Archive | January, 2012

Library Top Trumps: Sackler eddition

13 Jan

Library Name: Sackler Library, Oxford University

Number of Books: All of the books, if you’re an Archaeologist. All of the books.

Loans Policy: I think not unless you’re an Oxford student, but I’m too intimidated to ask.

Library was designed with the following in mind: Competitive studying and posturing with obscure tomes for 12-14 hrs a day. Designed as a space in which it’s possible to forget time and retreat either to calm contemplation or to abject terror depending on your mental state. An Oubliette.

Food and Drink Policy: Are you kidding?

Silence Policy: I am deeply self-conscious of how loud my mouse is when I click. I have rubber soled shoes specifically so people don’t look up when I walk by.

Enforcement of rules: Peer enforced to a high degree.

Catalogue: Online at SOLO

Plague of the library: The sense that no matter how much you study while you’re here, it will never quite be adequate. There is also too little light.

Funny anecdote from the library: When browsing amongst the rolling shelves, I forgot to put the brakes on. The shelves began to close in, I began to walk faster. As they picked up speed, I broke in to a run, thinking I could grab the book and escape before the book-clad megaliths met with an almighty clang that would have seen me banished to the basement until everyone on the first floor forgot who I was. I dived out from between the shelves and sprinted, in silence, back round to where the brakes are to avoid the hideous sound/ bookalanche / social death that was coming my way. I hit the brakes with a fraction of a second to spare and stood there, slightly out of breath and feeling totally foolish. I don’t think anyone saw….

Overall Score: 8/10 (it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as other libraries in Oxford)


Library Top Trumps –

12 Jan

Rachel: I would like to compile a fun game for bored PhDs everywhere.

Funding Body: Please try again when there is no longer a recession, and I doubt your chances even then.

Rachel: But it is a fun game that also acts as a source of research guidance. You know the kind of thing, teaches PhD students to be better PhD students, might help with that PhD report thing that was written all those years ago that says that we can’t do ‘owt other than research our own niche subjects.

Funding Body: Oh, it will be like HASS?!

Rachel: Yes because HASS is a ‘fun game’ (that is why I got an exemption, I hate fun).


And on the 6th day Library Top Trumps was born. When you go visit a new library then take out a new blog post and complete the top trumps card below and soon we shall have ourselves a rather dull game that tells you which libraries to visit and which to avoid. A game that finally ‘proves’ Newcastle Library should stop winning awards. I will kick us off with two cards to begin with…


Library Name: Armstrong ‘Library’, Newcastle Uni

Number of Books: Around about 5

Loans Policy: Not enough books to loan you anything

Library was designed with the following in mind: Group ‘learning’ whilst watching eastenders on a computer and drinking coffee

Food and Drink Policy: Drinks only – at least people aren’t loudly crunching crisps.

Silence Policy: None.

Enforcement of rules: Negligible.

Catalogue: Designed to stop you realising they have no books

Plague of the library: Rah lads and lasses with too much hair, nattering constantly about last night at various clubs and smelling of vomit.

Funny anecdote from the library: Once I got so angry in the Robinson that I ate the head off an undergrad

Overall Score: 1/10



Library Name: Manx National Heritage Archive and National Library

Number of Books: They are all hidden, could be any number from 1 to 1million

Loans Policy: You cannot take anything out and photocopying is 50p a sheet.

Library was designed with the following in mind: It was once a corridor that they turned into a reading room with no thought that electricity or internet would ever be required by a researcher

Food and Drink Policy: None at all, ever. No pens either.

Silence Policy: The youth that use it are silent, the hearing impaired trying to trace their families before they die seem unaware of this policy, meaning that you will know all about Doris’ second aunt Mildred who once ran a B&B in Douglas

Enforcement of rules: Middling

Catalogue: Only a librarian may search the catalogue, you play a constant game of librarian roulette to see if they can find what you want or whether they merely tell you what you want is ‘not publicly available’

Plague of the library: Family history tracing folk

Funny anecdote from the library: Where to begin, there are so many. One day a film was made in there whilst people continued to read. Sometimes they claim to be too busy (doing what) to get you any books. An old man in a three piece suit once walked 20m across the library to tell me ‘you lady the label on your skirt is showing’

Overall Score: 5/10


Manx Comedy

4 Jan

I whole heartedly recommend wasting 36mins on this for some hilarious Manx jokes. Subjects covered include our propensity for mischief, the fact that there is always a boat in the morning, the Manx language, our dubious banking activities, Gef the mongoose, the TT races, how buses work on the Isle of Man and how were are going to take over space… It will also serve to assist most of you in the forthcoming PGF pub quiz.



Time you should all waste from your PhD on this: 36mins.

Funding Deadlines

3 Jan

When you find money you can apply for remember to write the deadline in your diary when you first see it. This avoids a situation where you have 3.5 days to write the application during which you must also go to a museum and do an identification and pass 12 lifeboat exams and 3 fitness tests.


Time wasted for overly urgent application completion: 2mins.

Amount of time outside of 9-5pm I am going to have to spend explaining what Carbon Dates are to none archaeologists in the form of a funding application:  estimated 56hours (i.e. all the remaining time)