Well, to be specific, medieval paper was actually parchment, made from animal hides, rather than trees and literally all of our knowledge of the Middle Ages was preserved on skins made from calves, sheep, or goats. To better understand the chemistry, art, and labor of parchment, Middlebury College’s Special Collections & Archives, together with Professor Eliza Garrison’s Medieval Manuscripts seminar, hosted Jesse Meyer from Pergamena. Watch us scud a goatskin (remove stubborn hair from the skin) and wield a lunarium (a crescent-shaped blade) to remove the fat and flesh. Follow this link to read a longer article about our adventure in medieval life.
Yesterday Pij and I represented LIS at the Road Map to Student Services event; part of First Year Orientation, which was held concurrently with the Academic Forum in Kenyon. Half of the incoming First Year class attended the Forum while the other half were given “Passports” and asked to collect stickers from each Student Services station they visited (after which they were rewarded with a “frozen novelty”). Then they switched, and the students who had already attended the Forum attended the Road Map event. Since Pij and I handed out a sticker to every student with whom we spoke during the 2.5 hour event, it was easy to keep track of how many we’d spoken with—over 80! No wonder my voice is a little hoarse today.
What kinds of questions did we field? Pij may have heard other questions, but I think by far the most common questions were relating to connecting to Wireless, installing Microsoft Office, and followed by general questions about how to find/check out books and other materials from the Library. Other questions I heard ranged from “What is LIS”, to “Do you have any job openings?”, to “Can you help me set up email on my smartphone?”. Quite a few students stopped by without specific questions, and Pij’s go-to prompt, “Have you been able to set up your computer okay?” was great at drawing out other concerns and questions. I copied her and used that question quite a few times, and also tried asking about their First Year Seminar courses, which gave me a chance to let them know that a Librarian was assigned to each course, as well as a Peer Mentor and explain about CTLR and how it was related to the Library.
All in all it was a great chance to meet new students, hear how things were going for them, and also learn (from Pij) what to say about some of the most common tech-troubleshooting questions. It also underscored for me how essential it was for Pij and I (as LIS representatives) to be fully up-to-speed on recent and forthcoming changes in technology infrastructure and research tools.
In collaboration with Vergennes boat builder Douglas Brooks, Special Collections is offering a new short-term exhibit The Two Pointers of Dead Creek : A Tradition of Trapping and Boat Building in Addison County. Assistant Curator Danielle Rougeau is working with Douglas Brooks on mounting the exhibit on the Lower Level of the Davis Family Library. The exhibit officially opens on Wednesday, September 1, 2010, and will be on view through Friday, October 1.
During the 2009-2010 academic year, Brooks and three Middlebury College students, Renee Igo ’11, Christian Woodard ’11 and Ben Meader ‘10.5, interviewed trappers and their descendants in an effort to document the culture of muskrat trapping in Addison County, with an emphasis on the “two pointers”, the double-ended boats that trappers built.
After a training program with the Vermont Folklife Center, the researchers began recording interviews and examining historic boats. Over twenty historic trapping boats were identified in the region. Eventually several boats were carefully measured and one was chosen for replication. The students displayed an historic boat at the 2010 Middlebury College Student Research Symposium.
In the 2010 spring semester, Igo, Woodard, and Meader, guided by Brooks, built this trapping boat in studio space at Middlebury’s Old Stone Mill. The boat was launched on Commencement day, May 27, 2010.
US News & World Report advises prospective students to visit the college library before deciding which school to attend:
4 Reasons Why the Library Should Affect Your College Choice
The library is a home away from home for a lot of students, so get to know what it can do for you.
MiddLab is a new section of Middlebury’s website with no precedent: an academic network, uniting all of the… blah, blah blah.
Truth is, MiddLab has been hard for us to explain ever since we heard the idea. A research network featuring discussions and blogs, and linking together disciplinary themes? How does that work? Rather than write a manifesto, here is what we’re trying to accomplish with MiddLab.
- Make research easy to discover. If you want to know what student and faculty research is going on in a department, you shouldn’t have to know where their papers are published or the address of the project’s web site. Instead, these should be one or two clicks from our home page.
- Show connections between research. Whether researching the population growth of trees in Biology or the population density of people in Geography, projects share themes and people interested in the topic can easily explore both.
- Start a discussion. We encourage and recommend that you add comments to the projects on this site. Ask questions, suggest new research, or explain why you disagree with the conclusions. You can add your thoughts to any project page on MiddLab, explore the individual blogs for some projects, or contact the researchers directly.
- Provide space for research and the sciences on our site. We’ll be expanding this site to feature more presentations from the Spring Research Symposium and research projects in our science departments. Though MiddLab is open to any student, faculty or staff projects, these are areas where we know we’re not offering enough information on our site and would like to use MiddLab to expand.
We aren’t sure these are the right goals for our site. We’d like to hear from people: what would you like to see in MiddLab? What parts of this site work toward these goals and which don’t? Leave your thoughts by commenting on this page.
Oh, and if you would like us to feature your project in MiddLab, send an email to email@example.com.
I am writing with good news concerning your print quota. Based on student feedback, we have decided that you will be able to roll over your print allowance from term to term until you graduate (or depart) from Middlebury.
This means that the amount you have in your account as of the end of May will be added to your fall quota. A first year student who ends the spring term with $5 in her account will have $30 upon her arrival on campus for the fall semester. A fourth-year student with $1 in his account will start the fall with $51. For those attending Language Schools, you will see the roll-over appear in your summer allotment.
We hope this change to our policy will help make the new printing policy less expensive for you, as it will allow you to cover the costs of printing for a print-heavy year with savings you might enjoy in a year when you have less printing.
Dean of Library and Information Services
I’ve compiled the results from the LIS Website Team’s survey of LIS students workers where we asked about familiarity with areas of the LIS website and knowledge of web technologies. This was a shorter survey than the staff version with 20 students responding to the 2009 version and 17 completed 2010 surveys. Before I present the results of the student survey, I want to share my recommendations based on the results of both surveys. These are just my initial thoughts. The LIS Website Team will compile its recommendations based off this data, the comments included with both surveys, and usability testing we’re conducting this month.
[Reminder: If you want to participate in usability testing, reply to the all-campus email that was sent Wednesday, April 7 with the times when you would be available.]
The ‘MiddKid’ rap on MiddBlog features a mention of the Library in the second verse:
“… I’m a Midd Kid yo and I’m livin’ it up
but I got too much work so I’m “Lib”in it up …”
[some explicit lyrics]