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‘Cat in the Stacks: I Do Not Know

CAT-STAX

 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the first post of ‘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.

“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know,’ and thou shalt progress.”  -Maimonides

I had some time to kill before the graduate student orientation this past Sunday, and found myself in the Connelly Center. So there I was, stealthily eavesdropping on a first-year student-athlete in Holy Grounds while I bribed my phone to connect to the mobile WiFi on campus for the first time. I couldn’t stop listening to this conversation about what foods to eat before practice and when to do homework between workouts—not because of the oh-so-gripping content of the conversation but because of the bravery of the first-year student. She was unashamed, unabashed. She asked questions and she got answers. She found valuable resources in her upperclassmen teammates and, by taking advantage of that, wasted no time in finding her footing.

Because of her willingness to ask questions, she could focus on more important first-year matters and relax.

As a newbie in the Villanova world, Anonymous Student-Athlete inspired me. She has me thinking, too, about the importance of asking questions. It’s not always easy, but it can be learned, and it is probably the most invaluable tool you can learn in college—for research, especially, but also for life.

I’m no Maimonides, but here are my top three realizations about asking questions:

1) When a fellow human offers their guidance, they typically do want you to take advantage of it.

Helping Hands

… and Falvey Memorial Library is staffed by incredibly kind, incredibly smart librarians who want to help you. 

2) Asking questions in class, or asking questions of your support system, is smart.

Questioning

… and the sillier your question feels, the more important it is. The basics are your base. Make them concrete right away by reaching out with questions, and then you can start building on your real goal. Plus, by formulating a question, you’re bettering your understanding of whatever you’re asking.

3)  Asking questions lets you inhabit other people’s brains, and that’s where magic happens.

Brain

… that magic being mind control. Mua-ha-ha—just kidding. Sharing perspectives, whether it be the best place to get pizza in Ardmore (Jules Thin Crust!) or whether chaos is the natural state of the universe, is the one of the most exciting aspects of being part of a scholarly community like Villanova University.

I didn’t ask anyone how to log into mobile WiFi. I could have asked any one of the hundreds of students I’d been passing all afternoon, but instead I wasted time with a basic question. Lesson learned.

Here’s to you, Anonymous Student-Athlete. Cheers!

 


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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First Week Survival Tips for First-Year Students (& free Get It Started desktop wallpaper!)

CLASS18-WALLPAPER2T

Hi, first-year students! Welcome to Villanova! Orientation is now over and we know your OC’s (Orientation Counselors) have done most of the “heavy lifting” by providing the Class of 2018 with a wealth of information and activities designed to acclimate you to life at Villanova. Your excellent professors will continue the job from here, including introducing you to the vast resources available at Falvey Memorial Library. Until then, we have a few things you may want to keep in mind for the first week or two of the semester – a critically important time that can impact your grades in the months to come.

Don’t skip class, bring a pen and take scrupulous notes, even on the first day. While the information the professor imparts the first day might not be the Most Important Thing you’ll ever learn from him or her, you may learn equally germane things, such as what books you need, any changes to the schedule, project due dates or late paper and attendance policies. Take note – this is the day you may learn what can get under their skin! Check your email frequently, too – sometimes there are ‘pre’ first day assignments. You’ll want to be prepared if the class suddenly jumps into a discussion of a reading the professor sent ahead of time. It’s not fun sitting there, conjuring all your psychic energy just to not be called on! #beenthere.

Scrutinize the syllabus. Ask questions now. Find out your professor’s office hours and—more importantly—location. Take his or her advice on how best to approach what you’re being asked to do – sometimes, they’ll give you the “answers” ahead of time! While it may be boring to sit through a long read-through of a three or four page syllabus, it’s also the time the prof imparts a lot of offhand, administrative info that if you don’t catch now, he or she might never repeat. Then you’ll have to get it down the road, during crunch time, and second or third hand from a classmate – who might not be reliable. This is not a good combo. (Remind me to tell you about the time I missed my astronomy final exam due to secondhand information.) Another good tip: photocopy each of your syllabi and pin them to your bulletin board – you’ll be glad you did!

Arrive ten minutes early – and get a good seat down front. Sitting in the front helps you focus, helps you resist playing with your phone and ensures that you’ll be one of the students the prof remembers – an awesome thing when she’s putting together your participation grades. And arriving a bit early each week allows you to get the seat where you’re most comfortable, and with students you may want to study with. Relatedly, take a good look at your schedule and plot it out with a campus map. Give yourself enough time to make those cross-campus treks if need be. That walk from Bartley to St. Mary’s can take a good fifteen minutes – 30 if you stop at Falvey’s Holy Grounds for a latte. Better yet, pack a water bottle and a Quest bar in your backpack – hunger and thirst does nothing for your concentration levels. Inner mom speaking here.

Scope out the good study spots. The Library has plenty. You may recall from your campus tour that the library’s third and fourth floors get the best press for getting progressively quieter as you go up. There are also group study rooms up on those floors with nice, big chalkboards and lots of outlets. But you can find many other perfect places, too. The 24/7 Holy Grounds lounge, for example. It may be noisy during the day, but there’s plenty of java and goodies, and no one will ever. make. you. leave. But other, less obvious places abound. The section of the second floor Learning Commons near the back staircase is funky, well-lit and very quiet with quick access to the Writing, Math and Learning Support Centers. These centers themselves are beautifully furnished with cushy nooks and are great resources for when you need extra help in those areas.

Also, don’t forget to venture into “Old” Falvey Hall, which has two 24/7 Wildcard accessible outside entrances on the path adjacent to Mendel Field. The lounge directly outside the director’s office is extremely quiet and quite handsome, with bright inviting furniture and a wall of giant whiteboards for your use. Another best kept secret is the cozy lineup of old, vintage leather couches on the bottom floor of Falvey Hall – often used as much for sleeping as for study. There are seldomly used large restrooms down there, too. And of course, there’s the piece de resistance – the Falvey Hall Reading Room. Vast, vaulted ceilings and flooded with natural light, you’ll love sitting in this quiet space with its large, spacious tables. The only sound you’ll hear will be the pusht pusht of the da Cortona painting conservators’ rags and brushes. Claim your space now before it gets really popular! By the way – did I mention that this gorgeous space is also open 24/7? So clutch!

Get to know your subject librarian early in the semester! They can help you with any assignment – not just the major ones at the end. Did you know that each major has its own subject librarian that specializes in showing you how to find and mine the best resources that the world has to offer in your subject area? They have also prepared amazing subject guides which you will find indispensable. And they can introduce you to awesome apps, electronic style guides, organizers, and citation managers that can make juggling five or six classes a heckuva lot easier! Subject librarians are here exclusively to help you – introduce yourself today! You can reach them via email, live chat or of course, in-person during regular library hours.

library.villanova.edu – your new favorite website. Annd, (you’re already doing this one really well!) continue to follow the Library News blog. You’re going to love the tips we’ll share week after week about the latest and greatest books, databases, e-reference works, apps and more available to you. It’s also the best place to check for updates on hours, library events and policies. And naturally, library.vilanova.edu is your best access point for VUFind – an amazingly robust search and discovery tool – it’s not just a catalogue! It has amazing technologically advanced and customizable features that you can tailor to your needs. VUFind was developed right here at Falvey, and it’s a gold standard in academia, used all over the world! Explore its capabilities and make it your own today!

So, the fun is just beginning, first-year students! Those jitters will go away soon, we promise. Don’t forget to breathe! And, most importantly, don’t forget that you can always come by the Library for advice, help or a smile whenever you need it! Stop by the front desk, log onto live chat (look for the green light on the bottom right of our homepage,) or shoot us an email with your comments, questions, suggestions, etc! Even easier, look for and engage with us on social media – we have active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and more! (Or see them all in one place, at Rebelmouse!) Alternatively, hashtag #falvey and we’ll find you! We’ll be looking forward to your likes, follows, comments, and RTs!

Until then, here’s a small welcoming gift – dress up your laptop for the fall semester by downloading your Let’s Get it Started in here wallpaper! We’re excited for a great new year – hope you are too!

Access the graphic here
To change computer wallpaper, open the link and drag the graphic to your desktop, then open your monitor settings to switch wallpapers.


Joanne Quinn is team leader of the Communication & Service Promotion team.

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The World According to the Class of 2018

ELMO2tr

Today is Move-In Day for the Class of 2018! Our incoming first-year students have never lived in a world without wearable cellular telephones, AMBER Alerts, computers that can defeat the world chess champion, or cloned sheep.

Television shows, from their point of view, have always displayed a score from the TV ratings system.

These millennials may have played with a Furby or with Teenie Beanies—miniature Beanie Babies included in fast-food children’s meals. At Christmastime, many of them received a “Tickle Me Elmo” doll.

They may not realize that the “save” icon for Microsoft and other products is an image of a floppy disk. Even if they do, they probably have never used a floppy disk.

Adobe Flash, MP3 (audio format), wikis and JAVA have always existed in their lifetimes, as has Amazon.com.

And the dictionary has always included the terms “alcopop,” “always-on,” “censorware,” “fist bump,” “microbrowser,” and “phishing,” as far as they’re concerned.

Certainly you could add examples not included on this list. Please share your own ideas/observations about the class of 2018 in our Comment section.


Gerald info deskArticle by Gerald Dierkes, information services specialist for the Information and Research Assistance team, senior copy-editor for the Communication and Service Promotion team and a liaison to the Department of Theater. Graphic by Joanne Quinn.

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What’s New with Pietro da Cortona’s “The Triumph of David”?

Intriguing developments about “The Triumph of David” have occurred since our previous blog post about this Cortona painting. The painting has been completely cleaned and, over the Memorial Day weekend, varnished. And, most impressive, Anthony Lagalante, PhD, associate professor, Dept. of Chemistry, received a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for technical analysis of the artwork. Dr. Lagalante received the notification and a check for $24,000 at the end of May.

Although varnishing is normally the final step in the creation of an oil painting, the conservator, Kristin de Ghetaldi, explains, “We always put a thin ‘isolation’ coat of varnish on the surface of paintings after we have removed as much of the unoriginal restoration as we are able. This helps to bring back some of the saturation but also serves as a barrier layer between the original surface and any materials that we then add (fills, inpainting, etc.).”

Photo (32)

Areas with gouache viewable on painting’s bottom right.

Currently the interns, volunteers and de Ghetaldi are filling areas of paint loss and toning the fills with red gouache (gouache is opaque watercolor paint) to simulate the original ground of “The Triumph of David.” To observe the conservators in action, visit the Reading Room in Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey) or watch the live feed. The conservators are happy to answer questions about their work.

For more information about the conservation project – “About the Restoration;” the Kress award; biographies of the conservation team; the chemistry of the painting; a biography of the donor, Princess Eugenia Ruspoli (1861-1951, born Jennie Berry in Alabama); and more – go to projects.library.villanova.edu/paintingrestoration/ or from Falvey’s homepage, click “Projects” and scroll to “Conserving a Giant …”

For more information about the artist, Pietro da Cortona, see “Dig Deeper: About the artist Pietro da Cortona.”


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 

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UPDATE: Villanova’s Automatic Virtual Environment

Last fall this blog post informed you of a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, aka “CAVE,” coming to the Library. This summer construction accelerated, and the Villanova Immersive Studies System (VISS) will open soon.

“It sounds similar to watching an IMAX film in 3D,” a colleague informed me. I explained that it’s much more than observing. It’s more like the holodeck from Star Trek, the television series. The VISS allows participants to become virtually immersed in a setting in which they can move about and even circle around the 3D image an object, such as a statue or tree, as though they were in the actual setting. The VISS also includes sound.

Funding for the VISS comes from a $1.67 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant: “the largest NSF research grant ever awarded to the University.”

 

UntitledThe CAVE—aka the Villanova Immersive Studies System (VISS)—arrives … some assembly required.

 

 

RS7959_1725Formerly Viewing Room 4 in Falvey Hall, this space has been prepared to house the VISS.

 

 

RS7973_DSC_2181 copyInstallation begins!

 

RS7981_DSC_0370An installer prepares one of the VISS’s many projectors.

 

RS7980_DSC_0369The enclosure begins to take shape.

 

RS8005_DSC_2216Testing the Villanova Immersive Studies System (VISS)

 


Photos by Luisa Cywinski and Alice Bampton.

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O Captain, My Captain

Whitman_Poem_O_Captain_My_Captain_09MAR1887_handwritten

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies
Fallen cold and dead.

“O Captain! My Captain!” is a poem written by Walt Whitman in 1865. It is an elegy or mourning poem, written to honor Abraham Lincoln. The poem is an extended metaphor with Lincoln serving as the captain of a ship, symbolizing the United States.

The poem was featured prominently in Dead Poets Society, the film that featured Robin Williams‘ Oscar-winning portrayal of John Keating, a teacher at a stuffy boys-prep school. The students show their support for Keating at the end of the film by standing on their desks and reciting the poem, in defiance of the school’s headmaster’s decision to fire their beloved teacher. The poem has been featured in several anthologies, including Whitman’s Sequel to Drum-Taps and later editions of Leaves of Grass. Comedic legend Williams passed away yesterday at the age of 63.

These volumes and the film are available for borrowing at the Library. Falvey also has other films featuring Williams.

 

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It’s Shark Week and we’ve got fintastic shark art from the Digital Library!

SHARK DIGITAL
http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Record/vudl:312089

Did we, ahem, whet your appetite for more Dime Novel adventure? If so, be sure to check out our fascinating full collection of Dime Novel and Popular Literature from 1860 to 1930.

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Dog Days Special: Can you name these famous dogs?

australian shepherd and books

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Dig Deeper: The Ramones

Guest blogger,  Rohanah Spatz-Mallory

Rohanah

 

On July 11, the last original member of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, passed away of bile duct cancer. Born Thomas Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, in 1949, he moved to Forest Hills, Queens, at the age of four and went on to found one of the most popular and enduring rock bands of all time. The death of Tommy Ramone, the last surviving original member of the Ramones, marks the end of an era. The other three died recently: Joey in 2001 of lymphoma, Dee Dee in 2002 of a drug overdose and Johnny in 2004 of prostate cancer. The sad occasion of Tommy Ramone’s death is extremely significant to a certain large group of people, young and old: Punks.

Some have recently said that the Ramones are now finally dead—gone but not forgotten. Others, such as Legs McNeil, a close friend of the Ramones as well as other punk artists and bands of the original punk era, such as Iggy Pop and the UK group The Sex Pistols, think that the Ramones have been gone for a long time, citing their supposed artistic demise in the late 1980s. Even still, the Ramones were arguably the most influential punk band ever. They pioneered the simple, fast punk sound that many know and love.

image

The Ramones are still a fairly popular group with lots of people today, including the original punk rockers of the Ramones’ generation as well as a new generation of kids and young adults that like the punk style and music of the Ramones. As the past few weeks have gone by, many people have talked to me about Tommy Ramone’s death both on social media and in person. The day after he passed away I wore a Ramones shirt, and people of a wide range of ages complimented the shirt, asked if it was to remember Tommy, or said they loved the Ramones and were very surprised when they heard the news.

As a huge fan of the Ramones’ style, attitudes and music, I felt slightly upset about this death although I can’t really say why. There will always be easy access to Ramones music, and there are pictures, videos and interviews of them. I can say, as a young fan of the Ramones, I am disappointed that there is no way to ever see them. Of course there wasn’t any way to see them before Tommy’s death, but this just seals in the thought that the band all together is completely gone. Something about it just doesn’t feel the same, knowing that you’re listening to music where all four founding members of the band are not alive.

Dig Deeper:

People all over the world will always recognize the influence that The Ramones had on music and society. You can dig deeper into punk music and its cultural impact with these great resources from the Falvey collection:

For popular histories of punk rock that cover the Ramones, try these:

England’s dreaming : anarchy, Sex Pistols, punk rock, and beyond, by Jon Savage

Break all rules! : punk rock and the making of a style, by Tricia Henry

 

punk coverHere are a couple of region-specific histories:

Grinding California : culture and corporeality in American skate punk, by Konstantin Butz

It makes you want to spit! : the definitive guide to punk in Northern Ireland, 1977-1982, by Sean O’Neill and Guy Trelford

 

And finally, two more scholarly treatments of punk rock culture:

Punk rockers’ revolution : a pedagogy of race, class, and gender, by Curry Malott and Milagros Peña

Lipstick traces : a secret history of the twentieth century, by Griel Marcus

 

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Special Collections project on WWI to be featured on PCN broadcast

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 2.02.00 PM
Verizon Channel 9 – which is PCN, Pennsylvania’s non-profit cable network, broadcast a show entitled Philadelphia in World War I. For those who missed it, this program will be re-broadcast Saturday, July 26th at 5:35 pm and again on Sunday, July 27th at 04:35 am.

This program includes an interview with Special Collections and Digital Library Coordinator Michael Foight and other speakers involved with the “Home Before the Leaves Fall: a Great War Centennial Exposition” which features World War I content from Villanova University as well as other heritage organizations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Experience World War One as it happened day by day, 100 years ago at http://wwionline.org.

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Last Modified: July 24, 2014