Subject/Topic areas

IAP 2014: Data Tools and File Management

Posted December 9th, 2013 by Mark Szarko

The MIT Libraries is hosting a series of classes on data tools and file management this IAP. Some classes require

Managing Confidential Data
Wed Jan 15, 10:00am-1:00pm, 66-148
Contact: Randi Shapiro,

Public Opinion Data Resources
Thu Jan 16, 11:00am-12:00pm, 14N-132
Contact: Katherine McNeill,

Finding Research Datasets
Thu Jan 23, 9:30am-11:00am, 14N-132
Contact: Katherine McNeill,

For a complete list of IAP classes offered by the Libraries, please see our Calendar of Events.


IAP 2014: Culture, Arts, and Society

Posted December 9th, 2013 by Mark Szarko

Join the MIT Libraries for a series of classes on topics that range from letterlocking to the music of the Arab Spring. Some classes require registration.Beaver

Creative Bookbinding 2014
Tue Jan 7, 10:00am-12:30pm, 14-0513
Wed Jan 8, 10:00am-12:30pm, 14-0513
Contact: Kate Beattie,

Rare Book Speed Dating
Fri Jan 10, 10:30am-11:00am, 14N-118
Fri Jan 10, 11:15am-11:45am, 14N-118
Contact: Audrey Pearson,

Library Music! Open Mic in the Lewis Music Library
Fri Jan 10, 12:00pm-1:00pm, 14E-109
Fri Jan 24, 12:00pm-1:00pm, 14E-109
Contact: Peter Munstedt,

Using Images in Your Work: A Look at Fair Use, Open Licensing, Copyright, and Identifying and Citing Images
Fri Jan 10, 1:00pm-2:15pm, 14N-132
Contact: Ellen Duranceau,

A Conversation with Ta’Nehisi Coates about Reading, Writing, and Libraries
Mon Jan 13, 11:00am-12pm, 14E-304
Contact: Patsy Baudoin,

Leave It to the Beavers: A Snapshot of Life at MIT in the 1950s
Fri Jan 24, 2:00pm-3:30pm, 14N-118
Contact: Camille Torres Hoven,

Historic Letterlocking: The Art and Security of Letterwriting
Tue Jan 28, 10:00am-3:00pm, 14-0513
Wed, Jan 29, 10:00am-3:00pm, 14-0513
Contact: Jana Dambrogio,

Rap, Rai, Rock, and Revolution: The Role of Music in the “Arab Spring”
Tue Jan 28, 3:00pm-5:00pm, 3-133
Contact: Michael Toler,

For a complete list of IAP classes offered by the Libraries, please see our Calendar of Events.

Webinar: Measure change over time with the American Community Survey

Posted December 6th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill


Want to research change over time in social and economic trends for states and local areas across the U.S.?  Use the American Community Survey!

American Community Survey data are released in annual or multiyear estimates (depending upon geographic area) and measure citizens’ experiences in a wide range of social and economic issues.  However, assessing trends over time can be challenging when working with ACS multiyear estimates, so get tips in an upcoming Census webinar: Using the ACS to Measure Trends Over Time.

In this webinar, demographers, planners, and researchers will provide guidance for measuring trends with ACS data.

WHEN: Friday, December 13, 2013, 1–2 p.m. (EST)

Space is limited. Register.

Use data in your research and win a prize! Gain experience in data analysis via an internship!

Posted December 3rd, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

ICPSR logo

ICPSR Research Paper Competition

Using data from the ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) data archive for one of your classes?  Submit your paper to the ICPSR Research Paper Competition and get a chance to win a $1,000 cash prize!

ICPSR sponsors the competition to highlight the best research papers using quantitative data from the ICPSR archive.  Special prizes are given for using data in their minority, fertility, or HIV data collections.  Note: Some competitions are limited to undergraduate or master’s students.

Deadline for submission: January 31, 2014.

For details on the competition and for help finding data in the ICPSR archive, see ICPSR’s page on the competition or contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at

ICPSR Summer Undergraduate Internship Program

ICPSR now is accepting applications for its 2014 summer internship program for undergraduates, an NSF-funded program.

  • Explore a research question from start to finish — including literature searches, data analyses, and creation of a conference-ready poster on your research findings
  • Work in small groups and with faculty mentors
  • Gain experience using statistical programs such as Stata, SAS, and SPSS
  • Stipend given

For an example, see a video of a past ICPSR intern presenting on his research project.

Applications are now being taken through an on-line application form. Two letters of recommendation are required, and can also be sent over the Web.

Deadline for application: January 31, 2014.

For more information, see ICPSR’s page on the program or contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at

Spam alert: Ignore emails asking for your library account

Posted December 2nd, 2013 by Heather Denny

attentionPlease be advised that some library users are receiving emails with the subject line “Reactivate library account.” These emails are spam and are not from the MIT Libraries.

The email asks you to reactivate your account by going to a Login Page, and is signed with a fake librarian name and contact information. Please ignore all emails asking for your library account information.

Users with “Your Account” can securely login to their library accounts through Touchstone. If you have any questions about how to use Your Account please see our Circulation FAQ page.

Get help with statistical software packages, statistics, and research technology

Posted December 2nd, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Rlogo       stata        SAS_logo

Do you use statistical software packages, such as R, Stata, SAS, or SPSS?  Want to be more effective with statistical analysis, research technology, or social science research methods? No need to struggle with these issues on your own!

MIT has two new resources that can help:

1. Guide to Statistical Software

  • Learn how to access statistical software (e.g., R, Stata, SAS) at MIT
  • Find resources for learning and using these software packages

2. Research Technology Consulting

This service is available to help you individually with:

  • Learning or troubleshooting statistical software packages such as R, Stata, or SAS
  • Data analysis support and programming advice
  • Statistical methodology questions
  • For social science research projects:
    • Research project planning and guidance
    • Use of research technology (e.g., screen scraping, social network analysis, and more)

To make an appointment or ask for tips on a project:

This service, based at Harvard, is provided by the Harvard-MIT Data Center and available to the MIT community as a pilot.

Learn Statistical Software in Workshops
In addition, attend one of the upcoming workshops on statistical software.

The Harvard-MIT Data Center also provides: a data repository, research computing environment, and a specialized computer lab.

For questions about these services, contact Jennie Murack, Statistics Specialist, or Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian.

OA research in the news: Hard math for grade schoolers

Posted November 25th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Hard math for elementary schoolAfter a couple of years of coaching his daughter’s middle-school math team, MIT economist Glenn Ellison compiled his notes into a self-published book, Hard Math for Middle School. The book was intended for members of the math league his daughter participated in, but in the five years since it was published it has sold thousands of copies nationwide. Now (at the urging of his youngest daughter), Ellison has released a second book for third- to sixth-graders looking for a challenge beyond what they learn in the classroom. The goal is to keep math interesting for advanced students. “What would be great is if in 10 to 12 years my MIT students come up to me and say ‘I used your book when I was in fifth grade,’” says Ellison. “That would be really awesome.”

Ellison’s research has previously been inspired by his daughters: In 2010 he published a paper exploring the gender gap at high school math competitions.

Explore Professor Ellison’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.

Finals week study breaks, December 12–17

Posted November 22nd, 2013 by Heather Denny
therapy dogs at MIT2013

Students visit with therapy dog Thabo, photo by Ellen Duranceau

During finals week, take a study break…have a snack, pet a dog, and de-stress!

Cookies and beverages will be served near the entrance to each library on the dates below. Therapy dogs from Dog B.O.N.E.S. will make a special visit to Hayden Library for Cookies with Canines.

Thursday, December 12, 2–3:30 pm
Hayden Library (14S) – Cookies with Canines

Friday, December 13, 2–3:30 pm
Rotch Library (7-238) – Study Break

Friday, December 13, 2–4 pm
Dewey Library (E53-100) – Study Break

Tuesday December 17, 2–3:30 pm
Barker Library (10-500) – Study Break

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for chances to win an MIT Libraries Tim t-shirt during the study breaks!


IMF publications now available online

Posted November 20th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill


Study international economics or finance?  Use publications from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?  MIT now has access to all IMF publications online through the IMF e-Library.  Access publications, sometimes as far back as 1951, including:

  • books and analytical papers
  • periodicals and reports

IMF publications cover a range of topics, including macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade, aid, technical assistance, demographics, emerging markets, policy advice, poverty reduction, and much more.

Access the eLibrary at or via our research guide to economics.

Looking for statistical data from the IMF?  In addition to what you can get on the Data and Statistics section of the IMF web site, MIT subscribes to:


Composer Peter Child – Wednesday, November 20

Posted November 15th, 2013 by Christie Moore
Peter Child

Peter Child

Peter Child,  Professor in Music and Theater Arts, in a talk about his recent music with live performances by Vineet Gopal (’13), flute; Miriam Nussbaum (G), flute; Elaine Kwon (Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts), piano, and Peter Child, piano.

Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
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: New way to monitor induced-coma patients

Posted November 14th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Emery N. Brown

Emery N. Brown

Brain injury patients are sometimes deliberately placed in a coma with anesthesia drugs to allow swelling to go down and their brains to heal. Comas can last for days, during which patients’ brain activity must be regularly monitored to ensure the right level of sedation. The constant checking is “totally inefficient,” says Emery Brown, an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and a professor in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Brown and his colleagues at MGH have developed a “brain-machine interface” that automatically monitors brain activity and adjusts drug dosages accordingly. They’ve tested the system on rats and are now planning human trials.

Explore Professor Brown’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.

Libraries continue financial support for MIT authors’ open access publishing — though PLoS closes discount program

Posted November 12th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The MIT Libraries have been supporting MIT authors who wish to make their work as openly available as possible, by funding programs and memberships that reduce publication fees for those who choose open access publishing options.

Through the MIT Libraries, MIT authors receive discounts in the following open access publications:

    MIT Libraries Open Access Publication Fund — Provides MIT faculty with up to $1000 towards publication fees in peer-reviewed, open access journals, including memberships in the new PeerJ. more info

    arXiv –Through funding from the MIT Libraries and the Department of Physics, MIT is an institutional supporting member of this repository, which offers open access to e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics. more info

    BioMed Central –MIT Libraries’ membership provides MIT authors with a 15% discount on article processing fees for BMC journals and all SpringerOpen journals as well. more info

    Nucleic Acids Research — MIT Libraries’ membership provides MIT authors with a 50% discount on open access processing fees. more info

    PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) — MIT Libraries’ site license provides MIT authors with a 25% discount on the optional open access processing fees. more info

    Royal Society — MIT Libraries’ membership provides MIT authors with a 25% discount on article processing charges for any Royal Society journal, including their open access journal and their open access option for traditional journals called EXiS Open Choice. more info

    Royal Society of Chemistry – MIT Libraries’ site license provides MIT authors with a 15% discount on the optional open access processing fees. more info / and see: Special information on vouchers covering entire open access publishing fees for limited number of articles in 2013

The Libraries had also been subscribing to a membership in PLoS (Public Library of Science), which has been providing MIT authors with a 10% discount on author fees.   PLoS has decided to retire this membership program, which was intended to be a transitional part of their business model, at the end of 2013.

More information:

Libraries’ web page on Open Access publication support

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

New frontiers in open access publishing video released — speakers praise transparent peer review

Posted November 4th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

During International Open Access Week, the MIT Faculty Open Access Working Group and the MIT Libraries co-sponsored a panel discussion about new models of open access publishing, which is now available through TechTV. A central theme was the merits of moving not just to open access publishing — thus allowing readers access without payment — but making what is arguably a more radical shift, to open peer review.

Tibor Tscheke

Tibor Tscheke

Tibor Tscheke, of the soon-to-be-launched publishing platform
Tscheke, CFO and CTO of, an open access publishing platform, commented that the “concept of journals will go away” in the not-too-distant future, given that there is no longer the need for this kind of “container.” Publishing will move from being a product to being a service. One of the “most culturally interesting changes,” Tscheke believes, will be the break with walled peer review, which will be transformed into “public post-publication peer review.” This new model will improve upon problems with existing peer review, including delays in publication, closed commentary, and binary decision making about the value of an article.

In response to questions about how the system would work without the editorial role that points to works ‘objectively,’ Tscheke questioned in turn whether a closed-door process that selects peer reviewers is in fact “objective.” With increased numbers of reviewers, including one’s direct peers around the world, the process would be improved.

Jacqueline Thai

Jacqueline Thai

Jacqueline Thai, of the new open access journal PeerJ
Thai, Head of Publishing Operations at PeerJ, picked up immediately on the theme of open, signed peer review, indicating that PeerJ has this option. While some questioned whether people would be willing to engage in open peer review, Thai reported that 73% of their authors are choosing to share their review history openly, and that 40% of their reviewers sign their reviews. (Reviewers are given incentives by PeerJ to sign the reviews).

Asked about the recent “sting,” in which a large percentage of open access journals that were sent a fake paper published it, Thai responded that the incident reflected problems with peer review that are inherent in how journals are run, not problems specific to open access journals.

Tscheke concurred, indicating that the way to avoid such problems is to open up peer review publicly so that a fake submission is not worthwhile, presumably because it would quickly be seen as a fake when the review process is cast open so widely.

Marguerite Avery, of MIT Press and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Avery is Senior Acquisitions Editor at The MIT Press. From her perspective in book publishing, she provided a foil for the two article-focused speakers, noting for example that open peer review and relying on the “wisdom of the crowd,” is unlikely to work when the object to be reviewed is a 500-page manuscript. She also questioned whether the “hidden labor” involved in time-consuming peer review has been fully addressed by the open models, and what would happen to work that was never reviewed.

Marguerite Avery

Marguerite Avery

Tscheke responded that such a lack of reviews may mean the work is simply not interesting enough. And ultimately, he said, “there is no perfect system — but there is more perfection in transparency than in hidden processes.”

The video, including the full panel discussion, is available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, and may be freely reused, adapted, and shared.

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

Halloween treat: Monster Book of Monsters’ transformation

Posted October 31st, 2013 by Heather Denny

There have been spooky happenings in the Maihaugen Gallery this Halloween. A medieval chant book, originally from the fifteenth or sixteenth century, has inexplicably transformed into a Harry Potter-inspired Monster Book of Monsters! Come see the enormous leather-and-wood-bound book complete with scary demon face, vicious teeth, and dismembered body parts. Rumor has it that the book will disappear soon after midnight on Halloween, so see it today!

While you’re in the gallery, check out the exhibit Noteworthy ConnectionsMusic in the MIT Libraries on display until December 12, 2013.


Please note: No library users were harmed in the creation of the Monster Book, and all fun was had under the care and supervision of the Libraries’ expert Preservation team.

OA research in the news: Nanoparticles attack aggressive tumors

Posted October 31st, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Schematic drawing of a new nanoparticle developed at MIT. Graphic courtesy of the researchers.

Schematic drawing of a new nanoparticle developed at MIT. Graphic courtesy of the researchers.

MIT chemical engineers have developed a new treatment for an aggressive form of breast cancer whose tumors resist chemotherapy drugs. Led by David H. Koch Professor in Engineering Paula Hammond, the team designed nanoparticles that pack a one-two punch: They deliver a cancer drug along with short strands of RNA that shut off genes used by cancer cells to escape the drug. The nanoparticles are also coated with an outer layer that protects them from degrading while en route to the cancer cells. The researchers used the particles to successfully shrink breast tumors in mice, as they report in a recent issue of the journal ACS Nano. The lead author on the paper is Jason Deng, a postdoc in Hammond’s lab.

Explore Professor Hammond’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.

Final weeks to see “Noteworthy Connections” exhibit

Posted October 29th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Noteworthy ConnectionsMusic in the MIT Libraries will be on display until December 31, 2013 in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery.


Maihaugen Gallery

The exhibit delves into the holdings of the Lewis Music Library and the Institute Archives and Special Collections, to reveal MIT’s diverse musical interests, the accomplishments of its talented students and faculty, and the rich history the Institute’s musical groups and clubs.

Some of the unique items on display include original manuscripts and rare books, autographed letters and scores, a handmade oscillator, and an original leaf from the Glaser Codex of medieval chants.

Visit the gallery:
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Building 14N-130

MIT students engage with open access at Libraries event

Posted October 29th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Katharine Dunn and Mark Clemente field questions at an information table during Open Access week

Katharine Dunn and Mark Clemente field questions at an information table during Open Access Week

Last Wednesday, more than 30 MIT students and researchers stopped by the Office of Scholarly Publishing & Licensing table in Lobby 10 set up to celebrate international Open Access Week. About two-thirds of the people who came by to chat were undergraduate students who hadn’t previously heard of open access or DSpace@MIT, the digital repository that houses scholarly articles, theses, and other MIT content. Most were curious and happy to learn that through the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy researchers are making their scholarly articles freely available online. Issues that particularly resonated with students were the fact that increasing journal subscription prices are shutting out large numbers of readers around the world and that open access is way to democratize scientific research.

The information table was a new experiment for the Libraries. Students who attempted a quiz question on open access, DSpace@MIT, or author rights won a prize: an MIT Libraries t-shirt, a PLOS t-shirt, or the book Open Access by Peter Suber, a leader of the open access movement. The shirts were popular and disappeared quickly. Other giveaways included pens, magnets, and Halloween candy. Given the interest and enthusiasm, the Libraries hope to make this an annual event.


Save your sound!

Posted October 25th, 2013 by willer

girl-with-headphonesDo you have videos of family events, audio recordings of music recitals, or other personal audiovisual treasures?

Save your recordings and share your audiovisual history with your family and community by transferring recordings from obsolete formats such as cassette tape and VHS onto digital media. You can use equipment in the Lewis Music Library, as described in a recent IS&T News article, or contact vendors such as MIT Audio Visual Services.

“Saving our Heritage for the Next Generation” is the slogan of UNESCO’s 2013 World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, observed on Sunday, October 27.

Praise for MIT open access articles

Posted October 24th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

open dome logo black on white 2

More reasons celebrate International Open Access Week, October 21–25

The thank-you note arrived with language echoing the voices of many other readers of MIT Open Access Articles: “I thought I would show my appreciation for the open access that MIT affords. Many projects and papers require access to cutting-edge studies and articles. Many of these are unfortunately stuck behind paywalls. Having access to these types of information has helped me succeed.”

But the author of the note may not be who you’d expect: it was a graduate student at an American university. Reader comments sent to the MIT Libraries make clear that while many beneficiaries of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy come from developing nations, where institutions and individuals can afford fewer resources, a growing number come from the United States, where even well-funded colleges and universities are increasingly forced to limit access to journals in order to make ends meet. Scholarly journals can cost more than $10,000 a year and subscription prices continue to rise, leading to cancellations and reduced access.

US students, even those associated with a university, therefore have much to gain from open access. As one astrophysics student recently wrote: “While doing preliminary research, I stumbled upon one of your articles. The articles not only provided me insight, but also directed my further searches, leading me on different paths than I had considered, and considerably expediting the process.”

Another student commented that “Thanks to MIT Open Access, I was able to read a high-quality document on a subject in which there has been very little research. I discovered that I’m not alone in my research interests, however esoteric some of [them] may seem. I found a very insightful article that took me to a new level of inspiration.”

For those not associated with a university, the need for access is particularly pressing. In the last six months alone, MIT heard from artists, engineers, independent researchers, and authors who all made similar comments: They felt excluded from scholarly research because of article costs, and the articles they found and read in DSpace@MIT gave them the opportunity to, as they wrote, “catch up on new ideas,” “open my mind beyond the talking points of the day,” or “find further research.”

Readers also gain personally, including one individual who used a DSpace@MIT article as a resource for medical information. He wrote that he began to think about bone elasticity as being implicated in a fracture he had recently sustained: “The article assisted me in understanding the role of collagen in bone growth and renewal and, in turn, led me to further research into dietary modifications that I can implement.”

The need for access expressed by these US-based readers has not been lost on the Obama administration or the US Congress. In mid-February, members of Congress introduced a bill that would require a dozen US government agencies—including the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and NASA—to make articles that result from research they fund publicly available on the Internet. A week later, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a directive to an even larger group of federal agencies requiring that they devise plans to develop open access policies. Those plans were due in August and are now under review. Both the bill and the directive build on the successful public access policy adopted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008.

Meanwhile, right here at MIT, the voices of grateful readers—whether in the US or beyond—reflect and consummate the faculty’s commitment to “disseminating the fruits of [their] research as widely as possible.” As one reader wrote: “It is wonderful to have the chance to go straight to the source and learn something about how knowledge is produced at the best places.”

(a version of article originally appeared in the MIT News)

Downloads of MIT faculty open access articles top 1.3 million

Posted October 23rd, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

Articles in the Open Access Articles Collection in DSpace@MIT have been downloaded more than 1,380,000 times since the collection was created in October 2009 to house articles under the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.
oa downloads by month through sept. 2013

Monthly downloads have reached a new peak of over 73,000 in September 2013, an increase of 72% over last year’s total from the same month.

This information is being shared in celebration of International Open Access Week.

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