Subject/Topic areas

Improving Water Quality in 19th Century Massachusetts

Posted March 25th, 2014 by Nora Murphy

A recent MIT news spotlight on research for detecting bacteria brought to mind 19th century research on water quality in Massachusetts.

05.18.10.01_Ellen_edit_300In the 1880s MIT chemist Ellen Swallow Richards, in collaboration with faculty member Dr. Thomas Drown, undertook a multi-year, comprehensive survey of the Massachusetts water supplies for the State Board of Health. The results included definitive information about the flow of rivers, analysis of the chemicals in the water, and high and low water marks. The most significant outcome was the creation of a ‘normal chlorine’ map of the Commonwealth’s water supplies. The varying amounts of chlorine in the water samples taken from Massachusetts’ rivers revealed the extent of man-made pollution in the Commonwealth. The findings lead to the establishment in Massachusetts of the first water-quality standards in the U.S.

Ellen Swallow Richards was chemist to the Massachusetts Board of Health from 1872 to 1875 and water analyst from 1887 to 1897, and an advocate for sanitary water and safe cooking standards throughout her life.

To examine the papers of Ellen Swallow Richards, and to learn more about and MIT’s long history of research on sanitary chemistry and food technology, contact the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections. Additional information about Mrs. Richards and her scientific contributions are available online.

OA research in the news: New evidence for the ‘bang’ of the Big Bang

Posted March 20th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn
Alan Guth

Alan Guth

This week, a team of astronomers announced the first “smoking gun” evidence of inflation, a theory of cosmology that describes the quick and violent expansion of the universe in its first fractions of a second. Inflation is the “‘bang’ of the Big Bang,” says Alan Guth, an MIT physics professor who first proposed the theory in 1980. “In its original form, the Big Bang theory never was a theory of the bang. It said nothing about what banged, why it banged, or what happened before it banged.”

The astronomers peered into the cosmic microwave background, a bath of radiation from the early universe, and saw the influence of ripples in space-time, known as gravitational waves. These offer extremely strong evidence that the universe expanded by a repulsive form of gravity, as described by Guth and others.

Explore Professor Guth’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.

Next open mic in the Lewis Music Library: April 4

Posted March 20th, 2014 by Christie Moore
piano

Piano obtained through the Class of 1982 Music Library Fund

It’s happening again: Library music! Open mic in the Lewis Music Library, a chance to try out the new piano. Come jam, perform, or just listen. Everyone welcome. Bring your own music or use the library’s (we’ve got lots!).

Date: Friday, April 4, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: noon- 1 pm
Refreshments provided

Save the date! One more first Friday open mic event this semester: May 2, 2014

Learn About Socio-economic Data at the ACS Data Users Conference!

Posted March 20th, 2014 by Katherine McNeill

ACS logo

Use data from the American Community Survey (ACS), which measures social and economic trends in the U.S.?  Learn how to optimize your work by attending the inaugural ACS Data Users Conference!

Held May 29-30, 2014 in Washington, D.C., the program includes presentations by ACS data users, top Census Bureau staff, and a lunch presentation by John H. Thompson, director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Space is limited, register now!

Can’t attend the conference but want to be part of the community?  Join the ACS Data Users Group.

Want to learn more about the ACS or other population data from the Census Bureau?  Check out the Libraries’ guide to Census and Demographic Data.

Five years on: University open access policies on the rise

Posted March 18th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn

uc_oap6bIn the five years (to the day!) since MIT faculty unanimously voted to pass the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, dozens of other colleges and universities in North America have followed suit. In 2013 alone, nine institutions, or schools within institutions, committed to open access policies. These include Oregon State University, Wellesley College, the University of Rhode Island, Caltech, Bryn Mawr, and one of the largest public research universities in the world, the University of California. Faculty members at UC, which has 10 campuses and more than 8,000 faculty, receive about 8% of all research funding in the United States.

“Scholars everywhere owe deep thanks to the UC faculty,” wrote Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, when the UC policy passed in July 2013. “[The policy] will increase the momentum for other universities to adopt their own OA policies. And it will prove that even the largest and most complex universities can still adopt OA policies by faculty vote.”

The recent policies all use language similar to MIT and Harvard, whose Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed the first OA policy in North America in 2008. They are permission based, which means faculty authors give their university a license to make articles freely available in an online repository like DSpace. In other words, OA policies like these shift the default to open access. As noted by the UC Office of the Academic Senate, “The adoption of this policy across the UC system also signals to scholarly publishers that open access, in terms defined by faculty and not by publishers, must be part of any future scholarly publishing system.”

More information:

OA policies at other universities

Guide on Good Practices for University Open-Access Policies

New Exhibit: Thanks for the memory: 50+ years of computing at MIT

Posted March 12th, 2014 by Heather Denny
 Jay Forrester with Whirlwind staff and computer

Photograph of Jay Forrester with Whirlwind staff and computer, Barta Building, MIT campus

MIT’s wide-ranging impact on computer science is the focus of an exhibit that has just opened in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery. From Project Whirlwind to Project Athena, MIT’s numerous contributions to the science of computing have affected society in ways no one could have imagined a century ago – though we take most of those developments for granted today.

Since World War II researchers at MIT have pushed computers to work faster, and more efficiently. They’ve explored applications for industry and government, and found ways to incorporate computers into research and teaching. This exhibit highlights some of the projects and research that have contributed to the development of computer theory, applications, software and hardware. The exhibit also celebrates the recent 50th anniversary of Project MAC – a project in which collaborative interdepartmental experimentation and research focused on time-sharing, human-computer interfaces, and interactive modeling.

The Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, except for Institute holidays and special events. The exhibit will run through July 2014.

OA research in the news: MIT, White House co-sponsor big data workshop

Posted March 12th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn

Last week, MIT hosted a daylong workshop on big data and privacy, co-sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as part of a government review of these issues and policies related to them. Several faculty from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory spoke about their work. Among them was John Guttag, who described research done by one of his graduate students to develop an algorithm that uses hospital data to identify patients at risk for bacterial infection. Shafi Goldwasser and Nickolai Zeldovich both discussed schemes that would allow researchers to perform computations on encrypted data without decrypting it.

Explore Professor Guttag’s research, Professor Goldwasser’s research, and Professor Zeldovich’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.

Composer Keeril Makan – Thursday, April 3

Posted March 10th, 2014 by Christie Moore

Composer forum series: Keeril Makan

keeril_smLetting Time Circle Through Us and other recent music
A preview for the concert of Keeril Makan’s music by Either/Or on April 5 in Killian Hall.

Date: Thursday, April 3, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: 5-6 pm
Reception follows
Free and open to the public

Sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts.

Access “that changes everything”: Readers reflect on value of MIT Faculty Open Access Articles

Posted March 10th, 2014 by Ellen Duranceau

oa reader comment benefit researcher
As we mark the fifth anniversary this month of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, readers from around the world have expressed their gratitude and appreciation for access to the articles made available through the Policy.

oa comments tax dollars quote

A reader who identified himself as an autodidact from India recently wrote that “We live in a time when bureaucracy is the impediment to knowledge, technology and equity more than ever before,” but that “This [access] changes everything.”

Similarly expansive appreciation was reflected by a corporate researcher in Malaysia: “With MIT free access, I can learn more and be a better human being.”

A full selection of reader comments is available on the MIT Libraries’ Scholarly Publishing website.

Ellen Finnie Duranceau / Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright & Licensing / MIT Libraries

Worldwide access of MIT-authored articles reflects success of Faculty Open Access Policy

Posted March 7th, 2014 by Ellen Duranceau

As we mark the fifth anniversary of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, the benefits to readers worldwide grow more apparent with each passing month. Readers regularly download MIT authored articles from DSpace@MIT from all corners of the globe:

OA map Feb2014 med

Thirty-three percent of the access is from the United States, with heavy use from the research and population centers of China, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Republic of Korea, Japan, and France, in that order. But downloads are requested from all over the world — Sweden, Brazil, Poland, Israel, and Malaysia each have accounted for about 1% of the total downloads, while the several hundred downloads from each of the African nations of Sudan, Ghana, and Uganda account for about .02%, .03%, and .04% of downloads, respectively. In 2013, downloads were requested from the Federated Republic of Micronesia and Burundi for the first time, and there have been four downloads from Greenland.

The message of these downloads is clear — five years from its inception, the faculty’s goal in adopting the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, to “disseminat[e] the fruits of [their] research and scholarship as widely as possible,” is being met.

Ellen Finnie Duranceau / Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing / MIT Libraries

Fifth anniversary of MIT Faculty Open Access Policy marks heavy use of articles

Posted March 5th, 2014 by Ellen Duranceau

Since the adoption of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy in March 2009, over 11,000 articles have been made openly accessible through DSpace@MIT in relation to the Policy. These articles represent 37% of the total written by faculty during the same time period.

Downloads reached a new peak of 92,000 per month in October and have remained consistently above 80,000 since then, with the total cumulative downloads for all papers having surpassed 1.8 million in February.

oa articles dowload by month through feb 2014

Ellen Finnie Duranceau / Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing / MIT Libraries

OA research in the news: A breakthrough in endometriosis research

Posted February 26th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn
Linda Griffith

Linda Griffith

Over the years Linda Griffith has undergone many surgeries for endometriosis, a condition in which tissue that normally grows in the uterus is found elsewhere in the body and can cause lesions, inflammation, and infertility. The disease is poorly understood, and so it made sense to Griffith, a professor of biological and mechanical engineering, to start researching it. In a paper published earlier this month, Griffith and colleagues, including bioengineering professor Douglas Lauffenburger, studied pelvic fluid from women with endometriosis and in about a third they found elevated levels of a group of immune system proteins. The work is an early step towards classifying the disease and, eventually, finding new treatments for it. “We’re not claiming we found a mechanism — the mechanism for endometriosis,” Griffith told the Boston Globe. “We have found a very convincing approach to understand an immune network.”

Explore Professor Griffith’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.

Next open mic in the Lewis Music Library – March 7

Posted February 21st, 2014 by Christie Moore
piano

Piano obtained through the Class of 1982 Music Library Fund

Back by popular demand: Library music! Open mic in the Lewis Music Library, a chance to try out the new piano. Come jam, perform, or just listen. Everyone welcome. Bring your own music or use the library’s (we’ve got lots!).

Date: Friday, March 7, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: noon- 1 pm
Refreshments provided

Save the dates! Upcoming open mic events: first Fridays, April 4 and May 2, 2014

Open-score intro to the Beethoven quartets – March 6

Posted February 21st, 2014 by Christie Moore

jupiter_quartet_smOpen-Score Introduction to the Beethoven Quartets: The Jupiter Quartet,  hosted by Teresa Neff. Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2; Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74 “Harp”; Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2. The Jupiter Quartet will present each of the works on their concert program of March 7 and play excerpts, with scores and facsimiles available for use by the audience.

Date: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: 6:30 pm
Q and A and reception follows
Free and open to the public

Sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts.

Discussion: Scientific imaging for artwork & other cultural heritage materials

Posted February 20th, 2014 by Heather Denny

Discussion: Thursday, February 27, 2014, 11:00 am, 14N-132 (DIRC)

CulturalHeritageImage

Detail: Two modes of Reflectance Transformation Imaging. The bottom view shows a Japanese woodcut in “Normal” mode. The top view shows the “Specular Enhancement” mode, which removes color virtually to reveal the subtle surface impressions made in the paper by the artist. © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Konishi Hirosada, artist, Osaka Actor Mimasu Daigoro IV , color woodcut with embossing and metallic pigment, c. 1851-59.

New scientific imaging tools offer the capability to see distinctive details on a 16th century rare book cover, a manuscript, or a work of art, that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Please join the MIT Libraries’ Curation and Preservation Services Department for a fascinating look at how this technology can help us to learn more about our cultural heritage materials, and how to best preserve them.

Carla Schroer, of the non-profit Cultural Heritage Imaging, will discuss the new empirical capture and analysis tools Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), Algorithmic Rendering (AR), and image-based Structure from Motion (SFM) generation of textured 3D geometry. These techniques will be explored in the context of the emerging science of “Computational Photography.” Computational Photography extracts and synthesizes information from image sequences to create a new type of image containing information not found in any single image in the sequence. This technology is in use in many areas from major art museums to remote archaeological sites to fields in the natural sciences.

The event is free and open to the public, no registration required.

Be an OECD Student Ambassador: and have a chance to go to Paris!

Posted February 19th, 2014 by Katherine McNeill

OECD logo

Interested in the world economy or international relations?  Then become an OECD Student Ambassador!  Deadline: March 30th.

Student Ambassadors are undergraduates who engage with the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and plan on-campus activities to raise awareness of the Organization and its work. Based on their performance, two outstanding Student Ambassadors will be selected to attend the OECD Forum in Paris in May 2015.

All Student Ambassadors attend an initial training in Washington, DC, May 31-June 1, 2014, and will receive a certificate of participation and a letter of recommendation.  Expenses for trips plus a budget related to promotional activities on campus will be paid by the OECD.

For more information see: the OECD Student Ambassador Program 2014-2015 Guidelines

Deadline for applications: March 30, 2014

Download the OECD Student Ambassador Program 2014-2015 Guidelines and Application

Email application materials to Elodie Turchi at washington.contact@oecd.org. For further questions, contact Ms. Turchi or Katherine McNeill, Economics Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

Paper engineering page turns for music scores – March 3rd

Posted February 14th, 2014 by Christie Moore

Paper Engineering Page Turns for  Music Scores

paper_eng_1_tnCome spend an hour with composer and vocalist Erin Gee and MIT Libraries Conservator Jana Dambrogio as they demonstrate a practical and low-tech way to transform the pages of your performing music scores into a continuous sheet of paper that is easy to handle during performances.

Erin will perform the voice part from her piece for voice and ensemble, Mouthpiece X, to show how the enhanced score functions. Jana will demonstrate how you can do this with your own music.

Date: Monday, March 3, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: 5-6 pm
Reception follows
Free and open to the public

Composer Charles Shadle – Wednesday, March 5

Posted February 14th, 2014 by Christie Moore

Composer forum series: Charles Shadle

CharlesShadle_tn Western Saddlebag: Cowboy Songs and the Craft of Composition.
Charles Shadle, MIT Senior Lecturer in Music and Theater Arts.
The talk will focus on Western Saddlebag, a newly composed suite of arrangements of traditional cowboy melodies for piano.

Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: 5-6 pm
Reception follows
Free and open to the public

Sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts.

OA research in the news: MIT names new provost and chancellor

Posted February 12th, 2014 by Katharine Dunn
Martin Schmidt and Cynthia Barnhart Photos: Dominick Reuter

Martin Schmidt and Cynthia Barnhart
Photos: Dominick Reuter

Two MIT faculty members have been named provost and chancellor, the Institute’s two most senior academic posts. Martin Schmidt, the new provost, is an electrical engineering professor and had been associate provost since 2008. The provost is the senior academic and budget officer on campus. Cynthia Barnhart, a professor in civil and environmental engineering, has been associate dean of the School of Engineering since 2007. In Barnhart’s job as chancellor she’s responsible for undergraduate and graduate education and student life.

Explore Professor Schmidt’s research and Professor Barnhart’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.

Learn quantitative methods at ICPSR this summer–registration opens today!

Posted February 10th, 2014 by Katherine McNeill

Need to expand your skills in statistical methods and quantitative analysis? Attend the ICPSR Summer Program! Each year, ICPSR provides a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. Registration is now open for the 2014 session.  Note: MIT attendees can register at a discount and scholarships are available.

For a listing of course offerings and application information, see the ICPSR Summer Program web site.  Courses this year include:

Note that while most courses are held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, some are held in nearby Amherst, MA or New York, NY.

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And don’t forget ICPSR as a source of quantitative data on a range of topics: from markets, election statistics, health, education, international relations, social attitudes and behavior, and more!  Recently added datasets include:

In other news, attend an upcoming Webinar: Resources for Health Research from ICPSR.

For further information, contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.