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Dandy Roll: A Papermaking Security Device

Posted May 12th, 2014 by Jana Dambrogio
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Detail of watermark found in Vannevar Bush’s handwritten note about integraphs, circa 1920s, Harold L. Hazen Papers, MC 106.

When we hold a sheet of paper to the light, sometimes we can see designs, letters or symbols embedded in it. These images are called watermarks. They can be found in both hand- and machine-made paper crafted in the western tradition.

One type of watermarking device used in machine papermaking is the dandy roll. This is a lightweight hollow cylinder that has a raised design attached to its surface. After the paper sheet has been formed on a conveyor belt, it travels to the dandy roll which lightly presses the design into the wet fibers. The roll displaces and thins the paper fibers in the area where the design appears.

Once the paper sheet is dried, the watermark can’t be changed, and remains in the paper permanently. For this reason, watermarks can provide security and authenticity, and may be used to help distinguish an original document from a copy.

In the current exhibit in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery, Thanks for the Memory: 50+ Years of Computing at MIT, there is a handwritten proposal for research funding that was prepared in 1927 by MIT professor Vannevar Bush. If you look closely at the document, you can see the MIT logo in a watermark that was created using this Dandy Roll technology.

This post was written by guest blogger Ayako Letizia, Conservation Assistant, Wunsch Conservation Lab.

Share your research data with openICPSR—free for a limited time!

Posted May 12th, 2014 by Katherine McNeill

openICPSR logo

Need to share research data you have collected in the social or behavioral sciences?  Have a funding agency that requires you to make your data publicly available?  Share your data through openICPSR!

A service of the ICPSR data archive, openICPSR is a research data sharing service for the social and behavioral sciences which provides:

  • Distribution through an established network of over 740 research institutions with powerful search tools and search engine indexing, enabling your data to be discovered and cited
  • Reliability of a trusted, sustainable organization with over 50 years’ experience storing research data
  • Review by professional data curators
  • The ability to accept and disseminate sensitive or restricted-use data

In order to make your data publicly available to others, openICPSR charges a deposit fee (different levels of service are available).  Normally this cost would be written into a grant proposal when planning your data management.  But if you have data right now to share, for a limited time through the end of the calendar year, you can self-deposit your data in openICPSR with no fee!

For more information:

  • For assistance in preparing your data for deposit in ICPSR for free this year, contact data-management@mit.edu.
  • For more information on all your options for depositing data with ICPSR, including professional data curation, contact deposit@icpsr.umich.edu.
  • Working on other issues related to data management or sharing?  Looking for a way to share data from other disciplines?  We can help!  Find out more about the Libraries’ data management services.

Adventurer in Light and Color: Stained glass exhibit

Posted May 6th, 2014 by Jana Dambrogio

Stop by the Jackson Homestead in Historic Newton before the end of July to catch the “Charles J. Connick: Adventurer in Light and Color” exhibition. It features drawings, photos, studies, and stained glass works by Charles J. Connick a prominent stained glass artist from Newton, Massachusetts. Included in the exhibit are several reproductions of drawings held by MIT Libraries as well as a stained glass window (Sir Bors Succours the Maid) from the Libraries’ collections. For more information about the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation Collection held at MIT, visit our Special Collections page or watch the video at TechTV.

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Design inspired by E. Dickinson poem “There is no Frigate Like a Book.”

The exhibition features the cartoon, or full-size study for a work in another medium, shown here.  This design was executed in pencil and gouache and later realized in stained glass in 1939 for the Newtonville Public Library, which is now the Newton Senior Center. The work was inspired by the Emily Dickinson poem, “There is no Frigate Like a Book.” For more information about this image, please visit the Charles J. Connick image collection in Dome.

For more about the work of Charles J. Connick and his studio, visit the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation website and the Boston Public Library’s Charles J. Connick Gouaches: Massachusetts Flickr collection.

The following details were captured when the cartoon was in the Wunsch Conservation Lab for examination.

This post was researched written with Lorrie McAllister, Digital and Special Collections Strategist.

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Connick’s initials “CJC” and date 1939.

This detail reveals underdrawing in pencil.

This detail reveals underdrawing in pencil.

 

White drips of paint may suggest that Connick worked some areas upright.

White drips of paint may suggest that Connick worked some areas upright.

 

This detail shows the painterly quality of the work.

This detail shows the painterly quality of the work.

 

Information Processing Letters: The complete package

Posted May 5th, 2014 by Barbara Williams

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Information Processing Letters
 is now available.

The MIT Libraries now subscribe to current, as well as historical issues, of Information Processing Letters.

Information Processing Letters is a forum for disseminating new research on information processing in a timely way.

Please send questions or comments to Amy Stout, EECS Librarian, astout@mit.edu.

Discovering the Libraries: Student jobs

Posted May 1st, 2014 by Pritee Tembhekar

By MIT Libraries’ student blogger, Pri Tembhekar

Hello everyone!

I’ve spent quite a few posts now describing resources offered by the Libraries. This week is about a resource that jumps off the page all by itself: money. The Libraries offer a range of paid positions for student workers, including jobs during the summer and IAP. Full information can be found at the student jobs page.

Jobs come in three major flavors. The first and most visible is circulation. These students may have helped you get books you reserved or check out materials. They also work to open and close the library and re-shelve books. Other responsibilities include answering questions, checking the shelves to make sure the materials are correctly placed and accessible, and retrieving materials from the stacks. The second is clerical. Fairly self-explanatory, this position includes ordering materials, stamping books, managing spreadsheets, sorting materials, and special projects like managing digital collections. Finally, students can also do storage and project work. The specifics of this job often depend on what is needed in the Libraries. That might be looking for books, applying barcodes, moving materials into storage, and helping with circulation and clerical duties. To get started you’ll need to identify the job you want, have at least some sense of your schedule, apply online, and  fill out an I-9. One of the major advantages of these jobs, in addition to being paid, is the opportunity to work in a peaceful, beautiful space surrounded by books. To get an insider’s perspective, I interviewed Rebecca Navarro and Kaylee Brent on their experiences.

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Rebecca working at the Lewis Music Library.

Name: Rebecca Navarro

Year: 2014

Course: 16

Job and tenure: Circulation at Lewis Music Library, four years

Hours per week: I’m one of the crazy ones so I work between 12 and 20 hours each week. But it’s easy to get more or fewer hours.

Highlights of the job: I like the relaxed environment. I love the staff. They are really knowledgeable. Working at the music library has also given me an opportunity to continue to pursue music. My concentration is music and I’m really interested in it. The composer forums, open mics,  live concerts, and other cool events bring music to me. I get to learn more about music and keep that passion alive.

Reasons for working at the Libraries:  Honestly as a freshman it was because I needed a job for the money. I live in senior house so I actually know the music library exists. Reasons for continuing were that I love the staff that I work for. They are really accommodating. During finals week they allow for more downtime so that I can study but they also give me assignments when I’m bored.

Learnings on the job: I have learned how to use Barton, how to research properly at the library. I have also learned how accessible the staff is, even for obscure questions.

Take-away message: Don’t be afraid to ask for something you need. I see so many people struggling to find something that they could have found in a few minutes with my help, or the help of the staff.

 

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Kaylee in the Dewey Library staff room.

Name: Kaylee Brent

Year: 2016

Course: 12

Job and tenure: Circulation at Dewey Library, two years

Hours per week: About 10 hours a week.

Highlights of the job: I like that it is pretty easy work and that it is fairly flexible. I get to listen to music when I’m in the stacks. When I’m working at desk I can do some homework during downtime. I’ve also found out about some great resources.

Reasons for working at the Libraries:  I needed money. I’ve worked a bunch of different jobs at MIT. This is low stress and reasonable. I have gotten to the point where generally people see me as competent. They are comfortable with giving me more control of the library. I don’t have to ask questions all the time.

Learnings on the job: I have learned how useful course reserves are! I haven’t bought a textbook in a while because I can use them for free in the libraries.

Take-away message: You should act in the first week of term to maximize opportunity for jobs. It varies by library what your responsibilities are.

OA research in the news: New building will house nanoscale research

Posted April 30th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn

NewsImage_MITnano-3Starting in summer 2015, construction will begin on a 200,000-square-foot building called “MIT.nano” that will replace Building 12 on the MIT campus. The building, to be completed by 2018, will include cutting edge facilities to support research with nanoscale materials and processes. About one quarter of MIT’s graduate students and 20 percent of its researchers across many fields will make use of the facility, according to Vladimir Bulović, an electrical engineering professor and the faculty lead on the MIT.nano project.

“This building needs to be centrally located, because nanoscale research is now central to so many disciplines,” Bulović told the MIT News. “[It] was designed to encourage collaboration.”

Explore Professor Bulović’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

The Merck Index is now online

Posted April 29th, 2014 by Barbara Williams

220px-MERCKS_INDEXThe Libraries are pleased to announce that we now have online access to the Merck Index, which contains over 11,500 monographs – including historic records not available in the print editions.

The Merck Index is an authoritative and reliable source of information on chemicals, drugs and biologicals, it is a quick way to find basic property information, and seminal references.

Try it out, and let Erja Kajosalo know what you think!

MIT Libraries launches online Fair Use Quiz for students

Posted April 29th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn

fairusequizThe MIT Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing has launched an online Fair Use Quiz to help students better understand the core concepts of copyright law’s “fair use” provision, the flexible — but notably ambiguous — exception under US copyright law that makes it possible to use others’ copyrighted works without permission. The aim of the quiz is to put information about fair use in the hands of students and empower them to make informed decisions about using copyrighted works.

The self-guided quiz, which also covers the basics of copyright and addresses website “terms of use,” takes only about 10 minutes to complete. It walks through four cases, including use of images and data in several scenarios.

The quiz can help students answer questions such as whether it’s possible to use a figure from a scholarly journal in a thesis, or whether a particular image can be uploaded to a class blog. Is there one correct answer for these questions? Probably not: Applying fair use can be complex, but the quiz attempts to give students the tools to make their own assessments.

Earlier this year, we got feedback from undergraduate and graduate students on a beta version of the quiz and adapted it accordingly. If you have any comments, please email copyright-lib@mit.edu, or contact any of the staff in the Office of Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing. We would very much appreciate hearing from you.


New energy journals in the house

Posted April 28th, 2014 by Chris Sherratt

Energy is a fast moving topic at MIT and all over the world. We’re pleased to have added three new online journal subscriptions to our energy portfolio:

Whether you browse them online, create email or RSS alerts to new issues and content, or find references through our energy databases, we hope these additional journals enhance your energy information experience.

Ask Us! Or find more resources here:  http://libguides.mit.edu/energy

MIT’s Monuments Men

Posted April 28th, 2014 by Nora Murphy

We are pleased to note that MIT alumni served with the World War II “Monuments Men” to save cultural treasures. Here is information about two of them.

Joseph “Paul” Gardner

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Photo credit: Fold 3 by Ancestry

According to sources in MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections Joseph Paul Gardner was born on October 20, 1894.

Prior to coming to MIT he attended Somerville High School. He attended MIT from 1913-1917, and took courses in architecture (course 4). Gardner did not receive a degree from MIT, but was considered to be part of the class of 1917. While at MIT, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and the Architectural Society. He also participated in the Tech Show, where he was described as chief ballet dancer.

Images of Mr. Gardner’s involvement in the Tech Show can be found in the 1915-1918 editions of Technique. Gardner pictured above with the troupe from 1916. (Technique, 1916).

After leaving MIT, Gardner joined the Coast Artillery Corps and served during World War I. He received the rank of 1st Lieutenant of August 9, 1917, and would be promoted to Captain on March 5, 1918. From September 3 to November 26, 1917, he was in the Officers’ Training Camp at Ft. Monroe, Virginia. He served in the American Expeditionary Forces from December 11, 1917 to July 17, 1919. He was at the Heavy Artillery School in Mailly-le-Camp in January 15, 1918. During April he was assigned special duty with the Heavy Artillery Board designing trains for Railway Artillery. From April 25 to November 8, 1918, he was in command of Battery H, 53rd Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps at front in Champagne Sector. While in command, he participated in the Champagne-Marne Defensive and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. After the armistice, he was stationed at Le Mans Embarkation Center. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm and Fourragère for the promptness of his unit to return fire while under bombardment by shrapnel and gas shells at age twenty-one. At the end of the war, he traveled Europe studying architecture.

Gardner became the Ballet Master for the Washington Opera Company and the co-owner of the Tchernikoff Gardner School of Dancing. He also spent nine years as a dancer with Anna Pavlova’s Ballet Company. During this time, he received his Bachelor’s of Art in European history from George Washington University, graduating in 1928.

It is unclear what occupation he held after returning from Europe. The 1920 Alumni Directory lists his address as Los Angeles, California, but no occupation is given. By 1925, he had relocated to Washington, DC. In 1929 he received an MA from George Washington University. In 1930 he decided to focus on art, and attended doctoral classes at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum in order to prepare himself for museum work, completing his studies in 1932. He became the assistant to the Trustees of the William Rockhill Nelson Trust in March of that year and was appointed as first Director of the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts in 1933. In 1932, he was involved with the creation of a new art museum in Kansas City Missouri. The following year he was appointed director of this museum, the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art (now the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art) in Kansas City, Missouri where he would work until his retirement in 1955.

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Photo credit: Monuments Men Foundation

During World War II, he served in the US Army, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served in the Military intelligence Service on the Sub-commission for Monuments and Fine Art in Italy. From 1942 to 1945 he also served as the Military Governor of Ischia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. In October 1943, he was the lone MFAA officer to arrive to the ruins of Naples after many delays and difficulties. He served during World War II as a Lieutenant Colonel in command of the MFAA in Italy. From 1942 to 1945 he also served as the Military Governor of Ischia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. In October 1943, he was the lone MFAA officer to arrive to the ruins of Naples after many delays and difficulties. The 1955 edition of the Alumni Directory lists his address was given as Las Milpas, San Patricio, New Mexico. After the war he returned to the museum until resigning as Director in May 1953. For the last nineteen years of his life he spent his summers on his ranch in New Mexico, and his winters in Italy. Gardner died in Lincoln, New Mexico on September 11, 1972.

Robert Edsel’s book Saving Italy discusses the heroism of former Nelson-Atkins director Paul Gardner. Edsel created the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, which honors the legacy of the Monuments Men.

Photo credit: Monuments Men Foundation

 

Sidney Biehler Waugh

Sidney Biehler Waugh was born on January 17, 1904. He attended Amherst High School prior to coming to MIT, and his address on entrance was MAC Campus, Amherst, Massachusetts. Waugh attended MIT from 1921 to 1923, and during 1925, taking courses in architecture (course 4). While at MIT, he was a member of the Architectural Society and the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

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In 1929, Mr. Waugh won the Prix de Rome for his sculpture “Steel.” An image of this sculpture can be found in Technology Review vol. 31, p. 480. As of 1933, he began to produce designs for Steuben Glass.

Images of his glass works can be found in Technology Review (vol. 38, p. 339, and vol 40, p. 66) and the Corning Museum of Glass collection online. In 1934, he had the prize exhibit in a salon devoted to American-made glass. Around this time, he became involved with MIT again, serving on the Visiting Committee for Architecture from 1935-1940, with the exception of the 1937/1938 term. In 1937, he would design a glass medal for a competition sponsored by the Pittsburgh Glass Institute. Mr. Waugh created both a sculpture and fountain that was exhibited in front of the Maritime Building in the NY World’s Fair in 1939.

The 1948 directory states that he served as a captain in the US Army during World War II. For his service he was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Croix de Guerre (twice), and named a Knight of the Crown of Italy. He joined National Sculpture Society in 1930 and was elected president in 1948.

He wrote two books: The Art of Glassmaking in 1938 and The Making of Fine Glass in 1947.

In 1957 Waugh designed the Atoms for Peace gold medal. A folder on Sidney Waugh can be found in the Atoms for Peace Awards records (MC10, b.3) in the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections.

Sidney Waugh died on June 30, 1963. He had been a member of the National Institute of Arts and Sciences.

Thank you to Sony Pictures for providing a copy of “The Monuments Men, starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and John Goodman, before its DVD/Blu-ray release on May 20th. The free screening will be shown to the MIT and Harvard students as a part of National Preservation Week celebrations. The film is based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel. MIT students will have a chance to win a signed copy of the Edsel’s book at the Movie showing on April 29th. Thank you also to the Monuments Men Foundation.

Thank you to Christina Tanguay, Kate Beattie, and Jana Dambrogio for researching and co-writing this blog post.

Make the most of May! What to know before you leave for the summer:

Posted April 28th, 2014 by Heather Denny

May flowers in the Hayden courtyard, photo by: Grace Liang

  • You’re in the final stretch so hang in there! We’ve got finals week study breaks May 15th-21st to get you through your exams. Take a break, have a snack, and de-stress with therapy dogs at Hayden.
  • Before you go, return any library books you don’t need, but keep the ones you do. Not finished reading that great novel or research tome you checked out? We totally understand. Our longer loans and auto-renewals make it easier to hold onto those vacation-day reads.
  • Stay in touch while you’re away. Access the Libraries from anywhere off-campus, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news. Stay tuned for big changes to our website later this summer, here’s a preview.

Automatic renewals coming to an MIT library near you

Posted April 25th, 2014 by Melissa Feiden

We have more good news to add to our recent extension of MIT Libraries loan periods.  Starting May 15th, 2014, many items borrowed from the MIT Libraries will be automatically renewed to save time and effort for MIT faculty, students and staff.

When renewals are available (most MIT materials are available for 60 days with up to 5 renewals for MIT faculty, students and staff) and items have not been requested by someone else, library loans will be automatically renewed 3 days before the due date.

For example, items checked out during the spring term that are due on May 30th will be automatically renewed on May 27th, if no one else has requested them. You’ll still receive reminder emails about your loans, letting you know when items have been automatically renewed and also what you can do about items that cannot be automatically renewed (e.g., materials from non-MIT Libraries, items requested by other patrons).

There’s no need to phone or bring items by a library for an extended “term loan” — items borrowed at the start of the spring term will be renewable through the end of 2014, with up to five automatic renewals of 60 days each.  And remember, if you’re finished with your library materials, feel free to return them to book drops at the MIT Libraries locations, including the Stata Center’s Charles Vest Student Street.

Please note: MIT Libraries’ materials belong to the entire MIT community and availability cannot be guaranteed. Items can be recalled at any time. Please see the Circulation FAQ for more details.

Finals Week study breaks, May 15–21

Posted April 25th, 2014 by Heather Denny

StudybreakDog2webDuring finals week, take a study break…have a snack, pet a dog, and de-stress!

Cookies and beverages will be served near the entrance to each library on the dates below. Therapy dogs from Dog B.O.N.E.S. will make a special visit to Hayden Library for Cookies with Canines.

Thursday, May 15, 2–3:30 pm
Hayden Library (14S) – Cookies with Canines

Monday, May 19, 2–4 pm
Dewey Library (E53-100) – Study Break

Tuesday, May 20, 2–3:30 pm
Barker Library (10-500) – Study Break

Wednesday, May 21, 2–3:30 pm
Rotch Library (7-238) – Study Break

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for chances to win an MIT Libraries Tim t-shirt during the study breaks!

Coming soon: Homepage redesign

Posted April 25th, 2014 by Remlee Green
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Tap image for a full view.

We’ve been hard at work redesigning our homepage, and it’s time to give you a sneak preview! By the start of the Fall term, you’ll see a new homepage for the MIT Libraries, and it will be stunning on smaller mobile screens, too.

Through focus groups, interviews, and usability testing, we’ve gathered your feedback about what you love (and don’t love) about the current homepage. Some recurring thoughts we heard include:

  • “Less is more!”
    Our most popular links are stashed in the navigation at the top of the new page.
  • “Search is important, but make it simpler.”
    The search box is still front and center, but we’ve streamlined it.
  • “Library hours need to be easier to find.”
    They’ll be right there on our homepage, in an easy-to-scan format that highlights which locations are open 24/7.
  • “Research Guides are super helpful, but I didn’t know about them.”
    Experts & Research Guides will display on the homepage, so you can easily find who or what you’re looking for.

We’re not quite done with the design phase, but the screenshot will give you a taste of what’s to come.

If you have thoughts, concerns, or comments, we’d love to hear them. Tell us!

Poetry in the Archives

Posted April 24th, 2014 by Nora Murphy

For National Poetry Month, a poem from MIT faculty papers housed in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.

ChromosomeSmall“Ode to a Chromosome,” found in the papers of biologist Francis Otto Schmitt, is one of the poems we came across recently. Poetry in scientific and engineering collections is an unexpected treat. The poetic inclinations of members of the MIT community, from limericks to sonnets, can be found throughout the collections. Early issues of The Tech and Technique are filled with verse.  Some verses are flowery, many are amusing, some reference MIT, and the theme of others is more broadly scientific. Some of the works are good and others not so good, depending on your poetic sensibilities.

MIT has spawned a number of poets, among them Frank Gelett Burgess, class of 1887, whose nonsense verse “Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who’s Quite Remarkable, at Least” brought him fame but also frustration that it was the verse for which he was best known.

Discussion about the place of the humanities at MIT has been recurring since the establishment of the Institute in 1861. A 2010 editorial in The Tech by graduate student Emily Ruppel (“MIT – poetry = a travesty”) and a subsequent blog by John Lundberg for the Huffington Post (“Should MIT Teach Poetry?“) reflect on the value of poetry in a scientific and engineering community.

Contact the Institute Archives and Special Collections to find out more about poems and other research material created by the MIT community.

 

The art and science of letterlocking

Posted April 24th, 2014 by Heather Denny

Jana Dambrogio, MIT Libraries’ Thomas F. Peterson Conservator
(Photo: L. Barry Hetherington)

Long before email, text, and instant message, important words were passed discreetly from closed palm to palm with a knowing glance and nod. These hand-written notes were often elaborately folded, sealed with wax, and rigged with anti-tamper devices to ensure their protection and authenticity.

The technique of “locking” letters involves folding the parchment, papyrus, or paper securely so that the letter functions as its own envelope. Well-known historical figures such as Queen Elizabeth I of England, Marie Antoinette, and even MIT’s founder, William Barton Rogers, used locked letters for their private communications.

“Letterlocking has been around for centuries, and has been used by prominent figures as well as everyday people,” says Jana Dambrogio, MIT Libraries’ Thomas F. Peterson Conservator. “Some of the earliest examples on paper are found in the Vatican Secret Archives and date back to 1494.”

Dambrogio, who is the conservator of MIT’s rare books, archives, and manuscripts, will demonstrate the technique of locking letters in two upcoming events at MIT: Historic Letterlocking: the Art, Technology and Secrecy of Letter Writing on April 23 during the Cambridge Science Festival, and April 29 during MIT Libraries’ Preservation Week. Read the full article on MIT News.

Cambridge Science Festival: Letterlocking at MIT

Posted April 24th, 2014 by Jana Dambrogio

Many thanks to the 100+participants including families, students, colleagues, faculty, and staff members who visited the MIT Libraries letterlocking table in Lobby 10 yesterday during the events in celebration of the Cambridge Science Festival. “This is just like a quill that Harry Potter would have used to write,” one MIT student squealed after using a peacock feather quill to write her message on the super-sized sheet of handmade paper. The tips of the iridescent plumes tickled the noses of participants, putting smiles on their faces, while they stood next to others who were completely focused on the letter before it was locked shut into a pleated letter format used by Queen Elizabeth I.

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Oh, so hard to choose which gigantic writing implement to record a secret message. We say: why choose?

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One left-handed participant pointed out how hard it was to write with the quill since right-handed scribes get to guide the quill tip across the paper and lefty’s need to push the quill. We’ll have to ask our calligrapher friends like Betty Sweren and paleography experts like Heather Wolfe what people did back in the day to prevent their ink from splattering all over the page.

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Colleagues from the Boston Athenaeum came out to join the fun.

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Before and after locking shots.

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Thanks to MIT Department of Material Science and Engineering faculty member Mike Tarkanian, for giving us a MIT bronze medallion to authenticate while sealing this letter shut. What do we do with the letter? Send it through the mail? Perhaps we should open it next week at the Preservation Week talks? Let us know what you think! Stay tuned for the movie showing how the letter was locked shut!

 

Cite your data sources!

Posted April 23rd, 2014 by Katherine McNeill

citation needed sign    data

You’re familiar with the importance of citing the literature that you use in your paper.  But did you know that it’s equally important to cite the sources of the data that you use?

Authors don’t always rigorously cite their data sources—have you ever had a hard time finding the data underlying a publication?—but citing data is equally important in order to:

  • Give the data producer appropriate credit
  • Enable readers of your work to access the data, for their own use and to replicate your results
  • Fulfill publisher requirements

Need guidance and examples?  See the Libraries guide to citing data.  For help in citing data—or in identifying sources of data behind publications—contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, mcneillh@mit.edu.

Want to know more about improved standards and practices in the field for data citation?  See:

Image credits: futureatlas.com [CC-BY-2.0], infocux Technologies [CC-BY-NC-2.0]

Discovering the Libraries: Enriching and simplifying research

Posted April 23rd, 2014 by Pritee Tembhekar
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Priya Kalluri, ’16, doing research on several generations of Frankenstein adaptations, using MIT Libraries’ resources.

By MIT Libraries’ student blogger, Pri Tembhekar

Hello everyone! It is research season! Well at least many of us have design projects, theses, or final reports that require significant research. This week I’ll be highlighting some of the Libraries’ resources for research. You probably already know about finding print resources, such as books owned by the MIT Libraries. While this is a good first step, there are many additional sources of information that can add depth and breadth to your findings.

Subject matter experts are part of the Libraries’ staff and have specialized knowledge about subjects ranging from accounting to women’s and gender studies. These experts can provide research consultations for courses, theses, and other in-depth research. These consultations can be very valuable if you come prepared, and with a project that isn’t due in the next two hours. In case you are facing an impending deadline, these subject matter experts have kindly put together subject matter guides. For an example of how these can be used, take the one on energy. The experts have provided a list of easily accessible databases and journals along with short descriptions of their contents. This enables students to produce higher quality research than Google alone can facilitate. The guides are also a direct way to utilize MIT-only resources without much research into which resources are available and relevant. In short, some of the leg work has been done for you! For a particularly fun research guide, check out the one on designing and making stuff.

Along the same lines as the research guides, the Libraries provide class guides. Certain classes require substantial outside material and/or research from students. The professors can work with librarians to put together class guides especially usefully for that class. If your research is for a class, it is worth checking if there is a class guide for it. In my case, the guide for 10.27 (Energy Projects Lab) along with the Energy guide mentioned above and the Chemical Engineering guide were the foundation for preparing a meaty introduction to my final report in 10.27.

Finally, one of the simplest resources is a class textbook. The Libraries provide access to select textbooks online. I never thought to search for textbooks in the library until a friend mentioned last year that he wasn’t buying the textbook because he could access it through the Libraries. This is also useful if you find that you need a textbook for a class you aren’t taking or would like to peruse the textbook for a class you might take. Never hurts to look before you buy!

Last open mic this semester – Friday, May 2

Posted April 23rd, 2014 by Christie Moore

pianoJoin us for the final open mic this semester in the Lewis Music Library, one last chance to try out the new piano. Come jam, perform, or just listen. Everyone welcome. Bring your own music or use the library’s (we’ve got lots!).

Date: Friday, May 2, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: noon- 1 pm
Refreshments provided