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Locked letters and instructional videos created at MIT featured in an exhibit at The Hague

Posted November 19th, 2014 by Heather Denny

Letterlocking collageLocked letters from the 17th century have been brought to life in videos, and as reconstructed replicas, as part of the exhibition Courtly Rivals in the Hague: Elizabeth Stuart and Amalia von Solms in the Historical Museum of The Hague. MIT Libraries’ conservator, Jana Dambrogio was consulted on the exhibit for her expertise in the art and science of letterlocking.

Working with MIT colleagues, Brian Chan, from the MIT Hobby Shop, Artist in Residence Martin Demaine, producer Joe McMaster with Academic Media Production Services, and Ayako Letizia, Curation and Preservation Services conservation assistant, Dambrogio filmed six videos – four demonstrate how letters were folded and secured shut to be “locked” as a form of secure correspondence in the 17th century, while two others demonstrate how ink and coded messages were used. Watch the videos.

“We are fortunate and thankful to have at MIT two paper-folding experts who collaborated with us on this project,” Dambrogio said. Chan portrays secretary Constantijn Huygens in the video that recreates the tiniest spy letter known to exist. Demaine, as Secretary Sir Francis Nethersole, scribes a letter for Queen Elizabeth to sign using a complicated built-in paper lock to secure the letter shut.

“We hope the videos help to show how these writing and security technologies once functioned in the past, and how they connect to a larger information security tradition spanning 10,000 years in cultures throughout the world,” she said.

The exhibition, Courtly Rivals, based on Dr. Nadine Akkerman’s publication by the same name, explores the tense relationship between two of the most influential women in the Dutch Republic during the 17th century – Elizabeth Stuart, sometime Queen of Bohemia and her former lady-in-waiting Amalia von Solms, who became Princess of Orange in 1625. Both vividly asserted their courtly and political identity by writing letters. Elizabeth’s corpus of over 2,000 letters shows she was an astute politician, with a vast network of kings, queens, generals, ministers, church leaders, courtiers, and spies. Amalia’s correspondence has just come to light, but it appears she was no different. Both ladies, their secretaries, and their correspondents resorted to intricate methods to lock their letters shut.

One hundred replica locked letters made at MIT were given to attendees at the Hague’s première of the exhibition. The videos and the replicas made by Dambrogio will be featured along side original letters in the exhibition.

Publish open access in chemistry society journals at no charge

Posted November 14th, 2014 by Ellen Duranceau

Three chemistry societies have new open access options for MIT authors that allow for open access publication without any fee.

  • American Chemical Society/ACS: ACS’s open access strategy includes:
    • ACS Author Rewards, through which corresponding authors can apply credits gained by publishing articles with ACS towards open access fees, allowing authors to publish some articles open access at no cost.

    To take advantage of this free open access option:  Look for an email after acceptance of your article, with a link into the ACS ecommerce system and an order for making that article open access; enter the ACS Author Rewards promotional codes you have received in the “Discount” section. Or, if you cannot find that link, access your ACS ChemWorx account and look for the ACS AuthorChoice app, where you can enter the article’s DOI.

    • A new open access multidisciplinary journal, ACS Central Science, will launch in January 2015.

    logo acs
    To take advantage of this free open access option:   Submit your manuscript to ACS Central Science any time starting with December 2014.  There are no author fees for open access publication in this new journal.

    Also: ACS offers ACS Author Choice, a paid open access option, which is not free unless you use author rewards (see above), but which includes a 25% discount on open access fees for MIT authors because of MIT Libraries’ subscriptions.

  • Electrochemical Society/ECS:  As of early this year, all four of the ECS journals have an open access option. This option is currently free for MIT authors. 

    To take advantage of this free open access option: When submitting an article, the manuscript submission system will ask two questions:

      logo ecs

    • Do you want to publish as Open Access —the author should say ‘yes’
    • Do you have article credits to apply for the open access option – the author should indicate that they have credits because their institution, MIT, subscribes.

    These steps will ensure your article is published open access.

  • Royal Society of Chemistry/RSC: RSC is offering a new open access repository – the Chemical Sciences Article Repository, and two free open access journal options:
  • rsc publishing logo
     To take advantage of this free open access option:  request a voucher from the MIT Libraries.  A limited number of vouchers can be applied retrospectively to 2013 and 2014 articles, as well as to current articles.

    •  The RSC’s flagship journal, Chemical Science, will switch to open access as of 2015. There will be no author fees for at least two years.

     To take advantage of this free open access option:   Submit your manuscript to Chemical Science in 2015 or 2016.

     

    Ellen Finnie Duranceau / Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright & Licensing / MIT Libraries / x38483