Day in the Life – Tuesday

Tuesdays in my week are another very hectic day. A bit like yesterday I actually managed to make it into college a bit before my first lecture to get a head start on the day. I found a convenient computer cluster and printed a few bits I was going to need later in the day.

Tuesday mornings are mostly taken up by the Management module. First thing is an hour-long lecture which students on my course (Library and Information Studies) share with those on the Archives and Records Management programme. Today’s lecture was on Human Resources Management.

After the first hour the librarians and archivists divide off for more discussion-oriented sessions. These are always an interesting chance to hear more about the experiences of the other students on the course.

We then split into our small groups to work on the latest task for our imaginary libraries – writing a job description and person specification for one of the roles. We have been working on these libraries since last term – coming up with the concept, then working through various professional tasks which would needed in the real world. It’s been an enjoyable chance to do something creative, but also a good way to get useful experience of tasks such as managing a budget and allocating funds for resources.

Because most people in the group have work commitments, and may not even be in London most of the week, finding a time to discuss the project has proved to be a bit tricky! Today we decided to stay behind through the lunch break to make sure we are all happy with the latest edits we made on the shared google doc we have been working with.

Straight after the groupwork it was onto my next class: 3 hours of Manuscript Studies. Like the cataloguing class yesterday, this is a module I have been auditing. Getting used to reading all the old handwriting is extremely challenging, but I have loved getting to use Latin again (my previous degree was in Classics). My favourite bit of this class though is the final hour when we look at the history of manuscripts, particularly social and cultural developments.

After a very long couple of days I spent the evening catching up with some family who were in town.

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Day in the Life – Monday

I’m writing this post for the Hack Library School project Library Student Day in the Life. Hopefully it will provide a bit of insight into what life is like at UCL.

I’m a full-time student on the MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL. We are now well into the second teaching term, and almost half way through the course as a whole. In fact, we only have a few weeks of teaching left now and time has really flown.

This morning I had a 10 am lecture for our module Information Sources and Retrieval. I arrived into UCL a bit early and spent the time before the lecture in one of UCL’s computer clusters to sort out my emails and look at my schedule for the week ahead. Today’s session was about medical information sources. We looked at the healthcare information domain, and considered who might need access to information and the changes which have come about in recent years. I realised that ‘medical information’ is wide reaching, and not easy to define. We also looked at the different types of resources available, and where there might be intrinsic strengths and weaknesses. This session lasted 2 hours, and then we all decamped to a nearby computer cluster for a practical session to learn more about the database Medline, and specifically their free service Pubmed from a practising librarian working in neurology – a very helpful session!

After this I had lunch with friends on the course. My day technically could have finished there – I built up enough credits last term so that I don’t have to take any optional modules this term. But one of the great things about UCL is that students are able to audit additional modules, and I’d been given permission to sit in on the afternoon’s advanced cataloguing class.

The 3-hour cataloguing class was split into two halves. In the first half, a professional cataloguer shared her experience of setting up and managing a successful institutional repository. Before this I didn’t have a very extensive grasp of the metadata requirements of institutional repositories, or many of the challenges involved. We were also able to discuss issues surrounding management in cataloguing, and what different approaches might be taken. All in all it was a very interesting and helpful session. In the second half we looked at how to catalogue maps, a skill that might well come in useful at some point in the future!

My day didn’t end there as I then had an evening shift at my part-time job in a law library. Most of the students on the course do some kind of part-time work as well. I’ve certainly found it very useful to be able to apply some of the theoretical knowledge I’m building on the course in a practical way.

At the end of this rather busy day I got the bus back to my flat, feeling very glad that tomorrow morning’s lecture doesn’t start until 10!

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Life as a Library Student

I’m slightly ashamed to say that last time around this blog was neglected shortly after it began. Since September at least I have had a good excuse – I’ve been studying full-time for my MA in Library & Information Studies at UCL.

The first half of the year was definitely very busy. But now I feel like I finally have some time to think a bit more about the world beyond the course, and it might actually be time for my long-standing intention to blog to become a reality.

Another great motivator is that this week a project organised by Hack Library School is going on called Library Student Day in the Life. I’ll be blogging about what I’m getting up to as a student on the course at UCL.

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