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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

Composer Florian Hollerweger: Thursday, May 1

Posted April 23rd, 2014 by Christie Moore

Composer forum series: Florian Hollerweger

revolution_florianThe Revolution is Hear! Sound Art, the Everyday, and Aural Awareness.

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: 5-6 pm
Reception follows
Free and open to the public

Sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts.

Giant letter to be locked shut April 23, Lobby 10, 12:30pm

Posted April 22nd, 2014 by Jana Dambrogio

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Come celebrate the Cambridge Science Festival with the MIT Libraries. Visit our table in Lobby 10 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23 to learn about the 4,000-year-old tradition of writing a letter on papyrus, parchment, or paper and folding it to function as its own envelope.  Hear about historic letter locking, discover the collections here at MIT, unlock some facsimile letters written by William Barton Rogers, and sign this enormous letter before it’s locked shut at 12:30pm.

Try your hand at writing with a peacock quill and other proportionally large writing instruments. Craft your mood with our Letter+Lock playlist we put together expressly for you on Spotify!

Thanks to master papermakers Tom Balbo at the Morgan Conservatory and Julie McLaughlin for making this seven foot long sheet of handmade paper so that we can transform it into a giant locked letter.

See more information.

MIT Earth Week: The Clean Bin Project Film Screening & Panel Discussion

Posted April 18th, 2014 by Heather McCann

 

CBP Poster

 

Time: Thursday, April 24th, 6-8:30 pm

Location: 3-270

Is it possible to live completely waste free? In this multi-award winning, festival favorite, partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least garbage Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of the problem waste.

Afterwards, join MIT community members for a discussion of living waste free.

Snacks will be provided.

Sponsored by MIT Libraries and the Earth Day Collaborative

Books & Beasts: Parchment Identification from Animal Protein Analysis

Posted April 17th, 2014 by Jana Dambrogio

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Rare Book Program Manager Stephen Skuce (left) discusses the illuminated parchment pages of MIT’s 15th century manuscript Book of Hours with visitors Stephen J. Milner (Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Manchester) and scientist Sarah Fiddyment (University of York).

Milner and Fiddyment and their colleagues Caroline Checkley-Scott (Collections Conservator at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library) and Professor Matthew Collins (University of York) gave a wonderful presentation on their groundbreaking work. Their collaboration involves sampling of centuries-old parchment (used in books and documents) to determine the species of animal used in the parchment’s manufacture. The collagen molecules are gathered through a novel, non-invasive technique: a plastic eraser, via minimal, gentle contact with the parchment, attracts collagen molecules from its surface, and the eraser “crumbs” are harvested: no abrasion or cutting required, and the sample can then be sent to the research team for analysis. This technique, developed by Fiddyment, gathers ample collagen molecules for investigation (sequencing through protein mass spectrometry), providing invaluable evidence for identification of the materials used to create our cultural heritage. The resulting data has numerous and exciting implications for various fields in both the humanities and the sciences.

 

Learn more about Mendeley–with pizza!

Posted April 17th, 2014 by Katherine McNeill

Mendeley logo

Meet Mendeley Representatives–Refreshments served!

When: Friday April 25th 3:30-5pm

Where: 14N-132

Come eat pizza and learn more about Mendeley, a tool that helps you manage and share pdfs and easily generate citations and bibliographies when writing.  Representatives from Mendeley,  MIT Mendeley Advisors and library staff will be on hand to meet you, answer your questions and get feedback on this great tool.

RSVP for the event.

Enhanced Mendeley Access for MIT Users

The MIT Libraries has purchased Mendeley Institutional Edition for the MIT community.  This gives MIT users more personal and shared space than what is available with a free Mendeley account.  To find out more see our Mendeley page.

Questions? Email personal-content@mit.edu

Electroacoustics for lunch – Monday, April 28

Posted April 17th, 2014 by Christie Moore

electroacoustic-flyer_medJoin us for a lunchtime performance by MIT’s Florian Hollerweger (Music and Theater Arts) and Forrest Larson (Lewis Music Library) as they explore acoustic and electronic sounds of ethereal and earthbound origins in a new collaboration.

Date: Monday, April 28, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: noon – 1 pm
Reception follows
Free and open to the public

Guardians of the MIT Community

Posted April 16th, 2014 by Nora Murphy
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Barbara Haven, Raymond Roberts, and Robert Molino

Security on MIT’s campus has evolved since the 1950s when night watchmen, serving primarily as fire watch, patrolled the campus. The responsibilities, duties, and reporting structure of the police have changed with the times and the needs of the community. Crimes on campus previously handled by Cambridge police were taken on by MIT’s force in 1959. Over the last two decades the MIT Police have worked with students and staff more collaboratively on safety issues. Read more about the history of the MIT Police on the Institute Archives and Special Collections web site.

OA research in the news: Germs that go to great lengths

Posted April 16th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn
by 729:512. CC-BY-NC https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

“Sneeze vector” by 729:512. CC-BY-NC license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

A new study by MIT researchers shows that the droplets our noses and mouths release during coughs and sneezes can travel much further than previously thought. John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics, and Lydia Bourouiba, an assistant professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, are two of the coauthors on a recent paper, “Violent expiratory events: on coughing and sneezing.”  The researchers directly observed sneezing and coughing, and also simulated it in the lab, and found that coughs and sneezes produce “turbulent buoyant momentum puffs,” or respiratory clouds, that can carry potentially infected droplets five to 200 times further than known before. This could mean airborne pathogens are more easily transmitted through ventilation systems and enclosed spaces.

Explore Professor Bush’s research and Professor Bourouiba’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.

Patriots’ Day library hours: Monday, April 21

Posted April 16th, 2014 by Grace Mlady

On Monday, April 21, 2014, the following libraries will open at noon (12pm):Small U.S. Flags

All other library locations will be closed for the holiday; the Libraries resume regular hours on Tuesday, April 22.

Have questions? Ask Us!

More E-books now available from Wiley Online Library

Posted April 15th, 2014 by Barbara Williams

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You keep telling us you want more e-books and we aim to please. The Libraries are pleased to announce a cooperative pilot project with Wiley Online Library. Beginning now for one year, about 15,000 electronic books published by Wiley will be available to the MIT community. After this pilot we will purchase perpetual access to books with significant use. (Note some textbooks, extensive encyclopedias and/or handbooks might not be available). This project will also help us determine how to provide access to major STEM e-books in the most cost efficient way.

Soon the links to these books will appear in Barton, but now you may visit the Wiley Online Library.

To read these on your e-book device see our E-reading FAQ.

Happy reading, and Tell Us what you think!