Spring Challenge: Crack this Code!

Calling all code breakers! Rauner has uncovered a book from the 19th century that has a piece of code in the back and they have not been able to crack it, but we hope someone in our community can!

Geodaesia: or, the Art of Surveying
Ask for Rauner Thayer TA544.L89 1796 at the Rauner Special Collections Library.

Read more about this book on Rauner’s blog.  Learn more about cryptology:

Kresge Student Assistants Shine

Kresge Student Assistants, Spring 2014

Kresge Student Assistants, Spring 2014

We could not run Kresge Library without our team of some of the smartest, nicest, most capable students at Dartmouth (really!)

The first day of term, four times a year, we hold our organizational meeting for Kresge’s student staff; this year, our endlessly creative Karen MacPhee asked them to spend a few minutes brainstorming the characteristics of great customer service.

Here’s what they came up with.


What Customer Service Feels Like at Kresge

So here’s a salute to Hassan, Pawan, Max, Andrew, Juliana, Brendan, LeJohn, Justin, Hamish, Tendai, Ha, Bonita, Cindy, Sam, Jen, and Kelly.   Everyone who works, reads, studies or otherwise depends on Kresge, and on you, is grateful!

Also Andi and Brian, Aditi, Richard, Silvia, Helen and Saara-Anne – I know you were here in spirit.   🙂

Three Mile Island

On March 28, 1979, one of the two nuclear reactors at the Three Mile Island facility in Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown. Radioactive material was released into the atmosphere in the form of hazardous gas and iodine. Due to the severity of the accident and the initial confusion following it, a presidential commission was established to investigate the cause and report on the actions of the various entities involved.

Dartmouth President John Kemeny was chosen to lead the commission, which eventually established that the plant had suffered a loss of coolant. A faulty valve and a failure of the operators to correctly diagnose the problem in the initial stages of the accident also contributed to the severity of the event.

John Kemeny’s papers contain many items related to his work on the commission, including several drafts of his acceptance. One starts:

Mr. President:

This is an awesome responsibility! I have tried to think of every reason why I should not accept. But when the President of the United States asks… the only possible answers is “yes”.

The Thayer School of Engineering and the Dickey Center are sponsoring a symposium on nuclear energy with a focus on the 35th anniversary of the Three Mile Island event this Friday, March 28. The event is free and open to the public.

John Kenemy’s papers are available by asking for MS-988. A guide to the collection is available.

From the Dartmouth Cannon

With April Fools’ around the corner, let us not forget that Dartmouth students of years past did not wait for one day of the year for their pranks.  Often much more dangerous than modern pranks, one prank in 1836 involved large weapons, broken glass, some wet boots, and ended in a expulsion from the school!

In a letter dated July 14, 1836, Solomon Laws (class of 1836) of Peterborough, NH wrote home to his brother, Nathaniel Laws. He tells him of the most recent prank by the sophomore class – firing a cannon into a tutor’s window – all because some members of the sophomore class were suspended for refusing to be quiet and insulting a tutor! Solomon writes:

“At this some of the class were much offended, and on the night following some individuals took a large cannon from the gunhouse in this village, drew it up near the college building, about under the offending tutors window, and fired it with such a tremendous charge so to break about three hundred and twenty squares of glass from the college buildings. It jarred the houses in most distant parts of the village, was heard several miles distant and supposed to be an earthquake.”

By the time faculty arrived, the perpetrators had vanished. Since it had been a wet night, the faculty tried to find those students with wet shoes and compared the tracks with those left in the mud by the cannon. One student was found guilty and expelled. This caused further outrage among the sophomore class. One student who spoke out in defense of the expelled student must have said something truly “outrageous,” and was similarly dismissed for a year. It was only after he apologized that he was allowed back.

Interested in reading the whole letter? Ask for Manuscript 863414 at the reference desk.

Do you remember any pranks from your time at Dartmouth? Let us know about them in the comments below.

New Resource: Access Medicine

The Biomedical Libraries has a new resource that allows you to access full text clinical books, watch procedural videos and animations, and take self-assessment exams.

Access Medicine

Access Medicine features:Learn

  • Full text of 85+ clinical textbooks including Harrison’s Online, CMDT, Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery, Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine, Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach, and more!
  • More than 250 examination and procedural videos, patient safety modules, audio files, and animations.
  • Extensive self-assessment with thousands of Q&As to prepare for exams.
  • Drug database to look up dosing, indications, and adverse reactions with thousands of generic and name-brand drugs.
  • Differential diagnosis tool that allows you to browse 1,000+ diagnoses by symptom, disease or organ system.
  • Concise evidence-based outlines of common medical conditions for the clinical setting.

Benefits of a MyAccess account:

  • No VPNs or extra logins required! Simply create a MyAccess account while authenticated on the Dartmouth or DHMC secure network. Your registration expires if you do not log in every 90 days from either your device or computer on the Dartmouth or DHMC secure network.
  • Access to the site on your mobile devices and from off-campus computers.
  • Access to the Q&A feature and prior quiz result scores.
  • Save and download image capability, including the ability to download images directly to PowerPoint.

To create a MyAccess account:

  • From the Biomedical Libraries web page, click on the “Access Medicine” link under resources, while authenticated on the Dartmouth or DHMC secure network.
  • Click on “Dartmouth College” at the top right of the screen.
  • Click on “Login or Create a Free Personal Account.”
  • Fill out the required fields, including a username and password then select “Create an Account.”

Create Account

  • Click on “Dartmouth College” at the top right of the screen.
  • Click on “Login or Create a Free Personal Account.”
  • Fill out the required fields, including a username and password then select “Create an Account.”


Repeat After Me

Rauner Library has an impressive calligraphy collection, the core of which was originally built up by Professor Ray Nash. An expert on calligraphy and the history of printing, Nash ran the Graphic Arts Workshop at Dartmouth for more than thirty years. Over time, we have added more than fifty titles to his original gift of several hundred items.

Among the many interesting additions to the collection is a small collection of copybooks. These writing books were tools for the practicing of perfect penmanship that, for centuries, were the bane of small schoolchildren across the nation. Copybooks, for those who never experienced them, were empty other than a single sentence that ran across the top of each page. The student was expected to re-write that same sentence on every single line of the page below, with the goal of improving their handwriting, spelling, punctuation, and reading comprehension.

Understandably, this sort of schoolwork could grow a bit monotonous, and even the best student inevitably lost focus. One of the copybooks in our collection is a small green volume entitled “Ide’s Superior Writing Book” that was made in Claremont New Hampshire and dutifully filled in by a young boy named Luke Dewey from Hanover in 1854. Although Luke begins well enough, as shown by his mastery of his own name, hometown, and the date, his attention soon begins to flag. Fifteen pages in, he succumbs to boredom and scribbles all over the bottom of the page. However, his attentive schoolmaster soon corrects the waywardness of his pupil: on the very next page, we find evidence that Luke had been caught doodling and assigned an appropriate punishment.

To see Luke’s copybook, ask at Rauner for Calligraphy Copybook Box 1, Folder “I”.

LaTeX Minicourse

Brought to you by the Department of Mathematics and Kresge Library, we will get you set up and using LaTeX like a pro in no time through this 3-part series! So mark your calendars for the following Tuesdays this Spring and join us:


Filed under: Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Kresge, Math, Physics, Publishing, Tech Tips, Workshops Tagged: LaTeX

On Building a Mathematics Digital Library

MathDigLibHappy first day of Spring! I want to bring this newly released National Research Council report to your attention:

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research

I highly recommend reading the Report Brief (3 pgs) found under the “Related Resources” tab; the full report (preprint) is available for free download (143 pgs) as well.

François G. Dorais, a JWY Research Instructor in the Department of Mathematics, was one of the invited contributors and reviewers for this report. I will also post a copy of the Report Brief on the Library Bulletin Board outside 102 Kemeny. If you have questions or would like to generally discuss the report, or have other ideas/concerns about the library, I’m happy to meet with you!

Filed under: Math, Publishing, Research

Open Educational Resources: New Initiatives for Creation and Discovery

Global OER Logo from UNESCO

Open Educational Resources, or OERs, include full works like textbooks, as well as smaller units of content that can be repurposed as needed for the learning goals of a course. These are key resources for new approaches to course design and delivery, particularly but not limited to, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS). The creation and discovery of OERs has been forwarded by initiatives involving librarians, computing experts, instructional designers, and faculty.  They are enabled by licensing provided by Creative Commons.  Here are a few notable examples of technology platforms that make it easier to create OERs, initiatives to support that creation, and discovery services specifically for OERs:

  • Rice University’s Connexions provides a platform including a content management system, an XML structure, and content on which to build, which they call “modules” and “collections”.  Connexions provides tools for writing and assembling content, and content on which to build, licensed for that purpose.
  •  Lumen Learning, founded by David Wiley, BYU Business School, offers support for faculty to work with and develop OER content, and provides consulting services for institutions to help plan for incorporating OERs.  David Wiley explains why in his TED talk:  http://www.youtube.com/embed/Rb0syrgsH6M
  • The Open Education Initiative at UMass Amherst, started in 2011, provides funding for competitive grants to faculty to develop content.  Faculty can use a variety of platforms to develop content, but first learn about resources for finding existing content, and about licensing to make the material reusable.
  • Open Textbook publishing at Oregon State University involves the Library, the OSU Press, and the OSU Extended Campus Open Education Resources Unit, and provides funding for competitive grants to faculty to create open textbooks. See OSU Request for proposals for details on the program.
  • The Open Textbook Library is the result of a new project at the University of Minnesota focused on enhancing discoverability and peer review of OERs, including open textbooks.  David Ernst, University of Minnesota Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Resources, and Executive Director of the Open Academics Textbook Initiative discusses this in his TEDx talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA9Tv-OvoZU
  • Flat World Knowledge includes a catalog of resources, and an online editor so faculty can customize materials; it still offers affordable options but no longer completely free access.

For more catalogs, lists and platforms for OERs, see the guide from UMass:  OER For Educators

An interesting question for librarians is whether we should select these kinds of resources for inclusion in our key discovery tools, such as the Catalog and Summon, and if so which ones.

Alain Locke’s Bookplate

We recently acquired Alain Locke’s personal copy of his incredibly influential 1925 book, The New Negro (New York: Charles and Albert Boni, 1925) which helped to galvanize the Harlem Renaissance. Winold Reiss’s “book decorations and portraits,” along with illustrations by Aaron Douglas, capture the cultural explosion of the time: inspired by African folk art, but very much American. Lest you forget its “newness” the book is dedicated “To the Younger Generation.” The crowning touch for our copy is Locke’s very cool (of somewhat over-the top) bookplate designed by Douglas.

We also have a slightly bruised copy of 1930 printing of James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones (New York: Viking Press, 1927). The book is not all that rare, but the illustrations by Aaron Douglas put the book at risk in the open stacks.

To see The New Negro ask for Rare E185.82.L75 c.2. God’s Trombones is Rare PS3519.O2625 G6 1927