New Instagram Filters!

Hi Team! Are you as excited as I am for the three new filters Instagram rolled out this week? We’ve got Lark, Reyes, and Juno just in time for summer! According to Instagram, they are inspired by outdoors adventuring! Since classes ended on Wednesday and finals are about to be over, we plan to do some of that outdoor adventuring ourselves. Until then, let’s show you what the three filters look like–

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Continue reading New Instagram Filters!

What does Healthy look like?

What does Healthy look like?
What does Healthy look like?

Our thanks to William Hodgson for an inspired graphic for this year’s video contest! All made from scratch on Illustrator of course.

Typing our contest prompt into YouTube search brings up videos about orchids, mental health, relationships, cooking, exercise, social justice and horses’ hooves. We are curious to see what Penn students will make of this year’s question. Videos are due on May 7. So get your three-minute video in soon! We have received four videos to date.

The first prize will be a $500 videocamera plus lots of national attention! In previous years, many of our video contest entries have gone viral.  Check out our winners from 2014 and earlier years. A viral video on health – now there’s irony..

Breathing Room. Get Yours.

Meditation Workshops at the two Commons
Meditation Study Breaks at the two Commons

Please join us for Mindfulness meditation study breaks at the two Commons. Dr. Ella Ray from CAPS will lead several half-hour sessions at WIC and EC early next week. You can register online, or walk in just before each session starts.  We have also begun our daily study breaks with coffee, hot chocolate and snacks. Check out our schedule at the Weigle Information Commons and the Education Commons and mark your calendars!

As Wikipedia explains, “Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”. Certainly, the end of the semester is a time when all of us could step back a bit from the intensity!

Congrats to Taylor McLendon

DTOC_20150422_0098Congratulations to the Vitale Digital Media Lab‘s own Taylor McLendon for being in the inaugural class of the DP’s PennTen.  Taylor was nominated by the Penn community as one of the most impressive ungraduates at the University–someone who makes an impact to the local or global community and will continue to do so after graduation.

Read the full article about Taylor (aka Ivy Sole) at

Taylor is graduating in May, so be sure to drop by the lab soon to wish her congratulations in person!


Our bots print in 3D!

I am getting increasingly fascinated by the work our 3D printers at Education Commons have been contributing to.

3D printing is a truly disruptive and a revolutionary technology. They break down complex pieces of art into a fascinating assembly of simple units. Elements that have been beyond the reach of a good manufacturing process, 3D printing makes very much feasible, easy and cheap in terms of infrastructure.  I’ve been studying the mechanics behind this particular gem and discovered the extensive applications for this technology.

In 3D printing, the ink (a plastic material – some are biodegradable materials and others are not) is heated to very high temperatures. It turns into a semi solid state and is forced out through a very small nozzle. Once outside the nozzle, this ink solidifies on the printer plate. Over time, structures are made by progressively adding small amounts of material over the solidified ink.

Aerospace industry uses 3D printing in making pats of airplanes. In New York, a fashion designer launched her collection last year in 3D printed fabric and clothes. Prosthetic limbs, engineered tissues, scaffolds are being made using a 3D printer! I am so much more thrilled to just see how the landscape is going to change in the future.

Meanwhile, here at Penn, I have seen students make use of the printers to make usable parts for various scientific experiments. We’ve printed keepsakes, cheer plates, a bust of Stalin, Honeycomb structure, switch, miniature tables, houses, nameplates, cups, chains, a flower pot, a pen stand and a key ring so far.

So, have you used our Makerbot printers yet? What are you going to print? Write to us if you would like to use the printers for your projects.

For more information about how to request a print job on the Makerbots check out our 3D printing page.

Check out our latest jobs on Penn Libraries Flickr Album.


Making Comics in the Vitale Digital Media Lab

catie_comics_1Catie Carberry  is using an 11×17 lightbox we have available to use here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab to trace the lettering onto the final layout for her comic book.

In her class, ENGL 122 — Making Comics, taught in the Library’s Collaborative Classroom , Penn English Professor JC Cloutier and cartoonist Rob Berry “expose students to the unique language of visual storytelling popularly referred to as comics or graphic novels.”  See the course website at

“I’ll be a middle school English teacher next year,” Catie said, “and I wanted to learn more about different forms so that I’ll be able to help my students who are more visually oriented.”

Their final project is to create a full 25-page comic, which is no mean feat. Catie (along with her partners Anthony and Chang) are making a comic called “Roomies” about 3 roommates trying to live together, with all of the typical problems that brings, but she says they they also “mixed in some cult activity.”

The final comics are due in a week!  I’m really looking forward to seeing the final product!

p.s.  Penn and the Penn Libraries are no strangers to making comics.  Check out the events and exhibits we had during The Year of the Comic


A Penn Newbie Experience

Lahari Uppuluri
Lahari Uppuluri

Lahari Uppuluri is an international student from India, working towards her masters degree in nano-technology. As a graduate intern at the WIC and EC, Lahari teaches workshops on Google Tools and PowerPoint. This is her first PennWIC post.

It is admissions season again and quite a few people have been getting in touch with me to know what Penn is like to be at. I thought I should document my experience as a newbie here before it gets too old. So here’s what I went through in my first semester:

Mid-august has harsh sunlight that not all would be used to, with the low humidity here. I ended up walking thirteen miles back and forth the first day I was here!

As I dropped by the ISSS for student registration, I saw a large room full of overwhelmed graduate students (foreign nationals) brimming with excitement. I could sense the competition that there is to come, determination to perform and a slight hint of fear, probably for the unexpected. The first striking aspect about Penn is the sheer size of the university; it is unlike any other academic institution that I have seen. The overwhelming size of resources available to any student studying in this place is just ridiculously large and beyond my imagination. Penn took extraordinary efforts to provide to all students a world-class establishment of literature, technology, health and medical attention besides the academics. In my opinion, research at Penn is second to none. Socializing and networking with the high-quality peer group instilled a renewed sense of seeking and exclusivity in my circle. In short, the quality of life for students here was certainly elevated.

Faculty and program advisors were extremely helpful. As the semester proceeded on full speed, I could spend all my day at Van Pelt at the two library commons without regret.

I did not use Google search much after I came to Penn. I looked up information at Van Pelt with the millions of online books that Penn provided access to. WIC and EC were the tech and design-savvy study areas. Here I indulged my hobbies like learning poster design, learning and teaching software that makes life easy and having group discussions. Best part about being at the two Commons was study breaks during the finals weeks with coffee and hot chocolate.

To boost myself up to the speed here in the United States, there were resources like the Marks Family Writing Center, the Weingarten Learning Resources Center (VPUL), Career Services and CAPS. In addition, Penn Safety and Penn Transit were two tremendously helpful resources that I had.

There were tons of stress relief events like networking, social hours, happy hours, paint nights. Knowledge sharing seminars happened every day; it was the best way to find out what happened everywhere else at Penn, including other schools. We had guest speakers from other universities, corporations, start-ups, entrepreneurs, student achievers and more.

I mostly regretted that there were just 24 hours in a day, spent all my waking hours with in Penn and only ever returned to my home to sleep.

Now I’m completing my second semester here and continue to appreciate what Penn gives me. How do you feel about being at Penn?