Out and About


Looks like this week I’ll be out of the house on no fewer than 3 days.  It’s the usual lecture and seminar, plus at the last minute I’ve bagged a place on a conference tomorrow entitled Working with Paradata, Marginalia and Fieldnotes.  As it’s at the University of Leicester I’ll be able to pop in to this quite easily.  Should be interesting, especially as I’m all about the fieldwork analysis at the moment.  Well I will be once I finish reading this ILL book I have which is a bit tough to get into, but does have some interesting bits in it.  Reading it mostly just to stretch my mind further, so fingers cross it works.


Leicester conference centre
Leicester conference centre

Day out at the aforementioned conference. Very productive!  Also ran into some old library colleagues, which was lovely as I hardly ever see anyone from there any more.


Spent some time writing up the notes from yesterday’s conference.  Attended the weekly media lecture, this week on the rise of the modern press.  Somewhat annoyed by how loudly and constantly the undergraduates were talking throughout this session.  If you want to chat, kindly vacate the room folks and let those of us who want to listen, listen!  The rest of the day spent reading and preparing for tomorrow’s seminar.


A spot of reading, and a spot of seminaring. This week the topic was the impact of the press (media) on enabling the flowering of liberal democracies in the western world.  I confess it wasn’t the most exciting of group work for the students (read two papers…and discuss) but I did my best to try and make it a bit more engaging for them.  Clearly either I failed them or the content baffled them, as they were quieter than ever.  I even found myself employing the painful silence technique in order to get them to speak – but it didn’t bring much joy.  Even those who did say a bit more at the start of the year, are now getting a whole lot quieter.  *sigh*

I think in particular it’s a shame this topic didn’t grab them, as it ties directly into stuff later in the term on the Internet, Web 2.0, social media and citizen journalism; and asks the question: are these are enabling the reflowering of Habermas’ social sphere?  I think the answer is largely yes.  Perhaps though they’ll shock me next week and be more engaged with the topic of public service broadcasting.


For one, back home all day – and finally time and inclination to finish the book.  Really knuckled down and forced myself to struggle through it, and after a while I realised I was really enjoying it.  Good book to read, and even better quite a few of the references and authors are things I’ve already read, rather than completely new.

Whole lot of new extra words for my glossary though.

Exciting news during the day, as I’ve been asked to take over another seminar group for a member of staff on study leave. This is good news as I could a) do with the cash and b) do with more experience.  Looks like it’ll be on a Thursday as well as my current session, so I won’t really lose much additional time – and I can obviously reuse the same seminar material, so there’s no additional preparation time.   Despite some seminars not being a lot of laughs, I do really enjoy the teaching side of things – and even more so, teaching things that aren’t tedious “library skills”.

Monday (2)

My desk today
My desk today

Well, as I forgot to post this last week – let’s make this a double value post!  Today I spent over 6hrs sitting in the Clifton library reading through all my interview transcripts.  Fun.  At least it was sunny outside.  Or it was when I started, but the end of my time there it was pitch black outside.  Printed off all the transcripts in one big fat file – all 212 pages of them before I went home.  Think the undergrads would have been grateful I didn’t dominate the printer earlier in the day!

Tuesday (2)

Today…I re-read the transcripts.  A bit slower this time as I was making more scribbled notes on the side and even assigning a few proto tags on the master print off.  Of course not helped by discovering that somehow I’d missed off 35 odd interviews from the master file print yesterday – but no matter, I have hard copy back ups and I’ll just run them off tomorrow when I’m on campus again.

Depressingly familiar sight
Depressingly familiar sight

For the record there are 204,072 words on 347 pages in the merged master transcript file.  Just give you an idea of how much data I’m dealing with (and yes, every bit of it hand typed by yours truly).  Ouch.  On the other hand though I am beginning to have some deeper thoughts about things I’m seeing in the data.  Mostly questions, but I’m hoping these will develop once I get to the third read through at the end of the week – once the lecture and seminar are over for the week.

Keep wondering if I should be exploring if campus has any analysis software (like NVivo) to use for this content analysis work.  On one hand doing it all by hand means I really am in the data, on the other I do get slightly uneasy about lack of backups.  Found myself photographing my scribbling thoughts again today – just in case there’s an incident and I lose them!  So they’re now squirreled away on Dropbox as a sort of backup.  Not sure what to do if my head crashes (and considering the whack I managed to give it going up into the attic earlier to find a ring-binder, it currently feels like that might be a thing!)

Wednesday (2)

Campus day, and early as I wanted to print off the remaining 140 pages of my interview transcripts.  That done I made the pleasant surprise that they’ve upgraded the PCs in the Graduate room in the library (all 8 of them, it’s not that many – but at least the filthy undergrads don’t come in here). Always baffles me a bit that this room is only ever half occupied at best, and this morning only me here – there’s no lock on the door, so always surprised the lower orders don’t take it over.  Kinda glad they don’t.

No sign of NVivo on the campus network, so just as well I wasn’t relying on it being here!  Maybe I should ask IT if they have it?

This is the BBC Home service...
This is the BBC Home service…

Lecture today on public service broadcasting and then off to a CRDC meeting.  I was supposed to get out of this one, and let me deputy rep attend for the experience but she’s not able to make it.  Not a problem, as I’d pretty much assumed I’d have to be there as I’d not heard from her (until first thing today).  Thankfully the meeting was very short and fairly uneventful, aside from hearing that there is now definitely no PRP block teaching for the second module; which would have been the last bit of interest I would have had in it.  And since that’s gone I think I can wave goodbye to the programme for good and just pick up workshops locally and externally that are directly relevant to me (like last week’s session at Leicester).

Came home and did the background reading for the seminar, and then wrote my version of the session.

Thursday (2)

A morning at home to do more reading through the transcripts, and then in to run the public service broadcasting seminar.  This week I had the students reading an eight page article on the BBC and governmental interference and writing summaries.  Sounds easy?  Well it wasn’t that readable an extract, and while rich in information quite a few of them were clearly struggling to do it in the allotted time.  Can’t say I blame them, as it wouldn’t have been my first choice for a thriller of a session. Hopefully in between the writing my bouncing around kept them entertained and maybe even slightly informed and educated.  Just like public service broadcasting should!

Many, many papery bastards...
Many, many papery bastards…

Came home and…yes, read transcripts.  Finished the second read through when a thought struck me.  One swift Google search later I discovered the average novel is 80k words long.  So essentially each read through of my interviews is like reading three novels.  No wonder it’s a bit tough on my grey cells.  I have noticed as a result I appear to have the voices of the repository managers, research office staff and librarians I spoke to floating around in my head 24hrs a day now.  Is this a good thing?  Does this mean the data is starting to form new and exciting shapes in my brain?  I wish I knew…

Interestingly Kornelia says NVivo is on the campus network and we can download it for home use if we ask.  Skeptical, but will mail and ask our ICT people tomorrow as they were very helpful with the MS Office suite.

Friday (2)

Not so much reading the transcripts today, as trying to see if I can bring some nascent order to my tags and classification.  Harder work than I thought it would be and haven’t made anything like the level of progress I expected today.  Guess there are always going to be days like this when it all feels like an uphill struggle.  Hopefully a weekend of distractions will take this all forward.  I can see I’ll be on campus all day Monday in order to refocus my mind a little, since I worked so well there last week.

Booked for an event down at the University of Sussex in early March, which is good – if a bit of a long drive.  As cheap to drive as it is to attend, and it gives me the excuse (not that I need one) to go visit my bff  on the way down.  Also finally booked for OER14.  As I’ve said before this isn’t cheap and £300 is a lot of money when you’re paying it out of your own pocket.  It had better be damn fine conference when all is said and done.  Better get on and book the train tickets next, to try and keep costs down further.

Do hope Mrs Llama find paid employment soon, as currently finances are somewhere between precarious and knife-edge 😦


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