Archives + MIT History

Study under the Dome 24/7! Barker reading room reopens as a 24-hour study space.

Posted February 15th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Photo by L. Barry Hetherington

The Barker Library reading room has reopened to reveal the grandeur of the restored oculus atop the Great Dome. Read about the details of the project in MIT’s Great Dome is reborn.

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.

“Magnetic Resonance” on display in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted October 2nd, 2012 by Heather Denny

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.

Vail Exhibit EventsEXHIBIT EVENTS:

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, dies at 82

Posted September 5th, 2012 by Heather Denny
Jay K. Lucker

Jay K. Lucker, former director of the MIT Libraries

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.

Continue reading the full obituary on MIT News…

International collaborations in digital preservation

Posted August 20th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Image courtesy of Educopia Institute

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.

Readers can download a free PDF of Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation, or purchase the print publication online.

 

MIT Institute Archives in the Cambridge Open Archives Tour on July 12

Posted July 2nd, 2012 by Heather Denny

Fourth Annual Open Archives Tour: Famous and Infamous

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 

For more information and reservations, contact: 617-547-4252 or www.cambridgearchives.org

 

View a live webcast of MIT Commencement Friday, June 8

Posted June 5th, 2012 by Heather Denny

photo: MIT TechTV

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 on stained glass restoration and conservation Friday, May 11

Posted April 30th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Glass at MIT exhibition, Maihaugen Gallery, photo by: L. Barry Hetherington


Gallery Talk with Roberto Rosa

Roberto Rosa, Serpentino Stained Glass

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.

IAPril 2012: Is It What It Is? Tools for Understanding Your Digital Files

Posted March 23rd, 2012 by Mark Szarko

When: Fri April 27, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Where: 14N-118 (Archives reading room)

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!

Please register for this session. For more information, please contact Kari R. Smith.

IAPril 2012: Dear Diaries — Before There Were Blogs

Posted March 23rd, 2012 by Mark Szarko

When: Fri April 20, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Where: 14N-118 (Archives reading room)

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 Libraries Receive Papers of Distinguished Linguist, Philosopher, and Activist Noam Chomsky

Posted February 9th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Noam Chomsky, photo credit: MIT News

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.

“Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility” Opening Feb.10 in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted February 1st, 2012 by Heather Denny



Please join us for the opening of the MIT Libraries’ latest exhibit GLASS AT MIT: BEAUTY AND UTILITY

Date: Friday, February 10, 2-4pm
Location: Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130)

A new exhibition in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery explores glassmaking as revealed in glassware from MIT laboratories, blown glass from the MIT Glass Lab, and stunning stained glass windows from the Libraries’ Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation Collection. Tools, early photographs, and selections from rare books demonstrate the combination of artistry and engineering that goes into the creation of glass.

This event is free and open to the community.

Altman joins MIT Libraries as Director of Research

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Micah Altman to the position of Director of Research, Head/Scientist, Program for Information Science in the MIT Libraries. Altman will be responsible for leading and growing the Libraries’ active research program in applied information science.

He joins MIT after 15 years in a variety of research positions at Harvard University, most recently as the Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Quantitative Social Science, the Archival Director for the Murray Research Archive, and the Associate Director (through 2009) of the Harvard-MIT Data Center.

“Micah has deep experience in a broad range of research-oriented activities in the areas of information science, research data management, digital preservation, and scholarly communication – all areas that have great importance to the MIT Libraries,” said Wolpert.

Altman earned his undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Ethics and Political Philosophy from Brown University, and his PhD in Social Sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Government at Harvard University. In addition to an extensive background in quantitative social science and computer science, Altman has notable expertise in archiving, librarianship, research methods, and scholarly communication through his professional roles at Harvard. He is widely recognized for his writing and presentations on topics that are of considerable relevance to research libraries. Altman’s appointment will begin in March 2012.

Jay Keyser discusses “Mens et Mania: The MIT Nobody Knows”

Posted October 28th, 2011 by Heather Denny

Want to hear about the REAL MIT? Join us for an evening with Jay Keyser as he discusses his recent book Mens et Mania.

When: Wednesday, November 16, 6:00 PM
Where: 14N-118, Institute Archives & Special Collections

Samuel Jay Keyser is Professor Emeritus in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy and Special Assistant to the Chancellor. Since arriving at MIT in 1977 he has held positions with the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, the Center for Cognitive Science, the Provost, the Chancellor, and was the Housemaster at Senior House. In Mens et Mania Keyser shares experiences from his unique perspective and reflects on the culture and mystique of MIT.

Copies of Mens et Mania will be available for purchase and signing. Reception to follow.

Library events during Family Weekend, Oct.14–16

Posted October 7th, 2011 by Heather Denny

The MIT Libraries welcome MIT families to campus during Family Weekend 2011!  We invite you to join us for these special library-sponsored events:

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

 

10:00-10:45 a.m.: Lewis Music Library Open House

14E-109, Lewis Music Library
Visit the Lewis Music Library and find out why this is such a popular place on campus.  Renovated in 1996, this library features striking architecture and an impressive collection of music: 37,000 scores, 16,00 books, and 24,000 recording including classical, world, jazz, popular, folk, electronic, and film music.

3:00-4:15 p.m.: MIT 150: Inventional Wisdom in Video
3-133
Relax and enjoy some popcorn while viewing a collection of short videos celebrating and capturing MIT’s sesquicentennial.  The program will feature a documentary short on the evolving student experience at MIT, and a selection of MIT150 events including 300 student musicians performing at the Next Century Convocation.  Refreshments will be served.  Hosted by MIT Libraries/Academic Media Production Services

While you’re here please stop by any library location and say hello. Visit the original library reading room under the Dome in Barker Library, take in views of the river from Hayden Library, or learn about MIT history in the ‘Technology’ through Time exhibit in the Maihaugen Gallery. We hope you enjoy your visit!

Institute Archives closed for research use August 22-Sept.9

Posted August 11th, 2011 by Heather Denny

The Institute Archives and Special Collections reading room (14N-118) will be temporarily closed for research use for three weeks, from Monday, August 22 through Friday, September 9, 2011 due to construction in the building.  During this time, research assistance from Archives staff will be available online and by phone.  Research and reference requests can be made through a web form on the Archives website, or by calling 617.253.5690 for urgent requests.

Final month to see Technology Through Time exhibit before the Fall

Posted July 15th, 2011 by Heather Denny

Maihaugen Gallery, photo by L.Barry Hetherington

The Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) will be temporarily closed from August 15 through Friday, September 9 due to construction.  Visit the gallery before August 15 to see ‘Technology’ Through Time: 150 Years of MIT History.

This multimedia exhibition showcases in words, documents, photos, video and sound, the broad and varied history of MIT. View original MIT documents and historically significant materials that played a role in making MIT the unique place it is today. The exhibit also features items from the MIT Museum’s MIT150 Exhibition, as well as video stories of those who have shaped – and been shaped by – MIT.

The gallery is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. until August 15.  The gallery and exhibit will reopen September 12.

Institute Archives collection appears in the New York Times

Posted June 28th, 2011 by Lois Beattie

Archives/Libraries logoThe Institute Archives and Special Collections was featured on June 21 in an Opinionator Blog by Errol Morris in the New York Times in a 5-part series titled “Did My Brother Invent E-Mail With Tom Van Vleck?” Alternating family history with interviews with MIT scientists and engineers, Morris tells a fascinating and moving story about the intersection of his family and the exciting evolution of computing at MIT in the 1960s. Part 3, headed “Room 14N-118” (the MIT address of the Archives), describes his search in the records of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (collection AC 282), where his brother was working on Project MAC.  He observes the  fragility of the historical record of our activities, and talks with Jerry Saltzer (MIT professor emeritus) about the changing nature of writing and disseminating information.

 

Solve an MIT 150 puzzle

Posted May 25th, 2011 by Lois Beattie

MIT 150 logo with question markPut your Inventional Wisdom to work on an MIT 150 Puzzle.

Exploring the exhibits on the web site of the Institute Archives and Special Collections to solve the puzzle, you may be entertained and educated by facts you didn’t know about MIT’s history and the work of people associated with the Institute.

Enjoy!

MIT150 Through the Video Lens–Tuesday 5/10, 4pm

Posted May 10th, 2011 by mit-admin
Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

An overview and discussion of the multimedia developed in support of MIT’s sesquicentennial. Content includes the Infinite History Project, From the Vault, Elemental MIT, and five documentary shorts that explore different facets of the MIT experience:

  • The Founding of MIT: Persistence in Vision
  • Outside the Box: Crossing Disciplines at MIT
  • MIT in Service
  • Common Threads: The Evolving Student Experience at MIT
  • The Ecosystem: Nurturing Entrepreneurship at MIT

Following the 30-minute screening of excerpts from the documentaries, we’ll look at this collection of new multimedia resources with our MIT colleagues who imagined and produced them — and others who are now using them in their own education and outreach activities. Conversation will include emerging trends in online video publishing and advances in video transcript-based search technology.

All are welcome: no tickets required.

Reception to follow; room 10-105.

Come see what’s “Under the Dome” Saturday, April 30, 11am-4pm

Posted April 25th, 2011 by Heather Denny


Under the Dome
is a day-long, campus-wide open house on Saturday, April 30.  On this day the public is invited to explore MIT as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.  MIT’s libraries and the Maihaugen Gallery will be open to visitors and will offer several workshops:

‘Technology’ Through Time: 150 Years of MIT History
Exhibition
Maihaugen Gallery (14N-118)
Open 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

This multimedia exhibition showcases in words, documents, photos, video and sound, the broad and varied history of MIT. View original MIT documents and historically significant materials that played a role in making MIT the unique place it is today. The exhibit also features items from the MIT Museum’s 150 Exhibition, as well as Infinite Histories, video stories of those who have shaped–and been shaped by–MIT.  ­­

Preserving Your Family’s History
Workshop
Meet at the Maihaugen Gallery (14N-118)
Sessions hourly.  Last tour meets at 3 p.m.

Visit the Wunsch Conservation Lab where the MIT Libraries preserve their collections using modern science and traditional craft.  The MIT Libraries’ conservator and preservation librarian will explain how to care for your family papers, photographs, home videos, and digital media. Hand-outs with basic information and sources of archival supplies will be available. Sessions will last 45 minutes. Tours are limited to 20 people and will begin every hour on the hour.

Digital mapping tools introduced by MIT GIS Services
Workshop
DIRC (14N-132)
Sessions at 11 a.m. and noon

Learn about creating maps with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and collecting data in your community with a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. A GIS provides tools for analyzing scientific and cultural data, as well as data collected by individuals (like you).  Session will include demonstration and a chance for everyone to collect data outside and create their own maps.

Apps4Academics
Workshop
DIRC (14N-132)
Sessions at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

In this show and tell, we will recommend the best iPhone/iPad apps and mobile websites for your academic life. We’ll talk about apps for productivity, library research, note-taking, e-reading, PDF-reading and annotating, sketching, and more. Some apps we’ll demo include Evernote, Instapaper, Dropbox, GoodReader, Papers, and WorldCat Mobile. See our companion web site: libguides.mit.edu/apps