Curious about how the MIT Libraries are working to archive and preserve the digital record and primary sources for the Institute? Check out Digital Archivist Kari Smith’s recent blog post, which explains the current process and describes some software tools that are being considered. Be sure to stay tuned as the life-cycle experiments hosted by the Libraries’ new Digital Sustainability Lab further assess and test use cases and solutions.
Archives + MIT History
Join the MIT Libraries for a series of classes on topics that range from letterlocking to the music of the Arab Spring. Some classes require registration.
Creative Bookbinding 2014
Tue Jan 7, 10:00am-12:30pm, 14-0513
Wed Jan 8, 10:00am-12:30pm, 14-0513
Contact: Kate Beattie, email@example.com
Rare Book Speed Dating
Fri Jan 10, 10:30am-11:00am, 14N-118
Fri Jan 10, 11:15am-11:45am, 14N-118
Contact: Audrey Pearson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Library Music! Open Mic in the Lewis Music Library
Fri Jan 10, 12:00pm-1:00pm, 14E-109
Fri Jan 24, 12:00pm-1:00pm, 14E-109
Contact: Peter Munstedt, email@example.com
Using Images in Your Work: A Look at Fair Use, Open Licensing, Copyright, and Identifying and Citing Images
Fri Jan 10, 1:00pm-2:15pm, 14N-132
Contact: Ellen Duranceau, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Conversation with Ta’Nehisi Coates about Reading, Writing, and Libraries
Mon Jan 13, 11:00am-12pm, 14E-304
Contact: Patsy Baudoin, email@example.com
Leave It to the Beavers: A Snapshot of Life at MIT in the 1950s
Fri Jan 24, 2:00pm-3:30pm, 14N-118
Contact: Camille Torres Hoven, firstname.lastname@example.org
Historic Letterlocking: The Art and Security of Letterwriting
Tue Jan 28, 10:00am-3:00pm, 14-0513
Wed, Jan 29, 10:00am-3:00pm, 14-0513
Contact: Jana Dambrogio, email@example.com
Rap, Rai, Rock, and Revolution: The Role of Music in the “Arab Spring”
Tue Jan 28, 3:00pm-5:00pm, 3-133
Contact: Michael Toler, firstname.lastname@example.org
For a complete list of IAP classes offered by the Libraries, please see our Calendar of Events.
There have been spooky happenings in the Maihaugen Gallery this Halloween. A medieval chant book, originally from the fifteenth or sixteenth century, has inexplicably transformed into a Harry Potter-inspired Monster Book of Monsters! Come see the enormous leather-and-wood-bound book complete with scary demon face, vicious teeth, and dismembered body parts. Rumor has it that the book will disappear soon after midnight on Halloween, so see it today!
Please note: No library users were harmed in the creation of the Monster Book, and all fun was had under the care and supervision of the Libraries’ expert Preservation team.
A new library resource, the Music at MIT Oral History Collection, brings the history of music at MIT to life through in-depth video and audio interviews with MIT music faculty, staff, and former students. It shares the stories of performers, conductors, composers, music theorists, historians, acousticians, librarians, scientists and engineers, revealing their contributions to the musical life of the Institute and the world at large, as well as the effect music at MIT had in their own lives and careers.
- Choose interviews by MIT affiliation (MIT faculty, staff, student, etc.) and by topic (composers, jazz, world music, etc.).
- Select interviews to watch video, or listen to audio.
- Search within transcripts by keyword, download PDF transcripts, and view biographical background information on each interviewee.
The resource is a culmination of over a decade’s worth of documentation by Forrest Larson, a staff member at MIT’s Lewis Music Library. The project was generously funded by MIT alumnus Lionel Kinney (’53). Learn more about the project.
Jana Dambrogio will join the staff of the MIT Libraries in September as the new Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator. In this role she will manage MIT’s special collections conservation program–planning and executing conservation treatments for the physical maintenance of rare books, archives, and manuscripts. She will also contribute to the Libraries’ overall preservation strategy.
Dambrogio comes from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) where she has been a senior conservator since 2004. In addition to her work at NARA, she brings an impressive array of experience from consultancies, fellowships, and internships at other well-known national and international institutions such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, the Vatican Secret Archives, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and Houghton Library at Harvard University.
“Jana is an experienced and innovative conservator who is prepared to continue the high level of commitment, notable ability, and passion for conservation that we have been fortunate to have in this position,” said Nancy McGovern, MIT Libraries’ Head of Curation and Preservation Services.
The Libraries conservator position is endowed by generous long-time MIT Libraries’ supporter Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (Class of 1957).
MIT’s history comes alive in the Institute Archives and Special Collections. Come explore!
- Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City is a landmark of city planning. Consult his field notes.
- Howe, Manning & Almy was the first Massachusetts architectural firm founded by women. All three founders were MIT alumnae, and you can read their papers at the Institute Archives & Special Collections.
- Ever wondered where William Barton Rogers spent his honeymoon? Read his diary.
- In 1962 Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions set a new standard in the philosophy of science. Read his drafts in person at the Institute Archives & Special Collections.
MIT and Harvard libraries will play a role in ensuring a new generation of library school graduates will be prepared for jobs in digital stewardship. The universities were jointly awarded a 2013 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that will fund a pilot program to help recent graduates gain the skills, experience, and network needed to begin successful careers.
“There’s a real gap between students graduating and the skills they need for available jobs. The program aims to bridge that gap,” said Nancy McGovern, head of curation and preservation services for MIT Libraries, and a co-author of the grant proposal.
The program will mirror a national digital curation residency program developed by the Library of Congress, but it will be the first of its kind in the Boston-area. Over the course of two years a total of ten residents will get hands-on experience in projects that involve digital library collections, long-term preservation, and accessibility of digital assets. Recent library school graduates will have a chance to apply for the program that will give them the opportunity to work with a host institution in the Boston-area, and network with other area institutions, industry leaders, and peers.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for the MIT Libraries to participate in raising awareness, and building community and competencies in this field,” said McGovern.
McGovern will coordinate the development of the program’s curriculum, in collaboration with Andrea Goethals, manager of digital preservation and repository services for Harvard Library, and lead author of the grant proposal. The first year of the grant will cover planning and preparation. The program will welcome the first cohort of residents in fall 2014.
MIT and Harvard will also work closely with a similar grant-funded project in New York led by the Metropolitan New York Library Council and Brooklyn Historical Society. See the full list of 2013 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant recipients.
Are you interested in knowing what the MIT Libraries is doing about digital archives? Follow Digital Archivist Kari Smith as she writes about the processes and practice of dealing with digital records and archives.
Join us for a community open house celebrating the historic restoration of MIT’s Great Dome, and the opening of Barker Library’s 24-hour reading room.
DATE: Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 2-4pm
LOCATION: Barker Library Reading Room (10-500)
DETAILS: Remarks by President L. Rafael Reif. Refreshments to follow.
A new exhibition exploring the extraordinary connection between the MIT mind and music has opened in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery.
Noteworthy Connections: Music in the MIT Libraries delves into the holdings of the Lewis Music Library and the Institute Archives and Special Collections, to reveal MIT’s diverse musical interests, the accomplishments of its talented students and faculty, and the rich history the Institute’s musical groups and clubs.
The exhibit will be on view in the gallery until December, 2013. Visit the gallery:
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Natural light, as well as additional lighting around the perimeter of the dome, brightens the entire space revealing beautiful architectural detail. Additional improvements include the installation of acoustic panels and a new sound-mitigation system that will help soften echoes and ambient noise. Comfortable chairs, large tables, and individual study carrels have also returned to the reading room, making it a perfect space for quiet study.
The reading room is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to members of the MIT community with an MIT ID.
The fall exhibit in the Maihaugen Gallery showcases a unique collection on view to the public for the very first time. Magnetic Resonance: Four Centuries of Science from the Vail Collection offers a look inside MIT’s Vail Collection—one of the world’s most important collections of books on magnetism, electricity, animal magnetism, and lighter-than-air travel.
The collection includes foundational texts in the history of science and technology, rare titles from the late 15th-19th centuries, works of popular science, and thousands of rare pamphlets and articles. It was given to MIT in 1912, by Theodore N. Vail, president of AT&T and a member of the MIT Corporation. The exhibit marks the 100th anniversary of the Vail Collection’s arrival at the Institute and celebrates the generosity of Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (MIT 1957), who supported a three-year project to unlock the potential of this stunning collection. Every title has been fully cataloged, essential conservation work has been performed, and the Vail Collection can now be shared with the world. Visit the gallery, attend an event, or explore the collection online.
Behind the Scenes: Conserving and Exhibiting the Vail Collection
Wednesday, October 17, 1pm–2pm, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) MIT’s book conservator, Nancy Schrock, discusses conservation treatment and display of the Collection. The talk begins in the gallery and proceeds to the Wunsch Conservation Lab.
Witches, Magic, and Monsters: The Spooky Side of MIT’s Vail Collection
Friday, October 26, 3pm, Institute Archives (14N-118) A Halloween-inspired look at the creepier side of the Collection. Online registration required.
The Scientific Conversation and the Vail Collection: Gallery Talks & Tours
Thursday, November 8, 11am–noon, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130)
Wednesday, November 28, 3pm–4pm, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) Exhibit curator and rare books program manager, Stephen Skuce, leads a tour and talk about the exhibit.
MIT’s Vail Collection: From the Lodestone to the X-Ray
Friday, November 16, 10:30am, Institute Archives (14N-118) A presentation by rare books program manager, Stephen Skuce.
Jay K. Lucker, former director of the MIT Libraries, and nationally known library building and planning consultant, passed away on Sept. 2. He was 82.
Lucker was a native of New York City who started his library career at the New York Public Library in 1954, following service in the U.S. Army. He earned an AB degree from Brooklyn College, and an MS degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Library Service. While at Brooklyn College he met his wife, Marjorie Stern.
Lucker came to the MIT Libraries in 1975 from Princeton University, where he was associate university librarian. During his 20-year career at MIT, he guided the Libraries through the beginning of the transition to many digital library resources and services.
“Jay Lucker led the MIT Libraries during a period of exceptional collection growth, as well as in the momentous early years of digital library development. His contributions continue to inspire, and he will be sorely missed,” his successor, MIT Director of Libraries Ann Wolpert, said.
The MIT Libraries are involved in collaborations that look at the broad range of digital content that universities and other organizations produce, and at ways to make content accessible across generations of technology.
The Libraries’ head of curation and preservation services, Nancy McGovern, was recently involved in an international conference that gathered more than 125 delegates from more than 20 countries at the National Library of Estonia, to explore how to create and sustain collaborations to support the preservation of our collective digital cultural memory.
An outcome of the conference is a guide written for a broad audience that includes librarians, archivists, scholars, curators, technologists, lawyers, researchers, and administrators at many different types of cultural organizations.
Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation was edited by Nancy McGovern, and published by the Educopia Institute. It describes successful collaborative strategies and articulates new models that may help organizations work together for their mutual benefit.
The Cambridge Historical Society is hosting its fourth annual Open Archives Tour, July 9-12, 2012. MIT is participating along with eleven other organizations throughout Cambridge.
With the theme Famous and Infamous, each archive will delve into their collections to display unique materials, including photographs, correspondence, ephemera, and more, offering a rare look inside some of Cambridge’s most fascinating archives. There will be twelve archives featured over four days (three per day).
Tours and Dates:
July 9, 5:00-8:00 pm
City Collections, featuring
- Cambridge Historical Commission
- Cambridge Room of the Public Library
- Cambridge Public Works Department
July 10, 3:00-6:00 pm
Harvard Collections, featuring
- Harvard University Archives
- Houghton Library at Harvard
- Schlesinger Library at Harvard
July 11, 5:00-8:00 pm
Cultural Collections, featuring
- Mount Auburn Cemetery
- Cambridge Historical Society
- The Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site
July 12, 3:00-6:00 pm
MIT Collections, featuring
- MIT List Visual Arts Center
- MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections
- MIT Museum
For more information and reservations, contact: 617-547-4252 or www.cambridgearchives.org
MIT’s 2012 Commencement will be webcast live by AMPS (Academic Media Production Services) with commentary provided by Institute Archivist Tom Rosko. Rosko will co-host the webcast of the 146th Commencement exercises with Matt McGann, Director of Admissions and member of the Class of 2000.
View the festivities live from anywhere around the world. Commencement exercises begin Friday, June 8, 2012 at 8:00 am EST, followed by the Commencement ceremonies at 10:00 am EST. This year’s guest speaker will be Salman Khan ’98, founder of the Khan Academy.
Tune in and join us in congratulating the graduates!
Gallery Talk with Roberto Rosa
When: Friday, May 11, 2pm
Where: Institute Archives (14N-118)
In conjunction with the Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility exhibition, Roberto Rosa from Serpentino Stained Glass will discuss stained glass art and artists, and his work in the restoration and conservation of historic stained glass.
Rosa has restored windows in some of America’s most prominent buildings including the Massachusetts State House and Trinity Church in Boston. Most recently, he was the chief conservator for thirteen opalescent glass windows at Salve Regina University in Newport RI, designed by John La Farge.
After Rosa’s talk there will be time for questions and viewing the exhibit in the Maihaugen Gallery. This event is free and open to the public.
When: Fri April 27, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
In this session you will be exposed to a variety of software tools that are being used in the Institute Archives for understanding digital files that are being added to the Archival collections. These software tools aid with the process of long-term access of digital material by allowing us to know what the digital files are when we receive them, detect any changes over time, and how to make them available in the future.
We will briefly discuss how these tools fit into work flows for digital content being developed for use in the Institute Archives and Special Collections department of the MIT Libraries.
Categories of tools that will be reviewed include: file format characterization, fixity, packaging, metadata extraction, conversion / normalization, disk imaging, and metadata embedding.
Come learn how you can know that over time your digital files are what they are!
When: Fri April 20, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Have you ever wanted to take a peek inside a day in the life of an MIT student or faculty member? Come explore some diaries from the Institute Archives & Special Collections and read accounts of…
- founder William Barton Rogers’s wedding trip
- a world cruise
- trekking across Texas in a covered wagon
- a future MIT president’s teenage adventures as a ship’s radio operator
- the founding of the United Nations
- working with radar during World War Two
- traveling in India, Australia, Germany, Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Azores
- and more!
Diaries date from 1849 to 1973. You never know what adventures you’ll uncover!
This session will last 90 minutes, with a 10-minute introduction at the beginning and then time to peruse the diaries at your leisure. Drop by anytime and stay as long as you want.
For more information, please contact Dana Goblaskas.
MIT’s Libraries were recently chosen to be the stewards of the personal archives of noted linguist, political activist, and Institute Professor emeritus Noam Chomsky. The significant collection spans a long and distinguished career, beginning when Chomsky joined MIT in 1955 in the Research Laboratory of Electronics, through his years as a professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, then as Institute Professor.
Often referred to as “the father of modern linguistics,” Chomsky revolutionized the field of linguistics and paved the way for transformational grammar and universal grammar. His book Syntactic Structures (1957) was considered groundbreaking. He also made significant contributions to the fields of psychology, cognitive science, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.
“It’s fitting that Professor Chomsky’s papers will remain at MIT as a resource for future generations of scholars. He revolutionized the way we think about the linguistic sciences and the cognitive mechanisms of language acquisition, and his ideas in many realms have had profound influence on scholarship and public discourse here at MIT and worldwide,” MIT President Susan Hockfield said.
Over the years, Chomsky has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Kyoto Prize in 1988 and the MIT Killian Award for the academic year 1991-1992. Most recently, he won the Sydney Peace Prize in 2011. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“Over the last fifty years, Noam Chomsky has not only created the building blocks of linguistic theory and understanding, but has built a remarkable and unique department of Linguistics that has nurtured several generations of linguists who have taken their MIT experience into and across the globe. It is wonderful that Noam’s papers, which span this long period of growth and development, will be available to scholars for many years to come,” MIT Dean of Humanities Deborah Fitzgerald said.
The collection also reflects Chomsky’s political activism and outspoken support for freedom of speech and social justice. He was once quoted as saying, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all” (Guardian (UK), Nov.23, 1992).
He has authored numerous works on the topic, including American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2006), and Hopes and Prospects (2010).
The addition of Chomsky’s personal archives, and a large portion of his personal library, augments a small existing collection of Chomsky’s papers already in the care of the MIT Libraries’ Institute Archives.
“With this addition, the collection will be a complete archival resource that will provide researchers with unique insight into Professor Chomsky’s thinking, and the development of the field of linguistics, as well as his views on significant issues in social activism from post-WWII through current day,” MIT Institute Archivist Tom Rosko said.
Staff from the MIT Libraries and Institute Archives and Special Collections are in the beginning stages of transferring material to the Archives. Initial work in organizing the Chomsky collection will occur this year, with additional work on improving access to the collection, including online access to portions of it, continuing over the next several years. When the work is done, scholars will have unprecedented access to an enormous depth and breadth of material from one of the world’s most renowned linguists and top intellectual minds.