A Heaven We Have Left – a poem

Thanks to poet Gary Margolis for sharing this library-related poem.

A Heaven We Have Left

I’m reading a novel that takes place
in 1860 in Sicily. The writing’s so good
I could be anywhere and not know
where I am. I’ve never heard of the author,

Gieuseppe di Lampedusa, who only
wrote one book, until a friend wanted
to pay me for a gift I couldn’t take
any compensation for and mailed me

this story. For listening to his wife
who was worried about their son
when my friend was out of town. Away
attending to their daughter. Who said

he thought I would be carried away
by the paragraphs, the natural details married
to the psychological, how Lampedusa presents
the past as if it were the present. How he collapses

the future in a sentence. Quickly
and forever involves me in that other
century, a place not my own.
Unless I lived in Sicily in 1860

and cheered for Garibaldi the Great Unifier.
And all those underneath, accompanying stories.
I can’t ask God to give me more time
to read. To take with me when I’m gone.

Although maybe I could beseech Him, believe
beneath the ground there is a library and no
librarian, no automatic notice letting me know
when a timeless book is overdue.

When I have to return or pay to replace it.
When my friend is away so long
I feel like I’m living in a once and future century,
one of us will have to read and write about.

-Gary Margolis

Weekly Web Updates – November 9, 2015

New Features

There is now a “Stats” link in the green Page section of the Edit Console on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal sites. Clicking this link will bring you to a report that displays data from Google Analytics for that page from the last 30 days, including pageviews, unique pageviews, bounce rate, exits, referrers, and search terms. Because Google has a limit to the number of API requests we send them, this data is cached for three days.

If someone returns to a webform and edits a previous submission to the form, the confirmation emails that the form sends out when it is normally submitted will be sent out again to all of the intended recipients with the updated information from the form. This change applies to all forms on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal webform sites.

New Documentation

We have prepared a guide to common web accessibility issues that our site editors can help us resolve, with links to videos explaining the issues and how to fix them.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • The “Class Photo Roster (Faculty Only)” links on the Middlebury and MIIS Directory now take you to a page with links to the Middlebury and MIIS Course Hubs. The photo rosters available in the Course Hubs include several additional features, including each student’s commons affiliation and advisor. We will be supporting the photo rosters through the Course Hubs and removing them from the Directories.
  • The way the data is structured for content in regions on the page was changed in Drupal Monster Menus version 7.x-1.23, causing some of our custom code to believe that page regions were empty for unauthenticated users part of Thursday morning until this was fixed.

Foreign Office Files (China) 1919-1980 (Trial ends Dec. 6, 2015)

For the next 30 days, students, faculty, and staff of Middlebury College have free access to the Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980. These are archival documents from the British Foreign Office that deal with China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan from between 1919 through 1980. Our trial includes these parts of the archive:

  • 1919-1929: Kuomintang, CCP and the Third International
  • 1930-1937: The Long March, civil war in China and the Manchurian Crisis
  • 1938-1948: Open Door, Japanese war and the seeds of communist victory
  • 1949-1956: The Communist revolution
  • 1957-1966: The Great Leap Forward
  • 1967-1980: The Cultural Revolution

Let us know what you think – email eaccess-admin@middlebury.edu or contact your liaison.

Systems Maintenance this Sunday, Nov 8th, 2015

During our regular maintenance window this Sunday, Nov 8th, 2015 from 6 am – 10 am we have the following activities scheduled:


  • Our DNS and DHCP servers will be upgraded in Middlebury, VT and Monterey, CA. No service outages are anticipated.
  • We’ll be removing unneeded network devices in two data centers on the VT campus. There may be very brief outages of Internet service, on the order of a few seconds.


We appreciate your patience as we continuously strive to keep our systems functioning optimally.






Billy Sneed

ITS – Central Systems & Network Services

Middlebury College

Digital Media Bootcamp 2016

The Digital Media Bootcamp offers the same workshops that we use in our Digital Media Tutor training during the month of January, and are open, à la carte, to all interested faculty, staff and students. This is the same training that we have been using for the Summer Digital Media Tutor program, plus a few additions based on feedback from last year’s Bootcamp.

The following sessions will introduce the attendees to a wide variety of technologies and uses, including computing practices at Middlebury, concepts and software for developing media, and devices for creating and consuming media. Most sessions will run for 90 minutes and will take place in the Wilson Media Lab in the Davis Family Library.

New This Year

Digital Liberal Arts Data Bootcamp

  • Instructors: Ryan Clement, Alicia Peaker, TBA
  • Description: Are you new to working with data for digital scholarship? In this DLA sponsored workshop series, we will teach you some of the basics of working with data as well as some free (and mainly web-based) tools you can use to visualize data, map data, and analyze textual data. The series will include one required course on the first day, as well as three à la carte course over the following three days. Attend one, or attend all three! All courses will be 3 hours long and will include discussions of background concepts as well as hands-on work.

    Because these courses will be tailored to the participants’ interests and disciplines, the deadline for signing up is January 1st. Please contact Alicia Peaker or Ryan Clement with any questions.

Current Sign-up Sheets

Title Date  
Intro to Visual Literacy and Presentations @ 2:45pm 4-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Intro to Audio Literacy @ 2:45pm 5-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Quicktime, SnapZ Pro, MPEG Streamclip @ 2:45pm 6-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Equipment Demo: Scanners, Plotters and more @ 1pm 8-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Copyright, IP and Creative Commons @ 1pm 11-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Audio Software @ 2:45pm 11-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Adobe InDesign @ 1pm 12-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Adobe Illustrator @ 2:45pm 12-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Equipment Demo: Cameras @ 1pm 13-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Adobe Photoshop @ 2:45pm 13-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Equipment Demo: Space and Place @ 1pm 14-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Liberal Arts Data Bootcamp –
Working with Data @1pm until 4pm
19-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Introduction to Information Literacy @ 2:45pm 25-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Safe Computing Practices at Middlebury @ 1pm 25-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Online Identity: Your Story to the World @ 2:45pm 26-Jan-16 View & sign-up »
Online Recording Lab: SANSSpace @ 1pm 27-Jan-16 View & sign-up »

Raising the Relief: The Journey of the Winged Genie

When the capital of the Assyrian Empire was moved in the 9th century B.C.E. to what is now Nimrud, Iraq, a new palace for King Ashurnasirpal II was built and adorned with ornate alabaster reliefs. One such carving, which depicts a winged deity pollinating a date palm tree, became Middlebury’s first art acquisition when it was bequeathed to the college by alumnus Rev. Wilson A. Farnsworth in 1854.


Winged Genie Pollinating the Date Palm. Alabaster, 90 by 94 inches. 883-859 B.C.E. Photo: Middlebury College Museum of Art


Rev. Farnsworth had been serving as a missionary in eastern Turkey when the archaeological exhumation of the old palace was taking place and managed to secure one of several unearthed slabs. Now known as the “Winged Genie,” the carving contains a cuneiform inscription extolling the wonders of the king. Upon purchase, Rev. Farnsworth had it cut into sections that could be more easily transported on camelback to the coast. After a long sea voyage, the relief found its way onto a wall in the Library of the Department of Pedagogy in Old Chapel.


The “Winged Genie” slab was gifted to Middlebury College by Reverend Wilson A. Farnsworth, Class of 1848, seen here at age 87 in 1910.


By 1936, a college newsletter lamented the lack of attention given to the artwork by students and alumni, adding that “occasionally some archaeologist who [had] never heard of Middlebury’s football team, its summer schools, its mountain campus or its academic rating [would arrive] to do obeisance” to the carving. Perhaps in a move to raise the relief’s profile, it was hung in the entryway of the newly-constructed Munroe Hall in 1941. As the following clip from the College’s 16mm film archive demonstrates, people were more than happy to become familiar with the carving.


After gaining recognition from the college community and a fair amount of wear and tear, a campaign was launched in 1988 to raise funds for the cleaning and conservation of the slab. Complete with a new steel frame, the Winged Genie is now on permanent display in the Middlebury College Museum of Art where students and archaeologists alike can offer their obeisance.


Removal of Winged Genie from Munroe Hall
Twenty one segments of the slab are carefully removed from Munroe Hall by Museum staff Ken Pohlman and Harvard conservator Henry Lie for transport to the conservation lab at Harvard University. Photo by Eric Borg, February 1990.


Be sure to attend the November 5th lecture, Ancient Near Eastern Art—in New England and in the News, to learn more about the legacy of Near Eastern Art in American museums from Prof. Susan Ackerman of the American Schools of Oriental Research and Prof. Shalom Goldman of the Middlebury Department of Religion.

KeyServer update – This Friday

This Friday November 6, 2015 from 6:30-8:30am – ITS will be updating a software license server (KeyServer).  The only software that will be offline during this time is the Final Draft software.  We hope this will not cause any inconvenience and that those using the software can build this downtime into their plans.  Please feel free to contact me directly if you have concerns.