Engineering

DesalData arrives on campus!

Posted January 30th, 2013 by Chris Sherratt

The MIT Libraries are pleased to announce campus wide access to DesalData.com, a business development and consultancy package from the publishers of Global Water Intelligence in association with the International Desalination Association (IDA).

Within Desal Data you will find desalination plant listings, incorporating the IDA Inventory (a catalogue of desalination facilities contracted and under construction since 1945, based on over 25 years of annual industry surveys), market analysis and economic forecasting from Global Water Intelligence, company profiles and desalination news from countries worldwide.

You can find DesalData in VERA or use this URL http://libraries.mit.edu/get/desaldata

We welcome your feedback and hope this product supports the desalination work on campus!

MIT professor and librarian collaborate on “10 PRINT”: Open access book explores computation, creativity and culture

Posted January 9th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

Using a home computer in the early 1980s meant knowing at least some programming to get it off and running. When you turned on your Commodore 64—which you may well have done; it was the best-selling single model of computer ever produced—a nearly-blank blue screen emerged. “READY,” it told you. A blinking cursor awaited your commands.

Many of us used prefab programs to play games or do word processing, but the tinkerers among us wrote their own code, long and short, to explore what computers could do. Take this one-liner in BASIC language that Associate Professor of Digital Media Nick Montfort found in a magazine from the era: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. Run it on a Commodore 64 (or an emulator on your laptop today), and diagonal slashes fill the screen in a random way, building a pleasing maze that continues until interrupted.

Montfort posted 10 PRINT to an online Critical Code Studies conference in winter 2010. A lively discussion ensued among a dozen participants including MIT librarian Patsy Baudoin, who is liaison to the Media Lab and the Foreign Languages and Literatures department. Though the code is short and there’s not much known about its history, “it was obvious that there was plenty to say about it,” says Montfort. “However concise it was, it clearly connected computation to creativity, and to culture, in really intriguing ways.”

A few months after the conference, Montfort asked the 10 PRINT thread contributors to collaborate on a book exploring different aspects of culture—mazes in literature and religion, randomness and chance in games and art, the programming language BASIC, the Commodore 64 computer—through the lens of that one line of code.

The book, whose title is the code, was published in December by MIT Press. Besides Montfort and Baudoin, the authors include John Bell, Ian Bogost, Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas, Casey Reas, Mark Sample and Noah Vawter. Though 10 PRINT is freely downloadable under a Creative Commons license, its first print run nearly sold out within a month. (This is another example of increased sales accompanying open access.) Royalties go to the Electronic Literature Organization, a nonprofit that promotes writing, reading, and teaching digital fiction and poetry.

Baudoin, the lone librarian of the group, has a PhD in comparative literature, which she says proved useful during the year-and-a-half collaboration. “I understood implicitly that exploring a concise line of computer code was like reading a short poem,” she says. “[As a graduate student] I wrote a 50-page paper on Catullus’s Odi et amo, a two-line Latin poem. In one sense, this line of code doesn’t appear to do a lot, but analyzed carefully, it speaks loudly.”

10 PRINT has a lot to say about a specific time. Though we can easily edit video, chat online, and play music on our laptops today, “when it comes to allowing people to directly access computation and to use that computing power for creative, expressive, and conceptual purposes, today’s computers, out of the box, are much worse” than those of 30 years ago, says Montfort. “I can type in and run the 10 PRINT program within 15 seconds of turning my Commodore 64 on. I can modify it and explore the program quite extensively within a minute. How long would it take you to produce any program like that after you started up your Windows 8 system?”

Montfort is quick to note that his interest in code like 10 PRINT is not nostalgia for a lost era; this, he says, trivializes important ideas in computer history. 10 PRINT itself is far from trivial, which is why Montfort, Baudoin and their coauthors found it a worthy book topic. “This type of program was written and run by millions in the 1980s on their way to a deeper understanding of computation,” he says.

Find 10 PRINT events under “Upcoming” at http://nickm.com.

See also: MIT News coverage of the book

Get the most out of Google Scholar

Posted January 2nd, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Google Scholar icon

If you use Google Scholar, you already know it’s a great tool for finding citations to literature in your research area. It’s a massive index of articles, books and other publications of a scholarly nature. (It doesn’t cover ALL the scholarly literature in any discipline, however, so be sure to include the Libraries’ databases in Vera in your literature search.)

Many of the articles in Google Scholar are licensed by the MIT Libraries through our subscriptions, so – in many cases – the full text is available to you. If you are on campus, you’ll see this link in your results list:

Image of full text link

Are you working off campus?   To take advantage of this feature, click on Settings and then Library Links.

Image of library links list

Type MIT in the search window; select it; click Save.  You should now see the full text link in your results list for articles in any of MIT’s paid subscriptions.

Scopus isn’t just for the Sciences

Posted December 19th, 2012 by Heather McCann

Have you tried Scopus, one of our citation databases in Vera?  Scopus’ main focus is in the sciences but it also includes strong coverage of the social sciences.  Use Scopus to look for journal articles, conference papers and other materials.  Once you find relevant articles Scopus can link you to other related articles in the database and show you other articles (published since 1996) that have cited the article you are looking at.

To focus your Scopus search in the social sciences literature click the Social Science and Humanities button on the search screen:

Start searching Scopus now.

 

A Knovel gift for the holidays

Posted December 13th, 2012 by Chris Sherratt

As a graduate student in Chemical Engineering, MIT’s Patrick Heider is very familiar with variables of time and pressure. And as this year’s winner of the Knovel University Challenge, Patrick will use his new iPad to optimize these just in time for the holidays.

Each year Knovel invites engineering students worldwide to enter a competition designed to show the content and powerful search functions of this collection of sci/tech handbooks. One example is Patrick’s favorite feature, the Equation Plotter. “[This] … is a great way to quickly get property information without having to dig through the text to figure out the functional form used for a specific correlation,” he writes. Users can also input names of properties and ranges of data values to search for compounds that fit these bounds. At your fingertips is a digital library that, thanks to the MIT Libraries, will bring you specific answers as well as full texts to use in coursework or research.

The Libraries salutes you, Patrick!Knovel says, “Know more. Search less.”

We say, “Keep on searching!”

Down to the wire with Energywire!

Posted December 5th, 2012 by Chris Sherratt

Where do you turn for a reliable snapshot or update of what’s happening on Capitol Hill or elsewhere in the world of energy? The MIT Libraries are pleased to announce the addition of Energywire to the family of products purchased from E & E Publishing: Greenwire, Climatewire, E & E Daily, Land Letter and more. Energywire now joins this group to summarize Congressional and other energy sector news.

The stories and headlines in Energywire can be searched by keyword or delivered to you through its alerting service. The top story in one recent alert highlighted MIT’s research on methane emissions and natural gas. Updates on oil shale, energy in the Arctic, geopolitics, water and energy, and business developments are all popular topics, along with many others.

As it says at the bottom of each daily alert, “Get all of the stories in today’s Energywire!”

Find it here: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/ew

Collier, A.J. 167. Williams coal mine 90 miles below Nulato, on Yukon River.

OA research in the news: Ocean feeding strategies

Posted November 8th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

Detailed computer simulation shows how a patch of nutrients gets distributed in turbulent water. Image courtesy of Roman Stocker and John Taylor

Scientists have long believed that ocean-dwelling microorganisms need not move to gather food because turbulence distributes nutrients uniformly. Using a computer model that simulates a turbulent sea, Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Roman Stocker and colleague John R. Taylor have shown that some bacteria swim for food and others don’t, and that there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The study, published in the journal Science last week, is the first to show how the ocean environment affects feeding strategy. “We’re working at the interface between microbiology and fluid dynamics,” Stocker told the MIT News.

Explore Professor Stocker’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world viaDSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: Wireless@MIT

Posted October 25th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has launched the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing (Wireless@MIT), whose goal is to bring researchers from MIT and industry together to develop next-generation wireless technologies. The center, co-led by electrical engineering and computer science professors Hari Balakrishnan and Dina Katabi, will work on problems like extending the battery life of mobile devices and figuring out how to do more with the limited radio spectrum licensed to wireless carriers.

Explore Professor Balakrishnan’s research and Professor Katabi’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Ongoing renovations will close Barker Reading Room until early 2013

Posted October 18th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Barker Reading Room, photo by L. Barry Hetherington

Renovations to the Barker Library Reading Room have recently been expanded in scope and complexity. As is often the case with historic restoration, previously undetected structural issues have been detected and need to be addressed. At the same time this work will also allow for additional lighting enhancements to be made. Interior scaffolding will now be expanded, and will fill the remaining floor space in the Reading Room, making the room inaccessible to students and faculty for the duration of the project. The closure is effective October 18, 2012.

The Libraries understand the inconvenience this closure will cause, and sincerely regret the mid-semester disruption to student work and study habits. Library staff will make every effort to assist students in finding other suitable study spaces within the Libraries. While the Reading Room is closed, library users can find alternative spaces for studying in Barker Library on floors six through eight, as well as in other library locations.

Barker Library’s Reading Room is still expected to reopen early in 2013. At that time the Libraries also expect to debut a new entryway to the reading room that will give students 24/7 access to the newly renovated space. For more details about the renovations, see the September 28, 2012 MIT Tech article. Stay informed of progress by checking the Barker Library website or following @mitlibraries on Twitter.

OA research in the news: Why is Usain Bolt so fast?

Posted August 9th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

As Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt runs today for his second gold medal of the London Olympic Games, many spectators wonder: how does he go so fast? Mechanical engineering professor Anette Hosoi offers some insight in a Q&A with MIT News and in a series of videos for NBC Learn’s “Science of the Summer Olympics.”  “[T]he amazing thing about Usain Bolt, the thing that sets him apart, is his stride length, which is almost 10 feet,” she says. (By comparison, Hosoi found that her own stride was half that long.) Hosoi, whose field is fluid mechanics, also explains what makes a “fast pool” for competitors, helping the likes of Michael Phelps set world records.

Explore Professor Hosoi’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Barker Reading Room to close for summer renovations

Posted August 1st, 2012 by Heather Denny

Barker Reading Room, photo by L. Barry Hetherington

August 1, 2012 UPDATE–On August 14, Barker Library’s main reading room will close temporarily to allow for restoration work to the Great Dome’s ceiling, as well as renovations to the reading room itself. Most of the disruptive work is expected to be completed during August, allowing the reading room to reopen by, or shortly after, the start of the fall term.

 

May 14, 2012–After Commencement on June 8, 2012 the Barker Library Reading Room will close for the summer to allow for renovations to the Reading Room and Dome. The Reading Room is expected to reopen in September 2012 for the fall term, although renovations will continue through December with occasional minor disruptions.

As part of the project, a new entrance will be added to the Reading Room to make it accessible as a 24-hour study space. An around-the-clock Reading Room under the iconic Dome will significantly expand students’ options for late night study on campus. Currently the Libraries offer secure 24/7 study areas in both Hayden and Dewey libraries, the addition of the Barker Reading Room will more than triple the amount of space currently available for 24/7 study. The Libraries expect to inaugurate 24-hour service in Barker beginning in January 2013.

While the Reading Room is closed, library users can find alternative spaces for studying in Barker Library on floors six through eight, as well as in other library locations. Stay informed of renovation closures and progress by checking the Barker Library website or following @mitlibraries on Twitter.

Open access research in the news

Posted June 4th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

MIT researchers bid adieu to sticky condiments

It is a problem familiar to most of us: The last ounces of ketchup just won’t shake free from the bottle, so we throw it out, wasting food and money. In May, the architects of a solution won the audience choice award at MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. Scientists from the lab of mechanical engineering professor Kripa Varanasi invented a plant-based coating they call LiquiGlide, a slippery material that helps any condiment—from honey to mayonnaise—slide easily out of glass or plastic. “We’ve talked to various folks in the supply chain, from equipment makers to bottle makers to food companies, and they all love it and want it in their bottles,” Varanasi told the Boston Globe. Varanasi’s lab has also created surfaces and coatings that keep frost off planes and allow water to flow more efficiently through pipes.

Explore Professor Varanasi’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

IAPril 2012: Patent Searching Fundamentals

Posted March 23rd, 2012 by Mark Szarko

When: Tues April 3, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Where: 14N-132

While you won’t come out of this session qualified to be a patent attorney, you will be able to successfully find patent references from all over the world and know how to obtain patent text and diagrams. The session will be a hands-on practicum that will help de-mystify the patent literature and expose attendees to key resources for finding patents through free resources available on the web.

Please register for this session. For more information, please contact Howard Silver with any questions.

Elsevier Boycott Grows: MIT Faculty Speak About Participation

Posted February 10th, 2012 by Ellen Duranceau

The boycott of Elsevier started by mathematician Timothy Gowers has rapidily grown to nearly 5000 names, including at least 45 from MIT. MIT signers, who constitute nearly one percent of participants, come from all across MIT, including Biology, CSAIL, EECS, Linguistics, Math, the Media Lab, Philosophy, and Physics.

“I signed the petition simply because I believe that if taxpayers fund research, they should have access to the results of that research without going through a paywall,” says EECS Professor Seth Teller.

Those taxpayers would not have access to government-funded research if Elsevier has its way. Elsevier supports the Research Works Act (RWA), which would prohibit the government from requiring authors to openly share articles that result from the research it funds, thus making the existing NIH Public Access Policy, or any others like it, illegal.

For Professor Scott Aaronson, “signing this petition was a no-brainer.” He “started boycotting Elsevier and most other commercial publishers as a graduate student, because the economic model didn’t make sense” to him. “I couldn’t understand why academics were (1) donating their papers to publishers like Elsevier, (2) signing away their copyrights, (3) asking their universities’ libraries to buy *back* the papers at exorbitant, ever-increasing costs, and (4) even reviewing the papers (an onerous burden) free of charge, all while I could see for myself that the publishers were providing little or no ‘value-added,’ since most people just downloaded the papers from the arXiv or the authors’ homepages anyway.”


For Professor Aaronson, this boycott has been a long time coming. “I’ve simply been waiting for what I saw as the inevitable moment when a critical mass of academics would ‘wake up’ to the issue” that the existing publishing model, with ever-increasing prices, was “unsustainable,” he says. “Now that one of the greatest mathematicians on earth (Timothy Gowers) is spearheading the boycott movement, and dozens of other leading figures in the mathematical community have declared their support, that moment may have arrived.”

More information:

“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.

Presentation on Research Data Management Services at Johns Hopkins

Posted November 4th, 2011 by Katherine McNeill

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
Time:  2-3pm
Place: 6-120

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.

Date: Monday, Nov. 7th

>Time: 2-3pm

>Place: 6-120

Barker Library hosts late night demo of Foucault’s Pendulum

Posted November 3rd, 2011 by Heather Denny

Staying up late in the library is common at MIT, but in this video, six grad students pull an all-nighter for a different reason – to prove that the Earth is rotating about its axis. How do they accomplish this? With a 160-year old demonstration called a Foucault’s Pendulum.



MIT Tech TV

ESRI Business Analyst available through MIT GIS Services

Posted October 19th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney
Business Analyst

Business analyst data for Boston's Back Bay neighborhood

This package combines detailed data about business, consumer spending, demographics, segmentations, and major shopping centers with tools for analyzing geographically.

 

Find out more about the data types available and its capabilities.

Business Analyst Desktop is available in the MIT GIS Lab for teaching and research purposes. Business Analyst Online is also available for teaching in MIT classes. Contact gishelp@mit.edu with questions or if you would like access to Business Analyst Online for a class.

Welcome back! Check out what the Libraries did over your summer vacation.

Posted September 22nd, 2011 by Heather Denny

The MIT Libraries have been working hard during your summer vacation. Here are some of the new things you can look forward to this fall:

New resources

Library hours & study space

Upcoming Events

View the What we did on your summer vacation flyer (pdf).

GIS workshops – Fall 2011 Series

Posted September 19th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney

MIT GIS Services

Come learn about creating maps and doing geographic analysis!

Register for the Fall GIS workshop series.

Workshops include:

  • Introduction to GIS – Friday, Sept. 23, 1-3:30 pm or Tuesday, Sept. 27, 4-5:30 pm.  This session will introduce students to open source and proprietary GIS options.
  • Introduction to GIS for Architecture – Wednesday, Oct. 12, 12:30-2 pm
  • Discovering and Using US Census Data – Tuesday, Oct. 18, 1-3:30 pm
  • Exploring Spatial Patterns using ArcMap – Tuesday, Nov. 1, 1-3:30 pm
  • Introduction to Spatial Statistics Tools and Analysis in ArcMap – Tuesday, Nov. 8, 1-3:30 pm
  • Introduction to Regression Analysis in ArcMap – Tuesday, Nov. 15, 1-3:30 pm