Friday, May 15, 2015

LITS Student Employee Profile: Qudsia Aziz on the LITS Web Team!

Qudsia Aziz has been a LITS Web Team member for four years, during which she's contributed to massive web migration projects, learned and used multiple new programming languages and frameworks, and become a contributor to the Drupal open source community. We had a few questions for Qudsia before her graduation this weekend.

Qudsia Aziz

Kabul, Afghanistan

Class Year:

Computer Science

Student Employee Position:
Web Programmer

When did you start working for the LITS Web Team?
Fall 2011

How did you hear about the position, and why were you interested?
I found this position on JobX and I decided to apply for it because it was a great opportunity to work on real web applications with a team of experienced web developers.

What is your favorite LITS Web project thus far? Least favorite?
My favorite project was writing the Webform Field Repeat module. My least favorite project was going through old HTML web pages manually during the migration of the website from RedDot to Drupal.

How do you think this position has helped your professional development?
I have had the opportunity to work on challenging web projects, work with and learn from an amazing team of web developers, and keep abreast of new web technologies.

Favorite class at MHC?
Artificial Intelligence

Career goals?
I plan to work as a software engineer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Archives Exhibit Online: LGBTQ+ History at Mount Holyoke

The latest Archives and Special Collections online exhibit is up! Entitled "Persistence and Existence," it showcases different student LGBTQ+ organizations at MHC, starting in the 1970s all the way to today. The exhibit is organized chronologically and contains photographs, digital documents, and text describing the rich and complex history of exclusion that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people face at Mount Holyoke.

Starting in 1975 with the well known "Astronomer" newspaper article, the exhibit covers the formation of the Lesbian Alumnae Network, now Lyon's Pride, the transformation of the Lesbian Alliance to include bisexual and trans identities, and the struggles students faced with peers and the administration through the early 2000s. "Persistence and Existence" includes a full digitized zine, details about racism and exclusion within the LGBTQ community, and short bios about each of the orgs that exist today. 

Check out the exhibit here and please contact the Archives to help us fill in the gaps! We know that there's so much LGBTQ history that has been erased and silenced and we are actively working to preserve the past and future. We would love your materials or information pertaining to student organizations, campus goings on, and your own experience as a member of the Mount Holyoke community! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Drop-in Moodle help for instructors on May 12

The LITS liaisons will be offering a drop-in session for instructors interested in setting up their Moodle sites for future semesters, on Tuesday, May 12, from 10:30 AM to 12 Noon in Library 431. 

We're happy to help you copy resources from an older course site, start setting up one from scratch, or just answer general questions about Moodle. See you there!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Panchatantra: Stories of ageless wisdom from South Asia

It’s May, the month of finals! There’s more to May, though; it’s also the South Asian Heritage Month. In the light of this, we want to point out some exciting books we have here at LITS to help you learn more about the culture of story telling in South Asia. The Panchatantra (which in Sanskrit means ‘Five Principles’) is a canonical collection of animal fables in verse and prose. It contains stories of Sanskrit (Hindu) as well as Pali (Buddhist) origins.It is one of the earliest and most frequently translated literary product of India. It contains numerous fables, often three to four layers in depth, arranged inside a frame story. It is believed that the original version, attributed to Pandit Vishnu Sharma, was composed in the third century BC.

*A page from a Persian translation of Panchatantra depicts
 a manipulative jackal trying to lead his lion king into a war.

The prelude of Panchatantra illustrates that Vishnu Sharma was asked by the King of Mahilaropya, to teach the principles of governance to his three unruly sons. Through his stories, Vishnu Sharma was able to teach nitishastra (treatise on government and political science) to the three Princes, who otherwise refused to study. According to Patrick Olivelle (the author of an English translation of the book), “Panchatantra is a complex book that does not seek to reduce the complexities of human life, government policy, political strategies and ethical dilemmas into simple solutions; it can and does speak to different readers at different levels.”  The five principles illustrated in its five volumes are -separation of friends (The Lion and the Bull), gaining of friends (The Dove, Crow,  Mouse, Tortoise and Deer), war and peace (Of Crows and Owls), the loss of gains (The Monkey and the Crocodile) and imprudence (The Brahman and the Mongoose). 

Some of the translated versions of Panchatantra available through LITS are:
  1. The Panchatantra : translated from the Sanskrit by Arthur W. Ryder (MH Cutter Collection 69Y P1 E - can be requested at the Circulation Desk) 
  2. Pancatantra of Viṣṇuśarman : by M. R. Kale (MH Stacks PK3741 .P2 1969)
  3. The five discourses on worldly wisdom by Viṣṇuśarman : translated by Patrick Olivelle (MH Stacks PK3798.V835 P3613 2006)

If you are looking for a fun and engaging book to read once you are done with finals, check out a copy from the Circulation Desk and enjoy some wonderful stories from South Asia!

*Image obtained from the New World Encyclopedia under Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

The bunnies are back!

Finals got you frazzled? LITS has bunnies! Join us for our Spring Study Break Tea, a.k.a. Tea and Buns!

Visit the Stimson Room on Library Level 6 this Wednesday, April 29 from 4-5pm.  There will be snacks, button making, graphic novels, and - most importantly - baby bunnies!  Come take a break, cuddle a bunny, and feel all your finals stress melt away . . .

Friday, April 17, 2015

From the Archives: The Diary of Gertrude "Scuddy" Scudder, Class of 1915

 "Today is one of the most memorable in my life. Mother and I, together with the Sharkeys, set out for college. Bess S. for Smith and I for Holyoke!"  Sunday, September 17, 1911

  A recent acquisition to the Archives and Special Collections provides fascinating insight into the daily life of Grace Scudder, a graduate of the class of 1915.The diary came to us through surprising means-- it was discovered in an antique cabinet and was donated to the Archives by someone who had no relation to Scudder! Her diary contains entries from the years 1911-1916, with entries beginning on Scudder's first day at Mount Holyoke College. The highlights of her first week include:

Monday: "Mother and I go wild over the lovely campus and  the glorious mountains."
Tuesday: "I put mother on the 11:22 train at Holyoke for a while. I certainly felt mighty miserable for a while. Dear Mother! However, this afternoon and evening I've met heaps of the loveliest girls and have gone around to the cosiest rooms!"
Thursday: "I had my first experience of Holyoke's beautiful chapel services and my first glimpse of Pres. Woolley. Had a 'scrumptious' time at a freshie tea in Grace Hallock's room."
Friday: "I had my first taste of recitations today. The German class struck terror to my heart."
Saturday: "At 5 o'clock I went to the Y.W.C.A. recep. with Alice Jones, and shook hands with Pres. Woolley." (all emphasis original)

The format of a line-a-day diary is perfect for busy college student: each page contains brief entries from each day over a five year period. The day of the month is inscribed at the top of the page, and the writer fills in the year next to reserved lines for that entry.

The front cover of Scudder's diary. Imprinted in the soft red
leather are the words "A Line A Day."

Gertrude Scudder, known as "Scuddy" to her friends, participated in an active civic life at Mount Holyoke and  afterwards. After graduating from MHC, she taught English and Latin in a junior high school, although she did not want to teach as her vocation and sought to work in journalism or have an exectutive position in business. She gained experience on the staff of the Trenton Times and Springfield Union, and also worked as a a social investigator for the Trenton Welfare Association.
These entries from May 6 highlight graduation activities. The top entry from 1912 reads,
"The seniors couldn't spin tops today on account of the rain."

She had a long history with the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) as a member during her time at Mount Holyoke and as an active leader of her local chapter in Trenton, New Jersey. She served for six years as the president of the Trenton chapter and wrote a 50 year history of the organization. She continued her civic mission by working with the Garden Club, Trent House Association, Daughters of the American Revolution, and was also active in MHC alumnae activities.
This paper lapel clip in the design of a golden sphinx was found tucked in the pages of the diary,

Monday, April 13, 2015

Reminder: A Chance for Fame and Fortune!

We're looking forward to seeing your creative pieces!  Please remember to complete your submissions for the Emily Silverman ’81 Student Prize, a juried competition to recognize an outstanding work of student creativity.  Open to all current Mount Holyoke College students, the winning entry will be displayed in a LITS space and will also receive a monetary prize!

Deadline for submissions: Sunday April 26, 2015. For more information, visit: