My MSc dissertation visualised

Wordle made this summary – it is such a cool app, go and have a play with it! You can paste in any amount of text (some people have done whole books) or give it a del.icio.us URL and it’ll analyse the tags.

So what’s this Wordle cloud about? As part of my library qualification I wrote a dissertation about… well… you can get quite a decent idea of it from this visualisation! It looked at the possibility of using distributed classification (i.e. tagging) to describe the affective (mood and emotion) content of pop music. For it to be a feasible method I felt it had to have a degree of consistency, hence that word’s size in the summary. To massively over-simplify, I found that there was a degree of consistency: enough to merit further work.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet disseminated these results widely because my supervisor was keen for me to edit the dissertation into a journal article and get published ‘properly’ (under my own name – she wasn’t pushing me for the sake of her own RAE score!). Unfortunately I am not very motivated to do this (I have no ambitions of a academic career) with the result that I’ve been sitting on it for the best part of two years. Perhaps I should just release the PDF onto the web and let the fruits of my endeavours roam free…

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Wish they’d called a librarian #1

Raj Persaud by Maggie Hannan - Creative Commons licenced

The celebrity psychiatrist Raj Persaud was suspended from practising for three months today for passing off other scholars’ work as his own. […] The psychiatrist claimed he was in a confused mental state at the time due to the stress he was under to meet publishing deadlines.

(GMC suspends Raj Persaud for plagiarism, David Batty and agencies for guardian.co.uk, Friday June 20 2008)

If only he’d called a librarian. If he’d done so early on, they could’ve given him tips about how to keep track of his references, whether using old-school methods (e.g. index cards) or super-duper Web 2.0 citation sharing (e.g. CiteULike). They could’ve also reminded him of the researcher’s golden rule: if you’re copy-and-pasting something, always put it in quotation marks. Ok, later on you might have a nightmare finding out where the quote came from, but at least you’ll remember not to pass it off as your own writing!

Even at the last minute a librarian might have been able to save the day by finding out where those obscure quotes came from and filling in the gaps in his bibliography. I’ve done this myself to help out anxious authors who forgot to write down the place of publication of a book so obscure Amazon doesn’t stock it (!), or, on one memorable occasion, which page in that three-volume monster history epic their two-line quote came from. It’s a bit of a pain tidying up after someone else’s disorganisation, but I much preferred doing the legwork to contemplating the idea the author might turn in their monograph with plagiarised content!

So, Raj, if you’re reading, why not spend some of that three-month enforced holiday getting to know your university’s librarians?

An introduction

Welcome to my blog! I’m Edith, and I used to blog over at Eduspaces while studying to become a librarian. However I wanted a new place to write at and play with, so here we go! You can read more about me and the blog at the about page, but to summarise I’m hoping to focus on the following:

  • Why Librarians Matter – I always seem to be telling my husband how such-and-such news story would never have happened if a librarian/information professional had been involved. Now I can tell the world!
  • Library geekery – I’ve only worked in library systems for eight months so I’m very much a library geek in training, but I’m keen to make library services and resources relevant and useful to library users. Stuff like improving what we’ve already got as well as exploring new services and grasping the nebulous Library 2.0.
  • Music and music librarianship – I work in a music conservatoire and I have a bachelors degree in Music, so music’s definitely something I’m interested in. Even my library qualification dissertation was on the subject of music classification, so I hope to write about interesting developments in the field of music librarianship.

I think that’s enough of an intro for now – enjoy the blog and do get in touch if you’ve got any views or information to share!