Tag Archives: libspotlight

Trending Questions: How should I start?

Trending Questions“I have to write a research paper. How should I start?”

We’re hearing this question a lot these days, and we aren’t surprised. The librarians at the Research Desk have helped many students begin working on research papers — and the process is a little different every time. Depending on the assignment (how long is the paper? what are the requirements and goals? when is it due?), the topic, and the prep work you’ve done already, we might suggest beginning in Summon, or MIDCAT, or… on a sheet of notebook paper where you’ll jot down a few keywords to get the thoughts flowing.

If this trending question has been on your mind lately too, go ahead and ask a librarian! Find us at the Research Desk in the Davis Family Library, behind the Circulation Desk at the Armstrong Library, or online at go/askus/.

I Know What You Did Last Summer! – Alex

Alex Brockelman '18

Alex Brockelman ’18

I Know What You Did Last Summer! This is part of a series of posts highlighting the work of the Summer 2017 Digital Media Tutors (DMTs) from the Wilson Media Lab found in the Davis Family Library Room 220. Meet Alex!

Hometown:  Tempe, Arizona

Year at Middlebury:  3 years / Rising Senior

Major: Political ScienceMinor: History

What’s a DMT and what you drew you to this job on campus?

A DMT is a Digital Media Tutor, a student hired to train in the uses of media for academic purposes and then aid students/faculty bolster their research/projects with a media presence.

What type of training have you received?

I have received a comprehensive training on media and web tools, including audio, video, web site, and graphics editing.

Do you have a strong talent with any particular software?

My strongest talent lies where I began my “media journey,” with sound editing.  I began working with sound when I was in high school as an amateur DJ and producer, and have always found the process interesting and rewarding.

What software tool would you like to learn better and why?

I would like to become better at video editing, because I see video (the confluence of audio and visuals) as the most versatile digital media tool.

Tell me about some of the projects you worked on this summer. Were there any that were especially interesting or challenging?

I have worked on a web site to help athletic teams at Middlebury communicate as a group, as well as do film study and perhaps even recruit.  My other big project has been a French Grammar Website (essentially an online grammar book).  That project has been a great way to practice my French, and an interesting exercise in understanding language pedagogy.

What advice would you give to any other Midd student interested in becoming a DMT?

Do it!  It is a fun and low-pressure environment which provides you with crucial skills.  Be prepared to be wrong sometimes, or struggle through complex problems.  In the end, those are the moments which will hold the most valuable lessons.

Click here to view more information about Alex’s projects. For more posts like these, like our Facebook page.

Pulling back the curtain on the Research Desk

What can I do at the Research Desk?There is, of course, no curtain at the Davis Family Library Research Desk! But still, sometimes it seems like we should be making what we do at the desk more visible. So, let’s (air quotes) “pull back the curtain” —

Many people think you have to have a question to talk with a librarian at the Research Desk. If you do have a question, please talk with us! But even if you don’t know what your question is, we still can help. Just tell us about your assignment and together, we’ll figure out what you should do next.

What can I do at the Research Desk?

  • Get help finding a book!
  • Explore the magical world of citations!
  • Learn how to use Interlibrary Loan!
  • Have someone listen to your research woes and offer you sound advice!
  • Or, just ask directions to the restrooms!

AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

***

We’re at the Research Desk Sunday-Friday, and in the evenings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Find our hours (and lots of other research help) at go/askus/.

Celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. Come to the Davis Family Library atrium October 2nd- 15th to see our display that includes books and DVDs that touch on a variety of themes related to disability. Also read below about the various efforts made to make our campus more accessible and inclusive. Many sincere thanks to Marlena Evans for her work in designing this month’s banner and to the Advisory Group on Disability, Access, and Inclusion for its generous guidance.

Name; Hometown; Role On Campus; Time at Midd:

BK: Bill Koulopoulos; Athens, Greece; Director of Academic Technology, 3 years

CC: Courtney Cioffredi, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator; 7 Months

ZS: Zach Schuetz; Bedford, New Hampshire; Senior Technology Specialist; 4 years (student) + 5 years (staff)

A young woman wearing a medical boot poses on a flight of stairs.

Junior Feb Ruby Edlin, from Hoboken, New Jersey, poses on the stairs wearing a medical boot meant to heal a former injury. At least one of her classes requires her to use the stairs.

KS: Katrina Spencer; Los Angeles, California; Literatures & Cultures Librarian; 8 months

We’re interested in disability access, inclusion, and full-participation. Why does disability awareness and inclusion matter?

BK: Because good design should accommodate everyone; one size does not fit all and variety is the spice of life.

CC: We (society) were supposed to have understood that separate is not equal a number of years ago, we are still fighting to see that concept realized; awareness helps to move toward inclusion. Inclusion matters because every body and difference adds value to our society. We will all likely be disabled someday: it’s only a matter of time for some of us; others live it every day.

ZS: Because designing systems to accommodate people with disabilities is often easy, but only if it’s planned from the start of the project. Changing things afterwards is often a lot harder; hence, it’s important to be aware of potential issues all the time and not wait for someone to make a complaint.

KS: As we continue to make our societies better for everyone, including those belonging to historically marginalized populations (racial, religious, sexual, etc.), disability must be treated with thoughtful attention, too. Disability is certainly intersectional and affects every color and creed. When we improve access, it helps broad swaths of the population and hurts no one.

Give us an example of improved access here at Middlebury that you want others to know about and why it matters. 

Cover art for Cece Bell's El Deafo which pictures a bunny in a superhero cape flying through the sky.

Featured here is the book cover image used for Cece Bell’s 2014 graphic novel El Deafo, a memoir that traces the author’s childhood experiences with deafness. This is one of the works to be featured in the October display.

BK: The College has subscribed to Sensus Access (go.middlebury.edu/sensusaccess/), which is a web-based, self-service application that allows users to automatically convert documents into a range of alternate and accessible formats. The service has been used hundreds of times the last couple of years, which suggests there is need for such a service and prompts us to reflect on additional ways to improve access.

CC: The College has added a second ADA Coordinator to Student Accessibility Services. Prior to that move, this was an office of one. The addition of this position allows two people to assist with access while the College continues to grow towards inclusive programs. This has allowed Student Accessibility Services to grow and provide additional programs, trainings and resources for students and faculty.

KS: When I started working here, I noticed that questions asked at the Research Desk could develop into conversations that lasted 15, 20 or even 30 minutes. I recalled that when I was a graduate student, I found it very uncomfortable to participate in research consultations having nowhere to sit, so I requested a stool be made available for lengthier conversations. It was a subtle change, but one for the better.

What are some resources to learn more about disability access and inclusion? 

BK: Understanding the principles and concepts behind Universal Design for Learning (UDL) will benefit anyone promoting disability access and inclusion at Middlebury College. UDL on Campus is a great resource on course design, materials and policy.

CC: Project Shift is a great resource and includes a number of readings regarding disability access and inclusion in Higher Education. I was also introduced to Mia Mingus recently and found her blog Leaving Evidence to be an excellent resource. Lastly, Student Accessibility Services is always willing to talk disability, access, and inclusion

A headshot of Audre Lorde wearing glasses and a necklace

Pictured is the cover art used for Audre Lorde’s 1980 autobiographical experience of breast cancer, The Cancer Journals, a work now on order for the Davis Family Library, also to be featured in the October display.

here on Middlebury’s campus.

ZS: I find that listening directly to people with disabilities has been really enlightening. There are a number of online communities where people are willing to share their experiences, and I’ve also learned extremely useful terminology like the curb-cut effect and the social model of disability.

KS: I recently learned that Middlebury has a Disabilities Studies Reading Group that has been meeting since 2009. Its first meeting this fall will be Thursday, October 12th, 7:00 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. in the American Studies Lounge, Axinn 242. For more on this, contact Susan Burch at sburch@middlebury.edu.

In what other ways might we forward disability access, inclusion and full participation? 

BK: Seeing accessibility and inclusion from a social model rather than a medical model lens requires a mindset shift. Education is key in facilitating this shift.  In the era of information technology, there is a wealth of resources available to individuals who want to learn more and people on campus ready to assist in the exploration.

CC: Shifting our Middlebury culture to a place where disability is celebrated as an identity, rather than something that needs accommodation would be a large step toward thinking about disability as part of diversity and inclusion. Each department, academic and operational, could own access in that department by seeking information and suggestions for ways in which events, classes, courses, and programs could be more inclusive to all. I would love to see student groups celebrating disability, access and inclusion and current student groups asking about how to ensure their events are accessible to all, including students with disabilities.

ZS: Classroom policies could be more focused on core pedagogical goals. Will students really not be able to learn the material if tests are untimed? If they can take notes on a laptop or record the lecture? If instructors make a note of sensitive material so people can mentally prepare themselves for it? Inclusion can be built in from the start. The ADA office is great, but for every student who’s already gotten a formal diagnosis, worked with them, realized what situations will come up in a course, and asked for specific accommodations, there’s one who hasn’t (yet) but could benefit from a little proactive thinking so everyone can fully participate in the course.

Two librarians seated at the Davis Family Library Research Desk, one using a stool

Literatures and Cultures Librarian Katrina Spencer and Director of Reference & Instruction Librarian Carrie Macfarlane pose at the Research Desk where a stool has been installed to improve access.

KS: Last semester I went to visit a foreign language class in Munroe Hall that was held on the third floor. I was carrying graphic novels with me at the time to share with students and had to haul them up three flights of stairs. I asked for an elevator and didn’t find one. This is when I realized that stairs can actually be a barrier to access for learning, working and creating community. How do we determine which buildings are accessible and which are not? How do we make our campus accessible to all?

If you have more ideas for how to improve access on and around our campus, or want to know more about disability access and inclusion at Middlebury, write to the Advisory Group on Disability, Access, and Inclusion at agdai@middlebury.edu. Also see the libraries’ lib guide  dedicated to disability studies, developed with and maintained by Librarian Amy Frazier.

I Know What You Did Last Summer! – Rachel

Rachel Kang '19

Rachel Kang ’19

I Know What You Did Last Summer! This is part of a series of posts highlighting the work of the Summer 2017 Digital Media Tutors (DMTs) from the Wilson Media Lab found in the Davis Family Library Room 220. Meet Rachel!

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Year at Middlebury: 2

Major: Computer Science + Political Science

What’s a DMT and what you drew you to this job on campus?

DMT stands for “digital media tutor” and the DMT program on campus is a great resource for both students and faculty. This job focuses on tutoring services for media editing programs, including Adobe Suites. I have some experience using these softwares, but I wanted to learn more and become more proficient in them.

What type of training have you received?

We went through each software on the iMacs in the Wilson Media Lab and created simple projects to better understand its functionalities.

Do you have a strong talent with any particular software?

Going into training, I felt that I understood Adobe Photoshop well, but quickly realized there was much more to the program than I thought. After a couple months into the job, I feel confident navigating both Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro CC the best.

What software tool would you like to learn better and why?

While Photoshop is a great tool for modifying images, Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based software that emphasizes creating graphics with precision. I’d like to take on a project that heavily uses Illustrator one day.

Tell me about some of the projects you worked on this summer. Were there any that were especially interesting or challenging?

One of the projects I worked on was a nature-based film series I made for a professor, using both Audacity and Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Starting from scratch, with only raw footage and some rough audio, I created short 4-6 minute films which turned out to be more challenging than I thought. Because I had no prior experience with film editing and Premiere, taking on this project really helped me understand how to navigate Premiere quickly and efficiently.

What advice would you give to any other Midd student interested in becoming a DMT?

An important part of this job is to have the drive to understand these softwares—you get out what you put into it! Pushing yourself to learn what some of these complicated softwares can do will not only be helpful for tutoring purposes, but also useful for any basic media-related needs you may run into in the future.

 For more posts like these, like our Facebook page.

Keep on asking! We’re glad to answer.

Research Questions, Week 1

Research Questions, Week 1 (2016 and 2017)

Great job, students!

We’ve enjoyed talking with you at the Research Desk at the Davis Family Library. You’ve asked us a lot of questions! More this year than last year, even.

In just the first week of classes, you stopped by 142 times, which is up from the 124 questions we received in Week 1 last year. That’s a 14.5% increase. Even more significantly, 72 of your questions were research-related, which is a 33% increase over last year!

What’s been going on at the Research Desk?

  • We’ve helped people find books and DVDs (“Where is this call number located?”)
  • We’ve figured out how to cite unusual sources (“How do I cite something I read in Chinese?”)
  • We’ve discussed how to narrow a research topic, how to refine a search for scholarly articles, how to decide when it’s time to shift to a different research topic, and more

What do students say?

  • “I just came from a research workshop for my first-year seminar, and I wanted to continue my search.”
  • “Thank you! I’ve never known how to use Interlibrary Loan, so I’m glad I asked!”
  • “I wish I’d come to see you last year!”

So please, keep on asking! We’re glad to answer.

I Know What You Did Last Summer! – Dan

Dan Klemonski '19

Dan Klemonski ’19

I Know What You Did Last Summer! This is part of a series of posts highlighting the work of the Summer 2017 Digital Media Tutors (DMTs) from the Wilson Media Lab found in the Davis Family Library Room 220. Meet Dan!

Hometown: East Hampton, Connecticut

Year at Middlebury: 2

Majors: History, Economics

What’s a DMT/What drew me:

DMTs are the first line of defense for multimedia-related technical issues, and one of several layers of support for technological literacy on campus. The opportunities to aid in content creation and work on topically diverse projects drew me to this job.

Training:

As a DMT, I’ve been trained in the Adobe Suite, WordPress, Scalar, iMovie, Audacity, Panopto, and Canvas. I’ve also been acquainted with digitizing tools and the plotter.

Talents:

I’ve become quite familiar with Illustrator and iMovie, and have worked a fair amount with digitization (video capture and scanning).

Software to learn:

I’d like to learn Premier better, because I find myself a little too willing to give up its added functionality for the enticing simplicity of iMovie.

Projects:

One particularly fun (and, at times, frustrating) project this summer involved the seemingly basic task of digitizing analog tapes. What I expected to be a straightforward click-and-drag affair turned into a week of hunting for the right cords, ports, and video capture software. The experience let me see the library basement I never knew existed, and left me rather thankful that easy-breezy digital storage is the norm among modern video cameras.

Advice:

No amount of prior training will guarantee that you always know the solution to a problem. A DMT-to-be should be prepared to fill in the inevitable gaps of their technical knowledge on the fly.

Click here to view some of Dan’s work. For more posts like these, like our Facebook page.