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.
Digital Libraries Research
As members of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), a consortium of over 145 leading government, academic, and private sector organizations committed to long term preservation of digital information, the MIT Libraries are pleased to announce the NDSA’s release of the inaugural National Agenda for Digital Stewardship.
MIT Libraries’ Director of Research, Micah Altman, played a key role in the creation of the document, serving on the NDSA Coordinating Committee, contributing as a joint author, and formally introducing the report at the Library of Congress’s annual Digital Preservation conference. Nancy McGovern, MIT Libraries’ Head of Curation and Preservation Services, also contributed to the report, and is leading a related project on digital repository self-assessment.
The National Agenda’s purpose is to highlight emerging technological trends, identify gaps in digital stewardship capacity, and provide insight into the work needed to ensure that today’s valuable digital content remains accessible and comprehensible in the future.
“Digital stewardship is vital for the authenticity of public records, the reliability of scientific evidence, and the enduring accessibility to our cultural heritage. Knowledge of ongoing research, practice, and organizational collaborations has been distributed widely across disciplines, sectors, and communities of practice.The agenda identifies the highest-impact opportunities to advance the state of the art, the state of practice, and the state of collaboration in this rapidly changing field,” said Dr. Altman.
The 2014 Agenda integrates the perspective of dozens of experts and hundreds of institutions, convened through the Library of Congress. It outlines the challenges and opportunities related to digital preservation activities in four broad areas: Organizational Roles, Policies, and Practices; Digital Content Areas; Infrastructure Development; and Research Priorities.
Kurt Fendt, Director of HyperStudio, recently announced the nomination of eight fellows to participate in the first year of HyperStudio’s new fellowship program, including two librarians, Sands Fish and Patsy Baudoin.
HyperStudio brings together humanities postdocs and visiting scholars, librarians, technologists, artists, curators, and other members of the MIT community to generate questions and energy around the Digital Humanities. The HSF program aims to cultivate community and collaboration at the edges of disciplines and fields, finding overlaps and investigating productive tensions of creative and critical engagement.
As Americans head to the polls, few will give much thought to how their voting district was created, and almost none will have had any direct input in defining its boundaries. Voting districts are often created and adjusted in a highly politicized process with little voter involvement. A software program known as DistrictBuilder hopes to change that by making the redistricting process more open and collaborative.
The open source software developed by the Public Mapping Project, with software engineering by Azavea, a geospatial analysis company, won the “Data for Social Impact” Award at last week’s 2012 Strata Data Innovation Awards.
“The drawing of electoral districts has been among the most easily manipulated and least transparent systems in democratic governance,” said Dr. Micah Altman, MIT Libraries’ Director of Research and a principal investigator with the project. “DistrictBuilder has demonstrated that the thoughtful application of information technology and open data can promote public commentary and discussion about redistricting; inform legislators, redistricting authorities, and courts as to the range of possible plans; can signal public preferences over redistricting plans; and can educate the public about the electoral process.”
DistrictBuilder has already been used to support redistricting efforts in the states of Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Virginia and others. And in Philadelphia it was used for the first citywide redistricting contest, “Fix Philly Districts.” The public’s participation in these efforts reveals that average citizens are invested in the redistricting process and are willing to spend time drawing high quality plans using the online resource.
The software allows users to create and edit district plans, display demographics and election data, and show additional reference map layers, like school districts and administrative boundaries, among other features.
Altman and co-principal investigator, Dr. Michael McDonald from George Mason University, set out to encourage civic engagement in redistricting efforts, and demonstrate that a non-partisan and open, public process based upon objective criteria can produce fair, legal legislative districts.
“We are optimistic that the continuing effort to make redistricting more transparent and participative will create, over time, a ‘market’ for plans that support political fairness and community representational goals,” Altman 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.
Tito Sierra, MIT Libraries’ Associate Director for Technology, has been appointed to the Digital Library Federation (DLF) Advisory Committee for the Council on Library and Information Services (CLIR). During his two-year term, Sierra will work with five other committee members to advise the DLF director on program activities, initiatives, and strategy.
CLIR’s Digital Library Federation is a network of libraries and related agencies pioneering innovative uses of information technologies and community expertise to extend collections and services. DLF has promoted work on:
- Digital library structures, standards, preservation, and use
- Archives for electronic journals
- Aggregation services for digital collections
- Digital library services that expand access to resources for research, teaching, and learning
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.
Please join us for a presentation by Sayeed Choudhury on the development of research data management services provided to the Johns Hopkins University research community by the Sheridan Libraries (http://dmp.data.jhu.edu/). This presentation is being hosted by the MIT Libraries’ Research Data Management Team, which provides support for managing research data created at MIT (http://libraries.mit.edu/data-management).
Date: Monday, Nov. 7th
Bio: G. Sayeed Choudhury is the Associate Dean for Library Digital Programs and Hodson Director of the Digital Research and Curation Center at the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University. He is also the Director of Operations for the Institute of Data Intensive Engineering and Science (IDIES) based at Johns Hopkins. He is the Principal Investigator for the Data Conservancy, one of the awards through NSF’s DataNet program. He has oversight for the digital library activities and services provided by the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University.
Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert, recently announced the appointment of Tito Sierra to the position of Associate Director for Technology in the MIT Libraries. In this senior position, Sierra will have broad responsibility for information technology across the Libraries, including assessing IT trends and innovations and maintaining important relationships with key players outside the Libraries.
Since 2004, Sierra has served in positions at the North Carolina State University Libraries, most recently as the Associate Head of the Digital Library Initiatives Department. His work focused on leading IT initiatives to advance NC State’s innovative presence for digital library services and content. Prior to his academic library experience, he worked for Amazon.com as a Senior Program Manager and Web Development Manager, and also at PlanetAll.com.
Sierra is an active presenter in academic research library IT, presenting at meetings of the Digital Library Federation, the Coalition for Networked Information, and EDUCAUSE. In addition, Sierra has been active for several years in two Association of Research Libraries (ARL) programs focused on developing leaders among outstanding early-career librarians.
“Tito [Sierra]’s recognized work and expertise in the library IT domain will bring important and much needed leadership to the MIT Libraries’ IT strategy and cross-system coordination,” said Ann Wolpert. “We look forward to welcoming him to MIT.” Sierra will begin his appointment in January 2012.
In this image, a Libraries staff member works with a local moving company to prepare a truck of journals for shipment to the Northeast Regional Scanning Center at the Boston Public Library. The materials will be digitized by the Open Content Alliance, which runs the scanning center.
The journals in this shipment span the years 1883-1908, and include electricity related titles such as Western Electrician and Street Railway Gazette. As the items are digitized, they will be made available online in the Internet Archive.
This shipment also included copies of working papers published by MIT’s Department of Economics. The Libraries are currently scanning over 1,100 of these papers. They are available online at DSpace@MIT.
Did you know that collections in DSpace@MIT are accessed from nearly every country in the world at an average rate of over 30,000 downloads a day? In 2010 alone there were 11.2 million total downloads. Read the article About DSpace@MIT.
The MIT Libraries have recently joined HathiTrust, a partnership of over fifty academic libraries that share the ambitious goal of building a comprehensive digital library of their shared collections.
Started in 2008, the HathiTrust digital library currently contains over 8.5 million digitized volumes representing the collections of partner institutions. HathiTrust’s collections include both copyright and public domain materials digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft, as well as partner institutions. Founded by twelve universities from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of California system and the University of Virginia, the partnership has now grown to include fifty-five institutions. MIT and Harvard are two of the most recent universities to join.
Through the HathiTrust website, the public can search the full-text of 8.4 million digitized volumes, and get full online access to 2.2 million volumes that are in the public domain. With the MIT Libraries membership, the MIT community will have the added benefit of being able to download full volumes of public domain works in PDF format, and also build and share collections using the Collection Builder feature. Access will be provided to MIT users, with authentication through Touchstone, later this year.
Joining HathiTrust is one of several steps the MIT Libraries have recently taken to expand access for MIT faculty and students to print or digitized resources beyond the holdings of MIT. In January, the Libraries announced their membership in Borrow Direct, a partnership with Ivy Plus libraries that gives the MIT community access to nearly 50 million print items. In February, MIT and Harvard libraries jointly announced an expanded alliance to explore collaborations for sharing library materials, advancing digital preservation collections practice, and developing future off-site storage facilities and services.
“In today’s interdisciplinary learning environment, it’s essential for our faculty, students and researchers to have access to an even wider array of information resources than ever before. By collaborating with other outstanding research libraries, we can offer the resources necessary to support the cutting edge research and education that is MIT’s hallmark,” said MIT Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert.
Wolpert added that it is important for universities to take a leading role in shaping digital libraries. “Libraries have been stewards of the scholarly record for centuries,” she said. “We’re committed to the long haul.”
The MIT Libraries are actively involved in open access initiatives that support MIT’s mission to make scholarly knowledge openly available to the world. Partnering with HathiTrust, an organization committed to collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge, is in line with the Libraries principles of supporting the long-term curation of the cultural record, and furthering global scholarship and research.
MIT Libraries receive grant for work on “Exhibit 3.0” software
A $650,000 grant from the United States Library of Congress will fund work on a new version of Exhibit, the popular open source software tool developed at MIT that helps with searching, browsing and visualizing data on the Web. The MIT Libraries, in collaboration with the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Zepheira, LLC will redesign and expand upon features of the tool to create “Exhibit 3.0”. The goal is to provide an enhanced tool that is scalable and useful for data management, Web display and navigation; particularly for libraries, cultural institutions and other organizations grappling with large amounts of digital content.
“This innovative work has already made a considerable impact on digital content communities whose data is diverse and complex. The visualizations bring new understanding to users and curators alike,” said Martha Anderson, Director of Program Management at the Library of Congress.
Exhibit was originally developed as part of the MIT Simile Project, a collaboration of the MIT Libraries, the MIT CSAIL, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to explore applications of the Semantic Web to problems of information management across both large-scale digital libraries and small-scale personal collections. Exhibit runs inside a Web browser and supports many types of information using common Web standards for data publishing.
Since its release, Exhibit has been used by thousands of websites worldwide across a range of diverse industries and institutions. Most recently Exhibit has been used by Data.gov, an Open Government Initiative by President Obama’s administration to increase public access to high value data generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.
The Exhibit 3.0 project will redesign and re-implement Exhibit to scale from small collections to very large data collections of the magnitude created by the Library of Congress and its National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). The redesigned Exhibit will be as simple to use as the current tool but more scalable, more modular, and easier to integrate into a variety of information management systems and websites—making it valuable to an even larger audience of individuals and organizations publishing information on the Web.
In addition to the Library of Congress, the MIT Libraries and other organizations that manage large quantities of data will collaborate on the project for their own collections.
“Libraries are dealing with more and bigger collections of digital data every day, and tools like Exhibit pave the way to making them more useful and easier to combine in new and valuable ways. We’re grateful to the Library of Congress for helping us take Exhibit to the next level and getting it into the hands of librarians and others who work in data-intensive fields,” said MacKenzie Smith, research director at the MIT Libraries and the project’s principal investigator.
Users of the software and software developers will be encouraged to contribute improvements to the open source tool and the project will also incorporate research by students at MIT’s CSAIL that will focus on improving the user experience working with data in Exhibit, and incorporating new data visualization techniques that allow users to explore data in novel ways.
“Impressive data-interactive sites abound on the Web, but right now you need a team of developers to create them. Exhibit demonstrated that authoring data-interactive sites can be as easy as authoring a static web page. With Exhibit 3.0 we can move from a prototype to a robust platform that anyone can use,” said David Karger, computer science professor with CSAIL.
The project began in January for a period of one year. For more information see http://simile-widgets.org/exhibit3
New agreement reflects physical proximity, cross-registration, joint programs, and research affinities
The Provosts of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have charged their respective library systems to explore expanded collaborations for sharing library materials, advancing digital preservation and collection, and developing future off-site storage facilities.
Both institutions have identified increased collaboration between and among their complementary libraries as an essential element in developing the research library of the 21st century. While an ambitious level of collaboration is anticipated, each library system will remain engaged with and guided by the respective missions and priorities of each university. While enhanced collaboration may serve to reduce prospective costs, the focus of the collaboration is on the future of 21st-century library services, technologies, and collections.
“No single library system can expect to meet the full intellectual needs of the academic and research communities of MIT and Harvard,” stated Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman. “A wide-ranging exploration of all opportunities for collaboration is of great interest to both institutions.”
Both formal and informal relationships already exist between the MIT and Harvard libraries. MIT has shared in the use of the Harvard Depository since its inception in 1985. A 1995 agreement between Harvard College Library (HCL) and MIT brought reciprocal borrowing privileges to faculty, researchers, and graduate students in both institutions. An April 2010 pilot program extended those privileges to undergraduate students.
While traditional library materials have been the focus of prior agreements, digital materials are at the forefront of the new alliance.
“The increasing primacy of digital materials brings its own urgency to our collaboration, ” observed MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif. “As new models of online information delivery emerge, Harvard and MIT can support joint programs for open-access as well as joint acquisition and licensing approaches that are appropriate for education and academic research.”
Under the agreement, the two libraries will develop a four-tiered action plan by the end of 2011. The four tiers are:
Reciprocal access to circulating collections
By developing linked access between Harvard and MIT library catalogs and implementing reciprocal privileges that extend to Harvard’s graduate and professional school libraries, library patrons can anticipate full access to 20 million volumes that users will experience as a single collection.
Enhancing digital preservation and collection practices
MIT and Harvard have earned leadership roles through their open access programs and repositories and through their respective approaches to digital preservation. High priority areas for collaborative growth include digital archives of faculty papers and web-based publications.
Developing wider access to electronic information
Questions of electronic serials pricing, and the costs of building digital information management and delivery systems, point to opportunities for Harvard and MIT to investigate new models for licensing agreements, as well as alternative, open access forms of publication that reflect each institution’s commitment to the dissemination of new knowledge.
Envisioning joint off-site storage facilities for the future
Harvard and MIT have shared the Harvard Depository for high-density, non-browsable, off-site storage since 1985. Together, the two universities could effectively anticipate both a new service model and an additional facility for off-site storage.
“We’ve enjoyed a collaborative working relationship with Harvard’s libraries for many years,” said Ann Wolpert, Director of the MIT Libraries. “This new agreement builds on our successes and underscores the commitment we share to provide our communities with the best and broadest range of resources possible, and to be at the forefront of advancing the digital preservation of scholarly work.”
“In several ways, the libraries of Harvard and MIT are already united by proximity and affinity,” said Helen Shenton, Executive Director of the Harvard Library. “Our new agreement supports the distinct priorities of two very singular universities. At the same time, it challenges us to collaborate on a sustainable information ecosystem for the 21st century.”
Date: Wednesday, November 03 2010, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Killian Hall MIT Room 14W-111
Physical/Virtual: MIT Libraries in the Digital Age, a program sponsored by the MIT Alumni Club of Boston, will feature a panel discussion moderated by Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries. This discussion will explore the diverse ways the Libraries support teaching and research at MIT today. The panel will include Tom Rosko, Head of the Institute Archives and Special Collections; Ellen Duranceau, Program Manager of Scholarly Publishing and Licensing; and Angie Locknar, a librarian who will discuss innovative instructional programs (including collaboration with Don Sadoway’s famous Introduction to Solid State Chemistry).
The DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons, two of the largest providers of open source software for managing and providing access to digital content, have announced today that they will join their organizations to pursue a common mission. Jointly, they will provide leadership and innovation in open source technologies for global communities who manage, preserve, and provide access to digital content.
The joined organization, named “DuraSpace,” will sustain and grow its flagship repository platforms – Fedora and DSpace. DuraSpace will also expand its portfolio by offering new technologies and services that respond to the dynamic environment of the Web and to new requirements from existing and future users. DuraSpace will focus on supporting existing communities and will also engage a larger and more diverse group of stakeholders in support of its not-for-profit mission. Read full press release
DSpace was jointly developed in 2002 by Hewlett-Packard and the MIT Libraries. Today, there are more than 500 organizations worldwide using the software to manage, preserve, and share their scholarly output. MIT’s online institutional repository, DSpace at MIT, currently holds over 20,000 MIT theses and the digital works of 50 communities representing collections of MIT faculty, researchers, labs and centers.
Tenure-track, visiting and emeriti faculty can now take advantage of a new service.
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.
Today two of the largest providers of open source software for managing and providing access to digital content, the DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons, announced plans to combine strengths to work on joint initiatives that will more closely align their organizations’ goals and better serve both open source repository communities in the coming months.
This advance comes as institutions such as universities, libraries, museums and research laboratories worldwide are focused on utilizing open source software solutions for the dissemination and preservation of scholarly, scientific, and cultural heritage digital content into the future. Making books, articles, films, music, large and small data sets, scholarly works, multi-media, learning objects and mash-ups from all parts of the globe discoverable and accessible is at the core of the DSpace and Fedora collaboration.
The collaboration is expected to benefit over 500 organizations from around the world who are currently using either DSpace (examples include MIT, Rice University, Texas Digital Library and University of Toronto) or Fedora (examples include the National Library of France, New York Public Library, Encyclopedia of Chicago and eSciDoc) open source software to create repositories for a wide variety of purposes. Read more…
ACM has introduced Author Profile pages with citation and usage statistics to the Digital Library.
The new features provide a snapshot of an individual author’s contributions to computing, and a basic measure of their influence on the field.
You will find these pages by clicking on any author or colleague from a Citation Page in the ACM Digital Library http://libraries.mit.edu/get/acm
ACM welcomes your comments and suggestions on the Author Profile pages. Your input will be used to shape the next set of developments to this new facility, so please forward your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Ray Kurzweil’s page, for example.
WEB OF KNOWLEDGE:
…an expert gateway to the most highly influential scientists and scholars worldwide.
This freely accessible Web site gives research professionals working in a variety of occupations an invaluable tool to identify individuals, departments and laboratories that have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of science and technology in recent decades.
ISIHighlyCited.com reveals the face of research–the people behind the accomplishments in 21 broad subject categories in life sciences, medicine, physical sciences, engineering and social sciences. These individuals are the most highly cited within each category for the period 1981-1999, and comprise less than one-half of one percent of all publishing researchers–truly an extraordinary accomplishment.
ISIHighlyCited.com will grow to include the top 250 preeminent individual researchers in each of 21 subject categories who have demonstrated great influence in their field as measured by citations to their work–the intellectual debt acknowledged by their colleagues. The information for each researcher is as follows:
- Biographical information: education, faculty and professional posts, memberships and/or offices, current research interests, and personal Web sites.
- Full listing of publications: journal articles, book or book chapters, conference proceedings, web sites and other Internet resources
- Bibliography enhanced by links to the full bibliographic information indexed in the ISI Web of Science
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).
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, email@example.com.