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How do I login?

Your Login is your name as it appears on your Bennington College identification card (Last, First) and your Password is you Bennington College ID Number. If you don’t have a Bennington ID, please go to the Library help desk at the ground floor and they will provide you with one. Scan your ID (left side of station) and you will automatically be logged in.

How do I leave a message?
You can leave messages by doing one of the following 1) scan a book, DVD or VHS 2) view a message that someone has already left in the system 3) dock a Bookmark onto the station. Once you have completed one of those actions, select “leave a new message” and then type your message in the text box. To save your message touch the save button on the keyboard.

How do I add a tag?

You can leave messages by doing one of the following 1) scan a book, DVD or VHS 2) view a message that someone has already left in the system 3) dock a Bookmark onto the station. Once you have completed one of those actions, select “add a new tag” and then type your tag in the text box. To save your tag touch the save button on the keyboard.

What can I leave a message on?

You can leave a message on any book, VHS, or DVD in the library’s holdings. If the book is not already in the Bennington Bookmarks system, it must be scanned before you can leave a message on it. It is not necessary to have a Bookmark to leave a new message on a book, DVD or VHS tape.

What can I associate a bookmark with?

You can associate Bookmarks with any book or DVD in the library. You cannot associate Bookmarks with VHS tapes because the bookmarks have magnets in them and could damage the VHS tapes.

How do I program a Bookmark's light?

Place a Bookmark on the dock to the right of the station. The message currently associated with it will be displayed. Select, "assign to new book, DVD, VHS" and the keyboard and light programming interface will appear. Each circle corresponds to a color in the Bookmark’s light pattern. To program them, select one of the circles and then a spot on the gradient for the color you would like it to be. You can test your new color pattern by touching the test button. The pattern is saved to the bookmark when you save your message.

How do I use the search feature?

Touch search in the upper right hand menu. Select the category you would like to search in, or leave “All” selected to search all categories. Fill in the search box with your search term. If you would like to search for messages left on a specific date or between two dates type those dates into the boxes marked “date/date range”. If you would like to see all of the messages left during a specific period then only fill out the date/date range portion of the search. You may also leave the date fields blank.

Why can’t I find x in the system?

Only books, DVD's and VHS tapes that are in the Crossett library holdings can have messages associated with them. They are only in the Bennington Bookmark system if someone has left a message on them. To enter new items into the system, you must bring it to a station and scan it, then type in your message.

How do I find a specific Book/VHS/DVD in the system?

You can search for anything using the search feature in the menu on the upper right, or you can bring the item up to the bookmark station and scan it with the barcode scanner on the left of the station -- if it's currently in the system, you will be presented with all the messages or tags associated with it.

About: The Class

The Class

Bennington Bookmarks were created in a unique collaboration among faculty, students and staff during the 2007 and 2008 academic year in the course "The Augmented Library: A Site Specific Installation."

This undergraduate class was lead by Visual Arts faculty member Robert Ransick, Computing faculty member Joe Holt, and Library Director Oceana Wilson. During the Fall 2007 term, the class studied artistic precedents from Robert Smithson to Fred Wilson to Greyworld; read texts including Jorge Borges's "Library of Babel," Adam Greenfield's "Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing," and Erving Goffman’s "Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order," among others; closely examined and mapped library usage; looked at precedents among other libraries, including the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Public Library; and brainstormed ways to encourage new interactions in the library, focusing on books and our love of them. Bennington Bookmarks was conceived during this time, after which a paper prototype was produced and tested with an external audience.

During the Spring 2008 term, the class produced Bennington Bookmarks. Logistically complex, the project required expertise across design (brand, interface, user experience, web, furniture, and 3D modeling), computer programming (interface, database integration, and microcontroller), cabinet making, rapid prototyping, sewing, and embroidery. The class self-identified individual strengths and interests, which resulted in two teams: one focused on technology and the other on design. These efforts are now permanently installed in Bennington College's Crossett Library.

This artwork is completely open source and available for anyone to adopt under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. We encourage you to visit the Bennington Bookmarks website to learn more:


Ben Choiniere, Psychology and Visual Arts, design team Adam Freed (Fall), Psychology and Visual Arts
 Jess Funston, Visual Arts and Computing, technology team Rebecca Grabman, Visual Arts, technology team Jason Irla, Visual Arts, design team David Meresman, History, design team 
 Luce de Palchi, Architecture and Art History, technology team Kyle Schroeder, Architecture and Music Production, design team 
 Hannah Wolfe, Visual Arts influenced by Math and Science, technology team

Course Description:

The Crossett Library is the site for this year-long creative exploration into how technology can enhance, augment, or change the dynamics of interacting with the architecture, information and occupants of the space. During the fall term we will critically investigate current library usage and explore scenarios that draw upon or are inspired by RFID, touch screens, ambient informatics, social networking, location awareness, open source, data mining, mixed reality and others. You need not be an artist, computer programmer or technologist to participate meaningfully in this course. Students who possess skills and knowledge from the following discipline areas are especially encouraged to participate: Digital Arts, Computing, Psychology, Architecture, Anthropology.

The course, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a collaboration among faculty, staff, and students. Research and work will lead towards the creation of new and innovative library experiences. Part 2 takes place during the Spring 2008 term and will focus on the production of the conceived ideas.

About: Collaborators

Robert Ransick
Robert is a faculty member in Visual Arts. He is an artist who works in a wide range of media and has exhibited around the world. He was recently an artist in residence at Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in NYC where he created the project “Casa Segura.”

~ Listening to "Medicine Show" by Big Audio Dynamite

Joe Holt
BIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIOBIO [<-- Actually I like that. Has an early Boomtown Rats feel.]

Joe teaches Computing. Before trading California redwoods and drive-thru electronics for dining hall food and moose crossings, he worked for two decades at Apple and Adobe where he made Macs and drew pictures.

Listening to Bouncing Around The Room by Phish.

Director of the Library
Oceana Wilson
Oceana is the Director of Library and Information Services. She previously librarianed at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Providence Athenaeum. She secretly likes ruckus in the stacks.

Listening to Where It's At by Beck.

Digital Arts Technician
Preston Noon
A Tech-Team member responsible for Electronic Fabrication, Novelty Dissemination,and Ubiquitous Augmentation

Listening to the sounds of Spring.

Ben Choiniere
Ben came up with this idea that visual art and psychology triangulate with design, so that is what he focused on. Ben worked on the design team and devoted himself to the bookmark forms. After graduation Ben is going to travel, work, make things and apply to graduate school.

Listening to Cool For Cats by Squeeze

Adam Freed
Adam is graduating with a concentration in psychology and visual arts. He was in the first half of the course, but then his thesis devoured him.

Listening to Black Blade by The Blue Öyster Cult

Jess Funston
Jess is graduating/graduated in summer 2008 with a focus in visual arts and computing. During the second term of the course Jess worked primarily on programming the user interface.

Listening to Livin A Lie by The-Dream ft. Rihanna

Rebecca Grabman
Rebecca ('08) spent her Bennington years studying visual art and whatever else she could talk her way into, focusing mostly on printmaking, digital art and costume design. She worked for the tech team, where she made lights glow, keys type and messages appear.

Listening to Move On by Mike Doughty

Jason Irla
Jason ('08) studied visual arts at Bennington with a focus in painting. During the Spring term of Augmented Library Jason worked on the design team contributing to the look and feel of the Bookmark UI and website. After graduating Jason will go on to graduate school where he hopes to find more collaborative projects to get involved with.

Listening to Temporary Famine Ship by Indian Jewelry

David Meresman
David will graduate with a concentration in history in the spring of 2009. While his concentration is in history, he chose to take the Augmented Library course because it allowed him to combine his interests in visual art and the social sciences. He was on the design team and worked on the user interface functionality.

Listening to Security by Otis Redding

Luce de Palchi
Luce will graduate with a concentration in architecture and art history in the spring of 2010. She was on the tech team.

Listening to Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot

Kyle Schroeder
Kyle will graduate with a concentration in architecture and music production in spring 2009. Kyle was on the design team and worked on the bookmark forms and the bookmark station.

Hannah Wolfe
Hannah('09) studied patterns and chaos, or officially visual arts influenced by math and science. She was on the tech team and is mainly responsible for the hexes and the bookmark communication.

Listening to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel

About: Description


Bennington Bookmarks, located in the Crossett Library on the Bennington College campus, encourage visitors to explore areas of the library they may have previously overlooked and to share their ideas about the books and films they love or loathe. These gently glowing beacons are found attached to books, DVD's and VHS tapes, and contain messages left by members of the community. They encourage visitors to explore areas of the library they may have previously overlooked and to share their ideas about the books and films they love or loathe.

The messages can be accessed at one of the three Bookmark Stations, located on each floor of the library. The touch-enabled screen provides access to the entirety of messages left over time—a dynamic, evolving portrait of students, faculty, staff and the greater Bennington community.

Messages are represented on screen as animated hexagons. The hexagon shape was inspired by “The Library of Babel,” by Jorge Luis Borges. Borges’s library (the universe) is composed of an infinite number of hexagonal galleries, which one can explore in search of a book or perhaps a "catalogue of catalogues." In the story, men have spent entire lifetimes looking for a book "which is the formula and perfect compendium of all of the rest" and the "crimson hexagon," which may contain the secrets of the universe (the library.) Our interface draws upon this metaphor and allows the user to search through the messages for ideas, reflections and, maybe even the secrets of the universe.

Nine different Bookmark forms were chosen to represent subjects taught at Bennington College: the Apollo Lunar Lander, Jocasta's Brooch, a drum, Ockham's razor, Martha Graham, a yeast cell, Duchamp's Fountain, Minerva’s owl and objects from To Kill a Mockingbird. Detailed information about the forms can be found in the Bookmarks section of this interface.

We invite you to browse the messages, to explore the library looking for Bookmarks, and to share your love of books and films by leaving a message of your own.

About: Bookmarks

version 3

Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module, originally called the “Lunar Excursion Module” or LEM, was the portion of the Apollo spacecrafts to land on the moon. One astronaut would remain in the Apollo spacecraft orbiting the moon, while the two remaining astronauts would land on the moon using the Module. During the initial planning stages of the Lunar Module, prior to landing on the moon, very little was known about the moon's surface. This meant that the Lunar Module had to be designed to land properly on any type of surface. The legs were made out of aluminum honeycomb to help absorb shock.

  • Richard, Lewis S. Appointment on the Moon: The Full Story of Americans in Space from Explorer 1 to the Lunar Landing and Beyond. 1968. New York: Ballantine Books, 1969.
  • Murray, Charles, and Catherine Bly Cox. Apollo: The Race to the Moon. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.

Jocasta's Brooch
Oedipus Rex, the mythical Greek king of Thebes, fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thus brought disaster on his city and family. On discovering all of his crimes, Oedipus rushes into the palace, where he finds his mother and wife, dead by her own hand. Ripping the dress pin from her dress, Oedipus blinds himself with it. This legend originated in the oral tradition and has been retold in many versions, most famously Sophocles' Oedipus the King. The story was used by Sigmund Freud as the basis for the Oedipus complex.

  • Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Albert Cook. An Anthology of Greek Tragedy. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1972. 101-148.
  • Mullahy, Patrick. Oedipus Myth and Complex: A Review of Psychoanalytic Theory. New York: Grove, 1948.

It is likely that one of the first instruments used by humans was a drum. Ears work similarly to a drum, they are sensitive because of a stretched membrane which translates sound waves into nerve signals. In the past drums have been used not only for their musical qualities, but also as a means of long distance communication, through drum telegraphy. The talking drums of Africa can imitate the inflections and pitch variations of a spoken language. Drums are widely used in music therapy. Heart rhythm is often compared to the beat of a drum.

  • Alcamo, I. Anatomy and Physiology the Easy Way. Woodbury: Barron's Educational Series, 1996.
  • Blades, James. Precussion Instruments and their History. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1970.
  • Schullian, Dorothy M. Music and Medicine. New York: Henry Schuman, 1948.

Duchamp's Fountain
One of Duchamp’s readymades, Fountain is often considered the most important work of the 20th century. Physically consisting of an overturned urinal signed "R. Mutt", Duchamp described his purpose with the piece as shifting the focus of art from physical craft to intellectual interpretation. A testament to the importance on the conceptual not the physical, Fountain was lost after its initial showing. Fountains seen in museums today were commissioned later. The work is attributed with the conception of conceptual art, creating a dialoged that lasts to this day, some ninety years after Fountain’s showing in 1917

  • Tomkins, Calvin. Duchamp. New York: H. Holt, 1996.

Martha Graham
Graham invented a new language of movement, and used it to reveal the passion, the rage and the ecstasy common to human experience. In 1936, Graham made her defining work, "Chronicle", which signaled the beginning of a new era in contemporary dance. The dance brought serious issues to the stage for the general public in a dramatic manner. Influenced by the Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression and the Spanish Civil War, it focused on depression and isolation, reflected in the dark nature of both the set and costumes. She taught at Bennington College, creating a modern dance haven in rural Vermont. Graham often collaborated with famed artist, and designer Isamu Noguchi.

  • Stodelle, Ernestine. Deep Song. New York: Schirmer Books, 1984.
  • Horosko, Marian. Martha Graham. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002.

Ockham's razor
Attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem", or "entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily" or "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." In other words, when multiple competing theories are equal in other respects, the Ockham's principle recommends selecting the theory that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities. Originally a tenet of the reductionism philosophy of nominalism, it is more often taken today as a heuristic that advises economy, parsimony, or simplicity. It is often used in scientific theories.

  • Baum, Eric. What Is Thought?. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004.

Minerva's Owl
Ancient Egyptians used a representation of an owl for their hieroglyph for the sound “m”. The owl of Minerva is the owl that accompanies Minerva in Roman myths, seen as a symbol of wisdom. The nineteenth-century idealist philosopher G.W.F. Hegel famously noted that "the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk" meaning that philosophy comes to understand a historical condition just as it passes away.

  • Budge, E. Ancient Egyptian Language. Chicago: Ares Publishers, 1975.
  • Hegel, Georg Willhelm Fredrich. Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Trans. T M Knox. London: Oxford University, 1942.

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee’s 1960’s novel deals with racial injustice, the destruction of innocence, class tensions, courage and compassion, and gender roles in the American South. Siblings Scout and Jem with friend Dill are terrified by and fascinated with, their neighbor, the reclusive "Boo" Radley. Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone is leaving them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Objects found in the tree include soap carvings of a boy and girl, gum, an Indian head penny, twine, and pocket watch.

  • Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1991.

Yeast Cell
Saccharomyces cerevisiae- a fungi that has been used in baking and fermenting for 1000's of years. Several yeasts, particularly Saccharomyces cerevisiae, have been widely used in genetics and cell biology. This is largely because the cell cycle in a yeast cell is very similar to the cell cycle in humans, and therefore the basic cellular mechanics of DNA replication, recombination, cell division and metabolism are comparable.

  • Strachan, T. and a. Read. Human Molecular Genetics 2. New York: Wiley, 1999.
  • Scott, Thomas. Concise Encyclopedia Biology. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1996.

About: Thank You

Bennington Bookmarks would not have been possible without major support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

We are especially grateful for support and guidance from Elissa Tenny, Dean and Provost of Bennington College.

Oceana Wilson, Director of Crossett Library, is an inspiration. Bennington Bookmarks would not have happened without her vision, support and collaboration.

Many thanks goes to the following members of the Bennington community for being sounding boards, for visiting our class, and for helping us realize the project:

Paige Bartels, Chris Dickinson, Jon Isherwood, Rebecca Godwin, Joan Goodrich, Amy Kuzmicki, Fran Maynard, Amie McClellan, Erin McKenny, Brian Parmenter, Elizabeth Pellerin, Jesse Pots, Todd Pykosz, David Rees, RJ Reynolds, Glenn Sausville, Donald Sherefkin, Richard Smith, John Umphlett, Charlotte Welch.

We thank the incredible staff of Crossett Library:

Kathleen Berry, Leah Giblo, Vanessa Haverkoch, Laura Niles, Joe Tucker, Kathy Williams.

We have received help and guidance from many folks beyond Bennington and are thankful to the following individuals:

Jeremy Ashkenas, Blake Goble, Amanda Gould, Arain Irfan, Jon Monaghan, Fiona Raby, Angela Sheehan, Carol Stakenas, Robert Michael Smith, Misty Rose Sotelo.