Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: Just where does one... wayback?

Seeing as how October is American Archives Month, it seems like the right time to wayback a bit about the Parkland Archives. 

In the Spring of 1972, President Staerkel authorized the establishment of a College Archives. William Gaines was appointed as College Archivist. (Mr. Gaines passed away recently; his obituary is here.)

In the early summer of 1979, President Staerkel, in response on an informal proposal by the College Archivist, requested a formal proposal for the establishing of a records management program. This program was authorized in October 1979. At this time, the function of records management was amalgamated with the Archives to form a new college office, The Archives and Records Management Office (ARMO). What a great name: ARMO. Gets me every time. “Hey, do you have those statistics from 1982?” “No, but have you checked with ARMO?” 

Think of the forethought that must have gone into establishing an archives at Parkland. Not all community colleges took this route, and some are now scrambling to arrange many, many years of records into a useable resource.  Now, fast forward to 2002: Things were looking bleak for poor old ARMO. The Parkland Archives was to lay dormant for the next 10 years. 

Thankfully, in 2012, an Archives Task Force was created to bring the Parkland Archives back to life. While individual departments remain responsible for maintaining and disposing their own records according to State of Illinois requirements, the Parkland Archives is the central repository for records of permanent importance. New space, new walls, new arrangement – things have shaped up. Your friendly neighborhood archivist has been busy accessioning (that’s a fancy archives word) and processing records that have been transferred from various departments that have begun to fill in blanks from those missing ten years.  

Here’s something not often considered in our Wayback posts: the FUTURE... future… future…. There are many important documents that are born digital and will stay that way that need to be collected, preserved (it’s harder than you might think… cough…floppy disk…cough), and cataloged for future access. The Parkland Archives will work to ensure that Parkland’s history is captured in whatever format in which it is presented. 

So consider stopping by the Parkland Archives. Located in R212 of the Library, and usually available in the mornings Monday thru Friday, or by appointment, we’re happy to show you around, accept your transfers, assist in your research, and help you create course content. Some of our most research-worthy records include those from the President’s office, minutes from the Board of Trustees meetings, records from Parkland College Association, a near full run of Prospectus. If you’re feeling nostalgic, consider the Sprinkler newsletter (1967-1988), the yearbooks (1970-1974) or the photo files. 

Wayback Wednesday is a feature of the Parkland College Archives. If you have ideas you'd like to see in future posts, email us at The Archives is open to faculty, staff, students and the public by appointment. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Imperfect Science

Here in the Library, we love a challenge.  When Larry and Anita Taylor contacted us about printing a replacement chess piece for their set, we welcomed the project.  Larry explained that one of his rooks had gone missing and he wanted to print a new one so he could continue to play.  He brought in the remaining rook and we got to work.

First we had to calibrate the scanner.  This process takes 10-15 minutes.  Makerware for Digitizer (the computer software that accompanies the scanner) walks you through the steps on your monitor.

Next up is the actual scanning!  We placed the rook on the turntable and the software walks you through the steps.  Each scan takes approximately 9 minutes, the sensor remains stationary while the turntable moves in tiny increments that allows the software to capture the item from every angle.  Multiple scans are often recommended, and merged together to create a more complete model.  For this project, we scanned the rook four times!

Sometimes a little extra editing is needed to make sure the model prints properly.  We used Meshmixer and Netfabb (both free downloads that can help edit and repair 3D designs) to remove any extra bits picked up in scanning and create a flat base for the model.

The missing rook was from the black set, so we changed out the filament (PLA or PolyLactic Acid - plastic) so the replacement rook would match the other pieces.  Changing the filament is an easy process that involves heating the extruder to melt the current color so it's easy to remove, then replacing it (still heated) with the new color.  

It is also important to level the build plate before you start a print.  This process takes 5-10 minutes and ensures that the surface is smooth and level for your print.  The display on the front of the Makerbot will walk you through the steps to level the plate.

Finally we were ready to print!  The scanning and set-up took about an hour and a half, including some trial and error.  When the model is ready, Makerware is the computer software we used to send the job to the printer.  Once that's done, it's a matter of waiting.  This print took approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete.  Cost is determined by weight and this model's final weight was 16 grams, for a total cost of $3.60.  For comparison, the original rook weighs 73 grams.

As you can see, the print is not an exact replica.  This technology is still in it's early stages, particularly when it comes to scanning 3D objects.  But we are committed to the pursuit of learning, through trial and error if that's what it takes!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Collaborative Class Project in the International Lounge

Thursday afternoon the International Lounge in the Library hosted a group project combining four classes.  The ESL 73 and 74 classes taught by Tracey Brown and Christina Havenland joined forces with the COM 120 taught by Jody Littleton and Nathan Stewart.  Students interviewed each other for a Global Learning Survey.

These kind of projects are beneficial for both classes.  The ESL students are able to practice using the English language with native speakers, while the COM students gain interpersonal communication skills.  The short survey consists of questions like "Identify and describe (if you can) some cultural differences in verbal and/or nonverbal communication that you learned in this interview."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Welcome Tatiana!

Study Abroad isn't just for students!  Each year Jody Littleton organizes a faculty exchange as well.  This year Antwanette Newton is hosting Tatiana Laydinen from Finland for two weeks.  In May Antwanette will journey to Finland to visit Tatiana for two weeks.  Tatiana is a participant in the Illinois Consortium of International Studies & Programs (ICISP) Study Visit Exchange Program with Antwanette.  Her journey to Antwanette's home is her first visit to the United States.
Antwanette Newton, Tatiana Laydinen, Jody Littleton
Tatiana represents North College Niittylahti, where she teaches Finnish, Finnish Culture and Labour Laws to help immigrants integrate into the Finnish society.  Her students range from 18 to 55 years old.  They are foreigners and teenagers who need a basic high school education to continue their education at professional colleges in Finland.

The past few years the Library has had the honor of hosting a Welcome Reception for our visitors.  Tuesday morning faculty, staff, students and administrators stopped by the International Lounge to greet Tatiana and welcome her to the Parkland community.  More photos are available on our Facebook page.
For more information about this program, contact Jody Littleton.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Off-campus Access Update

ACCESS UPDATE:  On the morning of October 2, one of the servers that provides off-campus access to library resources will be updated.  This may briefly affect database access both on and off-campus.  Hopefully, this disruption will be only a few minutes.  However, if you are having trouble accessing resources, please contact us at 217-373-3839 or

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience, but keeping our systems up-to-date is important for everyone, and we ask for your patience.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Printing is Easy!

It's easy to print from the Library.  We have three printers available for public use, two color printers and one black and white printer.  Simply open your document on one of our open lab computers and click print.  Enter your my.parkland username and password (last 5 digits of your social security number) and then release your document at the printer station.

Need to add money to your account?  There are two easy ways!

The first is by adding cash at our 'Add Money' station in the Library.  This is separate from the printer station.  You can log in using your my.parkland username and the last 5 digits of your social security number.  The machine accepts coins, ones, and fives.  Please try to bring small bills or coins when adding money, as the Library is not always able to change larger bills.

The second way to add money to your print account is by CREDIT CARD!  This can be done anywhere through the Library webpage at and click on "PC Print System" near the bottom of the page.  Scroll down to "Add Credit to Your Account" and follow the prompts to add money securely via Paypal (Paypal account not required).

You can even add money to your account in advance!  If you know you're going to print a lot throughout the semester or year, add $5 or $10 to your account early on so you don't have to worry about it later!

And of course, if you have questions we are always available to help!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week happens every September and is celebrated in libraries all over the country and world.  There are many popular books that have been challenged over the years for various reasons, such as being "unsuited to the age group," "sexuality," "inappropriate language," and more.  We at Parkland Library believe that people should be free to choose what they want to read.  We encourage reading and discussion of thematic elements and issues found in any books.  For more information on Banned Books Week you can check out the ALA Banned Books page.

A team of individuals in the Library decided to get creative this year and produce a series of short videos to promote Banned Books Week.  We wanted to get people in our community talking about it, and encourage them to explore new titles in our Library.  Check out the links below to watch our masterpiece!

See the individual promos here

Full length UNCENSORED

Another fun fact about these videos is that they were produced by Library staff using equipment available to students, faculty, and staff.  We have camcorders that check out for a week, and a DIY Media Space ready for editing with a variety of audio and video software.

Happy Banned Books Week everyone!  Be sure to celebrate your freedom to read!