Submitted by Jean Simmons
When you’re working at the Information Desk,
are you reluctant to interrupt another staff person
to get help with a question?
One of Reference’s primary roles is to help people with their research. So it’s okay to interrupt—especially if a pidgin green light is on! To see who’s readily available, go to the start menu and then pidgin, to get phone numbers and to see who’s signed in. (Pidgin is also available on Circulation Desk computers.)
Even if there are no green lights, please don’t hesitate to refer a research question to someone in Reference. If it’s off hours, encourage the questioner to send queries electronically. (This mailbox is checked several times a day.)
Submitted by Carrie Macfarlane
Thanks to Hans Raum for leading the inaugural LISterine Workshop on government information resources last week, and thanks to all who attended. In case you weren’t able to attend, you’ll find a link to a handout in the description of the workshop here: Government Information Resources.
Submitted by Shel Sax
Dartmouth College has developed a short video to teach first year students about their library resources. The video is avaiable on youtube in the Dartmouth channel. You can access it at:
An information session for participants in this year’s Spring Symposium was held on Wednesday night, and I attended on behalf of LIS. I shared our new Resources for Presenters site, which outlines the support that LIS and the CTLR offer. LIS will provide workshops on making maps and posters, feedback on practice run-throughs of oral presentations, and assistance with PowerPoint. In addition, the CTLR will run two public speaking workshops. The Undergraduate Research Office is expecting about 130 students to participate in this year’s symposium, which is scheduled for Friday, April 17 from 1-6 pm in McCardell Bicentennial Hall. This is the third annual Spring Symposium, and participants from previous years consistently report that it was a significant and rewarding experience. All presentations are open to the public.
Librarians are offering RefWorks workshops to Peer Writing Tutors again this spring. We had good attendance in our fall sessions, and the PWTs requested repeat workshops this semester. Our first spring workshop was held this week. Twelve signed up in advance, and even more attended. (It must be thesis season!) A second workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11.
Submitted by Joe Antonioli
The Terra Project is a virtual state simulation run by Professor Quinn Mecham of Middlebury College, hosted in the online virtual world Second Life. Citizens of the Terra Project log in to Second Life in order to run for office, vote, make and enforce policy, and perform other functions of government, all within a virtual environment. This simulation is currently in its second iteration as part of Professor Mecham’s Spring 09′ PSCI 0103 introductory course.
The Terra Project is now open to all interested members of the Middlebury college community! This issue was voted upon by the citizens of Terra during the fall term and was passed as part of the first ammendment to the constitution of Terra. For more information on the constitutional referendum and other pieces of legislature passed during the fall term please check out the Terra Project site.
Second Life users can find the Terra Project on Middlebury’s hosted land by following this SLurl (Second Life url).
Submitted by Hans Raum
Wikileaks recently released a comprehensive set of reports by the Congressional Research Service that had not previously been available to federal depository libraries or the general public. The highly regarded and non-partisan reports had been previously available only to members of Congress and Wired magazine called their concealment “The biggest Congressional scandal of the digital age.” Senator Patrick Leahy, who is a strong advocate of freedom of the press, has fought for years to make the reports public.
The Congressional Research Service is regarded as “Congress’s brain” and has a budget of over $100 million a year and the reports written by their experts cover a broad range of contentious issues, from the U. S. relationship with Israel to the financial collapse. Public access to these reports is now available at http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Change_you_can_download:_a_billion_in_secret_Congressional_reports
Well over 2,000 reports have been updated in the past year and the oldest report goes back to 1990. The recent release of these reports is an important milestone in the development of a more open and accountable government.
Carrie Macfarlane and Bryan Carson led a RefWorks workshop at Atwater Commons last week. We invited students to bring laptops so that we could install the RefWorks plug-in called Write-n-Cite, which inserts footnotes in Word documents. Each student left the workshop ready to start saving references. One student provided this feedback on RefWorks: “I will [use RefWorks] because it’s a tool that can help you not only in college but outside school as well.”