Doha Recap #2 – looking back at my first six months in Doha

It has been a while since I shared some early impressions about Doha shortly after my arrival in February. Living here for almost half a year now, I felt it was high time for the second part of my recap podcast! In this episode, I talk about what has been going on at work during the last couple of months, about how it feels to live in this city and what kind of cultural activities I did explore so far. You will learn more about the infamous Doha traffic, get a weather update and hear what people over here do during the ongoing summer break. If you want to have an actual look at what I talk about, check out my flickr account with lots of pictures from here. Hope you enjoy the recap!

Please let me know your thoughts on this second episode. I am happy for any comments and questions!

20th SLA AGC Conference, storified

From 25-27 March, I was lucky to attend the 20th Conference of the SLA Arabian Gulf Chapter that was located in the beautiful Ritz Carlton Doha. Under the major theme “Enhancing the Digital Knowledge Society’s Information Needs”, the program included several keynotes, regular sessions and plenary sessions with both international speakers and presenters from the GCC region. Part of the conference was also an exhibition area with many international companies (mostly publishing houses), several product presentations in the main program, some library tours during the day and social dinners in the evenings. I very much enjoyed the three days, attending several of the sessions, being at the QNL booth with my colleagues, and making many new contacts along the way! What I really liked was the good mix of regional and international guests and presentations. Also, with up to two parallel streams, the size of the event was quite enjoyable and not too overwhelming. As for the language of the conference, all sessions were hold either in English or Arabic, both with simultaneous interpretation. Apart from the Recitation from the Holy Koran at the start of the opening session (which happens at many official events here), I could not spot any other differences to conferences outside of the MENA region I have attended over the past years. To give you a better idea about the look and feel of the conference and a closer look at some of the presentations, I have created a summary of my #slaagc2014 experience on storify that follows all the sessions I attended. Enjoy!

#slaagc2014, storyfied

Doha’s ever-changing face

One of Doha’s major landmarks is its impressive skyline. In comparison to other metropolises around the world, a remarkable detail about it is the fast pace with which it is changing. Permanent (re)construction and growth is a distinct feature of Qatar’s capital and there is no better place to follow this as by looking at the skyline over time (here is the picture I used for an earlier post which is from 2007, see the huge difference)! As a result of this, by the way, it seems to be really difficult to get recent post cards showing the skyline. So you better take your camera and shoot some pictures by yourself!

A taste of traditional Arabic music at Souq Waqif

Last weekend, I got to see Souq Waqif, one of the main attractions of Doha. The historic market area has been restored recently which means you will find lots of picturesque alleys and buildings. On the other hand, with its many souvenir shops, restaurants and modern relics such as wood paneled ATMs, the souq also seemed quite touristy and artificial to me. But being aware of the restauration, you can still enjoy the area. Certainly, one big plus is that this is one of the rare places in Doha that lets you take longer walks outside without many cars around.

By far the best part of my visit happened in the evening when I could listen to some live Arabic music. I had only heard some short bits of traditional music on the radio so far, so this was my first time at a live concert. I am still at the very beginning of learning about traditional Arabic music, its tone system, the maqam andparticular music instruments. But even without much background knowledge, it was very interesting for me to listen to the concert and to study the musicians, their instruments and the audience.

Besides the arrangement of the stage and musicians, the most fascinating part for me was the effect of the music on me as an unexperienced listener. I am a frequent concertgoer and have a direct approach to various styles of Western music from classical music to minimal techno. But in this very case, the music had no immediate emotional or physical effect on me. This does not mean I did not appreciate what I heard. I think it rather shows that I was yet unable to deal with the different tone scales and rhythmic patterns which, as a result, didn’t let me get into a certain flow while listening to the music. It will be very interesting to see how this will change over time (I am pretty sure it will!). Thinking about other experiences I have made so far, I am wondering if it will be a similar process as with getting used to free and more complex forms of jazz which also took me some time. I am definitely looking forward to listening to more Arabic music and also to learning more about its theoretical background and tradtion! So maybe, at some future point, I will even start dancing when I listen to it like some of the locals in the audience did on that evening at Souq Waqif.

Doha Recap #1 – podcast about my first two weeks in Doha

It is time to look back at my first two weeks in Doha! Instead of presenting you a long text to go through, I decided to go for a podcast and talk about my experiences so far, so you could actually listen to me. In this first recap, you will hear about my workplace, my apartment and neighborhood, traffic in Doha, food and shopping, some sightseeing and more. Also, make sure to check out my flickr profile with pictures of most of what I mention.

Please let me know what you think about this kind of recap and if you prefer this to a standard blog post. It still takes quite some time to prepare everything, but I’d be happy to go on with this!

It’s happening, I am moving to Qatar!

Some of you already got the news back in November through Facebook and Twitter, but now it is getting serious: In less than two weeks, I am going to move to Doha, Qatar! My first full-time position as a new grad will take me to Qatar National Library where I will start working as a Music Information Service Librarian.

As you can imagine, I am absolutely excited and look forward to this experience, not only for becoming a part of this fascinating library project, but also for getting to know life and culture of the Gulf region!

As soon as I have settled in, I will try to report about my abroad experience on a regular basis. Meanwhile, check my tweets for the latest updates.

Talk to you soon from Doha!

Fünf Jahre LIS-Corner auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse – Aufsatz im aktuellen Bibliotheksdienst

Bereits zum sechsten Mal war in diesem Oktober LIS-Corner auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse vertreten, brachte LIS-Studierende aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum zusammen,  zog KommilitonInnen und KollegInnen an den Stand, informierte die Messebesucher über Studienprogramme und -projekte an den verschiedenen Hochschulstandorten und tauchte für knapp eine Woche in das wuselige Treiben der weltweit größten Buchmesse ein.

Im aktuellen Bibliotheksdienst blicken Maximilian Lowisch von der Fachhochschule Köln und ich nun auf die ersten fünf Jahre von LIS-Corner zurück. Dabei geht es nicht nur um die Anfänge des studentischen Gemeinschaftsstands, sondern auch um die Ziele hinter der Initiative sowie die Organisation und Herausforderungen eines solchen Projekts im Kontext freiwilligen studentischen Engagements. Viel Spaß beim Lesen und alles Gute für die nächsten fünf Jahre, LIS-Corner!

Zusammenfassung:

Im Rahmen dieses Aufsatzes wird der seit 2008 auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse organisierte Gemeinschaftsstand LIS-Corner als Beispiel für ehrenamtliches Engagement von Studierenden aus der Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaft vorgestellt. Es werden im Folgenden die Entwicklung des Standes von 2006 bis 2013, Konzept und Ziele hinter LIS-Corner, Arbeitsweise, Akquise von Projektpartnern und abschließend Herausforderungen vorgestellt, welche sich der Initiative aktuell stellen.

Abstract:

This article gives an overview on LIS-Corner, the first cooperative booth of German speaking LIS students at the Frankfurt Book Fair from its origins in 2006 to its latest developments. It can be seen as a successful example of voluntary engagement of students in Library and Information Science. Starting with a general introduction into student voluntary work and the beginnings of LIS-Corner, the article will discuss different aspects of the student-driven project such as its main goals, organizational style, acquisition of project partners and current challenges.