Cataloguing Careers: Natasha Aburrow-Jones

Natasha Aburrow-Jones

“Cataloguing is at the heart of everything that I do, as it is at the heart of any effective library,” says Natasha Aburrow-Jones in her upcoming Cataloguing Careers interview, “If you want your library to work, you have to have a decent catalogue, so that your readers can find what they need.”

We’re really delighted that Natasha has agreed to be interviewed in Beginning Cataloguing Monthly. As the former manager of SUNCAT (the former national union catalogue for serials), she shares three top tips for cataloguing these daunting items as well as updating us on how her background as a cataloguer is helping in her current work as Systems Librarian at the Faculty of Advocates.

Beginning Cataloguing Monthly is free, but available only to subscribers. If you’ve not signed up already, you can do so here. We don’t send any other emails via the list – just one newsletter a month – and we don’t share data with anyone else.

Event Report: Print Making Techniques in Book Illustration

After the winter holiday, Yvonne Lewis shares what she learned at Krystle Attard Trevisan‘s Book History Seminar in December.

Curiosity about the holdings of the National Museum of Malta aroused my interest in this seminar. I’ve been to many talks on print techniques over the years, so was expecting to come away as baffled as ever about how the ink ended up on the paper in most cases. It is very difficult taking someone’s spoken or written description and turning it into images of how the processes work in your head. Letterpress I can imagine, but it gets more complicated when the speaker is trying to describe the various different offset techniques.

I was pleasantly surprised to come away feeling much more enlightened. As background introduction, Krystle took us clearly, but rapidly, through the many centuries of printing history, from Chinese woodblocks, through the various hand-presses, to modern photographic printmaking. Each phase was accompanied by close-up images of the finished product, plus supporting material on individual techniques. Both were extremely useful in showing the difference between copperplate and intaglio for example.

In her day job, Krystle is in the process of cataloguing c. 4,500 prints. As she demonstrated, use of a microscope or the zoom feature on a modern phone allows her to investigate the images more closely in order to identify the technique used. This must be invaluable as many of us have struggled in the past to be confident in our assessment of images when the maker has been a master of their technique. I do hope that Krystle will do more talks or seminars on printmaking techniques. Although images of her slides are imprinted on my brain, I’m sure a refresher will be required at a future date. One day, perhaps, a good excuse to visit Malta.

Yvonne Lewis

Event Report: Exploring Digital Classification Games

At the end of 2020 I ran a workshop focused on creating digital classification games as part of Beginning Cataloguing’s online course offer. During the session I showed the participants how they could create a prototype classification game on their Android devices from a template game I had created. I had intended showing iphone users how they could do the same, but I discovered quite close to running the workshop that the app I was using on my Android device wasn’t fully compatible with the iphone version of the same app. However, I’m now looking at converting the app so that iphone users can run it too.

I used Pocket Code for the session. This is a block-based coding tool for Android devices and iphones, that allows you to create games and other mobile apps for free, without having to type in lines of programming text. I designed the prototype game loosely around the retro style video game, Pong. In this instance the player is presented with an image on the screen, and they have to tap on the corresponding Dewey Classification number bouncing around the screen to score a point. I find that interactive activities make learning easier for me. I also like things to be fun. So, that’s why I created the prototype game.

Through the session I showed the participants:

  • How to use Pocket Code.
  • How to run and play the prototype game I created in Pocket Code.
  • How the game programme is structured.
  • How different coloured code blocks allow you to do different things. eg move an image around a screen; test if the phone screen was tapped; add points to a players score, etc.
  • How to adapt the programme to their own library classification scheme and needs.

I highlighted some of the behind-the-scenes coding. But I tried to avoid going into a lot of detail, as I wanted to focus on the key areas they could adapt to create a game that would support classification training within their own library services.

The idea isn’t to replace classification training with simple games, but to help users get to know classification identifiers or numbers in a scheme for a library they use, in a playful way.

At the end of the session I wanted the participants to be able to go away with a few key thoughts:

  • That games are useful in this context.
  • It’s possible to make a prototype game cheaply & quickly. It isn’t overly complicated to create a game like this in Pocket Code, or to develop ideas around using technology as a way to make something interactive that will enable others to develop their understanding of your classification system.
  • You can use a tool like Pocket Code to develop simple games for other parts of your library service training too. eg stock management.

It was fun running the session online. I enjoyed both introducing the concept of a digital library game to the participants, and the discussions it generated during the session. Thanks to everyone who attended, and Anne for her support before and during the session.

Ash Green

It Takes an Information Community to Raise a Business

With some people working from home, some wanting to leave face-to-face services with customers who are not compliant with social distancing rules, and some staring down the barrel of redundancy, there have possibly never been more information professionals contemplating self-employment. Here are some tips and resources from my experience this year setting up Beginning Cataloguing.

>>> Continue reading on ILI 365 >>>

With thanks to Marydee Ojala for commissioning this article, and featuring it as the top story on the ILI 365 website. Their latest newsletter includes an article on Google Trends by Marydee herself.

2020 Blog Posts by Ash Green

Ash Green profile picture

2020 was a busy and creative time for Ash. As well as helping get Beginning Cataloguing off the ground and running our first online workshop, they collaborated with lots of other people, some of whom they mention in their end-of-year round-up.

Here are some blog posts that Ash wrote or co-wrote last year, which, although completed outside their role as a Beginning Cataloguing Associate, may well be of interest to you:

Steven Dryden and Ash Green (2020). ‘LBTQ+ Lives Online’, UK Web Archive Blog, 31 July, https://blogs.bl.uk/webarchive/2020/07/lgbtq-lives-online-.html.

Steven Dryden and Ash Green (2020). ‘LGBTQ+ Lives Online: Introducing the Lead Curators’, UK Web Archive Blog, 3 November, https://blogs.bl.uk/webarchive/2020/11/lgbtq-lives-online-introducing-the-lead-curators.html.

Steven Dryden and Ash Green (2020). ‘LGBTQ+ Lives Online Web Archive Collection’, UK Web Archive Blog, 25 November, https://blogs.bl.uk/webarchive/2020/11/lgbtq-lives-online-web-archive-collection.html.

Ash Green (2020). ‘Reflections During International Games Week and Transgender Awareness Week’, Digital Scholarship Blog, 13 November, https://blogs.bl.uk/digital-scholarship/2020/11/reflections-during-international-games-week-and-transgender-awareness-week.html.

Ash Green (2020). ‘Winter Folklore in Video Games’, Cresswell Crags Blog, 18 December, https://www.creswell-crags.org.uk/2020/12/18/winter-folklore-in-video-games-a-guest-blog-post-by-ash-green.

You can keep up with Ash’s work outside Beginning Cataloguing by following them on Twitter and / or reading their blog, Ash Green Creates.

Beginning Cataloguing Bookshop

How would you like to support us AND independent book shops, just by buying books?

Some of you may remember that when we started our newsletter, Beginning Cataloguing Monthly, we looked for affiliate links that share our values.

Now we’re very happy to share that with Bookshop.org having entered the UK market, we have been able to set up an affiliate “shop” at https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/beginningcataloguing.

So far, we’ve added two lists:

Continue reading “Beginning Cataloguing Bookshop”

Book History Seminar: LGBTQ+ Publishing History

Our next Book History Seminar will take place on Wednesday 13 January at 1pm.

In this live-only seminar, we will discuss factors affecting the publication and circulation of LGBTQ+ fiction in postwar Britain. We will examine how obscenity statutes and laws criminalising homosexuality impacted everything from a book’s text, to its cover design, to how and where it was sold. Examples will be drawn from the speaker’s personal collection.

Continue reading “Book History Seminar: LGBTQ+ Publishing History”