Reflective Log: Monday 19th August 2013

Good morning, people (or spambots…)!

It is bright and early on a Monday morning, and I am both completely knackered because I’ve been at a feminist conference all weekend, but also raring to go because I have just worked out that I only have 26 days actually in work left.

Last week was a busy and productive one, which I am glad about because I was feeling really shitty about the week before. The main things I did (I’m going to use bullet points for a change):

  • Project work – making contact! Over the course of the week I sent individual e-mails out to around 36 students who had filled in my questionnaire and said that they’d be happy to discuss it further. Rather disappointed that I’ve only had 6 replies so far (and unfortunately not really elaborating on their questionnaire responses, which was kind of the point…), because this is going to make the next stage of my project rather difficult. I also contacted the handful of students who had said they’d be happy to take part in a focus group in an attempt to figure out when it could take place. It’s now been a week since I contacted them and I’ve only heard back from 2, both of whom were very rigid about times that were totally different. So it’s looking like that will be a no-go too. Rather frustrating.
  • Project work – literature searching! It had been a while since I did a proper search for the limited literature relevant to my project, so I figured I should try again. I managed to find two extremely interesting and useful-looking books and a journal article that was only published last month, none of which we had copies of here at Bradford, so I had to ask the nice lady down in inter-library loans to get hold of them for me. The journal article was sent electronically and I was pretty amused when I managed, in classic student style, to mess up getting that downloaded and printed out (my computer just *had* to freeze when I asked it to print 2 copies, which is the maximum allowance and the file won’t let you do it again!). The books were both tricky to get hold of and have been ordered from Amazon to join our library stock. One arrived on Friday – ‘Crash course in library services to people with disabilities’ – which looks extremely useful and the disability support lady down in customer services is thrilled, so I think that’s a win for the library.
  • One of the librarians has asked me to do a literature search for her – a module tutor has asked her to find articles on a whole bunch of different health and nutrition-related topics for her students to look at in seminars. I spent a lot of time one day searching various databases for the type of articles that I think would be useful, but it’s incredibly difficult when you know nothing about the subject and don’t really know what you’re looking for because you know nothing about the course or the students either. I’ve gone for fairly basic-level because the topics are broad and the students aren’t Health Studies students, but still have some of that to get on with this week too. It’s been interesting to do something different nonetheless.
  • I helped out with another of the sessions for pre-sessional international students trying to improve their English and grasp how the University works before term starts (I helped with one of these the week before too but think I forgot to mention it). They had a very basic library session covering things like logging into their e-mail, searching the catalogue for and fetching a book, and a very basic introduction to searching for a journal article on a database. Some of the students managed okay, but a lot of them had problems with understanding what they were supposed to be doing, mainly because of language. With term starting in a month there must be an incredible amount of pressure on them to pick things up quickly, or they’re going to struggle!
  • I attended a session given by the acquisitions department on how they had reclassified all of the books in our main stock over the course of about 18 months (the library switched from UDC to DDC). I had known that it must’ve been a mammoth task, but I hadn’t really stopped to think about the logistics of it before – whilst the suppliers were able to help out with classmarks for a lot of the books, many more needed doing by our own department – too many to sit and do individually so a lot of things were done en masse. It seemed that the biggest problem for them was the spine-labelling. Producing 250,000 spine-labels manually wasn’t an option, so they had to figure out how to get Millennium to do it for them – a feature not built into the programme. It was pretty interesting, and props to them for getting the whole thing done.
  • I helped out one of the librarians by going through her library induction tests/quizzes/thingies that her first year pharmacy students have to do at the beginning of every year. This made me smile, because one of my first tasks when I arrived here in Bradford was to mark a big pile of these papers, and now here I was checking if it was still relevant for the next lot. I guess I’ve come full-circle (and it was mostly still correct, apart from some changes to catalogue records and an external website).
  • The health studies librarian had been asked to make a library quiz for new radiology students, but not containing questions about catalogue searches or classmarks or whatnot, just about the library generally. She passed this on to me, and I had good fun walking around the library trying to think of questions I could include. I then put the questions into some software that creates crosswords, and voila, a nice tidy exercise that doesn’t look too dull.
  • Finally, I spent an afternoon putting some content together for a library staff training session on working with international students. We’ve got hold of a training DVD called ‘Bridging our worlds’, which is made up of lots of small sections on different things from moving to a new country right up to learning style and plagiarism. My job was to watch the DVD and decide which clips are relevant and useful for our training sessions, and come up with some questions and exercises we can do between clips. It was an interesting job, and I don’t think I’ve made too much of a mess of it! The international group is meeting in a few minutes to go through what I’ve selected, so I should probably wrap this post up!

So there we go, a busy week last week, and hopefully more of the same this week too. Til next time!

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