Interview with Edith Speller

Today we’re chatting to Edith Speller, from Trinity College of Music, London…

Edith at DOK

Edith, can you tell us a little bit about your job at the Trinity College of Music (TCM)?

My official job title at TCM’s Jerwood Library is Librarian (Systems and User Education) – as we’re a relatively small library we do a lot of multi-tasking! My main responsibilities lie in nannying our library management system (SirsiDynix Unicorn), writing and co-ordinating research skills training for students and staff, and marketing the library on and offline. It’s a pretty good mixture of tasks and has given me the opportunity to mess around with web 2.0 stuff.

What’s new and cool at your library?

We’ve got a fairly established Facebook page which is over a year old now and creeping towards the 100-fan mark.

We’ve also started using delicious.com for our list of recommended web resources – the tags allow for multiple categorisation and we’ve linked to each faculty’s tag on our website.

Can you remember where and when you first used a web browser?

Aberdeen Uni in May 1998 when I was on work experience with my brother-in-law who worked for the computing department. A time when Netscape ruled, Altavista was the best search engine and I spent too long indulging my teenage interest in astrology!

Do you think libraries and librarians should adopt a cautious approach to new technologies, or should they be rolling up their sleeves and embracing it fully?

Unsurprisingly my view’s somewhere between those extremes! I feel the library profession suffered the typical fate of early adopters – we innovated when computers and network connections were bleeding edge but tied ourselves into technologies (I’m thinking Dialog, ye olde catalogues, dare I say MARC?) which soon became outmoded by later developments. So, I think we need to experiment, innovate and not fear the occasional failure, while trying to avoid putting all our eggs in one basket.

I think the term “mash-up” originated with remixing & blending music
— have there been any classical music mash-ups yet?

AFAIK classical music tends to go for quotation rather than mashing-up though who knows what my colleagues in the composition faculty are up to 🙂 However TCM recently did a combined music/dance event with its sister college Laban, which felt like a mash-up of the colleges’ work – my husband and I took some unofficial photos.

Are you currently using any mash-ups at your library?

Not really – the closest I’ve got is using a Yahoo Pipe to filter an RSS feed for our Facebook page. I’m currently focusing on making our OPAC more interesting and user-friendly – perhaps mash-ups will have a part to play!

Have you got a favourite mash-up?

“Mash it up Harry” by Ian Dury and the Blockheads – sorry, not actually a mash-up but it’s what I usually think of when someone says “mash-up”!

More seriously, last.fm and Spotify are two of the most interesting things in the Web 2.0 music world, so I like this little mash-up which looks at your last.fm profile and lists new additions to Spotify that you’ll like. On the classical side, I’ve just seen this experimental Dipity mashup based on BRAHMS data (a French contemporary composer database) which lets you see a map and timeline of composers with links to their profiles on the database – just a taste of things to come apparently!

Got a favourite beverage?

Kriek (Belgian cherry beer) or a decent cider go down a treat. And of course I’ll never turn down a cup of tea 🙂


Edith blogs at Multi-faceted and is @wiilassie on Twitter.

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~ by Dave Pattern on 17/June/2009.

One Response to “Interview with Edith Speller”

  1. […] As part of the build-up Dave’s been carrying out blog chats with various attendees, and today was my turn (hence my hasty blog […]

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