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Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

Beginning the MA

September 27th, 2008

This week I started my MA Librarianship at Sheffield. I’m one step closer to becoming a ‘real’ librarian! I’m still very much working out the practicalities: it’s my first step into the commute from Nottingham, I’ve just registered and received my student card, and I’ve already got a place for a conference to apply for, and a trial essay to write! It was nice to meet my coursemates and everyone seems nice, so I’m fairly happy with how things look so far. I’ll doubtless update more with first impressions of the course proper when it starts.

Never content with doing one thing at a time, this has also been my last week for finishing my PhD… or at least I really hope it is! I’ve corrected and reprinted, and I’m not in Sheffield again until Monday afternoon, so the plan is to get it all bound and submitted on Monday morning, and then concentrate on the MA. I’m nervous about it, and really hoping it’s what the external was looking for when she asked for the corrections. Fingers crossed!

My PhD

January 30th, 2008

So, after quite a long time out from my PhD, or at least with it sitting on the back burner, it’s actually getting to the stage where I need to put a large amount of my attention back onto it. I had my viva towards the end of October 2007, and, what with applying for library school, Christmas, and a brand new job and town there’s always been something else fighting for my attention. Of course, there are still things fighting for my attention now, but my goal is to finish my rewrites and resubmit by the summer, so I need to start.

My viva wasn’t bad as an experience, but the outcome wasn’t great, in that I’ve been given major corrections. The PhD viva (or defense, as it’s known in the US) has a number of different possible outcomes in the UK. The best known are (i) an outright pass, which is fairly rare, (ii) minor corrections, which require about 3 months to fix, (iii) major corrections, which require about a year to fix, (iv) fail. There’s a number of different variations and additional categories, depending on where you study.

My outcome was major corrections, which, before the viva, I’d described as ‘the worst possible outcome’ only because if you fail, at least you get to stop. I still find it pretty depressing that I got this outcome although I count my blessings regularly: I don’t have too significant a rewrite of the whole thing to do, they’re not that ‘major’ for major corrections, I don’t have to retake the viva. Still, minor corrections are the most common outcome, and when your peers all get minor corrections, it makes it tempting to look on the grey side. What is more, no one talks about major corrections. You’re really supposed, I think, to keep your head down, make the corrections, pass and then never speak of them again. They are a secret PhD shame. At least if you fail you can make all kinds of rude allegations about your examiners, rather than feeling like they wanted you to pass, and are trying to help you do it. Consider this post an attempt to make sure anyone else looking for fellow sufferers by search engine knows they’re not the only one. Back to the thesis, then…