Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Moodle Faculty Mixer: all instructors welcome!

All instructors are welcome at the Moodle Faculty Mixer on Wednesday, October 22 from 4 to 5:30 PM in Library 431.

fisheye photo (waughmp waughmp) of man explaining something to two other people in front of a laptop and a large screen.
Image courtesy of techcocktail and altunsunphoto (CC by-sa 2.0)
What is a Moodle mixer? It's an informal time for you to gather and talk with other instructors about what you're doing with Moodle: you can bring your laptop or let us know to provide one. You can show others what you've been up to in Moodle, or something you'd like suggestions or feedback about, or just come to chat and have a snack. We guarantee you'll learn something, regardless, because we teach with Moodle in a variety of ways.

We know instructors are doing a variety of interesting stuff in Moodle, and that something simple you came up with might be just the tip someone else is looking for. We also know that everyone's busy, so we're using a format where no advance preparation is required other than letting us know you're coming. 

Got something you think might help others? Looking for ideas? Want opinions on how to do something better or more easily? Please RSVP here or send a note to your LITS Liaison so we can get enough snacks. Coffee and tea and tasty treats will be provided.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Word to the Wise: Adobe Digital Editions and privacy reading eBooks

Thanks to helpful reports from Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader and Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica, we learned of some serious security and privacy issues with the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) ebook reading & management software.

Adobe Digital Editions 4, has been logging data on the books used with this application, and also logging data on other ebooks that have been downloaded on the same device (mobile device or computer). This information is being uploaded in plain text to Adobe servers, without any encryption, meaning that book logging data is potentially open to interception. This privacy breach seems to be limited to Digital Editions 4, the most recent version of the software.

LITS provides access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks and all can be read online.  Due to digital rights management (DRM) restrictions, however, some require Adobe Digital Editions for offline reading.  And you might well have personal ebooks that are using ADE.   If you use ADE and want to protect your right to privacy, we recommend you revert to version 3, which did not have these issues.   Or simply read ebook content online without downloading - at least until this breach is fixed.

In response to a request for information from the American Library Association, Adobe reports they “expect an update to be available no later than the week of October 20”.

Omnomnom! Eat and Greet!

As the weather gets colder, and papers get longer, have you ever wished you could just stay put in the library, and not hike across the world to Blanch? Have you hoped that food would magically appear in the Reading Room, or that there would be a LITS feast? Then you will be glad to know our most well-kept secret: the Research and Instructional Support (RIS) librarians are undercover foodies, and they know how you feel!

In the cavernous realms behind the ASK LITS board lie their official dwellings aka. their gingerbread houses. But our librarians are hardly bad apples, grumpy behind towers of books. They love having visitors and seekers of food for thought. So, to dispel any myths about the scary and famished land of research at this library, the fantastic RIS librarians are asking you to dine with them for the first-ever 

Eat and Greet!

Where:   Research Help Desk, Reading Room
When:    October 16th,  2-3 pm

Come by the Research Help Desk at that delectable date and time to pick up your map to the seven different offices, each housing different librarians.

Jorge at the Research Help Desk
Jorge awaits your visit!

And wait, there's even more choice on this menu: each librarian specializes in supporting different academic departments, so each office will have a different fall goody to snack on!

Eat your way through the map, and discover to whom and where you can go for your research and technology needs.  And at the end of this banquet, you can enter to win a Rao's gift card for your future library-hunger pangs!

We promise, our undercover foodies want to help you with your research, and feed you (even when you feel like you've bitten off more than you can chew).

Nourishment and research, all in one: productive procrastination, don't you think?


Psst. Another secret: some of our librarians are great cooks!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Interested in a career in Library and Information Science?

Join us for an informal gathering to learn about library and information management careers!

Date: Friday, October 10
Location: Stimson Room on Library level 6 (building map)
Time: 2-3pm

Come talk to librarians, archivists, academic technologists, and faculty from library and information science graduate schools. We will be joined by Barbara Moran, Louis Round Wilson Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information & Library Science (SILS). UNC SILS is one of the nation’s top-ranked schools of information and library studies.

Participants will be given the opportunity to learn more about graduate studies in Information & Library Science, hear from librarians and information professionals in the Five Colleges about their career paths, and ask questions of the panel. Barbara will be available to talk to interested students and staff about graduate studies in library and information science in general and the program at UNC-Chapel Hill specifically. Stay for the entire session, or drop in for as long as your schedule allows. We look forward to seeing you!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014 Celebrates Graphic Novels

September 21st - 27th is Banned Books Week, an event that celebrates the freedom to read by bringing attention to written works that have been banned, censored, or otherwise challenged in academic and library settings. The focus for this year’s celebration is the graphic novel and comics form. The choice to emphasize comics and other graphic narrative works represents an important recognition of the medium as a legitimate mode of speech and intellectual engagement. This year LITS will organize several activities to recognize Banned Books Week including a display in the Library courtyard of challenged graphic novels and other related works, as well as a Stimson Room event on Wednesday the  24th from 4-5PM.

Graphic novels are more popular among readers today than ever before and are appreciated by a broader audience than in the past. Although comics have had a place in pop culture for decades and have attracted a dedicated readership from the early 20th century onward, they have only recently found a place in libraries and academia. Where librarians once hesitated to include comics in their collections, in little more than the last decade many libraries have responded to a rapid rise in demand among their patrons for graphic storytelling by increasing their graphic novel holdings. In addition the graphic novel has found its place in many classrooms as an effective teaching tool, with curricula ranging from literature and film studies, history, and even science incorporating examples of the medium into their reading.

There have been a significant number of challenges to the inclusion of particular comics series in library collections, but given the short history of comics in libraries in general the number of banned and challenged comics still remains relatively small compared to literature and YA novels. Even with the limited number of challenges to graphic novels in libraries and classrooms, the artform has a long history of struggle with censorship and of comics creators defending their intellectual rights. For nearly sixty years, mainstream comics were created under a regimen of self-censorship as a result of the infamous Comics Code Authority.
After the earliest examples of popular and pulp comics met with moral panic from parents and concerned adults, comics industry leaders were left with a choice between allowing the federal government to regulate their content or instituting their own censorship code. From 1954 through the early 2000s, the Comics Code limited the mainstream sale and distribution of comics to only those that met its stringent qualifications. Regardless, throughout the reign of  the Code underground and independent creators produced some of the most vibrant and important work in the medium, pushing the boundaries of what was possible with sequential art and graphic storytelling.

If you are looking to learn more about the history of censorship and the comics medium there are many links around the web. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an organization created to help comics creators stand up for their intellectual and First Amendment rights, has put together several comprehensive pages on this not-so-secret history of comics:
Some of the works that will be on display
Join LITS in celebrating Banned Book Week by visiting the display of incredible / fantastic / spectacular/ [insert hyperbolic adjective] comics and graphic novel resources that are available right here in our library. If you want to learn more and share more about how great graphic novels really are, come to the Stimson Room at 4PM on Wednesday the 24th for button and zine making, snacks, and discussion.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Candy Quest!

Where can you find new spaces, meet friendly faces, eat candy, earn a button, and enter to win a prize?  On the LITS Candy Quest, of course!

Jorge visits the Research Help Desk
Jorge departing the Research Help Desk after making a new friend and bagging some candy.

Here's how to participate:

  • New students, check the LITS bag you received at the August 29th M&Cs in the library for a red Candy Quest card.  Can't find the card? No problem! Pick up another copy at any of these LITS service points: the Circulation Desk, Research Help Desk, and Technology Help Desk.
  • Starting Wednesday, September 17 - Friday, September 19, visit each location on the card between 1-5pm, present your card for the person on duty to initial/check off that location, and get a piece of candy.
  • Once you've visited every location, fill in your contact information on the back of your completed card and bring it to the LITS Research Help Desk. You'll get a limited-edition button and be entered to win a gift certificate to Rao's or the Odyssey Book Shop.
Happy questing and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Interlibrary Loan Webpage!

We would like to share some awesome changes to our Interlibrary Loan ILLiad webpages! 

First, you can now log into ILLiad with your standard Mount Holyoke login and password. You will still have access to your borrowing history and any pending requests. Second, ILLiad has a new look! The pages have been redesigned, but all of the features you are used to are unchanged. Please do change your bookmark to this new URL:

We're excited about these improvements, and we also look forward to continuing to provide you with the reliable and fast ILL service you're used to. If you have any questions or problems with your login, please email