Any views expressed within media held on this service are those of the contributors, should not be taken as approved or endorsed by the University, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University in respect of any particular issue.

Who Taught Her That? NLS Project Blog

Who Taught Her That? NLS Project Blog

This blog tracks my progress and challenges through my work on the National Library of Scotland's project 'Behind Glass? Digital Literature, Artefact and the Language of Display' in conjunction with the Edinburgh College of Art's Masters by Research in Collections and Curating Practices programme at the University of Edinburgh.

1.1 Self Appraisal

(1) Identify your key responsibilities and list the main areas of work you have been involved in. Briefly highlight the skills and competencies that are relevant to this project/work area.

At the onset of this project it was my job to be the communicator with all contacts aside from Sheena.  We chose to do this on the advice of Shona Thomson, who recommended it as a way to maintain clarity.  However, as we moved into Semester 2 the volume of communications grew exponentially, and each of us took on communicating with our own relevant contacts.  This required the ability to remember the new contacts we were making weekly at the Library, and to gather and distill information back and forth for my group. It also required the ability to know when to redistribute this work load to avoid oversaturation.

I was responsible for coordinating the Conversation Corner, a role which consisted of identification of and communication with suitable and diverse participants, and scheduling and drawing-up of contracts.  This required the ability to juggle multiple conversations surrounding the same subject-matter at once, and the ability to track followthrough of the confirmation process with each participant (bios, contracts, payment information, etc.).

I also took on content-creation and design, owing to my previous experience in graphic design and with exhibition technology.  I created the Traquair interactive programme, recorded and edited the Suffragette speech, designed all our marketing materials, and designed our Octanorm and banners, as well as facilitated the printing of those. This relied mainly on prior knowledge of programmes and print-standards, but also required the ability to both create a visual exhibition theme as well as follow NLS brand guidelines, and good time management for our multiple close-proximity deadlines.

I also took on the role of “fire-fighter,” in a major incident with our set-up that arose a week before our opening, which is explained in full in entry 1.5.6.  This necessitated communication with many different companies at once to identify solutions and evaluate their viability within our budget, the ability to focus all of my attention on this while maintaining calm and effective communication with all involved parties, and the ability to envision multiple outcomes and subsequent future-options to maintain momentum as outcomes were deemed impossible.

Near the end I felt I may have taken on too much, and could have delegated more, but once I volunteer to do something I am notoriously bad at giving it up, even for my own good.

(2)  Looking ahead, list your key objectives for the GRP. 3-7 SMART  (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed) objectives should be noted with realistic timescales and focused outcomes.

I wanted to write this from the post-show perspective in order to capture the full scope of the experience.  As such, I will reflect on my goals for each semester, and for the future post-exhibition.

Goal 1 – Semester 1:

S- My goal for Semester 1 is to urge my group to seek creative solutions for digital display in our exhibition.

M- This will be measurable by the number and variety of digital elements our exhibition plan includes.

A- I believe this to be achievable, however, it will be tied to the equipment available to us.

R- Digital experimentation is a main component of the NLS’s brief.

T- Our plans for this will need to be solidified for delivery at our Group Pitch on November 5th.

Status: Achieved – we had 7 different digital components to our exhibition, none of the same format.


Goal 2 – Semester 2:

S- My goal is for us to heavily promote our exhibition using digital and print marketing in order to attract larger-than-expected amounts of visitors.

M- This goal will be measurable through our visitor numbers each day. I would like to draw at least 75 visitors each day.

A- I believe this goal to be achievable, however, it is dependent on visitor interest.

R- This will increase both our audience, as well as create a larger pool of participants from which to garner feedback for the Library.

T- We must distribute and post our promotional materials between the dates (chosen with the Library’s marketing team) of February 18th to our opening on March 6th.

Status: Achieved – we had 349 visitors over 3 days.


Goal 3 – Future Goals

S- My goal is to maintain the connections I have made through this project and this programme for mutual benefit in the future.

M- This goal will be measurable through my own feelings of security and affinity with my network and by future opportunities that arise from this.

A- I believe this to be achievable through staying in touch via email, social networking (LinkedIn), and Library visits.

R- This goal is relevant to the GRP, as I see the second largest benefit of the GRP behind practical experience to be networking within the sector.

T- This is an open-ended goal.


(3) Discursive self-reflection – Use this section to, 1) reflect upon the progress of the project to date (both as a whole and with regards to your own specific area/role). 2) Critically reflect upon your experience working with the group.  Here you may consider your contribution so far, the value of your specific strengths and expertise, the effectiveness of group communications and your performance in group meetings.  Looking ahead, how might the group enhance its performance?

I am exceedingly grateful for the dynamics of our team.  Within the seminar on Team Roles, we discovered that we covered all 12 between us, with myself being a Resource Investigator and a Shaper.

In our formative version of this entry back in October, I said  “we all have very different ideas and areas of expertise to contribute, … and generally our discussions have been very good and productive.  I’d would, however, like to see us go further into defining our parameters rather than just saying “we should think about this,” when challenges come up.”  This did work itself out as we increased our comfort levels with eachother. Despite being a team of mostly opinionated personalities, we ultimately respected eachothers’ abilities and intentions, and developed a healthy grasp of when to pick our battles.  When things got overwhelming, we covered eachother’s bases without any feeling of blame, only support and encouragement.  I found that the spirit of our show (women helping women) permeated the entire process, and – at the risk of sounding a bit cheesy – I found it very empowering.

I did write in my initial self-appraisal that I felt I had maybe been a bit overbearing in our process of picking the theme, and worked to avoid that for the rest of the process.

What sticks out most in my mind in terms of my part in the group dynamic is the Octanorm incident.  In our CV and Interview session with Gina Black, Amy remarked that she was so impressed with how calmly, respectfully, and rationally I handled this episode, and how I took ownership of it and used my networking abilities to their full extent.  While from the inside this seemed to me like a separatist episode with little group dynamic, Amy made me realise that having someone in group situations willing and able to “fire-fight,” and take full ownership of resolving urgent issues, is an important part of group dynamic.


Entry Wordcount (exclusive of prompts): 1080

Running Total Wordcount: 5641

Leave a reply


Report this page

To report inappropriate content on this page, please use the form below. Upon receiving your report, we will be in touch as per the Take Down Policy of the service.

Please note that personal data collected through this form is used and stored for the purposes of processing this report and communication with you.

If you are unable to report a concern about content via this form please contact the Service Owner.

Please enter an email address you wish to be contacted on. Please describe the unacceptable content in sufficient detail to allow us to locate it, and why you consider it to be unacceptable.
By submitting this report, you accept that it is accurate and that fraudulent or nuisance complaints may result in action by the University.