. Some of the librarians are investigating each book on the shelves, working out how often it’s been lent out and when it was last borrowed, to decide whether it’s worth keeping or not. There are already quite a few empty shelves and there’ll be a lot more by the end of the year. The  books that are candidates for withdrawal go to Room 203 to be sorted out, and either they are deemed worthy of keeping or they are condemned to boxes which go off to a book-selling company. Books to be sold have their front pages removed and processed to make sure they’re taken off the catalogue, and this turns out to be what the morgue and graveyard used to be for. It’s a bit less macabre than what I’d originally thought! When you’re working in a building that looks like this, though, you can’t help but wonder…

Found on Google

The middle of the day was spent watching podcasts to learn how to make them myself. I’m starting work on my own podcast soon, so need to work out the sort of things I should say in it, and the visual style I should be aiming for, in order to make my podcast easy to follow and really accessible. I also spent some time getting familiar with the database I’ll be making a podcast about, and discovered some quite gruesome dissection pictures on it. I think the challenge is going to be keeping the disgust out of my voice when I narrate the video!

I then did some digitisation work, filling in request forms and spreadsheets and copying articles. I managed somehow to pull the lid of the photocopier off while copying a giant journal and was horrified at the thought of how much that would cost, but thankfully with Arlene the Principal Library Assistant’s help I managed to fix it before anyone else noticed! It’s quite frustrating not being able to stick with a digitisation request from start to finish but, unfortunately, until I get my email account up and running I can only do parts of it on my own.

The last hour of the day was supposed to be for me to learn about RFID tagging, but it only took Catherine five minutes to explain the whole thing for me. RFID tags are little stickers you put in the back of books and they are programmed with the book’s barcode and other information so that if you hold up a scanning device to a bookshelf you will instantly be able to see everything that’s on the shelf (and work out what’s missing), a bit like they do in supermarkets. This will come in really useful when the stock moves across to All Saints. The actual tagging process takes about 30 seconds – scan the book’s barcode, place a tag on the special programming mat, stick the tag in the book. Done! I did about 50 books while sitting at the issue counter chatting to the others – quite a relaxing end to my first week as a GT.

All in all I had a great first week; I really feel I’ve learned loads already and I know there’s a lot more to come, along with a lot more students to help. Some of the students are back already and the library is steadily getting busier (and noisier) but the real inundation will be next week. Bring it on!

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