Anne Welsh is a career-long cataloguer and a life-long writer. Following the success of Practical Cataloguing (London: Facet; Chicago: Neal Schuman, 2012) she focused on academic research and teaching before founding Beginning Cataloguing, which provides consultancy and training for institutions and, increasingly, to individuals preparing their libraries and archives and seeking an institutional home for them.
Last week I was interviewed by Shelina for her DeCluttrMe Podcast, which is one of the features of her hugely popular IGTV channel.
Shelina has been running a series on estate management, and so we talked mostly about creating inventories for insurance purposes and for wills. We also tackled the evergreen subjects of ‘What is cataloguing?’ and why it matters.
Don’t be fooled by my read dates (16 May-23 July) – I borrowed this on the Libby app, missed the return date and had to wait to reborrow 🤦🏻♀️. I loved this book, and would have sped through it if I’d started reading earlier during my first loan period.
In fact, I couldn’t agree more with Sali Hughes’ pull quote on the cover – “Ideas, solutions, wisdom, kindness, and zero whining.” This Last is really important, because as a working class woman who made it into some of the top board rooms in the retail industry, Portas has had her fair share of fuckwittery and bias to face down, and while she doesn’t pull any punches in sharing it, she always does so with a good lesson and often a killer punchline attached.
I also like the way she acknowledges her ex-husband, life partner and home staff who provided her with the space and time to focus on her work whilst at work. The people who looked after her kids are clearly very important to her, and it’s appropriate in a book that argues for better acknowledgement of the labour exchange in retail that she should demonstrate those principles as an employer of child care, cleaning and household management professionals.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given my own circumstances, my biggest takeaways are that it’s absolutely OK to walk away from work that others see as successful and set up independently; that the workplace really is tough for women (and especially working class women), and that it’s tougher the more old boys’ rooms you have to enter to do business. And, above all else what matters is being true to yourself and your values. Follow your gut instincts. Be kind, but take no s**t. “Work like a woman.”
Thanks to everyone who attended today’s event, and especially to the Library Association Ireland’s Cataloguing and Metadata Group for their brilliant hosting, and for the invitation to deliver the workshop in the first place.
I really hope we have the chance to repeat this one, as we used some of my favourite examples, and I met some lovely colleagues.
Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Piatkus, 2016.
Is there an irony in my having finished reading this book as a shallow relief from finishing writing my own current book and finalising preparations for a training on rare books cataloguing? Possibly. Possibly not.
Essentially, this is a book about how the author and other people whose work he has read or whom he has interviewed manage their lives to prioritise the tasks that stretch them. As such, it’s a 3-star read for me because he’s achieved what he set out to do, but there’s nothing in either the information he shares or his writing style that I actively love.
At the end of this one-day bespoke workshop participants will leave having catalogued three rare books and with knowledge of where to seek further information.
This course has been certified by the LAI Continuing Professional Development Committee. Certificates of attendance will be issued to attendees.
This online workshop will take place over Zoom. Participants will have to be able to switch between Zoom and other applications, especially to read PDF documents; for this reason joining by tablet (such as iPad) is not recommended.
Please note that the majority of the places are reserved for current members of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI) at a discounted price. (Membership will be verified). In addition, a small number of places will be available to current LIS students/unwaged at a nominal price. See tickets for further details.
The three books we will catalogue represent three common periods held by many special collections:
One Early Modern book
One 18th century book
One modern (post-1950) book with features that make rare book cataloguing appropriate.
Model answers will be provided in:
DCRM(B) in MARC
RDA in MARC
AACR2 in MARC
A month before the training, you will receive four PDFs:
an introductory reading list
a summary of the relevant MARC fields we’ll be using on the day
‘The vocabulary of rare books’ – a basic glossary of common terms
a list of useful online sources
You don’t have to read anything in advance, but for those who do like to read ahead, these will be useful resources.
It was lovely to see our course for Awen Libraries in Cilip’s magazine, Information Professional this month. Harriet Hopkins and her team at Bridgend received a grant from Cilip Cymru from its Kathleen Cooks Fund and commissioned a bespoke online course from Beginning Cataloguing this summer.