Chat with us: “Ask Us! – Chat” beta

Posted June 26th, 2013 by Remlee Green

drawing of a speech bubbleThis summer, we’re trying an experiment, and we need your help! In the past, you may have contacted us with questions by web form, email, phone, or by dropping by a library desk.  (And we love all your questions! Keep them coming!)

This summer, in addition to all the usual ways to contact us, we’ll be happy to answer your questions by chat between 12-5pm, Monday-Friday. To start a chat with us, visit the Ask Us! page. At the end of the chat, we’ll ask you to fill out a very short survey that will help us to figure out how valuable you think the service is.

In August, we’ll evaluate the beta service and decide whether to continue it into the Fall term or not. To see a list of other experimental library tools and services, see our betas & widgets page.

New “Find It” information kiosk unveiled at Hayden library

Posted August 22nd, 2012 by Melissa Feiden

Come check out the new “Find It” information kiosk on the second floor of Hayden Library.  The kiosk features a secured iPad that gives you quick access to information like:

  • how to find books
  • where to find scanners, copiers and printers
  • nearby food and drink options
  • restroom locations
  • campus map
  • and much more!

The “Find It” kiosk is part of the Libraries’ betas program, which is an ongoing effort to experiment with new technologies and services to help make access to information easier.  The kiosk will remain in Hayden until IAP, when it will be evaluated to see if the program merits expansion to other library locations.

If you have questions about the kiosk or any other library services, feel free to Ask Us!

MediaMobile hits the road

Posted June 18th, 2012 by Christie Moore


You may see the Lewis Music Library’s new MediaMobile roaming around campus soon!

The MediaMobile is a moveable cart that can travel across campus to highlight the MIT Libraries’ many online media materials. It has a large monitor and audio speakers to demo streaming audio and video products, full-text books, music scores, images, bibliographic databases, etc.

The MediaMobile will be available to MIT librarians so that online information in a variety of subjects can be shared with the MIT community.

The MediaMobile was funded by the Class of 1982 Music Library Fund. To see more experimental services at the MIT Libraries, check out the list of current Betas & Widgets.

Lunch & Learn: You bring the food, we bring the knowledge!

Posted March 5th, 2012 by Mark Szarko

Over  the next five Tuesdays,  the MIT Libraries are launching a new series of quick demonstrations to highlight some of our resources. Called “Lunch & Learn: You Bring the Food, We Bring the Knowledge,” the series will take place every 10 minutes or so in the Information Intersection (the big orange cube in the Stata Center) between 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Topics covered are: Lunch & Learn: You Bring the Food, We Bring the Knowledge

•     March 6th: Making Google Scholar work with MIT resources

•     March 13th: Setting up PubMed to access MIT resources

•     March 20th: Patents

•     April 3rd: Borrow Direct- Bringing the Ivy League libraries to you

•     April 10th: Online music resources

•     April 17th: Apps for Academics

Feel free to drop in anytime from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. These presentations are very short and informal–feel free to bring your lunch, or stop by on your way to or from the produce market. Five minutes could save you one hour!

Everybody else loves LibX 2.0. Do you?

Posted January 25th, 2012 by Remlee Green

Thousands of MIT students, staff, and researchers have downloaded LibX.  6,303 of you, to be exact.  And we’re betting that thousands more will download the new version – LibX 2.0!

What is LibX?

LibX is a browser extension you can download for Firefox and Google Chrome.  LibX will give you easier access to MIT resources from anywhere and help you to:

  1. get access to journals easier and faster, especially from off-campus.
  2. search the Barton catalog, Vera, MIT’s WorldCat, and Google Scholar quicker – they’re only 1 click away from any web page.
  3. find out if books on Amazon (and other popular websites) are available to borrow from MIT Libraries.

What’s new with LibX 2.0?

The beta version of LibX 2.0 has just been released, and it works with Google Chrome and Firefox browsers.  The original LibX toolbar has evolved into a simple browser button, so the search bar won’t take up so much space on the screen.  It’s still easy to reload websites through the MIT proxy, and whether you’re on- or off-campus, you’ll be able to get to articles and other content supplied by the MIT Libraries quickly.

How do I get LibX 2.0?

Download the LibX 2.0 beta for Chrome and Firefox. After you download it, LibX will ask you to “select a LibX edition.”  Type “MIT,” select the “MIT Libraries” version, and you’re set!  See more info on installing LibX.

Questions or suggestions?

LibX 2.0 is still a beta, so if you hit any snags or have suggestions, contact

To test more new library tools, visit our Betas & Widgets page.

Follow us on Foursquare!

Posted September 6th, 2011 by Remlee Green

Foursquare icon

If you have a smart phone and use the Foursquare app, follow the MIT Libraries! Foursquare is an app that allows you to check in at various locations and read tips and reviews from other users about that place.

We’ve added tips about all of the libraries at MIT, and if you follow us, those tips will pop up when you check in around campus.  We’ve also set up a list of libraries, so if you follow the list, you can take a tour of the MIT Libraries with Foursquare!

See our full list of betas & widgets and recommended mobile apps & sites.  Also, check out MIT’s Foursquare tips!

Mobile music: QR codes in Music Library

Posted August 25th, 2011 by Remlee Green

American Song mobile site

QR code for jazz music

Posters scattered throughout Lewis Music Library direct users to listen to streaming music on their mobile devices by scanning QR codes.  Each poster highlights a different genre from Alexander Street Press music databases (Contemporary World Music and American Song).


  • Make sure you’re connected to the “MIT” network on your mobile device (not the “MIT Guest” network) before scanning.
  • Only 3 users can listen to music at the same time, so if you’re turned away, try again later!

Interested in trying more new tools & services?  See all of our betas & widgets!

Go mobile with us!

Posted August 22nd, 2011 by Remlee Green

mobile web site homepageIf you’re a member of the MIT community and you have a smart phone, chances are good that you’ve visited the MIT Mobile Web already.  (Anyone else love the shuttle schedule?!)

Good news – we’ve just improved the Libraries’ section of the MIT Mobile Web!  Check it out by looking for the Libraries’ icon on the MIT Mobile Web, or go straight to from a smart phone.

Now, you’ll be able to:

  • Search for and request books
  • Manage Your Account: renew books you have checked out and view your requests or fines
  • View hours and locations for each library
  • Ask questions, submit comments, or request a meeting with the librarian for your subject
  • Read news from the MIT Libraries on our blog
  • Discover mobile tools to help with your research

Find out more information.

What else would you like to see on the mobile web site? Give us your ideas!

Special thanks to the MIT Mobile Web team for their help in developing the MIT Libraries’ mobile web site.

New guide on library betas, widgets, & mobile sites

Posted February 2nd, 2011 by Remlee Green

beta sign

The MIT Libraries are constantly experimenting with new technologies and services to help make access to information easier. You may already know about our betas program, where we experiment with new ideas and technologies, but we’ve recently revamped and expanded the Betas guide.

The new Betas & widgets guide showcases current, graduated, and retired beta tools, and it now includes web widgets and mobile apps and sites, too!

We’ll be adding new betas and widgets in an ongoing basis, so look for updates on the guide itself, or follow the news blog categories for “Betas” and “Mobile web.”

We’d love to hear what you think… Do you have any ideas for betas, web widgets, or things we should try in our physical spaces?  Tell us about it!

Photo credit

Borrow an iPad from the Lewis Music Library

Posted May 6th, 2010 by Christie Moore

Want to check out an iPad for a few hours? The Lewis Music Library has purchased an iPad for circulation to MIT faculty, students and staff. It contains over 85 music apps along with an iTunes library holding over 3,000 audio clips from the library’s recently-received CDs. It will circulate for 4 hours (no renewals or overnight loans). First come, first served.

The iPad was purchased with money from the Class of 1982 Music Library Fund.

The Lewis Music Library is located in Bldg. 14E-109 and library hours are posted on the web.

Go mobile with the MIT Libraries

Posted September 16th, 2009 by Remlee Green

Many of the services featured on the MIT Libraries’ web site are available from a mobile phone on the MIT Mobile Web.

To get to the MIT Libraries’ mobile site, visit from your mobile device’s web browser.

The site is currently optimized for iPhones.  In the future, we plan to create versions optimized for other mobile phones.

From the Libraries’ mobile site, you can:

  • View hours & locations for each library
  • Ask questions and request a meeting with the librarian for your subject
  • Read news from the MIT Libraries on our blog

Read more about the mobile web site.

What else would you like to see on the mobile web site? Give us your ideas!

Special thanks to Andrew Yu and the MIT Mobile Web team for their help in developing the MIT Libraries’ mobile web site.

Follow the MIT Libraries on Twitter!

Posted April 1st, 2009 by Remlee Green

Twitter icon

Keep up with the latest news and ideas from the MIT Libraries with Twitter.  If you’re a Twitter user, follow @mitlibraries, and we’ll follow you back! If you don’t use Twitter, you can still check out our updates on our Twitter page, or subscribe to our stream through an RSS feed.

Twitter is the latest release in a string of betas of the MIT LibrariesTell us your thoughts about what you like (or don’t like) about our Twitter posts, so we can improve them!

Search for books and journals available in libraries worldwide through MIT Libraries’ WorldCat

Posted October 15th, 2008 by Remlee Green

WorldCat record

Looking for an easy way to find books and journals owned not only by MIT, but also by other libraries around the world? Try MIT Libraries’ WorldCat, an experimental interface to the Barton catalog.

Other features include:

  • easy browsing capabilities, with images of book covers and many Google book previews
  • option to set up a user profile, so you can save your favorite items to sharable lists
  • ability to tag, rate, and review items

For a full list of features, read About MIT Libraries’ WorldCat.

WorldCat doesn’t include everything owned by the MIT Libraries, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, make sure to check Barton and Vera, or ask us!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on MIT Libraries WorldCat! Give feedback.

New Faculty Book Delivery Pilot Project

Posted August 27th, 2008 by Ryan Gray

Tenure-track, visiting and emeriti faculty can now take advantage of a new service. Flying book

Find a book you want in Barton, click on “Request item,” log into “Your Account” and select “office delivery” from the drop-down menu.

The book you requested will arrive at your office mailroom in 2-3 business days via campus mail.

For more information, please see our FAQ.

10 ways to access MIT Libraries e-journals from anywhere

Posted February 20th, 2008 by Nicole Hennig


Did you know there are many ways to access the licensed copies of e-journals that we subscribe to? The methods below work from anywhere as long as you have MIT certificates installed or are using MIT’s VPN client.

1. Go to Vera and type the title in the search box.
(Our database called “Vera” has been the primary way to access e-journals since 2000).

2. Go to and type the title in the search box
(This page is part of a new version of Vera, which is currently in beta).

3. Go to our Full Text Finder:
If you have a complete citation to an article, you can enter it and go directly to the article (in most cases).

4. Search for an article using Google Scholar. Set your preferences to say that you want the MIT Libraries links. Then follow links that say “full text – MIT Libraries.” For details, see Making Google Scholar work for you. (Google Scholar does not index ALL of our licensed e-journals, so try Vera if you don’t find it in Google Scholar).

5. Go directly to the journal’s web site. Insert our proxy server string by typing it in front of the URL and then reload the page. See: Manually inserting the proxy string.

6. Install our bookmarklet in your browser toolbar. Go to the journal web site and then click on the bookmarklet, which inserts the proxy string automatically. See Inserting the proxy string with a bookmarklet.

7. In Firefox, install our LibX toolbar. Go directly to a journal’s web site. Right click on the page and select “reload this page via MIT Libraries’ proxy.” See a video of how this works. (A version of LibX for Internet Explorer is under development).

8. In Firefox, install our search toolbar widget for Vera:
For more info, see: Search for journals in Vera with the new Firefox search bar.

9. If you install MIT’s VPN client and log in before you visit a journal’s web site, you will be able to access our subscription e-journals. (It will see you as if you are coming from ON CAMPUS). See VPN: an alternative off-campus option. With this method, #5, 6, and 7 above are not needed.

10. Within our licensed databases, such as Web of Science or SciFinder Scholar, look for buttons that say “Get this – MIT”. Those links will take you directly to our licensed copies of articles using our “open URL resolver” which is called SFX. To see a list of our licensed databases, see Vera shortcuts.

These methods work only if you are ON CAMPUS:
1. Go to our Barton catalog and search for the title. Links in Barton work only from ON-CAMPUS . (A project to change this is in the works).

2. Go directly to the journal’s web site.
If you’re ON campus, and we have a subscription, you’ll get in (in most cases).

Search for journals in Vera with the new Firefox search bar

Posted February 19th, 2008 by Remlee Green

Did you know that you can add search engines to your Firefox toolbar? You can also add a search engine to your Firefox browser to search Vera, the collection of online journals and databases in the MIT Libraries.

Vera Firefox search bar

To download the search bar, visit the MIT Vera search plugin page.

Note: This search plugin will only work with the Firefox web browser, and you will need to have MIT web certificates.

Special thanks to John Hawkinson for developing the plugin!

Learn about the LibX Firefox library toolbar in a video tutorial

Posted February 12th, 2008 by Remlee Green

libx toolbar

LibX is a handy tool that many members of the MIT community use already… Learn what it can do for you in this new video tutorial.

What is LibX, anyway?

  • Toolbar: LibX is a Firefox toolbar that allows you to quickly search the Barton catalog, Vera, Google Scholar, the SFX FullText Finder and other search tools
  • Right-click menu: when you have installed LibX you can highlight text on a web page or PDF and right-click for a menu of search options
  • Embedded links: LibX will also embed links on search results in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Scholar, NYT Book Reviews, and more that will lead you to MIT-only resources

For more information, check out the LibX – MIT edition guide.

Add a Firefox bookmarklet button to get easier off-campus access to journals

Posted February 12th, 2008 by Remlee Green

reloading bookmarklet

If you’re often off-campus, and you need to get your browser to route you through the Libraries’ proxy server, you may want to add a bookmarklet button to your Firefox browser to enable quicker access.

When you’re on a web page that you’d like to redirect through the Libraries’ proxy server, clicking this button will automatically reload the web page. To add the button, follow our FAQ on Inserting the Proxy String with a Bookmarklet.

Check out more MIT Libraries’ betas!

Vera Multi-Search (beta)

Posted November 13th, 2007 by Nicole Hennig

Vera Multi-SearchToday we’re making available to the MIT community a beta release of a new version of Vera, called Vera Multi-Search. (MIT only)

This version of Vera adds the ability to simultaneously search several databases at once, such as Web of Science, Proquest Research Library, and Barton: MIT Libraries’ Catalog.

It’s designed to help you start your library research more quickly by showing you which databases have the most hits for your query and displaying the merged results, so that you don’t have to search each database separately.

The old Vera (which lists our all of our databases and e-journals) is still available to use during the beta period. We’re offering an early look at the new Vera while we’re still developing it, so that we can get feedback from the MIT community and conduct usability tests.

To volunteer to particpate in usability tests, or to send feedback and comments, email:

Make off-campus access to online journals easier with the LibX toolbar!

Posted October 24th, 2007 by Remlee Green

LibX Toolbar

The MIT Libraries have customized an open-source, Firefox toolbar, called LibX, that makes accessing journal articles from off campus much easier. LibX also allows you to search the Barton catalog, Vera, Google Scholar, and the SFX FullText Finder quickly. For more information and to install LibX, check out the LibX – MIT edition guide, or watch a short video tutorial on how to use LibX to access resources from off-campus.

Already using the LibX toolbar for the MIT Libraries? You may have already noticed that there is a new version that provides minor upgrades in functionality. If Firefox hasn’t prompted you to update LibX, you can manually update LibX.

Questions or comments? Contact us!

New Google and Facebook gadgets bring the MIT Libraries to you!

Posted September 7th, 2007 by Remlee Green

Two new beta gadgets make searching resources of the MIT Libraries even easier! A new Facebook application and Google gadget will allow you to search the Libraries directly from your personal pages.

Facebook Application:

The Facebook application contains search boxes for the Barton web catalog and for Vera, the collection of online journals and databases, along with links to Your Account and Ask Us for research help.

facebook application

If you already have a Facebook account, you’re only a few clicks away from adding the MIT Libraries application.

Google Gadget:

Did you know that you can personalize your Google homepage? Now, you can add a gadget to your Google page to search the collections of the MIT Libraries!

iGoogle gadget

To add this gadget to your Google homepage, click this button: Add to Google

You can also embed the gadget on any other webpage that you’ve created.

Thanks to Amy Stout, Nicole Hennig, Rob Wolfe, and Todd Rautenberg for developing these applications.

Try the MIT Course Catalogue Pickr

Posted September 5th, 2007 by mit-admin

Want an efficient and informative way to select and organize your classes for the upcoming semester? The Course Pickr is is an interactive tool designed to help students organize their class schedules. It was developed at CSAIL by the Haystack Project, and is based on technology from Project SIMILE, a joint project of CSAIL and the MIT Libraries Digital Library Research Group (DLRG).

Course Pickr

Students have access to course descriptions, times, locations, and data such as difficulty and units. Using a calendar, students can build schedules that allow them to see potential scheduling conflicts. The final calendars are easily printable for future reference.

Please note: this tool is in beta; consult MIT’s course catalogue for official data.

For more information, contact Amy Stout,

Learn to use the libraries – YouTube style!

Posted September 4th, 2007 by Darcy Duke


The MIT Libraries have just launched a series of new online videos that can help you learn how to use the tools and resources of the libraries. Learn how to:

  • renew books online and see what books you have checked out
  • identify useful articles for research papers and locate the full text
  • learn how to search article databases effectively (and why you are missing out if you just use Google)
  • find books and other materials using the Barton catalog
  • learn about all the different libraries on campus

We will be adding new videos over time – let us know what other topics you would like to see covered! There is a quick survey at the end of each tutorial – we’d like to know what you think of the videos and how they work as a medium for learning this information, so please give us your feedback!

If you have any questions, please contact:

Vera is being upgraded!

Posted July 24th, 2007 by Nicole Hennig

This summer we are working on a new version of the Vera database, which lists the MIT Libraries’ e-journals and research databases. Vera has been in its current form since 2001 and has served us well in a basic way. Now the time has come to add features and improve the interface.

New in this version of Vera will be the ability to search multiple databases simultaneously. For example, you will be able to search our Barton catalog, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Proquest Research Library all at once with the results merged. We will also provide groupings of appropriate databases to search together for several broad subject areas: Art & Architecture, Engineering, Humanities, Management & Business, Science, and Social Sciences.

Watch this space for announcements of a beta version that you can give us feedback on later this summer. We will be looking for volunteers to participate in usability tests in August/September. Send email to if you would like to volunteer or if you have any comments.

Virtual reference site available in the social bookmarking system:

Posted June 27th, 2007 by Nicole Hennig

To integrate our resources with the social bookmarking system “”, we have recreated our Virtual Reference site there. users can easily add us to their network to keep up with new resources being added to the site. An RSS feed is provided for for users who wish to subscribe.

The Virtual Reference Collection page on our site is being enhanced as well: We are using a tool called “FeedDigest” to send the links from our account via RSS into our web page. This makes it easier for the librarians authoring the page to keep it up to date. They simply enter new links into the account, and FeedDigest provides the glue that makes them also appear on our web page.

Virtual reference in

MIT Libraries screencast tutorials available in MIT’s TechTV

Posted June 27th, 2007 by Nicole Hennig

Video tutorials for instruction on topics such as database searching and evaluating information are being created, and more will come.

A beta of this project was conducted in the Fall of 2006 with tutorials for students in the class 3.091/3.093. Feedback from those students will help us as we create more tutorials.

Watch our space in MIT’s TechTV for future video content. (MIT’s TechTV is itself a beta!)


Hit the open road with Open Access

Posted June 21st, 2007 by Ryan Gray
Hit the open road with Open Access

What’s the big deal about open access anyway?

If I’m writing an article, what rights should I keep?

Where can I find out more?

Check out to find out what’s happening nationally and beyond, and to find out how to retain your rights and increase the impact of your research.

Look for these posters showing current Open Access Models at the Engineering and Science Libraries (Barker, Hayden, Lindgren and Aero/Astro).

Barker Hayden Lindgren Aero/Astro

Browser extensions and toolbars for library research

Posted January 26th, 2007 by Nicole Hennig

A new page on our web site gives information on some useful Firefox extensions for library research. Learn about LibX, smart keywords, BookBurro, Zotero, and how to add search engines to the Firefox toolbar. See Browser Extensions and Toolbars for Library Research. Additional information is available in the course outline for our recent IAP class: Library toolbars, extensions and web apps: little tools with big impact.

Find new books via the web, email, or by subscribing to our new RSS feeds!

Posted December 15th, 2006 by Darcy Duke

Screenshot of RSS feeds

Check out the latest and greatest books that have recently arrived in the MIT Libraries!

See: Recent Additions to the Collections

We have RSS feeds for all different subjects – you can even find out about new music CDs and DVDs. Don’t know what RSS is or how to use it? No problem – you can simply view new items via the link above. You can also have lists of new items emailed to you on a regular basis.

If you would like to learn more about RSS:

Check out our new beta! The Humanities Virtual Browsery is now a blog

Posted November 16th, 2006 by Darcy Duke

book coverTry out our newest library beta: the Humanities Virtual Browsery has been revamped as a blog.

Browse new books online (just like the old Virtual Browsery), but take advantage of these new features:

  • an RSS feed
  • the ability to comment on books, and discuss them with the rest of the MIT community
  • links to informative book reviews
  • information about the availability of the book in the Humanities Library
  • links to other books by the same author

Check out our other Library Betas!