New Library System!

We’re pleased to announce that, thanks to the hard work of a lot of people, the Mudd Library will be introducing a new search system as the school year begins!

Some things to know:

1. OneSearch (its working name) allows you to search the Library’s catalog PLUS hundreds of thousands of articles, images, etc. at the same time. OneSearch combines our library catalog with a very large database of online resources and makes it all searchable at once. This is great for interdisciplinary projects or just as a starting point — kind of like Google, but more scholarly. You can cast a wide net and (if you choose) use facets (resource type, subject, author, full text availability…) to focus your results.

2. You’ll still be able to search the Library catalog by itself or link to individual specialized databases (RILM, Historical Abstracts, Biological Abstracts, etc.) the way you’ve always done.

3. We’ve been working hard on this but there’s still more to do. Please be patient as we learn how to make the most of the new system.

4. Ask! We’re here to help. Let us know about any questions you have or issues you find.

Meet the Student Researchers: Alex Damisch

20302858534_d9cb8e02ff_mWe love to learn more about what our students are up to in the Mudd. Yes, even over summer break we have the pleasure of welcoming and supporting industrious students. Alex Damisch requested one of our student offices over the summer in order to work more efficiently at developing some of her web applications. The mathematics and clarinet performance double-major, who plans to earn her double-degree in just four years, was quite pleased to discover that she could reserve a private, quiet office in the Mudd to use for her research.

Alex, who hails from Northbrook, Illinois, is planning to graduate in 2016, after which she hopes to enter a master’s program to pursue statistics. She graciously agreed to answer some questions about her work in the library.  Enjoy!

Alex, what are you working on in your office?

Under the supervision of Adam Loy in the Mathematics department, I’m helping create several web applications that allow people to get hands-on experience with statistical concepts like bootstrapping, permutation tests, and ANOVA. The apps create graphs and perform different calculations, many of which can be adjusted by the user, so they can see how the result changes.

There are currently three apps on Professor Loy’s website, with about a half-dozen that are in a more preliminary stage of development. Some of the operations that the apps perform “behind the scenes” are a bit complicated, so they require some fine-tuning by Professor Loy to get to a satisfactory speed before they go live.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

I’ve learned a ton about the coding languages that I’m using, of course–I had some R experience before, but not nearly at the level that I have now. Two months ago I knew almost no Shiny at all. Coding is often frustrating, but having my work out there is really satisfying.

I’ve recently started working on an app that uses a statistical test that’s new for me, too, so that’s been a challenge. It’s also been useful to revisit concepts that I learned a few years ago, which I really value because I sometimes tutor for statistics classes. Having to write code and use functions that perform certain statistical calculations has really solidified my understanding of how they work.

Why do you think this research is important?

The apps will probably get used in some of the introductory statistics classes this school year, which is great. In mathematics or statistics, as in almost any other field, the best way to learn is by doing–you have to try out problems yourself. If you can upload your own data set and play around with it and see how your histograms and confidence intervals update in real-time, hopefully it facilitates your understanding of the concepts behind them.

How did you become interested in this line of work?

I first got this book of infographics called Visual Miscellaneum for Christmas in 2009, so data visualization has been a longstanding interest of mine. I approached Professor Loy absurdly early in the 2014-2015 school year and said that I wanted to work with him over the summer. I was pretty willing to work on whatever statistics-related project he threw at me, but I’m lucky that this one is particularly interesting to me.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

Definitely Mathematical Statistics with Resampling and R. (Only half-joking.) Since I can code almost anywhere, it’s been nice to have my library office as a space to keep a few books and to call my own. Having a quiet, focused space and a standing desk has been really important for me. You can only sit in coffee shops or your bedroom for so long.

I also use the whiteboards almost compulsively. This is business as usual for a math major, but this summer I’ve used them to map out particularly convoluted functions.

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

Between working for ITS since I was a freshman and studying frequently at the library during the school year, I always like to remind people that the third and fourth floors are the library’s quiet floors.

Also, the library staff is awesome and really helpful–definitely an under-utilized resource among most students.

We think you’re awesome, too, Alex. :)


Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: John O’Neill

005 (Small)With Welcome Week just around the corner, it’s time to celebrate the fabulous John O’Neill, who began working in the Mudd during Welcome Week two years ago, when he was a freshman. Little did we know how valuable and well-loved this horn performance and government major from Reno, Nevada would become.

Not only does John work tremendously hard balancing all of his roles during the academic year, he has also spent his summers working with us in the Mudd, doing all sorts of necessary and useful projects, from helping to manage our music scores and collections, to charmingly modeling for social media posts. Summer would not be the same without John, who is always ready to lend a hand. Read on to learn more about this wonderful and talented student worker!

What is your job title at the Mudd and what work does that entail?

I am a student shelving assistant in the score section, which means that I keep the area organized and shelve everything that circulates. I have also worked at the circulation desk over breaks and have done some cataloging work with Antoinette Powell, the music librarian.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really love fixing up and erasing some of our “extra loved” scores because it tells me how much students use the score collection.

Share something you’ve done at work that has made you especially proud.

Very recently someone asked how many feet of CDs we would have if they were laid end-to-end. It was really fun and satisfying to figure out the answer.

As a student, where is your favorite (study/relaxation/hang-out) spot in the Mudd?

I usually head straight for the middle of the stacks on the third and fourth floors, although the “fishbowl” on the 2nd floor is also a great place to work.

What are your hobbies?

Collecting vinyls, reading, putting together puzzles, and baking when I can.

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

What are your favorite bands or performers?

The Beatles, Chicago

How about your favorite blogs and/or magazines?

The Atlantic Weekly, New York Times, the Horn Call, and the Mudd’s blog (of course!)

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

I am active with Lawrence’s Young Democrats, Lawrence’s Quizbowl Team, and several chamber groups in the conservatory.

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

Since I will be a fifth year and I’m only a junior, I won’t graduate until 2018!



Learn About the Funding Information Network

The Mudd Library is proud to be a Funding Information Network site. This resource provides access to Foundation Center subscription databases where users can search for scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other funding opportunities for individuals as well as nonprofit organizations. Training is a joint service of the Development Office and the Mudd Library.

Multiple opportunities to learn more about this fantastic resource are coming up soon!

Wednesday, August 12: Coffeehouse- Introducing the Funding Information Network
10:00-10:40 a.m.
Seeley G. Mudd Library, first floor
Our last coffeehouse of the summer will be all about the Funding Information Network. Come get a brief introduction to these resources while enjoying coffee and treats.

Introduction to the Funding Information Network Training Sessions: (registration required)

Monday, August 24, 9:00-10:30 am
UW Oshkosh Sage Hall Computer Lab, Room 1208
Seating is limited.

Thursday, August 27, 1:00-2:30 pm
Seeley G. Mudd Library 214 (ITC)
Seating is limited.

Reserve your seat for the FREE hands-on training sessions by emailing Anna Simeth with your name and the date of the workshop you wish to attend.

Gifts to the Mudd Library

It’s that time of the year when we start gathering a variety of statistics to help us sum up the previous academic year. One such statistic is the number of items that were gifted to our library. When Director of Technical Services, Jill Thomas, compiled these numbers, she felt compelled to share and thank our donors.

A large donation of CDs we received this academic year.

This year the library faculty and staff would like to thank our many donors who have contributed to our collection. Donations are treated like new acquisitions and are evaluated by the same standards as new purchases to safeguard quality, consistency, and relevance to the needs of the Lawrence University community.  Our donors are faculty members current and retired, alumni, parents of past and current students, and Appleton community members with no ties to the university at all.

This year, from donations alone, we added into our collections over 2,000 books, DVDs, musical CDs, and journals. That number does not include two gifts we have not finished going through of over 4,000 music CDs, and over 40 boxes of books from a retired faculty member. These gifts help stretch our budget that never seems to go far enough.  If you are considering donating to the library, please check our out gift page.

So here’s to all of our donors; thank you for thinking of Lawrence and giving to the Seeley G. Mudd Library.

Summer Events at the Mudd Library

Summer is a great time to learn about new, interesting things. With this in mind, the Mudd Library is happy to be hosting an exhibit as well as our annual coffeehouse series this summer. As always, we encourage everyone still on campus to stop in and check out our great selection of novels, non-fiction, and movies.  Keep in mind, we have begun our summer hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The crowd listens at last year’s “Films from the Archives” coffeehouse.

For just a few more days, the library will be hosting the exhibit, “A Stone of Hope: Black Experiences in the Fox Cities.” Learn more about this fascinating exhibit at the History Museum website, then stop in and see it for yourself. The exhibit will be on display through June 30th.

We will also be hosting our annual summer coffeehouse series. The first session is entitled, “Lawrence and Diversity,” and will take place on Wednesday, July 1 at 10 a.m. At this coffeehouse, Archivist Erin Dix will discuss the history of how fostering greater diversity and greater appreciation for diversity has been, and remains, a priority for Lawrence University. See our guide to learn more about this, and our other exciting coffeehouses.

We hope to see you in the library this summer!

The Mudd Welcomes James Zwerg and Congressman John Lewis!

All of us at the Mudd are honored to welcome James Zwerg and Congressman John Lewis to campus this weekend. Each of these brave men will be receiving an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree at commencement on Sunday, where Lewis will deliver the commencement address.

Meanwhile, we’ve expressed our admiration and appreciation by gathering some interesting and pertinent materials from our shelves together so that you, our wonderful patrons, can easily access these important works. We invite those of you wishing to learn more about the civil rights movement as a whole, as well as the integral role played by both Lewis and Zwerg, to stop by and delve into our resources.

John Lewis’ award-winning memoir, Walking With The Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, is featured in our display and available for check out. His 2012 publication Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, which “draws from his experience as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement to offer timeless guidance to anyone seeking to live virtuously and transform the world,” is also available.

Graphic novels are an accessible medium that present complex issues in a beautiful, artistic way, and the graphic novel March is a great example of this. It is “a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.” Written in the format of a comic book, March is a great introduction to the intricacies of the civil rights movement, and Lewis’ role in it.

The display also includes several books expounding on the work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Lewis founded the SNCC and Zwerg joined shortly thereafter. To learn more about this organization, check out A Circle of Trust. For a feminist perspective, we are showcasing another important work: Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC.

If you’re interested in the Freedom Riders, our Archivist has created a display featuring moving images of the riders in action, as well as local newspaper articles from the time covering the movement. One chilling photograph shows Lewis and Zwerg, both bloodied, after an 1961 attack in Alabama. To learn more about the significance of the Freedom Rides, the DVD Freedom Riders is available, as is the book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.

For a sweeping and comprehensive view of the civil rights movement as a whole, check out Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement, a 14-hour documentary covering the movement from 1960 to 1985, available as a series of DVDs. We also have the documentary’s companion book, America’s Civil Rights Movement, for deeper exploration.

Please join us in welcoming James Zwerg and Congressman John Lewis to campus! Stop by the Mudd to learn more about the work and achievements of these men before they arrive. You are sure to be inspired by their courage.

Canine Therapy 2015

We’re halfway through tenth week, this term is quickly coming to a close! DSC02406Thankfully, students can get in some puppy love during this stressful point in the term. This Monday, June 8, will be the Mudd’s annual Canine Therapy session from 10:30-11:30AM.  Faculty, staff, and other Lawrence community members can bring their dogs to visit outside of the library so students can take a little bit of time to unwind and destress with the help of some friendly furry friends. Be sure to stop by!

Honors Convocation: Is it Warm in Here?

The 2015 Honors Convocation will be this Thursday, May 14th at 11:10am in the Memorial Chapel.

Is it Warm in Here? The Intractable Challenges of Climate Change will be presented by David Gerard, Associate Professor of Economics and recipient of Lawrence’s annual Faculty Convocation Award.

What does it mean to say that a problem is “intractable”?  What makes this particular problem so difficult to solve?  Where can we go from here? Here is a link to a recommended reading as a brief introduction to the subject. And for a longer, more detailed consideration of the issues, take a look at this article. Gerard’s primary research interests lie in quantitative policy analysis, particularly focusing on energy, environmental and safety issues such as risk regulation and public policy.

To learn more about Professor Gerard and his work, visit his faculty and research webpage here.

Professor Gerard will participate in a Q&A session on Thursday afternoon from 1:00-2:00pm in the WCC Cinema.

Lux Reaches 200,000 Downloads


Lux, the Lawrence University institutional repository, is home to student honors projects, artwork, The Lawrentian, various annual reports, the Women and Identity in Gaming Symposium, and many more creative and scholarly works produced by the Lawrence University community.

We are pleased to announce that Lux has reached the milestone of 200,000 downloads since 2012! That means items that were created here, at Lawrence, have been viewed by people all over the world 200,000 times. Pretty cool!