Where technology meets the liberal arts

Have you ever wanted to learn how to use a new software program, digital film/audio equipment, or even how make your gmail account more organized? Lynda can help!

UnknownIt’s the DH and IT interns again and this time we want to talk about a great new digital tool that’s available for everyone on campus to use. IIT recently invested in a campus subscription to the online tutorial website, lynda.com. We’re pretty excited about this website in IIT because it has so many helpful software tutorials and training courses. If you just want to learn to edit images in photoshop, lynda.com tutorials can help, but they can also teach you basic and advanced fundamentals. Lynda.com doesn’t just have software tutorials, there are also courses covering business skills, networking, educational software, and even accounting basics.

We hope everyone will take advantage of Lynda’s educational possibilities, but in case you’re still wondering what you can learn with this site, here are some ideas:

  • Learn Adobe design software like Photoshop and InDesign
  • Get caught up with Stats homework with tutorials on R
  • Filter St. Olaf extra emails by learning how to create labels in Gmail
  • Make more engaging presentations with PowerPoint, Prezi and Keynote tutorials
  • Practice graphic design and typography skills by making a Victorian advertisement
  • Learn how to code and customize your websites with CSS
  • Learn how to create 3D models in Blender to be printed with our new 3D printer
  • Create course lessons in iBooks
  • Save money and learn how to photograph your own family portraits
  • Take your pages.stolaf.edu site to the next level with tutorials on WordPress

That’s just a sampling of some of Lynda’s offerings. Click here to log in with the St. Olaf account and start exploring for yourself!

Check out Divi: A Fabulous New WordPress Theme

June 10th, 2014 | Posted by rosem in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Hi, we are Lauren, Maddy, and Sonja and we’re all working as Digital Humanities interns this summer. We’ve been exploring WordPress and its possibilities as we develop our own pages.stolaf.edu wordpress sites, and we wanted to share our findings! St. Olaf has recently acquired new WordPress theme options from Elegant Themes. This company offers a wide variety of professional-looking themes, but the Divi theme in particular has become a favorite among the interns as we build our own websites.

Here’s what we like so much about the Divi theme:

  • it’s very user-friendly and includes a built-in “page builder” that allows you to load templates and insert your content and media easily
  • it’s highly customizable- from uploading your own logo to changing color schemes, gallery formats, menu layout, even header position
  • it’s one of their “responsive themes,” meaning the website adapts its layout depending on the device, making it easy to view on tablet or smart phones
  • it’s easy to embed a variety of content- we’ve had fun experimenting with embedding YouTube videos, vimeo videos, and soundcloud clips directly into posts and pages
  • the theme comes with built-in social media icons and it’s easy to link your site with your facebook, twitter, and google + accounts

We’ve all used Divi to build our personal websites, but each has a unique look and feel. Check out examples from our sites of Divi’s theme capabilities:

On the page below, you can see the options for both a main menu and sidebar menu.  Using WordPress, creating menus and dropdowns is as easy as drag and drop.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 3.40.32 PMSidebars can be customized to include additional menus, as seen in the “Additional Resources” section of the sidebar.  You also have the option to include any number of widgets in this space. Sonja’s page above demonstrates the ‘calendar’ widget on the bottom of the sidebar and the ‘Recent Posts’ widget in the middle which displays your most recent blog posts.

On Maddy’s media page, she demonstrates the possibilities of the gallery feature in Divi.  The grid format seen below is just one layout option, but offers viewers a broad view of all her images at once.  While the gallery function only displays small thumbnail images, each picture can be enlarged with just a click.


Another Divi feature we like is the ability to display and hide information in a visually-appealing way. For example, on the DHH website designed by the spring interns, tabs allow information to be condensed or expanded for a neat look:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 4.09.02 PM

These are just a few of the features we like about the Divi theme and if you’d like to learn more or design your own pages.stolaf.edu website with Divi, drop by IT’s open lab from 3:30-4:30 Monday through Thursday.

Your DH interns,

Lauren, Maddy and Sonja



Summer Fun in the Library

May 28th, 2014 | Posted by pauljn in Library News - (Comments Off)

Research and Instruction Librarians recently hosted a “Summer Fun” workshop for the St. Olaf community. Are you planning to research your family history? Try out the college’s Ancestry.com subscription. Or do want to find summer reading to download to your mobile device? Why not watch a Puccini opera through Met Opera on Demand or a Ken Burns documentary through Films on Demand? To learn about these resources and more, take a look at our Summer Fun guide!

Google Fusion Tables

May 13th, 2014 | Posted by jcm in Digital Humanities | Digital Trends | GIS | Google | Research Tools | Technology Tools - (Comments Off)

… we’ll stop posting about Google products when they stop making cool stuff. You don’t see us talking about Google + much, do you?

One of the in-vogue things in the sciences and digital humanities is data visualization.  However, a lot of the time, you need some Javascript or other coding skills to make use of visualization tools like d3.  Not everyone has those, and not everyone wants to invest the time it takes to make something fantastic.  A lot of the time, you just want to be able to see your data in a different way, quickly and easily.  And some collaboration might be nice too.  That’s where Google Fusion Tables comes in.  You can still make fantastic things, but you can do it without needing programming skills.

In a way Fusion Tables, picks up where Google Maps Engine leaves off.  It lets users collect, link together and visualize data, and since it’s Google, you can use Google searches to find publicly available data and then, link your own data to that data, and finally create cool visualizations based on all of it, including map based visualizations:

FusionTables Example

And since this is a Google App that IT supports at St Olaf, Fusion Tables are accessible through your stolaf.edu Google account already– as part of Google Drive.  This also means, of course, that you can publish, share, and collaborate on your work with anyone who has a Google account.   Check the IT How-To Guides and Tutorials page in the coming months for a quick guide on getting started with Fusion Tables.

But, if you’re frantic to make your data pretty (and you should be!) you can check out Google’s tutorials right here, right now.

Happy visualizing!

Google Maps Engine

May 5th, 2014 | Posted by jcm in Digital Humanities | GIS | Google - (Comments Off)

One of the newer online mapping tools we use at St Olaf is Google Maps Engine Lite. It’s a quick way to make a good-looking map very quickly. You can create points manually, or add them using a Google search. You can also draw polygons, and add additional information about your features– including images and video! Even better, you can fully integrate your map with Google Apps, so you can share it with others, and best of all, it’s easy to embed your map on a web page. While the functionality you have available is somewhat limited; it’s quick, it’s easy to use, and it’s easy to share and publish with it. With Google Maps Engine Lite, you can go from zero to a simple map on the web in five minutes. We’ve added an example of what you can do quickly and easily with Google Maps Engine below.

Check out the Google Maps Engine Guide on the St Olaf IT website, recently updated!

ARLD Presentation

April 25th, 2014 | Posted by aarsvoln in Digital Humanities | Library News - (Comments Off)

Kasia Gonnerman, Jason Paul, and Nancy Aarsvold gave a presentation today at ARLD Day 2014 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  ARLD is the Academic Research and Libraries Division of the Minnesota Library Association.

Interested in Blended Learning?

April 21st, 2014 | Posted by aarsvoln in Blended Learning | EDUCAUSE - (Comments Off)

blendedThe University of Central Florida and EDUCAUSE are teaming up to offer a free MOOC titled “BlendKit2014: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer.”  The course starts today, April 21, and runs through May 26, 2014.  Here is the course description:

Blended learning (the strategic combination of face-to-face and online learning experiences) is growing in popularity within higher education and K-12 settings around the world. The goal of BlendKit2014 is to provide assistance to faculty and instructional designers in developing and designing blended learning courses through (1) a consideration of key issues related to blended learning and (2) practical step-by-step guidance in producing materials for a blended course (e.g., developing design documents, creating content pages, and receiving peer review feedback at one’s own institution).

This course is designed for faculty, instructional technologists, librarians, and others who are interested in developing blended learning courses, and several of our colleagues from St. Olaf, Carleton, Macalester, and other liberal arts institutions are taking this course.  Please join us by registering via the link below. Participants may choose to pursue an official credential, take the course for personal interest, or just follow the readings and the discussions.

(By Nancy Aarsvold, Assistant Director of Instructional Technology)


(Re)Introducing the Research & Instruction Librarians

April 21st, 2014 | Posted by pauljn in Library News - (Comments Off)

Want to learn more about St. Olaf’s research and instruction librarians? We now have individual web pages that describe our backgrounds, areas of interest, liaison departments, and ways to contact us. We’ve also included some of the services we provide to students and faculty. Thanks to Patty Cohn and David Hastings, we also have great new headshots!

(Ken Johnson, Research & Instruction Librarian)

Met Opera on Demand

April 7th, 2014 | Posted by pauljn in Library News - (Comments Off)

Met Opera on Demand: Student Access

With our subscription to the new Met Opera on Demand, you can experience hundreds of phenomenal performances from the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera anytime! In addition to more than 60 performances from the award-winning Live in HD series, you can also access an archive of over 350 video and audio performances, as well as program notes, interviews with the artists, features articles, and more. New content is added every month!

(Rachel Weiss, Music Librarian)

Pop Culture in Britain & America

March 24th, 2014 | Posted by pauljn in Library News - (Comments Off)


Fats Domino, the Beatles, UC Berkeley student protests, US combat troops in Vietnam, Civil Rights marches, Sex Pistols, Fawlty Towers! Find all this and more in one of the library’s new primary source databases, Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975.  Search by document type and/or keyword, or browse the chronology or the videography. Looking for other primary sources? Check out our research guide.

(Kris MacPherson, Reference & Instruction Librarian)