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‘Cat in the Stacks: (Un)helpful Tips for Thanksgiving Break


I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


All of the mashed potatoes.

Thanksgiving is in exactly one week. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited. I, like you, have a ton to be thankful for this year, and as much as I’m tempted to make this a gooberfest of a grateful post, I’ll keep that to the Tweeter Tweety Twitter bird world (where you can hashtag #NovaSaysThanks and keep that feel-good thankfulness flowing throughout the week)!

So instead of sap, I give you:

Five Very Unhelpful* Strategies for Being Productive on Thanksgiving!

Look, everyone knows we have three weeks until finals. We’re trying to pretend it’s not true, but it is, and every cell of our sleep-deprived bodies are cringing with dread because projects and deadlines and exams are suddenly so scary and so giant and looming, and perhaps we can’t spare every hour of Thanksgiving for holiday activites. And maybe that’s okay, because you can…


read article PDFs on your phone! You’ll fit right in at the dinner table, because your Aunt Betty just got a new iPhone and has discovered how to send cat gifs in texts, and your cousin Brad is checking his Fantasy scores, and really, every one of your family members’ faces are glowing blue this year, so what’s the harm? It’s not like anyone is talking!

But if that doesn’t cut it, you can study by osmosis during your turkey coma!

Step 1: Face-plant on the nice, cool pages of your biology textbook.

Step 2: Line up your frontal lobe on top of the juicier paragraphs.

Step 3: ???

Step 4: Profit!

No naps allowed? Use family debates to test your theses. People love arguing about things they don’t know much about, right? Free consultations!

And, worst-case scenario: you’ve been tasked with cooking. Buy 25 sides of green beans from KFC, write papers instead. Flawless plan.

*Don’t take any of this advice. It is terrible advice.

Some actually helpful tips for Thanksgiving break:

How to access databases through Villanova at home:

Subject Guides:

Feel inefficient when using library resources? Check out our Highlighter blog posts:

Have fun, relax, and be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving, Wildcats!

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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The Highlighter: Use the Catalog’s Filters to Quickly Find Journals


Use the catalog’s filters to quickly find every journal of a particular topic, genre or language in Falvey’s collection. This video shows how to perform this advanced searching technique.

(Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.


Upcoming Chicago-Style Workshops

chicago-manual-of-stylesmallAre you confused by the different formats required by Chicago-style for footnotes and bibliographies? Are you unsure about how and when to use “ibid.”? – Answers to your questions are just around the corner.

Come to Falvey Memorial Library for a quick introduction to Chicago-style rules for footnotes and bibliography. Sessions will be held in Falvey 204 in the second-floor Learning Commons. For more information, contact history liaison librarian Jutta Seibert (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu).

Wednesday, Nov. 19—4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Thursday, Dec. 4—4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Fall Workshop Series: Digital Humanities (Resources Galore!)

This semester, Falvey Memorial Library presented a fall workshop series on Digital Humanities, organized by Laura Bang.  Laura works in Special and Digital Collections and she is actively involved in the Philadelphia Digital Humanities community.

The fantastically informative workshops provided an introduction to DH techniques and applications and took place in Falvey on various Saturdays from 9AM to noon. Since we were provided with tons and tons of resources, I’d be glad to share some with you! For an overview of the individual workshops and the projects/softwares explored, keep scrolling.

September 6: Intro to Digital Humanities 

dirtOur five-session workshop began with an introductory lecture by Mitch Fraas, the Schoenberg Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. As you might guess, we talked about the most popular question on the block: what are digital humanities? As this intro lecture proved, the best way to figure it out is to jump into one of the many projects you can find online. Definition by application! Fraas provided tons of resources; here are some excellent places to start.

http://dirtdirectory.org *Reading about these tools will really give you a good sense of the applications of DH.


September 20: Coding Basics

The second workshop was a fun and approachable introduction to coding by Kate Lynch. We used Processing, which is not only a programming language, but also a development environment with an enormous online community. The software is free to download and open source. The Processing site is loaded with beginner tutorials.

I pointillized ‘Lil Bub! On the left behind the kitty, you can see the Processing window and code.

DH Bub 2

October 4: Audio Editing

audacity-windowsWorkshop number three covered basic audio editing. We played around with Audacity, a free, open source audio recording and editing software. You can download it right from the Audacity page. You can find plenty of royalty free sounds and tracks on the web for your projects on websites like freesound.org. The Audacity page also has plenty of tutorials, but I find YouTube tutorials are the most helpful for software training. Search “Audacity” and you are sure to find hundreds!


October 25: WordPress as a Content Management System

The fourth workshop explored WordPress as a content management system. WordPress.com, as you might already know, allows you to create a free blog, but it is not highly customizable. Based on your wants and needs, it might be perfect for you. However, if you’re looking for a software script to create a website, check out WordPress.org. According to the About page,

WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as full content management system and so much more through the thousands of plugins and widgets and themes, WordPress is limited only by your imagination. (And tech chops.)

To get started with the WordPress software you’ll need a web host, but the software itself is free and open source.


November 8: Mapping/GIS

DH MappingThe fifth and final workshop introduced basic data mapping and visualization. Using CartoDB and openly available data sets from OpenDataPhilly, we learned how to import and create tables and how to customize maps based on those tables.

Sarah Cordivano, the workshop instructor, enthusiastically expressed the importance of projects such as OpenDataPhilly, a resource that

“…is based on the idea that providing free and easy access to data information encourages better and more transparent government and a more engaged and knowledgeable citizenry… By connecting people with data, we’re hoping to encourage users to take the data and transform it into creative applications, projects, and visualizations that demonstrate the power that data can have in understanding and shaping our communities.”

For more information on OpenDataPhilly, visit the About Us page.


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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‘Cat in the Stacks: Kallie and Michelle’s Infinite Playlist

Cat Music

I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

Perhaps you’ll remember a ‘Cat in the Stacks post from way, way back in September about instrumental music suitable for research. Well, my exquisitely broad music library has been raided yet again for a ‘Cat-approved playlist and for double the music fun, I’ve teamed up with Outreach intern Kallie Stahl. This time around, we’re going full vocals with some of the most life-affirming, upbeat songs you can think of!

Since Kallie and I are graduate students and this is bonafide crunch time, we know exactly what it’s like to lose your mind and lose your hope. Both of us agree: music is the answer. Jam with us and breathe! Click the link below the jamming kitty to listen to the playlist for free on 8tracks.

Cat Music

Kallie and Michelle’s Infinite Playlist (Volume 1)

1)   Afterlife –Ingrid Michaelson
“We all, we all, we’re gonna be alright. We got, we got, we always got the fight in us.”

2)   Chasing the Sun – Sara Bareilles
“You said, ‘Remember that life is not meant to be wasted. We can always be chasing the sun. So fill up your lungs and just run – but always be chasing the sun.’”

3)   Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
“Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love.”

4)   You’ll Be Okay – A Great Big World
“You’ll be okay. You’ll be okay. The sun will rise to better days.”

5)   Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag – Minnutes
“What’s the use of worrying? It never was worth while.”

6)   Welcome Home – Radical Face
“Was never much, but we’ve made the most. Welcome home.”

7)   Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson
“Maybe we can sleep in. Make you banana pancakes. Pretend like it’s the weekend now.”

8)   Let It Go – Dragonette
“We don’t need a cure for the weight of the world, ’cause its floating round in the universe, just swinging like it’s tied by a string that you hold - and let it go!”

9) Tupthumping (Manic Focus Remix) – Chumbawamba
“I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.”

10) Baba Yetu (Feat. Soweto Gospel Choir)– Christopher Tin
“Baba yetu, yetu uliye, mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina. Baba yetu, yetu, uliye jina lako litukuzwe.”

Bonus! You’ll Be Okay (Live), because it never fails to make me love the world, especially at 1:43:

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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The Great War: Expressions of Remembrance

The Great War: Expressions of Remembrance

 Who's AbsentA hundred years ago, what would be at least 12,000 miles of trenches were just getting started, and half of these trenches would be on the Western Front. Soldiers were just settling in and the German/Austrian invasion of Polish territory was just beginning. The links that follow are a brief smattering of international expressions of remembrance starting with remembering the world as well as the war.

Falvey Memorial Library is participating in Home Before the Leaves Fall, a multi-institutional project. The UK Telegraph encourages us to do more to remember and asks, What if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had lived? The Royal British Legion asks us to remember the story of the poppy. McMaster University has a special online exhibition of WWI Trench Maps and Aerial Photographs. Special poster exhibits can be seen at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Library of CongressThe International Encyclopedia of the First World War, from the Freie Universität Berlin, is a work in progress and speaks to the fact that “Imperialism shaped almost every facet of international politics from 1898 to 1914.”

France RemembersFrance remembers the first soldiers killed in WWI.

The Paths of Memory project will take several years to complete. The places of memory selected have one trait in common: they are all situated within the present-day frontiers of countries of the six institutions partnering on the project.

Western FrontA hundred years ago the war on the Western Front was just beginning. Today Germany is still burying Eastern Front dead. Germany recently opened its last big war cemetery in Russia, “marking the culmination of a huge effort to recover Wehrmacht soldiers killed on its Eastern Front in World War II.” In August, Russia opened an exhibition of Moscow’s life during WWI entitled “Moscow in the Years of World War One.”

For a bit of nostalgia where it all seems quite clear that it’s all just a little bit of history repeating, try these “History Repeating” lyrics.


Article and resources prepared by Merrill Stein, liaison librarian for geography and political science.


The Highlighter: Use the Catalog’s Filters to Quickly Find Videos


Use the catalog’s filters to quickly find every video of a particular topic, genre or language in Falvey’s collection. This video shows how to perform this advanced searching technique.  (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.


Moodboard: Kallie Stahl

Ever wonder how your favorite librarians and library staff soak up information in their everyday lives? Wonder no longer! Today, in the second of a series of link-laden, resource-ridden micro-interviews with a series of smart people, Programming and Outreach intern Kallie Stahl talks about the internet as a platform for fan communities. 

Kallie StahlWho are you?
I’m Kallie, the Programming and Outreach intern at Falvey Memorial Library, and a graduate student of communication,

Where do you get your news (current events and/or personal interests)?
I have the CNN World News app … the ESPN app for all my sports. If I’m up in the morning I’ll watch Headline News, cable news. I don’t sit down and actually watch the local news or world news. If I’m home on Fridays, which I’m usually not, I’ll watch On the Road with Steve Hartman. He does touching, uplifting news stories.  I’m old-school though – I’d rather read the newspaper.

So, your desk’s convenient proximity to my desk has given me the inside scoop on your geekier side. What was your undergraduate research project?
It was titled Frenzy of Fans: An Examination of the Current Television Fan. I studied in particular the Firefly fandom and how they went about getting Fox to make a feature film out of a canceled television program. I looked into how active they are, the power they hold.

FireflyAnd how would you define fandom?
I classify people in three levels: they’re a viewer, a fan, or a fanatic. These levels of analysis are based upon Lawrence Grossberg’s categories of investment. A viewer is someone whose pleasure of that artifact extends only through the medium, so they just watch a show on television. They don’t do anything else. A fan is someone who takes it the next step further. They’re the ones who watch TV every week, maybe check out spoilers, own paraphernalia – things that extend beyond the medium. They maybe follow the actor on Twitter or Facebook. A fanatic is the next step further, so they’re gonna watch the program every week, they’re going to create fansites. They’re the ones who are going to be writing fanfiction. Some fans might read, they might not write it, but the fanatic will write fanfiction. They’ll know lines by heart. They’ll know everything about that show as it extends beyond the medium. They’ll live their lives through that show. There are also different levels between each group.

How do you use the Internet in terms of fandom?
I am on tumblr a lot. I look at Reddit. I visit a lot of spoilers sites because I’m a spoiler junkie. I need to know what’s happening with my favorite shows, and I need to know it now. I’ll look on fansites.

Do you social media?
Yes, I do. I’m on Facebook, Instie (Instagram), Twitter, Pinterest.

Who do you follow?
Nathan Fillion, Stephen Colbert, Neil Patrick Harris.

Favorite TV shows right now, on or off the air?
Castle, Scandal, Nashville, Bones, CSI:, Firefly, House, Gilmore Girls, X-Files

Do you have a favorite app?
My most useful app is the PNC bank app. The SportsCenter app is on the list.

iOS, Android, or other?

Thanks, Kallie!

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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Meet “Nova” and The Seeing Eye at the Special Olympics Fair


Article by Laura Matthews, library events and outreach specialist.

IMG_2217Four years ago, while at The Special Olympics, I found out about raising puppies for The Seeing Eye. I raised my first pup in 2012, a female yellow lab named Carey. She went on to become a breeder. Last fall, on October 28, 2013, the only female from Carey’s first litter of six pupsseven week old “Baby N”was delivered to our house.“Baby N” was named Nova! A complete, bizarre, and utter coincidence; especially because less than a year later I myself would become employed at Villanova. (I love it when life comes full circle!) Nova would spend 12-15 months with us learning and growing while being exposed to all sorts of new things. She spent at least one day of the week on Villanova’s campus with my father, who also works here.

Raising puppies to become guides for the blind is bittersweet, yes, but incredibly worth it.


The Seeing Eye called – it is Nova’s time to return for her formal harness training. She will more than likely become a guide, or as I like to say, a blind person’s new best friend or perhaps she will be a breeder like her mom. Regardless, I am excited to see what her future holds. The Seeing Eye knows how much I enjoy The Special Olympics and has allowed her to stay so she can make an appearance on Saturday November 8th. On Wednesday November 12th she will say her goodbyes to Villanova’s campus and return to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey.

If you are interested in learning more about The Seeing Eye or perhaps you are thinking about raising a puppy (I highly suggest the latter, it is more rewarding than I can put into words) please visit The Seeing Eye’s website: http://www.seeingeye.org/ And you should probably click on “Raise a Puppy,” – just saying!


Come on out to the 2014 Special Olympics Fall Festival! The festival will be held November 7, 8, and 9, rain or shine.

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Nine Essential Tips for Non-Traditional Students (for National Non-Traditional Student Week!)

happy mature woman work on laptop

There are as many iterations of a non-traditional student as there are students themselves. Even ‘normal’ students these days have jobs and commitments that make their schedules far removed from idyllic full-time-student status in every sense of the word.

I know this for a fact because my own “non-trad post-grad” college career has lasted almost as long as it has taken two of my children to earn their bachelor’s degrees. Having listened to their kvetching during that time made me see that trads and non-trads endure many of the same burdens: quirky professors, toppling stacks of copies, bedspreads stained with the blooms of highlighters with lost lids and classmates at shared tables eating offensive foods (e.g.: gruesome-looking green smoothies, Chipotle burrito bowls, bologna eaten methodically slice by slice, without the bread.)

So we deserve Non Traditional Student Week, a national celebration held each year by ANTSHE, the Association of Nontraditional Students in Higher Education, and held this year from November 2-8.  It is promoted locally on our campus by Villanova University’s College of Professional Studies, including the Offices of both Part-Time and Continuing Studies, who will be awarding one outstanding non-traditional student leader. For it to come to my personal attention now is rather coincidental. I am coming to the end of my own non-traditional student journey next Saturday, as I’ll be sitting for the comprehensive exams in graduate communication studies.

How to best prepare best for a 5-hour behemoth exam while balancing a full time job, training a puppy, planning a Thanksgiving feast for 30 and keeping up with the new season of Top Chef?  Well, I think a lot of the same strategies I’ll be implementing for the next two weeks are the same ones that have gotten me through the last [too embarrassed to admit] years! I’ll share some of my favorites below. Please add your own to our comments section!


PuppyFirst of all, don’t get a puppy. Not now. Even if he’s a gift and the cutest thing you’ve ever laid eyes on. I’m speaking from experience. Save it for your graduation gift.

Get a crockpot instead. Liquid + Onions + Meat = go.

Save your vacation time. I know it’s completely a depressing thought to use precious time away from the office on your couch with your nose buried in a George Herbert Mead treatise, but it is better than the stress you’ll feel if you don’t take the time you need to study. Stress makes you ugly, turns you into a potty mouth behind the wheel, and makes you lower your standards when it comes to choosing candy! How else can I explain the Wonka Everlasting Gobstoppers I’ve put on Amazon auto-delivery?

Become best friends with a subject librarian and/or a “good places to start” librarian. First of all, it’s easy to become friends with our librarians because they are all totes adorbs. But, we realize it’s difficult for non-trads to visit the Library during the day. Fortunately, the Library has set up a myriad of ways to consult with our librarians whether you’re on the road, at your desk, or even still in your pajamas. You’ll still get the same great service – and I can’t stress enough to get acquainted with your subject librarian and Falvey’s “great places to start” librarian, Sue Ottignon. They luuuurve to dig and are most likely already familiar with the project or information that your professor is asking for. Hardly anyone ever leaves a consult without kicking themselves for not having done it sooner. That’s a fact – folks are always kicking themselves around here! It’s like Cirque du Soliel!

Become best friends with the folks in Access Services. Another brilliant crowd – and the one that holds the keys to ACCESS, get it? Access?  The verb and noun, actually, that means to get? Not only can they help you retrieve the zillion or so items that Falvey holds, they will help you get the other zillion or two you’re bound to want as well from libraries around the world with our amazing ILL and E-Z Borrow services. And somehow, they always manage to do it with a smile fully intact. Don’t know how they do it.

Stewie-Mom-MommaHide from your family. Who knew your old Hide ‘n Seek gaming skills would come in handy during college? They do. Learn how to hide. Put up a CLOSED sign. No cooking, no cleaning, no putting out the darn dog. When it’s time to study, study. Let the family know to not bother you. Set time limits. Go to Trader Joe’s, load the freezer with Orange Chicken and Mac ‘N Cheese, point them to the microwave and close the den door. Better yet, come to the Library where they can’t find you. We have great 24/7 spaces, including a spectacular Reading Room in Falvey Hall that shares quiet study with a fascinating public conservation of a massive Baroque masterpiece.

Decide how you’re going to address your professors – then own it. You may find yourself being the same age as, or even older than your professor on occasion. This will be awkward. They may make it easy on you and say, “Hey, call me Bob!” If not, use the same strategy I used for my in-laws: catch their eye and talk to them once they’re looking at you. You may have to drop your notebook or wave your arms wildly first, but then you’ll be over that awkward patch. Always, always, always address them via their appropriate title (Dr./Prof.) in emails, though.

Consider an independent study. Some majors offer opportunities for you to spend a class or two in an independent study. Not only a perfect way to save on gas or commuting time, it’s a great way to tailor your studies to combine getting credits with a work project that you have always wanted to do or with a skill that you’ve wanted to devote more time to learning. I was able to combine visual culture theory, my interest in art and learning Bootstrap into a class I and my professor customized. Looking for ways to kill two or even three birds with one stone is a great strategy to not only save time, but to create amazing opportunities for yourself with mentorship you can’t always get in real life.

The start of a new hoops season! Photo by Molly Quinn, Class of '15.

The start of a new hoops season! Photo by Molly Quinn, Class of ’15.

You are a ‘Cat! You may keep non-traditional hours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the traditional fun of being a student at Villanova University! Go to sporting events, trash talk to St. Joe’s folks, get a beer at Kelly’s or Flip’s, hit the clearance rack at the bookstore for bargains on Nova hoodies and most of all, bleed blue with the rest of us! It’s your week, Non-traditional student! Congrats and have fun!


Joanne Quinn is the team leader for Communication and Service Promotion search

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Last Modified: November 7, 2014