Guest post – Jared discusses online music

Today’s guest post is from my professional partner, Jared Wiercinski, Digital Services / Outreach Librarian and Music & Contemporary Dance Librarian at Concordia University. Thanks, Jared!

Graham and I met through the Professional Partnering Program which is organized by the Canadian Library Association McGill Student Chapter. It’s been a great experience so far. I got to gulp down a really tasty radioactive sugar drink at the kick-off event, and Graham has been continually handing over secret documents from McGill (obtained through his work with the library administration there). So far, so good.

Graham was kind enough to invite me to write a guest blog post on anything I wanted to write about. At first I struggled with the idea, not knowing what to write about. Writer’s block, I believe it’s called. But then it dawned on me – why not write about online music?

Concordia has a really interesting Music Department that includes jazz, classical, popular and (my personal fav) electroacoustic music. Probably the most interesting  project for me so far has been looking at different ways to make sound recordings available online. For the most part things are pretty old school here. As far as course reserves go professors typically bring in compact discs to the library and then students come in and borrow them (or not). Truth be told it’s pretty hard to motivate yourself to come to the library to listen to CDs with so many other alternatives: iTunes, peer-to-peer file sharing sites, MySpace, YouTube, last.fm, et cetera. Especially during this holy season known as winter.

So I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make music available through our website. The set-up I’m currently using involves a Flash Player embedded in a web page that plays the mp3 files off of our server. The web page is hidden behind our WAM software, which means that only students who are registered in the course can listen to the music. This pilot project is in the early stages but seems to be going well. So far I’ve set up online audio files for two courses: “The Music of the Beatles” and “Rock and Roll and Its Roots”, both taught by Craig Morrison.  Needless to say it’s been a labour of love.

So yeah. That’s all I’ve got to say. Drop me a line at jared.wiercinski@concordia.ca if you’re interested in or working on this type of thing as well. I’d love to hear from you. Cheers!

Professional partnering continues

This week I spent some time with my partner from the McGill CLA Student Chapter Professional Partnering Program, Jared. He showed me around the Concordia libraries, where he works, and then we sat down and he told me a bit more about what he does. Since I’m interested in academic libraries, this was a great experience for me, especially since I’d never been to the Concordia libraries before.

I met him at the downtown library – his office is at the Loyola campus, but he comes downtown quite often for meetings. He showed me the collections and services available to students, but what interested me the most was meeting some of his colleagues. We had a great chat with one of his fellow librarians about information literacy programs in academic libraries, which really captured my attention because I’m taking an info lit class this semester and I hope to be involved in that area one day. We also bumped into Olivier Charbonneau, a Concordia librarian who is an expert in copyright law. I told him how much I’d enjoyed his talk at McGill last week, and Jared had a question for him about whether he could legally use an excerpt from a recent translation of an old play.

Then we took the shuttle bus to the Loyola campus, which is located in the much quieter Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood of Montreal. Here Jared introduced me to some more librarians, and I was amused to discover that they’d seen my name before: Jared had been passing around my business card because he liked the way I’d designed it at Moo.com. We sat down in his office, and he showed me his list of responsibilities for the year. It looks like Concordia is going to be keeping him busy! Besides spending a certain number of hours each week doing reference (including some chat reference), he has a number of projects working on digital services and outreach, and he’s on a whole bunch of different committees. I never doubted that academic librarians work hard, but this really confirmed it.

Overall, it was an eye-opening experience, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with Jared again.

Professional Partnering followup

This post is going up a bit late because I spent most of reading week in New York City (visiting, among other attractions, the gorgeous New York Public Library) and then had to scramble to catch up on assignments. At any rate, I’m pleased to announce that the Professional Partnering kick-off was a great success! Everyone I spoke to was having a terrific time and the food was delicious.

My partner is Jared Wiercinski, Digital Services / Outreach Librarian and Music & Contemporary Dance Librarian at Concordia University. Although I have no academic interest in music or dance (I do, of course, enjoy both in my spare time), his work with library technology is right up my alley. He’s offered to show me around the Concordia campuses and let me see what exactly he does, so stay tuned when that happens, a couple of weeks from now. Did I mention that he’s also a really nice guy? For more about Jared, check out his research guides for music and dance.