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!

Try our Firefox Toolbar for searching Barton & Google Scholar!

Posted July 20th, 2006 by Darcy Duke

Try our new beta information tool – LibX!

LibX is a Firefox toolbar you can download that allows you to quickly search the Barton catalog, Vera, Google Scholar, the SFX FullText Finder and other search tools. It also embeds links to MIT-only resources in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Scholar, NYT Book Reviews, and more. It can also help you connect from off-campus, quickly track down the full text of citations and more.

So try it out – let us know what you think! LibX is still in beta mode, so we’d like to get feedback on what worked well, what didn’t and how useful a tool you find it.

To get more information and to download: LibX – MIT Edition

To check out other new beta tools from the MIT Libraries, see our Betas page.

Try out our beta information tools – let us know what you think!

Posted July 20th, 2006 by Darcy Duke

The MIT Libraries are experimenting with new technologies to help make access to information easier. Try out the tools on the page below – they are still being tinkered with, but we’d like you to try them out and tell us what you think!

MIT Libraries’ Betas web site:

The site is offered in much the same spirit as Google’s technology playground: Google Labs. It’s a place to explore, share information, and give feedback.

A hallmark of betas is that they are somewhat rough and experimental, so these tools will not come with technical support, help desk numbers, or user manuals. But we’d still love to hear what you think, where you ran into problems, what could work better, etc.

Feel free to send questions or comments to