Start Using Kanopy Movie Streaming!

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Kanopy is a movie steaming service that is available to Alfred University students, faculty, and staff through the AU Libraries. Kanopy has a large selection of movies including documentaries, classic films, and independent films.  Kanopy is a great resource for assignments, classes, or for when you are just looking for something different to watch!

Here is how you can access Kanopy from either library website:

-First go to either the Herrick or Scholes library home page:

http://herrick.alfred.edu/

http://scholes.alfred.edu/

-Then select the Databases tab (as shown below)

-From there click on All databases A-Z (as shown below)

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-From the databases page click on K at the top of the page

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-In the K section click the link for Kanopy

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-Clicking the link will automatically take you to the Kanopy website if you are signed in using your Alfred account. If you are not signed in, or if you are off campus, you can still access Kanopy by entering your Alfred username and password. From there you can create your own Kanopy account. It’s as simple as that!

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Another way you can access Kanopy is to go to the Herrick Library home page:

-Click on Movies/Music under Quick Links (as shown below)

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-Next click the Kanopy link at the top of the page (as shown below)

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-Clicking this link will take you to the Kanopy website where you can make an account or first sign in as is mentioned above.

Alan Littell: Ruminations on Local History

The following article, by Alan Littell, appeared in a recent issue of The Alfred Sun; it is reproduced here with his permission. Additional issues of The Alfred Student are available in Alfred University’s institutional repository, AURA (Alfred University Research and Archives). Managed by the libraries, AURA collects, distributes and preserves research and scholarship created by faculty, staff and students, as well as documents of historical or archival significance.

Ruminations on Local History: Alfred and its University, 1876

I recently stumbled on a curious publication. Housed in the archives of Alfred University and dated October 1876, the document—The Alfred Student—is a hodgepodge of essays, exhortations, biblical allusions and paid advertisements. It has less the look of a campus newspaper, more of a literary magazine and journal of cultural and political opinion.

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In an image dating from the 1880s, Civil War veterans gather for Memorial Day parade on Alfred’s Main Street. 

 

The Civil War was of recent memory. The American commonwealth found itself in the grip of novel societal forces as emancipated slaves migrated north and west. A progressive Republican from Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes, trailed in the run for the presidency (he would win after a disputed Electoral College vote).

The Alfred Student was a sometimes sensitive, sometimes amusing mirror of its time, of its university and of the remote rural backwater, called Alfred Centre, where it was written, edited and set in type.  To get some idea of how people had actually lived in this particular place and age, we turn to the paper’s ads.

The range of goods and services then available included at least one that would be impossible to find locally today—the repair of mechanical clocks and watches. But in 1876, a Main Street jeweler named Amos Shaw guaranteed that his corrective surgery on weight- or spring-driven timepieces would be “done in the best manner.” Nearby, a variety store operated by a certain Silas Burdick advertised itself an embryonic Walmart. It sold books, shoes, wallpaper, lamps, toys, candy and drugs.

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Alfred and its university in the mid 1870s.  White building in foreground is the Burdick Hotel.  Dome of Alfred University’s first astronomical observatory and the school’s Greek-revival chapel—now the admissions office (Alumni Hall)—can be seen in the middle distance.

 

There were many Burdicks living at the time in Alfred, and a hotel proprietor of that name offered “good accommodations for both man and beast, terms reasonable.” The Williams & Titsworth emporium, “over Coon’s Book Store, Alfred Centre,” sold white shirts for $1, while Mrs. E.J. Potter, dealer in “Millinery and Ladies’ Furnishing Goods,” on University Street, urged students and residents to “please call and examine.” And in a village in which outhouses accounted for sanitary arrangements and wells for water, Burdick & Green’s Hardware Store, on Main Street, stocked a supply of “eavetroughs” (roof gutters) to “furnish cisterns with good soft water” while protecting “walls from being thrown down by water freezing against them, which is a source of great annoyance.”

In its editorial columns, The Alfred Student’s lead article extolled Alfred University’s pioneering support for the cause of coeducational schooling. The piece argued that instead of “shutting [a girl] apart” or by teaching a boy that “rudeness and selfishness are manly qualities,” joining them in the common enterprise of education resulted in “natural diversity and a richer character—a quick perception of mutual proprieties, delicate attention to manly and womanly habits…a higher and purer tone of morality.”

Elsewhere, the paper urged adoption of the metric system of measurement. We’re told also that Dartmouth College had raised its tuition and that one of its faculty members, a Professor Dimond, “died of brain disease.” At Alfred University, meanwhile, instruction was reported to be available in classical, scientific and teachers’ courses as well as in theology, the school having been founded by the breakaway sect of New England Baptists who observed Saturday, rather than Sunday, as the biblically enjoined day of rest and worship. Also offered was course work in industrial mechanics and in the leading communications wonder of the era, telegraphy.

The paper noted that tuition and “incidentals” came to $11 for each of the year’s three academic terms: fall, winter and spring. Board was priced at $30 to $40, room $3 to $6. The school assessed students $3 to $6 for “fuel” and $2 to $3 for “washing.” Mention was made that “rooms for ladies are furnished and carpeted” and that off-campus housing could be obtained from private families

One item jarred. It ran under the heading “Plain Language Concerning a Recent Unpleasantness.” A casual yet singularly stupid buffoonery of rhymed couplets, blatantly racist in idiom and tone, the piece had been reprinted—without critical comment or disclaimer—from Princeton’s student newspaper, The Princetonian.

It later surfaced in another college publication, The Chronicle of the University of Michigan, as “the song of five juniors at Princeton who objected to having a colored man sit behind them in class.

What was so surprising about the item is that Alfred University and its Seventh Day Baptist founders had been in the forefront of agitation for ending slavery. The radical abolitionists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frederick Douglass had lectured at the school. Before and during the Civil War, local church members, historically associated with the cause of emancipation, aided runaway slaves escaping to Canada on the so-called “underground railroad.” And in the spring of 1861, the nine male members of Alfred’s senior class heeded President Lincoln’s call for volunteers to fight for restoration of the Union. Moved by patriotism and religious fervor, they enlisted in two of the infantry regiments then forming in New York

In their classic survey, “The Growth of the American Republic,” historians Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager contended that Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation had been “potentially more revolutionary in human relations than any event in American history since 1776.” The authors went on to say that the document had, in a very real sense, “lifted the Civil War to the dignity of a crusade.”

Yet make no mistake. Emancipation may have ended slavery; it did not end the racism that grew out of slavery in a national polity undergoing the strains of post-war reunification

“Lincoln’s own state of Illinois barred newly freed slaves from settling [there] in 1863,” notes Gary Ostrower, professor of history at today’s Alfred University

“I’d be surprised,” he added, “if some Alfredians…were not influenced by popular racist attitudes during the post-war years.”

– Alan Littell

Junior ceramic work on display in Herrick

Herrick Library was honored to display work from Professor Linda Sormin’s junior ceramics students this semester. The work will come down soon, so if you want to see it in person hurry on over to Herrick!

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Emotional Rollercoaster, Jackie Fisher

 

 

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Changling: Child in Peril, Christina Rhodes

 

 

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Untitled, Hannah Hones

 

 

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Dignified Distortion (series of three heads), Corran Shrimpton

 

 

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Michelin Meadow, Matt Watterson

Calling All Bird Lovers: Birds of North America Online

The Libraries have a new subscription to Birds of North America Online, a resource maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in partnership with the American Ornithologists’ Union.

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Birds of North America Online is acknowledged as the preeminent source of life history information for the over 750 species of birds that breed in the United States and Canada. Each species account includes information on systematics, distribution, identification, behavior, breeding biology, and conservation. Each species account also includes a comprehensive bibliography of research conducted on the species. The accompanying multimedia includes photos of various plumages, examples of sounds, and videos of interesting behaviors. In addition to the advantages of remote and multiple simultaneous user access, this online reference resource is continually updated to ensure that it contains the latest information.

Fake News!

Fake News:

What it is, How to Spot it and How to Kill it.

You cannot turn on the TV, radio or get online these days without hearing about the epidemic of fake news. Fake news, unlike satire, is propaganda, a hoax or other misinformation that is deliberately spread to mislead and influence people. It’s not a new concept, but recently fake news seems to be growing in pervasiveness and sophistication; making it harder to spot for the average reader.

Social media seems to be a breeding ground, but fake news is found in traditional media outlets as well. And the problem only gets bigger. In the words of Snopes.com founder David Mikkelson, “The fictions and fabrications that comprise fake news are but a subset of the larger bad news phenomenon, which also encompasses many forms of shoddy, unresearched, error-filled, and deliberately misleading reporting that do a disservice to everyone.”

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What’s being done?

Some sites like Facebook and Google are stepping up with changes. According to an article in BetaNews, Facebook has rolled out some key changes to combat the tidal wave of fake news stating, “Facebook will no longer personalize news for individual users [and] headlines and sources will be listed alongside topic headings to help give context.” And both Facebook and Google are taking steps to keep fake news sites from cashing in on their advertising networks according to the New York Times.

Slate.com has introduced a Chrome browser extension called This Is Fake which will alert you to stories Slate.com had deemed “fake”.

Another Chrome extension, the B.S. Detector flags stories found on a list of sites “likely to contain false information presented as news.”

These tools above are handy, but they rely on someone else’s opinion of what is true and reliable. Their determinations should not stand in for what you have determined to be true and reliable. Don’t put your faith in these online flags and alerts.  They should just be another factor to consider.

What can you do?

The problem isn’t just the existence of fake news, but our ability to spot it.

A recent study from Stanford University states that, “with a stunning and dismaying consistency…young people’s ability to reason about the information on the Internet can be summed up in one word: bleak.”

To sharpen your critical thinking skills, the next time you read an article put it to the

CRAAP Test.  In brief, the CRAAP Test suggests checking the following:

Currency: When was the information published or posted?  Has the information been revised or updated?

Relevance: Who is the intended audience?

Authority: Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?  What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?  Is the author qualified to write on the topic?  Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?

Accuracy: Where does the information come from?  Is the information supported by evidence?  Has the information been reviewed or refereed?   Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose:  What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?  Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?

Another great source of tips on spotting fake news is FactCheck.org

Perhaps the hardest part of the fact-checking process is examining your own bias.  If a story speaks so directly to your own views that it seems too good to be true-it just might be. Remember, every human being has a bias. Full disclosure: as the author of this article I have a bias. I’m a librarian so my job in life is to teach people to think critically and evaluate information. I am not impartial to this issue of critically examining what you read and hear. I am actively trying to get you to do it.

Stopping Fake News

Lastly, think before you share.  The only way to stop the spread of fake news is to stop spreading fake news.  Seems kind of obvious right? It’s so easy to automatically hit “Like” or “Share” or re-tweet something you read before checking it out.  But when you do that you are contributing to the glut of malarkey on the internet that makes it harder to find the good stuff.  It’s already hard enough to wade through the cesspool without people raising the high water line.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out the sources I linked to.  Make up your own mind. There is no substitute for your own eyes and brain.

Never shut off your brain.

 

Image credits: https://firstdraftnews.com/how-to-stop-fake-news-on-facebook-without-the-flags/

 

http://www.snopes.com/2016/01/14/fake-news-sites/

 

24-hour Study Room in Scholes

It’s been a long time, but the 24-Hour Study Room is now open at Scholes!

The 24-Hour Study Room is a newly renovated and improved space, created in response to student requests and feedback earlier this year. This area is designed to be somewhere students can go at any time of day or night to study, work on papers or projects, print assignments, or generally have a quiet space that’s not their rooms.

The renovation project was led by Mechele Romanchock, our User Services Librarian, who joined the team just this spring. Mechele solicited ideas and feedback from students by setting out a whiteboard in the Scholes lobby for several weeks, and recording the suggestions our patrons shared with us.

One of the biggest areas of improvement to the room is in its technology. The room is now equipped with PCs, each of which features MS Office and Solidworks. It also has strong wireless internet for those who prefer to use their own laptops or devices. A black and white printer stands ready for all your late-night (or early morning, or mid-afternoon) printing needs.

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There are also resources for those who prefer to work offline, including a group study area with a whiteboard.

In order to make sure both the students using the facilities and the facilities themselves are safe and secure, the 24-Hour Study Room is accessible via a keycode, which is available only to current AU students. Students must go to the front desk at Scholes to get the code, and present their student ID at the time. Alfred University Security has also kindly agreed to add the Study Room to their regular rounds, meaning a security officer will be by at regular intervals to make sure everything’s ok.

The door (and its keypad) are on the ground floor of Scholes, facing Pine Street and Harder Hall. We hope you’ll all come make use of this great new space!

Streaming video from the libraries

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Did you know that the Alfred University Libraries provide access to online videos?

Kanopy‘s collection includes thousands of award- winning documentaries and feature films, including many foreign films.

The collection includes films by leading producers, such as the Criterion Collection, PBS, Kino Lorber, New Day Films, The Great Courses, California Newsreel, and hundreds more.

Click here to start watching.

To find to Kanopy in the future, choose the Databases A-Z option on the Herrick or Scholes library homepage.

 We hope you enjoy the films!