14 May 2020

Migrating into the Freelance Consultancy Library Space

Guest post by Marie Jennings 

I was always drawn to the idea of becoming a freelance librarian. In my past career I was involved in a lot of projects including: 
  • Cataloguing several special collections at various heritage houses throughout Ireland with the OPW. 
  • I was part of a retrospective cataloguing project with the Houses of the Oireachtas. 
  • Cataloguing a pre-1800 collection for DCU of several thousand books. 
  • Assessing the cataloguing needs of the Franciscan book collection in UCD Special Collections. 
  • A large-scale project comprising a Pre-1900, Irish Studies and a Moral Theology collection for the Redemptorists. 

Having spent nearly twenty years working as a professional librarian on a diverse range of projects, I decided to fulfil a key personal and professional goal to work as a freelance librarian where the skills and experience that I have acquired to date could be utilised. 

Since becoming a freelancer in June of last year, I have already been involved in a lot of interesting projects including compiling a User Experience report and a languages toolkit for librarians in Dublin City Libraries, creating a reference library for the Redemptorists in Dundalk, cataloguing a special collection for the Dominican Order and developing a secondary school library for Manor House School in Dublin. 

Working freelance is a very fulfilling experience and has exposed me to very interesting projects. There are other enjoyable aspects to becoming a freelance librarian such as website design, liaising with your customers and the promotion of your services. 

Even though I have worked in the library and information sector for twenty years, I am passionate about CPD, which is particularly helpful as a freelance librarian as my skills are always relevant and up to date. I have recently completed a “Metadata Design and Implementation” course with the Library Juice Academy. Another course I’ve recently undertaken is “The History of the Book” with Trinity College Dublin. I found this course beneficial as I learned about new tools that are useful for cataloguers of rare books. I also undertook the “Rare Book Curatorship” course many years ago in UCD as part of my postgraduate studies and I have been fortunate to have catalogued large collections of antiquarian books. 

I was planning to have this article published in March to officially launch my website and services and then Covid-19 struck, and I had put these plans on hold. At the time of writing we are still in the midst of the pandemic and increasing numbers are working from home. I myself am currently working from home to finish a cataloguing project for the Dominicans. I decided to publish this article anyway as I offer remote services in addition to onsite services, so it is business as usual for me as a freelance librarian. 

I am delighted to join the freelance librarian space. This is a growing space within the library and information management community due to the constantly expanding skillset of the modern librarian. Please go to https://freelancelibrarianmj.com/ to see my newly launched website called The Freelance Librarian. If you have queries, please do get in touch. My email is mariejenningslibrarian@gmail.com. 

In the meantime I hope that you all keep safe and well.
Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2020 | Categories:

7 May 2020

From Bavaria to Munster – our internships at Boole Library, UCC

Guest post by Franziska Frank and Magadelena Rausch of the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Munich 

Courtesy of the authors
In October 2019 and March 2020 respectively, two students from the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service of Bavaria in Germany found their way to Ireland, to the Boole Library of the UCC, to be exact. And this is our story:

We study library and information management in Munich, this dual education is divided into theoretical terms spent at the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Munich and practical terms spent working at university libraries across Bavaria, Germany – Bayreuth and Bamberg for us respectively. During those practical terms it is also common to do additional internships, as we both did at Boole Library. Though one of us planned for four weeks initially, we both ended up doing an internship for three weeks in Cork, as the outbreak of COVID-19 unfortunately shortened one internship by one week.  
With the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Bavaria it has become quite a tradition for one student from each course to travel to Cork for an internship. Because our predecessors always gushed about their time in Ireland, we applied as well and were very happy when Boole Library accepted not only one student, but two this term!
Whether we arrived in October or March the welcome was warm and friendly. We were immediately welcomed and involved in the daily life of the library. Even though for us Germans with our many honorifics and extremely formal ways it took a little to fall into rhythm with the easy friendliness of our Irish colleague, we integrated easily thanks to their warm welcome. 
Courtesy of the authors

We spend our first weeks in the heart of the library one might say, in the archives and special collections and were amazed about the openness of both the staff and the department as German libraries tend to be quite restrictive with their older collections. As for me, Magdalena, I was very happy to work in special collections and archives especially because I felt like I could really be of help by categorizing and describing an inheritance of a German professor. I, Franziska, gained among other things an insight into the usage of special collections by working on statistics and learned about Irish history and feminism as I described archival collections. We’ve also been invited to join lectures not only of the library but of the whole university, so we were able to get to know and be part of the whole life of an Irish campus university.

After working in the older books department, we went on to visit the repository – the newer, digital books department as to say. But that is not all we saw, our Irish colleagues were so kind to take time to show us the entire library and campus as well, and introduced not only the Skill Centre and the Disability Support but also the recording studio and the VR lab. We learned about the plans for the future of the library, the digital shift, but we also kept in touch with the inheritance of an university as old (1848) as the University College of Cork. 

But all work and no play make Jack a dull boy and of course we also spent our time exploring Ireland. Blarney Castle, Cobh, Kinsale and Ballycotton are just a few examples of the amazing places and beautiful scenery we enjoyed during our stay!

Courtesy of the authors

All in all we can confidently say that we loved our stay. It was very interesting comparing the library systems of Germany and Ireland and we learned a lot, not only about the Irish libraries but also about Ireland as a whole.

We would very much like to thank everyone that made our time in Cork so memorable and encourage everyone to use this chance and go see the world of libraries in other counties.

We also invite our Irish colleagues to visit us in Germany one day!

Magdalena Rausch and Franziska Frank.

24 Apr 2020

Ask the Archivist

My UCC Library colleague Emma Horgan did an Ask the Archive session for our Instagram account last week. The piece got was so engaging I thought it would be nice to capture the story in a more permanent way - hence this post... 

1- What is the difference between an Archivist and a Librarian?
Archivists primarily deal with unique unpublished material, while Librarians mainly deal with published material that exists in multiple copies.
Archivists and Librarians are both very concerned with preservation, but since Archivists often are keeping the ONLY original copy of something they are more focused on preservation. Preservation meaning long term access... both archivists and librarians are very much concerned about providing access and research assistance!
Because the material in archives is generally unique, archivists often have to spend a lot more time in processing / cataloguing material than librarians do. Librarians can rely more on shared cataloguing and standardised processing by vendors to get things ready for the shelf.
Again, because the material in archives is generally unique, archivists usually can't permit the public to browse their shelves in person, or to check out materials. This has led archivists to be more personally involved in mediating between users and materials than librarians generally are. Librarians (and this is generally speaking - not true in every situation of course) mainly try to teach users to help themselves to sources as much as possible.
Librarians tend to do a lot more instruction and outreach activities than archivists, teaching things like how to do specialised research, track citations, adhere to copyright and so on. Archivists are beginning to focus more on teaching and outreach than they used to. I personally teach undergrad and post grad classes in UCC Library Special Collections, using material from the archival collections.

One more note: many people do not realise how diverse both the librarian and archivist fields really are. There are MANY varieties of librarians who specialise in all sorts of things... there are librarians who organise outreach for public libraries: science librarians who run institutional repositories for electronic articles; rare book librarians who catalogue unique printed works; academic subject specialists who administer collection development budgets and teach research skills; and so on. Archivists likewise might be specialists in research methods, acquisitions, born digital records, exhibit curation, or arrangement/description of paper archives. So, all of my comments won't apply to every situation.

2- Why does society need Archivists?/ Why do you think the job of an archivist is an important one?
The most important aspect of an Archivist's job is that we identify what documents and information should be kept and preserved for future generations to study. Once we make the decision not archive an item, it's gone forever.  

3- What is my favourite archival collection i have worked on?
Definitely the Power's Distillery Collection i worked on in the Irish Distillers Archive. 

4- What is my dream archival collection to work on?
 I am a huge film buff, and fan of digital archiving, so my answer has to be the Walt Disney Archive.

5- Why/How did i become an Archivist?
I was persuaded by Emer Twomey, UCC Library's long standing Archivist. Her passion and enthusiasm sold me. I also love learning new things and researching- a vital aspect of an Archivist's job. 

6- Any advice for a budding archivist?
Try and get as much work experience in the field as you can. Not only does it give you an idea if this job is for you, but it also enable you to build up your contacts in the archival world. Networking is important in all fields. 

7- Are there any traits which i feel all Archivists have?
The one trait i would definitely say we all have is curiosity. 

8- What Collection do you wish more people knew about?
The Elizabeth Friedlander Collection. She was a german graphic designer, who fled Nazi Germany and was the first woman to ever design her own typeface- called "Elizabeth".

9- What's the strangest thing you've come across?
I was working on a collection in the Irish Distillers Archive. I was opening boxes for the first time since they'd been filled in the 1930s, and found a really nice pair of gentleman's horn rimmed glasses. Had been swept into the box from his desk accidentally. They're on display in the archive now as an artefact.  

10- Where's the mummy? What's the story with it?
He's stored securely in the basement of the Kane building. Very difficult to organise passport for long dead Egyptians, especially in this climate, but he's in the queue!

11- What is the most mysterious piece in your archive?
We have quite a range of things, including a death mask! But for actual mystery, it's a vellum document from Elizabeth I, containing, we think, royal orders. But the document is entirely in Latin and we haven't been able to have it translated. Could be a shopping list! 

12- Coolest item you've ever gotten to handle?
An actual bottle of whiskey from 1782.

13- How do people go about compiling an archive?
if you are interested in compiling a family archive, get in contact and i can give you specific advice. If you want to preserve an item of national/historical significance, i would advise you get in contact with your nearest Archive, or the National Archive of Ireland. 

14- What would be your dream find in an archive?
The secret to eating my bodyweight in chocolate and not gaining weight, ideally! But realistically i love finding items that change our perception of history, i discovered a long lost distillery!

15- How do you become an archivist? 🙂
To achieve your qualification you can either do the MA in Archives in UCD, or the part time MAs available from UK universities. The UCD course is one year, and intensive, but it is an internationally recognised qualification, so i can work in Canada or New Zealand if i decided to.

16- What's your fave colour?
Purple- colour of royalty 😁

17- Which do you prefer? Books or movies?
Movies, I'm a huge horror fan. Love Spanish, Korean and Scandinavian horror.

18-What is your biggest fear?
The unknown. I liken it to being in the ocean, and having no idea what could come up from the depths! 

19-What's the farthest you've ever been from home? 
Recently i went a whole 500 metres, but the furthest ever was Malta, a fascinating melting pot of cultures. Looking forward to making that Australia for my honeymoon.

20- What are you looking forward to in the coming months? 
ACTUAL HUMAN CONTACT!!! *clears throat* Seeing my colleagues and friends again.

20 Apr 2020

Reflecting on my Career as I approach retirement

Guest post by Linda O'Connell, Maynooth University Library

Photo courtesy of author

I started my working life at 16. I’m now 66. During the intervening fifty years I have been, at various stages in formal employment, a stay at home mum, a student and am now finishing my career in formal employment again.

Early Career
I was born in London to Irish emigrants. My first job, in 1969, was in the London Bridge branch of the Midland Bank. I worked there as a copy typist/administrator for two years. Next I joined IPC (International Publishing Corporation) where I carried out general administration duties. This was a great experience because of the social scene associated with the role. I got the opportunity to attend functions where Rod Stewart, Slade and Roxy Music were present. These were organised by magazines that IPC published such as Melody Maker. 

In 1973, due to the tragic death of my younger brother, my family moved back to Kerry and I relocated to Dublin in search of a job. I signed on with an employment agency and I was lucky enough to be offered a job in the library of the IMI (Irish Management Institute). The IMI run training courses in all aspects of management. It was then located in what is now the Russian embassy in Orwell Road, a short time later they moved to a state of the art building in Sandyford.
Photo courtesy of author       
At that time The IMI held the largest collection of management literature in Ireland.  There was no computerised system in operation. The books were catalogued manually and catalogue cards filed in a wooden card catalogue. My role entailed typing the card for each book onto a stencil and printing out the number of cards needed for each book i.e. one for the subject heading entry, one for the classification number entry and one for each separate author entry. Some books had up to six cards depending on the number of authors. I also put classification numbers on the spine of books.  The Browne issue system was in use. Inside each book there was a pocket with two cards. These cards were retained by the Library, when a book was borrowed. One was filed under the name of the author of the book, the other under the name of the borrower.  I also carried out desk duties, primarily issuing and returning books to IMI members. We had a diary at the desk and we would write in the date the book was due back and two days before the book was due we would post out reminders to the borrowers. This was the pre-Internet age and we searched the card catalogue to find books.

Photo courtesy of author
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the IMI, it was very much a customer focussed library and was ahead of its time. In 1983 I left the organisation to raise a family, however I kept in touch with the library and worked on projects on an ad hoc basis, for example the annual salary surveys.
Back to Education
In 1999, when my children were older, I enrolled on a Community Employment Scheme in Celbridge. This lasted for two years and it introduce me to the idea of going back to education.  I subsequently enrolled in a FETAC (Further Education and Training Awards Council) course. This three-year programme included computer skills, English, Business Studies and other subjects. There were annual exams in each subject. During this time I also completed the Leaving Certificate English exam. At the end of the course, I was encouraged by the course co-ordinator to apply for a degree programme in Maynooth University as a mature student. I was successful in the three panel interview and was accepted in the Arts degree programme. I chose Sociology, Celtic studies and Anthropology as my three subjects. This degree programme was a big step up from my previous education experience. I really enjoyed my time as an undergraduate in Maynooth University. I met wonderful people and I was supported and encouraged by the University to succeed. After three years I was awarded a second class honours degree, an achievement I am still very proud of today.

Later Career
During my time as a student I availed of the University Library facilities on a regular basis. I applied for an advertised contract role in 2005 and was fortunate enough to be offered a job as part of what is now the Engagement & Information Services (EIS) team. I’ve been in that post for the past 15 years. I am part of a team of nine who work on desk services at the ‘coalface’ dealing with students, faculty and external members. Our team deals with a huge volume of queries, from circulation enquires, helping sourcing material and general assistance. The library is a very busy environment and no two days are the same. I have witnessed many changes in the Library.  The biggest change has been the use of technology, which has replaced many time consuming manual processes.

As detailed above, one of my earliest jobs was in a library and I am finishing my career in a library. To have a successful career you need to be versatile, adaptable and willing to learn the new skills required as the role changes. Some aspects of the role have not changed since I first started my career, being customer focused, dedicated, hardworking and an ability to get on with your colleagues, are as important today and they were back fifty years ago.
As I near my retirement, I hope that I can bring the skills I have learned to the next phase of my life by actively participating in local clubs, volunteering for charities and joining the Retired staff Association in Maynooth University.

2 Apr 2020

Cataloguing older Irish language material: some brief notes on the Cló Gaelach.

Guest post by Patricia Moloney, Librarian, Cataloguer of Dónal Ó Súilleabháin Library University of Limerick

Following a transcription query on library twitter last week, these brief notes on the Cló Gaelach/Gaelic typeface may be of interest to cataloguers with limited previous exposure to the Irish language.

Almost all texts published in the Irish language up to the mid-20th century, were printed using the Cló Gaelach, a family of Gaelic typefaces (also known as Irish type and Irish character). The Cló Gaelach is modelled on an angular form of calligraphy (the insular minuscule script) based on the Latin alphabet, which developed in the Irish medieval monastic scriptoria. (For more on the history of Irish scribal tradition see The Irish Hand by Timothy O’Neill). Traditionally the letters j, k, q, v, w, x, y and z were not used in the Irish language, but in later centuries they began to appear in loanwords e.g. júdó (Judo); x-gha (x-ray); zú (zoo).

Irish Type Design
The subject matter of the first Irish language books to appear in print was religious. By royal order, the first fount of Irish type (known as Queen Elizabeth’s Irish type) was cast in London before 1571 and was sent to Dublin where immediately an Irish printing press was set up in order to facilitate the production of religious texts. Regarding printing terminology, in traditional printing where metal moveable type is used, the term ‘fount’ (later ‘font’) refers to the physical metal letters which were created/cast in the form of a design of typeface. Stylistic variants create a typeface family, in this instance, the Cló Gaelach or Gaelic typeface/Irish type.

The circulation of Irish language translations of the New Testament on the part of the Reformed Church in Ireland, which were printed using this Queen Elizabeth’s Irish type, (a hybrid fount of Irish and Roman letters), dismayed the Irish Franciscans in Louvain. In response, the monastic college arranged for the design of what later came to be regarded as the first authentic Irish typeface, (Louvain Irish type), and this was used for the printing of the catechism of Friar Bonventura O’Hussey (Giolla Brighde Ó hEódhasa), in 1611.  Later typeface designs which form part of the Gaelic typeface family include: Parker Irish type (1787); Petrie A (1835); B (1850); C (1856) and more recently, Colum Cille (1936) which was designed by Colm O’Lochlainn of Three Candles Press. (For more on the history of Irish typefaces see Irish Type Design by Dermot McGuinne).

Síneadh fada
In addition to the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, the Cló Gaelach/Gaelic typeface must include all five vowels with the síneadh fada (a “long sign” which lengthens the sound of a vowel).  To put an acute accent/síneadh fada on a vowel, (rather than inserting a special character from the symbols menu which is time-consuming), for a quick method in Windows, hold down the Alt Gr key, then press the key for the vowel to produce á, é, í, ó or ú.  Again, in Windows, for capital letters, hold down the Alt Gr and the Shift key together, and then press the key for the vowel to produce Á, É, Í Ó or Ú.

On the Apple Mac, holding down the option key at the same time as the key for e and pressing the key for the vowel that needs the accent/fada will produce á, é, í, ó or ú.  For capitals, hold down the option key, the key for e, the Shift key and the vowel that needs the accent/fada added to produce Á, É, Í Ó or Ú. It should be emphasised that the inclusion of the síneadh fada is very important for meaning e.g. the word fear = man, but féar = grass.

The Gaelic typeface includes a set of consonants with a dot above (known as a ponc séimhithe "dot of lenition", séimhiú "lenition" or buailte "struck"). Since the establishment of An Caighdeán Oifigiúil/the Official Standard of modern Irish in the mid-20th century, and the adoption of the roman typeface for printing in the Irish language, the letter h is inserted after the relevant consonant to indicate lenition instead of the overdot. Special codes exist which permit display of the overdot séimhiú but for the purposes of cataloguing, the letters Ḃḃ Ċċ Ḋḋ Ḟḟ Ġġ Ṁṁ Ṗṗ Ṡṡ Ṫṫ may be transcribed as Bhbh Chch Dhdh Fhfh Ghgh Mhmh Phph Shsh Thth.

Image: Wikipedia
Tironian symbol ⁊
The Tironian symbol ⟨⁊⟩, which signifies the word et in Latin; ocus/agus in Irish, (‘and’ in English), is a remnant of a shorthand system, the notae Tironianae or Tironian notes, believed to have been developed by Marcus Tullius Tiro (died c. 4 BC).  Tiro was the confidential secretary, literary adviser, and former slave of Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC), the Roman philosopher, lawyer, statesman who was renowned for his prose style. Tiro was freed by Cicero in 53 BC and following the philosopher’s death, Tiro published some of the Cicero’s speeches and letters, in addition to writing a biography. Medieval monastic scribes used many abbreviations, including Tironian notes. The Tironian symbol ⁊ survived in use in Latin and Irish language manuscripts to represent et and ocus/agus respectively and eventually became an essential element of the Gaelic typeface. The Tironian symbol ⁊ may be transcribed as ‘agus’ for the purposes of cataloguing.

Early logo of the Irish Department of Posts and Telegraphs/ An Roinn Puist agus Telegrafa,  Image: Wikipedia
Image by Richard Mcall from Pixabay
Adding scholarly notes – identification of stylistic variants etc.
Clóliosta, Printing in the Irish language, 1571–1871: An attempt at narrative bibliography, by Richard Sharpe and Mícheál Hoyne (soon to be published by the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies), is  a catalogue of printing in Irish from the beginning until 1871 which aims to document “the title and imprint of every item entered, a concise material description, identification of the Irish type used where relevant, the printer and place of printing, and references to appropriate bibliographical repertories”(dias.ie/cloliosta).

On  5 March 2019, Professor Richard Sharpe (Professor of Diplomatic at the University of Oxford), delivered the keynote address to  the Library Association of Ireland Cataloguing and Metadata Group Annual General Meeting during which he presented an overview of the Clóliosta catalogue project and where he requested the assistance of cataloguers and librarians in order to alert the editors to the existence of little-known or obscure copies and editions.

Professor Richard Sharpe addressing the LAICMG AGM in the National Library of Ireland, 5th March 2019. Photo: Yvette Campbell
Copies of the draft Clóliosta were made available to curators in libraries with relevant Irish holdings and the latest draft is now available as a PDF for download from the website of the DIAS here. The level of detail provided in the Clóliosta renders it an invaluable resource to cataloguers of Irish language publications who wish to add scholarly notes to records, including identification of typefaces and printing houses, and to those researchers interested in the book history and the history of print culture in the Irish language.

The sad news last week of the untimely death of Professor Richard Sharpe, renowned scholar, bibliographer, and supporter of libraries, came as a great shock to many in the library world. 

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

Further reading
  • O'Neill, Timothy, The Irish hand : scribes and their manuscripts from the earliest times, Cork University Press in association with the Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre, Dublin, 2014 (new edition). 
  • McGuinne, Dermot, Irish Type Design:  A History of Printing Types in the Irish Character, Irish Academic Press, 1992
  • Hoyne, Mícheál; Sharpe, Richard, (eds.), Clóliosta , https://www.dias.ie/celt/celt-publications-2/cloliosta/ [Accessed 31 March, 2020].
Patricia Moloney is a librarian in the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick, where she is cataloguer of the Dónal Ó Súilleabháin Collection in the Special Collections and Archives Department. She is the current Secretary of the Library Association of Ireland Cataloguing and Metadata Group.

30 Mar 2020

Experiences of an Irish University Library: My internship at Maynooth University

Guest post by Theres Rudolph, University of Applied Sciences Leipzig

Photo courtesy of the author

I study in Leipzig in Western Saxony. That’s in Eastern Germany between Berlin and Munich. When I finished secondary school, I worked as a volunteer in a children’s library for one year.  I really liked that and decided a library career was for me.

Now I am a student at the University of Applied Sciences Leipzig.  I’m doing an undergraduate course in Library & Information Science.  The course is 3.5 years in duration and six months of that is an internship. This can be done either in Germany or abroad. I liked the idea of travelling and experiencing the library world outside of Germany. I’ve travelled to the UK and Finland with school and I’ve been in some other countries for holidays.

I sent off my CV to three libraries in English speaking countries.  I was delighted when I received an answer from Maynooth University Library in Ireland. I picked it because it seemed to be an international University, it has  great architecture and is in a good distance from Dublin (it’s not too far and not too close).
Photo courtesy of the author
I didn’t know much about Ireland before I came.  I had heard about the Troubles and knew that Ireland is an independent member of the EU. I was aware that some people speak Gaelic and that the landscape is very green. When I got accepted to do the internship in Maynooth University Library, I applied for ERASMUS+ funding. It was relatively straightforward, with both myself and the Deputy Librarian at Maynooth filling out necessary paperwork. 
With funding secured, I began to organise my trip.  I had to pay for my flight to Ireland and I arranged my own accommodation, identifying two host families (I stayed with each of them for three months) in Lucan and Leixlip, which meant an easy commute to Maynooth. 
My internship began in October 2019.   Everybody was welcoming, kind, and involved me from the first day. I mainly worked in the DPIS Department – Digital Programmes and Information Systems – especially with the institutional repository MURAL.  My work involved identifying publications by Maynooth staff online and checking the publisher’s Open Access policy (OA). If appropriate to deposit I then added metadata. As part of the team, I also created DOIs for an open access journal published at Maynooth University, The Journal of Mediation and Applied Conflict Analysis,  which is part of the library’s open publishing initiatives.

Another big part of my work in the Library was with the General Collections and Finance section, dealing specifically with electronic resources.  This was  mostly checking and updating data and replacing outdated URLs.
Photo courtesy of the author
If you’re wondering: yes, I had to do with “real” books too: the General Collections Department asked me to process books, check offered donations, and list incoming donated material.
One of my favourite parts of my daily schedule was shelving. It isn’t easy to focus on the Dewey numbers, which are quite long, when shelving for a few hours, but I still enjoyed being on the library floor and helping library users find books.  When my time shelving was reduced to one hour per day, I had more time for getting insights into different departments and attending events.
I was fortunate to be able to attend lectures on the MA in Historical Archives on Friday mornings. The Library delivers about 50% of this programme which is offered by the History department.  
I got insights into every part of the library from a variety of activity - working at the information desk for a few hours, taking part in LIST (Library Information Skills Training) sessions, diversity training and other workshops within the library, attending library events such as the Ken Saro-Wiwa Seminar,  even a discussion about climate change,  – I had the chance to attend them all.
The work experience didn’t stop at the library gates: I travelled with colleagues to CONUL training events in Cork and Belfast, and to the Digital Data Curation Conference in Dublin. I spent an afternoon at the OPW/MU Archive in Castletown House, and also viewed exhibitions and libraries in Dublin. I even had the chance to do a “job swop” with the local community library, which was exciting and totally different from my daily work in the academic library.

This was all valuable experiences. I learned about the range of events libraries can offer, and things to consider when organising an event. The training sessions and workshops I attended gave me first-hand insight of the everyday work of a librarian and the issues and concerns they deal with.
Photo courtesy of the author
 Life is not all about work, is it? I had a great time exploring Ireland: from Cavan to Cork, from Howth to the Cliffs of Moher – I enjoyed every trip I did. The country has beautiful walking trails and I will come back to see more of it. It was great to meet the friendly and welcoming people, both hosts and other guests. The University offers free Irish classes too, so I tried to learn a bit of the language, but I am still struggling with the pronunciation.

The ERASMUS+ was a great experience. You explore the country and the people in a totally different way than on a holiday trip. Most people taking part in the ERASMUS experience say that they have grown more independent, open hearted and skilled in the language.
My advice is: even if you might be afraid of going abroad because of language difficulties or the long distance from home – go for it. You can attend a language course in preparation (run by ERASMUS), and as you will be using the language of the host country, you will improve your language skills without noticing.

Ireland is as safe as a country can be and Irish people are great hosts and lovely friends. You might have to plan to spend a bit more money on groceries and accommodation than you are used to, but ERASMUS+ funding is quite good.
Maynooth University Library isn’t too different from University Libraries in Germany. There is more student engagement than I was used to, but the number of events and opening hours are similar. The internship strengthened my wish to work in an academic library in future, maybe even in the digital department/Repository/Research Data area.
I certainly hope to return some day. 
Photo courtesy of the author

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2020 | Categories: ,

3 Mar 2020

Open Access eXchange (OAeX): an economic model and platform for fundraising open scholarship services

This article describes the Open Access eXchange (OAeX) project, a pragmatic and comprehensive economic model and fundraising platform for open scholarship initiatives. OAeX connects bidders with funders at scale and right across the open scholarship spectrum through crowdfunding: financial expenditure is regulated by a market of freely competing providers and financial transactions and transparency are assured by a clearing-house entity. Specifically, OAeX seeks to facilitate open access publishing without the barrier of article processing charges (APCs), as well as contribute to solving challenges of transparency and economic sustainability in open scholarship projects in the broader sense.

Read the full piece at http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.500

10 Feb 2020

Announcing - CONUL Conference Bursaries

Guest post by the CONUL Conference Team

We are delighted to announce that there will be two bursaries to attend CONUL Conference 2020: a LIS Student bursary, sponsored by Cambridge University Press; and a recent LIS Graduate bursary, sponsored by Annual Reviews. The conference, with the theme ‘Imagining The Future and How We Get There’ provides an exciting opportunity for those beginning LIS careers to attend an internationally regarded conference, with ample provision to attend sessions, network with delegates, and learn about key issues facing research libraries.

Two bursaries in total are available, one for each eligible category of applicant:

  1. LIS students currently studying a LAI accredited course
  2. LIS graduates who have graduated from a LAI accredited course within the last 5 years
LAI Accredited courses can be found here and here.

CONUL 2020 bursaries will cover:
  • Full CONUL 2020 registration - entrance to conference sessions and sponsor exhibitions, lunch and refreshments, drinks reception and conference dinner on Wednesday 27 May
  • One night’s accommodation on Wednesday 27 May, with breakfast the following morning
  • Public Transport costs from within Ireland to and from Limerick
  • Appointment of a mentor
To apply please email Michaela Hollywood (Michaela.hollywood@dcu.ie) with a letter of expression of interest (maximum 500 words) that includes:
  • An outline of why you would like to attend CONUL 2020
  • Your anticipated learning outcomes, and why you would benefit from attending
  • Confirmation of your agreement to submit a report of the event to the Libfocus library blog within 4 weeks of attending the event, which may be published on both the Libfocus and CONUL websites (mandatory)
Successful applicants will be notified via email by Monday 27 March 2020

In addition to attending conference sessions successful applicants will be required to:
  • Submit a report on the conference within 4 weeks of the event for potential publication on the Libfocus library blog and CONUL website
  • Be present at the conference venue in Limerick for the full conference programme

*Closing date for applications is 17:00 on Wednesday 24 February 2020*