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Two New Civil War Collections Won for Special Collections

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Erastus Hibbard Phelps Collection

The winning bid on the Archive of Civil War paymaster Erastus Hibbard Phelps, Middlebury Class of 1861, was made at auction by Andy Wentink, Curator of Special Collections & Archives. The archive was one among nearly 350 lots of American History, including Civil War, materials offered by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, OH, last Friday morning, December 2. The Phelps Archive comprises 334 letters, 4 diaries (3 from Civil War years), 2 bound volumes including a photo album containing portraits of graduates of the Middlebury Class of 1861, many of which are inscribed to Phelps. The archive also includes two photos of Phelps previous to his years at Middlebury, his paymaster sidearm (a Colt 1851 Navy 36 caliber pistol), what is believed to be his sheepskin winter jacket worn on duty, and a leather documents trunk carried during his service.

Andy also made the winning bid on another Civil War archive, 54 Letters of 2nd Lieut. Ephraim L. Hackett, Wisconsin 1st Light Artillery. Born in Maine in 1837, Ephraim L. Hackett was living in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in August 1861, when he enlisted as a Sergeant in the 1st Independent Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. Small in number and mobile, the Battery recruited barely over 100 men before being sent into the field in Kentucky that Fall, then went on to fight up and down the Mississippi Valley until the end of the war.

These two important Civil War collections significantly enhance Middlebury’s already impressive Civil War era archival holdings including the Aldace Walker (Middlebury Class of 1862) Letters, the Calvin Parker Letters, the Civil War Archive of Professor Kit Wilson, and nearly 100 Civil War era letters from individual writers.

The purchase of the Phelps and Hackett archives was made possible through the generous partial funding from the Friends of the Davis Family Library, the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the Julian W. Abernethy Fund, and the Davis Family Library.

When Mom Stops Calling

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Professor Barbara Hofer talked about "iconnected parents" during Homecoming Weekend

Just a few years ago, psychology professor Barbara Hofer noticed something different among her first-year students. On any given day, as soon as class was over, they would flip open their cell phones and make a call. She noticed that even the seniors on campus were startled by how readily first-years used their phones.

Curious about this new behavior, she conducted some research and soon discovered that a “sweeping cultural change” was taking place. Not only were students heavily connected to each other by cell, they were also heavily connected to their parents. The amount of contact between young people and their parents had increased exponentially. “It happened over night,” she said, and it seemed to be pervasive. She was alarmed about some of the ramifications.

Hofer’s findings launched more research, in collaboration with undergraduates; a coauthored book on the subject; and many appearances around the country. During Homecoming Weekend, she described her work to an enthralled group of alumni, many who remembered how they used to call home—from dorm pay phones.

Hofer’s findings show that there is an “electronic tether” connecting young people with their parents in a profoundly new way. Whereas a generation ago, students thought of themselves as adult and independent and they called home perhaps once a week, today’s students and parents communicate approximately 13 times weekly, each initiating about half the calls.

“Parents report that they are a lot closer to their kids than they were to their parents,” Hofer said. She pointed out that the amount and the content of the communication is very important in helping students gain autonomy. “The challenge is to remain connected in a healthy way.”

What concerns Hofer is that the electronic tether tends to create a dependency that prevents students from learning to regulate their own behavior or to handle their own disappointments and challenges. Instead of figuring out how to deal with a problem, they can be in touch with a caring parent almost instantly. This level of contact also prevents some parents from developing the skills and responses that would bolster independence.

Hofer described cases in which parents regulate their children’s activities from afar, keeping their course syllabi and reminding them of papers and tests, for example, or editing their papers. She described one student’s answer to this question: “When will you know you are an adult?” The answer: “When my mom stops calling me three times a day.”

But Hofer was quick to point out that this does not mean that parents should simply “let go,” as is sometimes suggested. What parents need, she believes, is to find healthy ways to back off a bit while staying connected, a thoughtful balance that encourages students to use their own internal resources and the resources of the institution.

Or, perhaps, it will suffice to simply turn the phone off.


Trial access to a trove of medieval digitized texts

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

For a trial period starting today, Middlebury College has access to Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO), a searchable database of original manuscript materials, archival documents, and printed sources for English, Irish, Scottish and Colonial history from the medieval and early modern period (c. 1100-1800).

MEMSO includes digitized versions of original texts held at the National Archives in London and includes the papers of King Edward VI and Queens Mary and Elizabeth I, among many others.

To access MEMSO, visit the library’s New and Trial Resources or visit MEMSO directly, through October 20th.

Send feedback via email (or by Royal Decree, if the mood strikes you) to Rebekah Irwin.

Annual Special Collections Open House

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

PLEASE JOIN US FOR OUR 

ANNUAL SPECIAL COLLECTIONS OPEN HOUSE

Special Collections, Davis Family Library, Lower Level

 FACULTY  & STAFF ARE INVITED TO REVIEW OUR MOST RECENT ACQUISITIONS OF PRIMARY SOURCE MATERIALS INCLUDING

RARE BOOKS & FIRST EDITIONS; MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS; JOURNALS; DIARIES; ANTIQUE MAPS & PRINTS; EPHEMERA; ETC. 

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS MATERIALS ARE SELECTED FOR THEIR RELEVANCE TO COURSES BEING TAUGHT ACROSS THE CURRICULUM AS WELL AS FOR FACULTY RESEARCH

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE ACQUISITIONS ARE WELCOME

TOURS OF THE CLOSED STACKS WILL BE AVAILABLE

PLEASE STOP IN ANYTIME

10:00 AM-5:00 PM

TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY,THURSDAY

SEPTEMBER 6, 7, & 8, 2011

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU

 

ERIAL Project

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

There was an succint write-up about the ERIAL Project (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) in Inside Higher Ed recently.  Although I’m sure many of you have already heard about this project — an attempt to use ethnographic research techniques to look at how students use (or don’t use) libraries for their academic research needs — it’s worth taking a look at this summary of some of ERIAL’s findings.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Google reigns supreme among resources most commonly used (JSTOR ranks 2nd), but…
  • Students often do not know how to search effectively using Google.
  • Students do not view librarians as potential research partners
  • Faculty have an important role to play in “brokering” interactions between students and librarians.
  • Faculty also tend to view the library primarily as a purchasing agent, while librarians view the library as partners in the teaching & research processes.
  • Both librarians and faculty overestimate the research skills that students possess, assuming that these “digital natives” will have already developed sophisticated searching techniques by the time they arrive at college

What should we as librarians (and library/technology staff) be doing to overcome these problems?

Senior theses 2010-2011 available online

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Last year’s seniors (2010-2011) who submitted theses to include in our digital repository now have their work available in DSpace (go/dspace). Some students request that their work be restricted to the College community, so to view those, you’ll be asked to log in with your Midd username & password.The others are available ‘worldwide,’ and are eventually searchable via Google (etc.).

In the DSpace repository, you’ll also find previous years’ submissions, back to 2007-2008, which is when we began experiment with “ETDs” (“electronic theses & dissertations”).

Submissions are tracked and uploaded, along with metadata (including title, author, summary, subject headings), by LIS cataloging staff — this year, Sue Driscoll. (In the past, other staff who have helped include Michael Warner, Marlena Evans, and Richard Jenkins.)


Take a look to find intriguing research in a wide-range of topics and academic areas.

On a related note: print copies of Honors theses, some master’s theses, and DML theses (Doctor of Modern Languages) continue to be stored in the College Archives, housed in the Library’s Special Collections area. Titles and authors can be found here. Contact Andy Wentink or Danielle Rougeau to view these items.

Middlebury Access to Gartner Research

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Are you interested in the most current and cutting edge information about technology?

The Middlebury campus community can now find out what’s happening in IT with access to research, news analysis and trends from Gartner Inc.

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers technology-related insight that helps clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is a valuable partner to 60,000 clients in 11,000 distinct organizations. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,400 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries.

Students can benefit by using Gartner to find research for assignments, learn where IT is headed and how it will shape our world, discover an area of interest, or even get ideas on careers. Gartner research enriches the educational experience by providing timely, objective real-world examples and content.

Faculty & Staff can benefit by using Gartner to stay current on IT industry trends. Gartner provides insight to the application of technology to real-world problems and enables understanding of the long-term trends and issues that current and future IT decision makers will face.

Gartner’s research is licensed for use and is accessible at no cost to our students, faculty and staff. To access Gartner, you’ll need to first authenticate using your Middlebury username and password, if you haven’t already.

Access Gartner Research

(Bookmark go/gartner)