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Had a wonderful morning in Glasgow University Library with the Advanced Higher English pupils and the Principal Teacher of English, EM.

Glasgow University provides Advanced Higher students with reference access to their collections, and this year, we finally managed to actually find time to organise the trip, without something else getting in the way. EM and I are both Glasgow alumni, and were delighted about going back to see the old place.

But before heading off into the west, we had some explaining to do because there are one or two differences between our wee school library and a major academic library with 2.8 million books and journals. And it’s not just numbers: the style of books are completely different to what our pupils are used to. We explained the differences between academic monographs, collections of essays, journals and conference proceedings and how they could be used.

Then we moved onto to the classification and cataloguing system, and what each element of the classification number meant. As visitors to the Library, we were not allowed access to the computer system, which unfortunately meant the abstracts and online journals were unavailable to us so we had to identify materials in other ways. Fortunately, the Library’s catalogue includes records of journal articles, which provided vital assistance.

Other issues arose as they searched the catalogue for themselves. Naturally they’re used to searching the internet, but finding information for a comparative analysis of the woman’s voice in Rebecca and Wuthering Heights or the role of the psychopath in Notes on a Scandal  is not a common occurrence.

I don’t get why this book has come up. I asked for Frankenstein and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with it.

I was looking up ‘evil in literature’ but the catalogue says it’s under Theology

I can’t find anything.

There are too many to choose from.

It says the book is due back in October. How am I supposed to get it.

Why are all those books at the same number but this one isn’t?

… and so on. It was wonderful to see them all so engrossed in searching for their requirements and picking up advanced search skills along the way. and of course, I was having to rapidly update along with them or preferably a few seconds ahead!

So now, we were ready to hit the shelves.

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