Social Sciences

What we did on your summer vacation!

Posted August 30th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Welcome back! 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:WhatWeDidgraphic

New Resources

  • New search tool  Finding library resources just got easier with BartonPlus. It brings together many library collections in one search interface–searching most MIT-licensed e-resources like e-books and full-text articles, as well as collections in the classic Barton catalog like books, theses, music, DVDs, and more. 
  • More options for borrowing  Borrow Direct, a partnership that allows library materials to be shared between member institutions, has expanded to include the University of Chicago. MIT users can search over 50 million volumes owned by Borrow Direct libraries through MIT’s WorldCat.
  • New guide to APIs for scholarly resources  Many scholarly publishers, databases, and products offer APIs to allow users with programming skills to more powerfully extract data to serve a variety of research purposes. With an API, users might create programmatic searches of a citation database, extract statistical data, or dynamically query and post blog content. Learn more in the APIs for Scholarly Resources guide.
  • Music Oral History Project  For over 100 years music has been a vibrant part of MIT’s culture. A new website features in-depth interviews with faculty, staff, and former students about their musical experiences at the Institute, as well as their professional careers in music or other fields.

Improved study spaces

  • Upgrades to Hayden Library  The window bays in Hayden have gotten a facelift! The windows have been cleaned, frames painted, and new shades have replaced the curtains. Also check out the  new artwork by Dennis Oppenheim that adorns the first floor wall. Additionally, a number of tables and study carrels in Hayden were refinished this summer. Coming up – we hope to reupholster some of the comfy seating on the 1st floor.

Upcoming events

  • Music & Theater Arts Composer Forums  During the fall term the Lewis Music Library will host MTA Composer Forums. Stop by the library at 5pm on Oct. 9, Oct. 23, Nov. 6, Nov. 20 to hear from featured musicians.
  •  Fall workshops Throughout the month of October the Libraries will offer a series of workshops on subject-specific resources. See the event calendar for details.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news!

 

OA research in the news: Fighting crime with math

Posted August 21st, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Cynthia Rudin

Cynthia Rudin

Crimes like burglary often go unwitnessed, which makes it difficult to predict and prevent a criminal’s future acts. Police analysts scour reports and databases for patterns in criminal activity, but the work is labor and time intensive. Two Sloan School of Management researchers, including associate professor Cynthia Rudin, have teamed up with Cambridge police crime analysts to develop an algorithm that quickly detects patterns including where, when, and how a crime happened. “You’re trying to find the [modus operandi] of the suspect,” Rudin told the Boston Globe. “If you can do this really effectively it can lead to an accurate suspect description.” The algorithm, called Series Finder, is built on data from nearly 5,000 housebreaks in Cambridge over a decade.

Explore Professor Rudin’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.

New Energy Statistics Database from the U.N.

Posted July 5th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

UNSD

Need to compare data on energy production and use across countries over time?  Try the United Nations Energy Statistics Database, available for download from the Harvard-MIT Data Center.  This new dataset covers the historical period of 1990-2005 and provides comprehensive energy statistics on more than 215 countries on topics such as:

  • production
  • trade
  • transformation
  • consumption

Note: this dataset comes as a fixed-field dataset that can be understood utilizing the accompanying documentation.  For questions about using this or other research datasets in the social sciences, contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

For updated data covering more recent years, see the Energy Statistics Database via UNdata.

Looking for more energy statistics or other available datasets? See:

Access data on banks in the U.S. and beyond

Posted June 11th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Need data on banks and banking?  Try these databases from the MIT Libraries:

OECD Banking Statistics logo

For banks in OECD-member countries, from the OECD: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/oecdbank
Access data since 1979 on classification of bank assets and liabilities, income statement and balance sheet and structure of the financial system for OECD-member countries.   This is just one of many statistical databases you can access from the OECD.

WRDS logo

For U.S. banks, from Wharton Research Data Services:

  1. Bank Regulatory Database: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/bankreg
    Provides accounting data for bank holding companies, commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loans institutions.
  2. FDIC: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Datasets: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/fdic
    Historical financial data for commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loans.
  3. Federal Reserve Bank Reports: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/wrds-frbr
    Includes: Foreign Exchange Rates (H.10 Report), Interest Rates (H.15 Report), and FRB-Philadelphia State Indexes.

For more Libraries’ guides related to banking, see:

Berinsky Awarded for Contributions to Public Opinion Data

Posted May 16th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Berinsky photo

Adam Berinsky, Professor of Political Science and director of the Political Experiments Research Lab (PERL), has won the Warren J. Mitofsky Award for Excellence in Public Opinion Research from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.  Berinsky shares the award with Eric Schickler of the University of California, Berkeley.

The award honors their project of rehabilitating hundreds of under-utilized opinion polls from the 1930s-1950s that were in an obsolete and cumbersome format.  At the project’s completion, nearly one thousand surveys will have been reformatted, labeled and re-deposited with the Roper Center for easier access by the research community.

Want to access this public opinion data yourself?  Use aggregate statistics or micro-level poll results?  Access the Libraries’ Roper Center membership at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/roper  (note: you’ll need to set up an individual account on their site to download data).

The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is a leading archive of social science data, specializing in public opinion. The data held by the Roper Center range from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present.

For more resources, see also:

OA research in the news: Can IP rights slow innovation?

Posted May 16th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Intellectual property rights may give incentive to people and companies to do creative work, but do they also hinder subsequent innovation? This is the question economics professor Heidi Williams asks in a new paper published in a recent issue of the Journal of Political Economy. Over a decade ago, the government-funded Human Genome Project and the private firm Celera each published work on human genome sequencing. From day one, the HGP put its sequenced genes in the public domain, while Celera relied on IP rights to protect its work, selling data to firms and requiring licenses for any commercial products developed.

Williams investigated how the 1,600 genes covered by Celera’s IP—which all eventually went into the public domain—fared compared with genes initially sequenced by the HGP. She found that Celera’s genes were less likely to be the focus of both scientific research and commercial development, even years after the Celera genes were freely available. “One additional year of Celera’s intellectual property translates to a persistent and permanent difference in whether we figure out whether it is linked to disease,” Williams told the Boston Globe. She suggests that IP rights reduced subsequent scientific research and product development by 20 to 30 percent.

Explore Professor Williams’ 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.

New databases on U.S. law, government and elections

Posted April 23rd, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Do research on U.S. history, law, government, or elections?  Then try out these new databases from the MIT Libraries!

HeinOnline logo

HeinOnline Political Science Research Package (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/hein)

Full text legal history collection of image-based documents. Includes world constitutions, treaties, U.S. Supreme Court reports, U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional Record, presidential papers and resources for researching legislative histories. 1700s – present.

CQ Congress logo

CQ Press Congress Collection (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/cqcongress)

Access resources and data on the U.S. Congress. Includes roll call votes, voting records, legislative histories and analyses.

CQ Voting logo

CQ Press Voting and Elections Collection (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/cqvoting)

View and download historic and current data on voting and elections in the U.S. at the national and state level. Includes analyses of voting behavior, election processes, major and minor political parties, and voter behavior and demographics.  The MIT Libraries’ subscription includes access to the data sets. The site is organized into six categories:

  • Presidential Elections:explanations of the presidential electoral process, analyses and data for historical and modern presidential elections, modern voting behavior, key events and issues, and biographies.
  • Congressional Elections: explanations of the congressional electoral process, including reapportionment and redistricting; data for historical and modern congressional elections; analyses of modern congressional elections; modern voting behavior; modern district profiles; key events and issues; and biographies.
  • Gubernatorial Elections: explanations of the gubernatorial electoral process and data for historical and modern gubernatorial elections.
  • Campaigns and Elections: explores the American system of voting and elections, electoral process and reform, media, interest groups, and the impact of money.
  • Political Parties: party system in America, including party strength and control, and profiles Democratic, Republican, and third parties.
  • Voters and Demographics: covers expansion of voting rights, voter turnout, voting behavior, modern county census data, and modern district profiles.

—————–

Want more?  Check out our research guides to:

Earth Week Film Screening: Chasing Ice, Friday April 26

Posted April 21st, 2013 by Heather McCann

MIT Libraries in cooperation with the MIT Earth Day Committee present a film viewing of Chasing Ice on Friday, April 26. The film will be introduced by Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

 

This 2012 Oscar nominated documentary follows photographer James Balog and his crew as they as they conduct the Extreme Ice Survey, deploying time lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. Register for the MIT Sustainability Summit to see a talk by Chasing Ice photographer James Balog on Saturday evening!

Refreshments at 4 PM in lobby outside 6-120; Film starts at 4:30 in 6-120. Free and open to the public.

For more information, contact: Heather McCann; hmccann(at) mit.edu 617.253.7098

Web site: http://web.mit.edu/earthday

Sponsored by MIT Libraries, Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, EHS, MITEI, and the MIT Earth Day Committee

OA research in the news: The Townsend Thai Project

Posted April 18th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

In 1997, economist Robert Townsend and colleague Sombat Sakunthasathien, a Thai government researcher, began to gather data on family and community finances in rural and urban Thailand. They’ve never stopped. Their program, the Thai Family Research Project (part of the Townsend Thai Project), includes surveys of 2,880 households and 262 community groups. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of data points, making it one of the largest datasets in the developing world. Among their findings is that much of Thailand’s expanding economy is coming from rural areas. They’ve now written a book, Chronicles from the Field, which delves into statistics but also recounts the human side of doing field work. “Organizations deal with people, and this is all about the people,” Townsend tells the MIT News. “You need to build up trust. The households need to understand why you’re asking them all these questions, and you need to be honest with them. By going back, you establish that you care.”

The book is accompanied by a documentary film, “Emerging Thailand: The Spirit of Small Enterprise,” which will screen at MIT on April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in E25-111.

Explore Professor Townsend’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.

Micah Altman wins Pizzigati Prize

Posted April 12th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Micah Altman, MIT Libraries’ Director of Research, has been awarded the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest for his work developing software that encourages transparency and public participation in the electoral redistricting process. The award was presented today, April 13, at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference of the National Technology Network in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The drawing of legislative districts has always been one of the least transparent — and most easily manipulated — steps toward democratic governance. Altman teamed up with Michael McDonald, Associate Professor at George Mason University, to find a way to break the political insider lockgrip on the electoral mapping process.

The initiative the scholars went on to launch, the Public Mapping Project, involved government and nonprofits across the country in an effort to develop redistricting software that any concerned citizen could use.

DistrictBuilder, the software that eventually emerged out of this effort, runs on ordinary Web browsers. Anyone with a computer can access DistrictBuilder and use it to both create legislative maps that fairly divide political power, and evaluate the maps that legislators create. DistrictBuilder has already been used to support redistricting efforts in the states of Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Virginia and others.

In addition to being honored by the prize, Altman finds it rewarding to see a new generation of voters involved in the process.

“It’s been very gratifying to see students use the software to create legal districts and really engage with the political process,” Altman said.

The $10,000 cash grant is awarded annually to those who have created or led an effort to create an open source software product of significant value to the nonprofit sector and movements for social change. The prize is named after MIT computer science graduate and open source computing advocate, Tony Pizzigati ’92 who worked at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.

Happy Day of DH!

Posted April 8th, 2013 by Patsy Baudoin

Monday, April 8th is this year’s Day of DH.

A Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities is a project that examines the state of the digital humanities through the lens of those within it. Follow the day’s activities @DayofDH on Twitter.

If you’re interested in the digital humanities or if you’re wondering what it is, explore our most recent research guide, Digital Humanities. Since it’s a work in progress, please let us know what you’d like to see added to it. 

 

 

 

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

Posted March 18th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

OECD logo

Interested in the world economy or international relations?  Then become an OECD Student Ambassador!  Deadline: April 1st.

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 2014.

All Student Ambassadors attend an initial training in Washington, DC, June 8-9 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 2013-2014 Guidelines

Deadline for applications: April 1, 2013

Download the OECD Student Ambassador Program 2013-2014 Application

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

Learn quantitative methods at ICPSR this summer

Posted March 18th, 2013 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 2013 session.

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

Note that while most courses are held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the following three will be held nearby, in Amherst, MA or New York, NY:

———————————————

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

In other news, ICPSR now is releasing all of its new data files in R software format.

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

Grow your knowledge! Research guides for any topic

Posted March 1st, 2013 by Remlee Green

DaffodilsStart cultivating a garden of knowledge with MIT Libraries’ research guides. Our guides dig deeper than Google to uncover the best sources for information on your research topic. Each guide contains lists of resources recommended by expert librarians. Suggestions for print and electronic resources, databases, and journals—it’s all there!

  • Researching soil chemistry properties in the scholarly literature? What database does the Chemistry guide suggest?
  • Not sure what the first settlers in Massachusetts grew in their gardens? Try the Historical Newspapers guide.

We even have guides about organizing your referencesmanaging your datagetting published, and so much more! Seriously, think of a topic – any topic. Yep, we probably have that, too.

And you’re always welcome to ask us for help!

New statistical databases

Posted February 21st, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Doing quantitative research?  Need statistics for a research project, paper, or to provide context for a project?  Looking for a needle-in-a-haystack?  Try these new statistical databases from the Libraries!

Statista logo

Statista provides statistics on a wide range of topics, including industries, markets, demography, countries & economies.  It harvests data from market researchers, trade associations, scientific publications, and government sources, and compiles it in a central place for you to search.  Download data in tabular or graphical form and link to original data sources and related reports.  Find statistics such as:

  • Global market share held by the leading smartphone operating systems in sales to end users from 1st quarter 2009 to 4th quarter 2012
  • Percentage of U.S. population who has (or ever had) cancer, 1999-2011, by age
  • U.S. organic food sales growth forecast from 2010 to 2014
  • Monthly unemployment rate in the U.S. from January 2012 to January 2013 (seasonally-adjusted)
  • and more…

Access Statista at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/statista.

Govistics logo

Researching local areas in the United States?  Govistics provides spending, revenue, employment and crime data for state and local governments and school districts across the U.S., pulling together data from different sources.  Find data such as the following for the City of Cambridge:

  • Government spending and number of employees in all areas, including social services, education, and public safety
  • Number of violent and property crimes
  • Investment portfolio of the city’s retirement system, with data on membership and contributions
  • and more…

Access Govistics at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/govistics.

Statistical Abstract logo

Need data on your research topic but have no idea who collects it?  Try the Statistical Abstract of the United States!  This online reference source provides summary statistical tables of everything under the sun, and detailed citations to the original source for you to find more detailed data.  Search not only by subject but also filter your results to those available at certain demographic (e.g., age, sex, race, education, marital status), geographic (e.g., state, smsa), and economic (e.g., industry, occupation) breakdowns.  Find data such as:

  • Nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases in private industry by type of injury or illness and days away from work: 2010
  • Coastline counties most frequently hit by hurricanes: 1960 To 2008
  • Municipal solid waste generation, materials recovery, combustion with energy recovery, and discards: 1980 to 2010
  • Research and development expenditures in science and engineering at universities and colleges: 2000 to 2010

Access the Statistical Abstract at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/stat-abstract.

Want further information on statistics and data resources?  Try Social Science Data Services or other data resources listed on our subject-oriented research guides.

OA research in the news: The value of higher education

Posted February 13th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

James Poterba

David Autor

Is the cost of a university degree worth it? It’s a question on the minds of many American families in an era of high unemployment and rising tuition costs. Scholars and policymakers at an on-campus forum last week suggested that though expensive, college is valuable both to individuals and the country at large. Labor economist David Autor pointed to evidence showing that college graduates earn $250,000 to $300,000 more over their lifetimes, regardless of undergraduate major. Autor is co-director of MIT’s School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative, whose mission is to study issues related to the economics of education. Moderator and economics professor James Poterba said that higher education is “an extremely important sector of the U.S. economy,” representing about 3.5 percent of the national GDP.

Explore Professor Autor’s research and Professor Poterba’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.

OA research in the news: Happiness on tap

Posted January 17th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

More than half of people worldwide with access to water have to walk to fetch it. In urban Morocco, households relying on public taps spend seven hours a week collecting water—a burden that can lead to stress and conflict within families. Economist Esther Duflo and colleagues recently published a paper showing that when offered credit and assistance, nearly 70 percent of households bought a connection to water despite a doubling of their water bill. Nearly half of those who did said their overall quality of life improved afterwards.

Explore Professor Duflo’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.

Research energy industries with the eTrack databases

Posted January 14th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Alternative Energy eTrack logo

Researching energy industries?  Need statistics, market analysis, news, company information, and financial deals?  Try our suite of eTrack databases:

eTrack provides data and reports on energy industry sectors worldwide. Each database contains numerous statistical databases; detailed information on companies, deals, and key events; plus in-depth industry research.   Find detailed statistics and generate lists such as:

  • Wind farms in Argentina (showing the generation capacity of each)
  • Planned oil exploration blocks, showing the country, area, operator, and acreage
  • Nuclear power reactors to be decommissioned (including shutdown year and decommissioning cost)

Note: To download tables, copy and paste them into Excel page by page.

Want further information about energy?  Attend one of our energy IAP workshops and try the other resources on our Energy Research Guide.

Win an award for using IPUMS data in your research

Posted January 10th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

IPUMS logo

Have you used data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) in your research?  If so, consider submitting your paper for the IPUMS Research Award, the annual cash prize award competition for research using the IPUMS microdata collection.

Cash prizes will be awarded for:

  • Best published work, and
  • Best work by a graduate student, published or unpublished.

Papers or publications submitted should utilize IPUMS-USA/CPS, IPUMS-International, or IHIS to study social, economic, and/or demographic processes.

Deadline for nomination or submission: February 15, 2013.

Submit your work.

Never used IPUMS data and want to learn more?  Want to know more about your options for utilizing microdata (i.e., record level research data) to answer research questions in the social sciences?  See our guide to Social Science Data Services and contact Kate McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

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

Newspapers from around the world with Library PressDisplay

Posted January 4th, 2013 by Heather McCann

Newspapers from the U.S. and around the world are at your fingertips with our new subscription to Library PressDisplay!

Search complete issues of over 2000 newspapers from 97 countries in 54 languages, including the current issue and a three-month archive. The papers are viewable in full color in the original layout of the print edition, with complete content, including photos, graphics, advertisements, and classifieds.

Titles include the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, China Daily, Dong-A Ilbo, Le Figaro, the Globe & Mail, the Guardian, and Times of India.

 

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.

OA research in the news: The life of cheese

Posted December 20th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

San Andreas cheese, a raw sheep's milk cheese made by Bellwether Farms in Sonoma County, California. Image courtesy of Heather Paxson

What makes a good cheese? It’s a complicated question, and one that cultural anthropologist Heather Paxson explores in her new book, The Life of Cheese. Paxson has written about (and eaten a lot of) cheese over the last decade, and in her research she’s met some of the new wave of American artisan cheesemakers, whose force has doubled since 2000. Paxson argues that handcraft cheese production is valuable in many ways: it creates “decent livelihoods, healthy ecologies, beautiful vistas, and, most immediately, good food.”

Explore Professor Paxson’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.

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.

 

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: SHASS faculty win awards

Posted November 21st, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

Two MIT School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences faculty members have won awards for their work. Economist Anna Mikusheva received the 2012 Elaine Bennett Research Prize from the American Economic Association. The prize honors outstanding women researchers at the beginning of their careers. Mikusheva, who has PhDs in both economics and mathematics, studies econometrics theory.

Anthropologist Stefan Helmreich has won the 2012 Rachel Carson Prize for his book Alien Ocean. The prize recognizes works of social or political relevance in science and technology. Helmreich’s book, which has won several awards, explores marine biologists’ study of microbes.

Explore Professor Mikusheva’s research and Professor Helmreich’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.

Get the most out of the World Bank eLibrary: webinar November 29

Posted November 20th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

eLibrary logo

This session will provide a quick overview of the World Bank eLibrary and show you how to take advantage of its many time-saving tools for researchers.  It also will provide an update on the development of the new eLibrary website coming in 2013!

Webinar: November 29, 2012 from 10–11 AM EST

Presenters:
Devika Levy, Sales Manager, World Bank
Shana Wagger, Lead, World Bank eLibrary and eProduct Development

Registration is required to attend this event.

The World Bank eLibrary is the World Bank’s full-text collection of 8,000+ ebooks, flagship reports, journals, and other publications on social and economic development.

For more information about World Bank and other economics resources, check out our guide to economics resources and contact Katherine McNeill, Economics Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

Undergraduates and master’s students: gain experience in data analysis with ICPSR and win a prize!

Posted November 20th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

ICPSR logo

ICPSR Summer Internship Program

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) now is accepting applications for its 2013 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 portal. Two letters of recommendation are required, and can also be sent over the Web.

Deadline for application is January 31, 2013.

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

ICPSR Research Paper Competition for Undergraduate and Master’s Students

Using data from ICPSR 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 undergraduate and master’s student research papers using quantitative data from ICPSR.  The objective is to encourage students to explore the social sciences by means of critical analysis of a topic supported by quantitative analysis of a dataset(s) held within the ICPSR archive and presented in written form.

Deadline for submission is January 31, 2013.

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 mcneillh@mit.edu.

MIT Libraries’ research contributes to award-winning redistricting software, DistrictBuilder

Posted November 2nd, 2012 by Heather Denny

A map in DistrictBuilder

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.

 

New Proquest Congressional Interface and Upcoming Webinars

Posted October 22nd, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

Proquest Congressional logo

With so much discussion in the media about elections, how can you get primary source material on the activities of Congress? Try ProQuest Congressional, which has a new look!

Now integrated into a new interface, ProQuest Congressional’s new features include:

  • Basic Search, Advanced Search or Search By Number options
  • Faceted search results, which may be arranged by document type, committee, and agency
  • Unlimited result set, with the ability to limit search results by date, document type, and more
  • Type-ahead in search forms based on subject index, popular names list, and House and Senate committee names
  • Enhanced Bill Tracking Composite View and Member Profile Composite

But it still covers the same vital congressional publications as it did formerly as LexisNexis Congressional:

  • Full text of reports, bills, public laws, and legislative histories
  • Links to selected fulltext documents, committee prints, and congressional hearings testimony
  • Also contains information on members of Congress, campaign financial data, congressional voting records, and other information about the legislative process
  • 1789-present for indexing, mid-1980s-present for full text.

Access Proquest Congressional at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/congress-u.

For more details, see the Proquest Congressional Information Site or attend one of the upcoming Proquest Congressional Webinars:

1. Using Legislative History to find legislative intent, Monday, November 5, 2012 3:00 pm, EST
Learn how to use ProQuest Congressional Digital Suite and Legislative Insight to:

  • Develop an understanding of the legislative process both:
  • Become familiar with the documents available pertinent to your issue;
  • Identify where in the process the changes you care about occurred – this provides a mechanism to narrow the scope of your search for explanations for why the language was changed

2. Congressional for Current Events, Tuesday, November 20, 2012 2:00 pm EST
From elections to the economy, the Arab Spring and global warming, sports concussions and fracking, Congress is the news and makes news. Join us to learn how to use the most comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information available anywhere online. Since Congress is interested in all public policy, social, and economic issues, the database is an effective source for general research in many academic disciplines, in addition to research related to specific legislative proposals and laws.

For more sources on Congress, see the Libraries’ Guide to Congressional Publications or Ask Us!