Archive for March, 2009

Blackboard on Your iPhone

Did you know that you can now access your Blackboard account using your iPhone or iPod touch? Just yesterday the Blackboard Learn app became available at the app store.

Just download the app (its free), enter in the url for loyola’s blackboard server ( and your username and password, and you are well on your way to seeing what’s new, viewing class readings and keeping up with your classes even when you are away from the computer.

Don’t have an iPhone? Look for the Blackboard Sync app on Facebook and stay connected that way too.

The Beast God Forgot to Invent by Jim Harrison

Harrison, Jim. The Beast God Forgot to Invent. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000.
ISBN: 0-8711-3821-2.
Call Number: PS3558 .A67 B4 2000

“The danger of civilization, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.” This is how Jim Harrison begins the first of three novellas that comprise The Beast God forgot to Invent. In this novella, which shares its title with the book, we watch as an aging collector tries to locate, in all senses of the word, a once wealthy young friend who is torn out of society by a horrific accident. It is in this discovery of a creature, reduced to little more than id, virile and brain-damaged, that we find a life so abundant, that it could not possibly exist in civilization.

In language that undulates between the humorous and the visceral, we are presented with characters caught in the constant metamorphosis of changing identity. In the last of the three stories, entitled I Forgot to Go to Spain, a quixotic biographer finds that he has squandered the dreams of his younger self, and finds himself barely recognizable. In a moment of introspection he ponders “The language I was using to describe myself to myself might be radically askew.”

Jim Harrison writes from a place of such prodigious life and reverence, that reading him is to swim once again in some childhood memory, suddenly uncomplicated, unmoored from the lives we have led.

Those interested may also wish to look into Jim Harrison’s other works which range from fiction (The Woman Lit by Fireflies, Julip) to poetry (Returning to Earth, The Theory & Practice of Rivers and New Poems)  to essays (Just Before Dark).

-Jonathan Gallaway, Blackboard Manager

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

Bolaño, Roberto. 2666. New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.
ISBN: 9780374531553
Call Number : XX(819121.1) (1 copy in process)

Bolaño’s literary body is woven tightly together without ever being sewn up, and in 2666 – his final novel before his death in 2003 at age 50 – he refuses still to close old wounds and old characters. While the title has been said to refer to the Biblical Exodus from Egypt, a mystical future date of redemption, or simply an earlier novel, the story’s wobbly orbit is Santa Theresa – generally considered to be a fictionalized version of Ciudad Juárez in northern Mexico. It is here that a flood of unexplained murders of young women has threaded itself into a pervasive atmosphere of dread. Like many of Bolaño’s works, the dread is not so much fixed on a point as existential, with the events of the book coloring and being colored by it as they weave to the fore and to the background. The city and its murders are never too far behind, even when globetrotting around Europe (in “The Part About the Critcs”), moving backwards through time (“The Part About Archimboldi”) or following a sportswriter (“The Part About Fate”). A harrowing fourth section – “The Part About the Crimes” – is a masterfully rendered portrait of this landscape, and may have you putting down the book a few times to regroup. No light reading, that.

For those new to Bolaño’s world, it might be said that the equally masterful Savage Detectives or the more compact Distant Star would be better starting points. That might even be so. But, then, that’s the beauty of Bolaño: you can pick up the thread wherever you like and follow wherever it leads. Probably, like Newton’s cannonball, back in on itself. At a high velocity.

Phil Rollins, Learning Technologies Developer, (prlins on Goodreads)

Gradebook Irregularities

We have been several reports over the last couple days of the Gradebook in Blackboard classes omitting grades. So far, it has only happened with grades manually entered into the system, and not with anything tied to an online test or assignment.

We are working closely with blackboard to uncover the cause of this error, and prevent it from occurring again in the future, but right now we need to assess what has been lost. So if you are using gradebook this semester, please go and check your courses to make sure that everything that you might have put into the gradebook is still there.

If you notice that some grades are missing, whether or not you have them backed up anywhere else, please contact me, Jonathan Gallaway at, so we can take steps to recover any lost information as well as to understand the scope of the problem. Since there is a limited window in which we can recover lost information from classes (30 days), please check your courses as soon as possible.

I apologize for any inconvience, but please be assured that we are doing everything in our power to address this issue.

Jonathan Gallaway

Musicophilia by Oliver Sachs

Sacks, Oliver.  Musicophilia. New York: Knopf, 2007.
ISBN 978-1-4000-4081-0.
Call number:  ML 3830 .S13 2007 (2 copies).

This is your brain; this is your brain on music.  These are ordinary people in remarkable situations and how they respond, which tells us more about the rest of us.  There’s sudden musical mania, musical hallucinations, Tourette’s and jazz, perfect pitch, destruction of new memory formation, and many stories. If you liked his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, you’ll like this one, though it’s more focused on one subject.  It is elegantly written and engrossing.  Recommended for music therapy, psychology, and anyone interested in music and the brain.

– Jim Hobbs, Online Services Coordinator (librarian80 on LibraryThing)


In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to dedicate the song Superwoman by Alicia Keys to the superwoman in you. I want to encourage you to keep putting your “S” on your chest and keep fighting. Take a look at some of the firsts in women’s achievement. Be brave, bold and beautiful!!


More information on Safeassign

For more information on the anti-plagiarism service from Blackboard, Safeassign, and how to use it in your course see the Instructor’s Manual here. Information about Safeassign for students is also available, they should follow this link.

Happy National Procrastination Week!

So, National Procrastination Week is March 2-March 8, right in the middle of midterms.  Coincidence?  Probably.  All I know is that I waited till the week was halfway over to blog about it.  Because I’m in the spirit.

If you feel the need to get some procrastinating done (or if you just need to take a break from that question set/term paper/ take-home test before your head explodes), we’ve set up a brand-spankin’-new book display in the front alcove, across from the Common Grounds Cafe. In addition to the magazines and the pop fiction books that were there from before (and are themselves prime procrastination material), we’ve hooked you up with an entire book display devoted to one thing: pretty, pretty pictures.  There’s art books if you’re feeling classy, graphic novels if you’re feeling literary, and pop-up books if you’re feeling like you’ve had enough, you know, thinking.

If you’re looking for some books with pretty, pretty pictures, or even if you’re looking for books for less procrastinatory purposes, you can use Library of Congress subject headings.  For example, for this book display, I used subject headings like:

Comic books, strips, etc.

Graphic novels.

Stories without words.

Toy and movable books–Specimens (Pop-up books!)

Art, Modern–20th century.

Art, Modern–19th century.

These headings are fixed (but more than one can apply to an item), and are decided by the Library of Congress.  Apparently “Pictures–Pretty, pretty.” was not descriptive enough for them.

One easy way to find specific headings is to find a book in the catalog that seems close to what you’re looking for or that you know is related to your search.  Look at its catalog record.  There you can see all of the LC subject terms that were used to describe the item.  In our catalog, you can click on whatever subject terms are relevant to your search and see all of the books that were cataloged with the same terms. It’s a pretty awesome tool to have in your back pocket, so if you still feel unsure about how to use it, stop by the Learning Commons Desk.  We’re totally happy to walk you through the process.  Plus, you can kill time by talking to us while still feeling productive because you’re learning a skill.  Sweet!


Oh– guess what I learned today!  “Procrastinatory” doesn’t set off the spell check.  Because it’s a real word!!! How crazy is that?