Where to find the Eskimos

Well, the Eskimos live in the Arctic… but how do you find books and films about them in your library and online? Some librarian has to put the word in the right place for you so that it pops up when you look for it! This is the job of a cataloguer, and it is more difficult when the resources are older, perhaps obscure, not available online, or not even mentioned online.

The interdisciplinary course ‘Man: A Course of Study’ from the 60’s and 70’s is such material, exciting but laborious to file. If we wanted lots of people to give this programme, which once was all the rage in American schools, renewed attention, we had to develop an online presence for it: for the whole course and for every single item. (By the way, the creator, Professor Jerome S. Bruner, continues teaching at the age of 99.)

So we designed a LibGuide – and listed booklets and worksheets, photographs and film cartridges there as well as on the Library Catalogue. But how to describe them in detail?

First of all, we needed a reference to the whole scheme in each catalogue entry, so that you find it under ‘MACOS’ as well as ‘Man: A Course of Study’. Next, we inserted one for ‘Jerome S. Bruner’ (and ‘Bruner, Jerome S.’), the man who came up with the concept, although he did not produce all these things himself. Naturally, we also honoured our donor, ‘Mr. Barry D. Varley-Tipton’.


MACOS 1 Linking print to digital MACOS resources

Then the contents of the teaching resources… The quest, to which Bruner invited even young children, is: What is human about human beings? The main method is observation and comparison of people and animals in various parts of the world. Well, some items are about ‘Eskimos’ and ‘Tools’ and others about ‘Africa’ and ‘Animals’, but what about ‘Social anthropology’ or ‘Animal behaviour’? Does a certain book focus on science or on social science or both, like this one called, in fact, Salmon? We also decided to allocate ‘Spiral curriculum’ and ‘Interdisciplinary curriculum’ to everything.

But how do you get to our information in the first place? Through the Catalogue of the Newsam Library? Through the LibGuides? Through a search engine? (A Google search for ‘macos, bruner’ leads you directly to our Library guides and our Library blog!) And how do we lead you from one point to another efficiently? We have to put the time in so that you can save time later!

Nazlin Bhimani, our Special Collections Librarian, who dealt with the bequest of materials, had established links from the LibGuide to more information on Bruner’s work and to the MACOS Online Archive, where you can find digitised copy to download. I added links from each item on Nazlin’s list to our catalogue entry… and links from there to the digitised version of the book or film, if there is one… and also back to the LibGuide. Now you can click round… and read on the family life of the African elephant from Shanghai… or watch the Eskimos building an igloo from Dubai! (Yes, I even mentioned the ‘igloo’ so that it comes up in a catalogue search.)

Finally, we are posting requests for missing items on the LibGuides. For example, we have got a fold-out leaflet for the classroom on Making a bow, and the MACOS Online Archive has digitised a matching one on Building a skin sled: we should swap them and extend our collections online and in the original print!

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Focus on Special Collections: Jerome Bruner’s MACOS Curriculum Project

Christina Egan, cataloguing the MACOS materials

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to collaborate with some of the most wonderful people in the world – not just researchers who I work with regularly but also the librarians who I work with everyday. My most recent collaboration has been with our cataloguers, Christina Egan and Dianne Stacey.   Christina and Dianne have just finished cataloguing one of the most interesting of our Special Collections, Jerome Bruner’s MACOS or Man: A Course of Study Curriculum Project. The materials were donated to the library by Mr. Barry D.Varley-Tipton (see: http://newsamnews.ioe.ac.uk/2013/07/24/curriculum-project-macos-man-a-course-of-study/) in July 2013.

Man:  A Course of Study (commonly referred to by the acronym MACOS or M.A.C.O.S) is the brainchild of the American psychotherapist and Harvard academic Jerome Bruner.  Bruner believed that it was possible to teach children to be more humane and eliminate racism and ethnocentrism by studying another culture closely. He also believed that you can teach children complicated ideas using the ‘spiral curriculum’ method which introduces the same theme in increasing complexity over a period of time.

The successes of this collaborative Special Collections project have been partly due to the interest we all shared in the material but also because of the regular discussions Christina (who was tasked with managing the project) and I had over the course of several weeks. I am particularly indebted to Christina for masterminding the inclusion of additional terms which enhance the catalogued records and which will make it easier for the user to find additional relevant content. Not only did Christina and Dianne ensure that the catalogue records contain all the necessary bibliographic and descriptive information as is custom and practice – but they also included information about content that we have which the MACOS site lacks and vice versa. We hope this additional information will be useful to other researchers and librarians.

MACOS is an example of one of the many curriculum projects that were devised in what has been referred to as the ‘Golden Age of the Curriculum’ in the US and in England. Now that the collections is fully catalogued, I hope you will be able to explore these materials which demonstrate so clearly Bruner’s pedagogic theories. The accompanying LibGuide at http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/macos has been updated to provide links to the catalogue records.

Christina Egan who was in charge of this project will write about how she decided on what information to include in the catalogue records to ensure users are able to find this wonderful resource in the next post.

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If it’s spring, it must be LILAC

LILAC  is organised by CILIP and aimed at librarians who deal with information and digital literacy support. Lilacers come from the UK and from 30 different countries.

This year, the conference is held in Newcastle from the 8-10 April. The programme is jam-packed for three days and evenings — like a Disneyland for IL librarians who are bound to be a bit glazed-looking by Friday.

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Library Easter Opening Hours

Easter Eggs The Newsam Library and Archives at the UCL Institute of Education will close at 11.30pm today Wednesday 1st April and will re-open at 8.30am on Wednesday 8th April.  Information on the opening hours of the other UCL Libraries is available here.

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The Autobiography of an education by Sir Peter Newsam

Sir Peter Newsam Autobiography Part 1

Those of you who frequently read the ‘Newsam News‘ may have already encountered my blogs regarding donations from student alumni.

I recently received a donation from Sir Peter Newsam- Part 1 of his autobiography ‘The Autobiography of an education’ .  This donation is of special significance and value to us at the Newsam Library and Archives,  as Sir Peter is the former director of the institute and was a key proponent of the library securing it’s home here in 1993- hence our name. Part 1 has now been added to our library catalogue so can be borrowed and the good news is that I’ve just received Part 2 so this will also shortly be available for loan.

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Easter Entertainment

The Easter break may be the time to watch one of the new DVDs that has recently been added to the Library’s Education in Literature Collection.
There are new versions of old favourites Jane Eyre (starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender) and Goodbye Mr Chips (starring Martin Clunes).
Sarafina! is set in 1990s Soweto and is about schoolchildren protesting about the implementation of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools.
In The First Grader, after the Kenyan Government announces free primary education for all, Maruge, who is 84, tries to enrol in his local rural primary school. His fight for an education becomes an extension of the struggle for independence that he was involved in as a member of the Mau Mau in the 1950s.
Cracks (starring Eva Green) is set in a boarding school in the 1930s. The relationship between a clique of girls and their diving teacher ends in tragedy.
Another film that explores the pupil-teacher relationship is the South Korean film The Harmonium in my Memory. A young teacher from Seoul is sent to teach in a rural school where a 17 year old girl develops a crush on him.
Box sets are all the rage and the 3 hours of the recent television adaptation of Winnifred Holtby’s novel South Riding (starring Anna Maxwell Martin and David Morrisey) will help to pass a rainy afternoon or two.

By Beverley Hinton

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UCL Academy’s visit to the UCL Institute of Education Library

UCL Academy - Founder's Day VisitYesterday, as part of the Founder’s Day celebrations at the UCL Academy, Sally Perry, Curriculum Resources Librarian, and I welcomed approximately 60 members of staff from the UCL Academy to the Newsam Library and Archives. In traditional school-trip style the staff were split into two groups, marched through the library and parked in the Library Teaching Room and in the Space. We had two presentations between us – mine was on the history of the library and the Special Collections and Sally’s was on the current collections and on accessing education.

UCL Academy 3On display for the group were some of the Special Collections focussing on the ‘tools of the trade’. These included a selection of historical textbooks from the Baines, Michael and Historical Textbooks Collections. Early readers from the History of Education Collection, School Histories, the BBC Broadcasts to Schools and examples from the Official Publications Collections were also available to browse along with some historical materials from the Classroom Teaching Materials Collections (soon to be part of the Historical Textbooks Collection).

All in all, it was an enjoyable afternoon for us – as we hope it was for the staff from UCL Academy. Some of the discussions we had included the use of the Special Collections and Archives in the classrooms at UCL Academy – an exciting possibility.


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