Social Sciences

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!

Election Data Resources from ICPSR: Webinars Tuesday and Wednesday

Posted October 1st, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

ICPSR Logo

As the momentum of the 2012 Presidential Election builds, join the ICPSR social science data archive for webinars this week to learn more about their election data resources.

Tuesday, October 2
11-11:50 a.m.: The American National Election Studies: An Introduction
12-12:50 p.m.: The American National Election Study: Finding Hidden Treasure
1-1:50 p.m.: Minority Voting Behavior
2-2:50 p.m.: Latino Voting Behavior and the National Latino Survey

Wednesday, October 3
11-11:50 a.m.: Elections, Polling, and Politics …. Oh, My!
12-12:50 p.m.: SETUPS: The American National Election Studies in the Classroom
1-1:50 p.m.: Election Data in the Classroom

These webcasts are part of ICPSR’s 2012 Data Fair featuring election data.  For still more sessions to be held October 1 – 3, 2012, view the schedule.

 

OECD Coming to MIT

Posted September 27th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

OECD logo

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is coming to MIT!

Attend a presentation on OECD Information resources by Kathleen DeBoer, Deputy Head of the OECD Washington Center

When: Friday, October 5, 2012, 10-11AM
Where: 14N-132
Register at: http://libcal.mit.edu/event.php?id=163387

Learn about the OECD iLibrary (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/oecd) and:

  • Information the OECD provides on countries around the world, in areas such as:
    • Development
    • Employment
    • Energy
    • Environment
    • Trade
    • and more…
  •  How to efficiently extract data from their vast array of statistics

Note: For those interested in working for the OECD (http://www.oecd.org/careers), Ms. DeBoer will be available to meet in the afternoon to discuss the application process; if interested, contact her at Kathleen.DEBOER@oecd.org.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. Today, 34 OECD member countries worldwide regularly turn to one another to identify problems, discuss and analyse them, and promote policies to solve them. It is one of the largest economics publishers in the world.

FRED App—Take the economy with you wherever you go

Posted September 6th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

FRED Logo

FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data), the St. Louis Fed’s economic database, has now developed the FRED App – available free for iOS and Android Devices. The FRED app lets you access their full range of economic data – anytime, anywhere.

In addition, FRED just surpassed a new milestone–with over 50,000 economic time series in its database–and is expanding every month. Recently added data include: Eurostat’s harmonized indices, gold prices, more consumer credit data, and vehicle miles traveled data.  FRED data can be searched in many ways and the system contains several tools for mapping, graphing, and exporting data.

Want to explore our full range of economic data sources?  See our Economics Research Guide.

New events-driven analysis from EIU

Posted July 17th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

eiu logo

Do you rely on the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Country Intelligence (libraries.mit.edu/get/eiu) for frequent forecasts of economic and political conditions?  Have you used their monthly Country Reports or their annual Country Commerce reports?  Now you can get even more frequent updates using EIU’s new events-driven analysis articles.

EIU provides two new kinds of articles commenting on issues and events arising since their last written Country Report:

  1. Featured analysis: ~1000 words providing detailed analysis of an issue
  2. Forecast updates: ~300 words providing:
    • Brief description of the notable event
    • Analysis of the event
    • Expected impact on the next forecast

These both can be accessed from the home page for a particular country.

In addition, one can create a Country Report on the fly to include these latest updates.  On the home page for a country, see: Reports > Generate Country Report.  To access reports from previous months or years, see: Reports > All Reports (takes you to the old EIU platform).  Note: EIU will be consolidating all of its reports onto the new platform towards the end of this year.

For more sources of country information, see the Libraries’ guide to Country Data & Analysis.

Open access research in the news

Posted June 18th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

MIT researchers tackle big data

MIT will host an Intel-sponsored research center to look at ways of handling “big data,” collections of data so immense and complex they cannot be processed by tools that currently exist. The center will be led by Electrical Engineering and Computer Science professor Samuel Madden and adjunct professor Michael Stonebraker. In addition to the Intel center, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab launched a new industry-sponsored initiative called bigdata@CSAIL. As a part of the center and initiative, faculty and scientists at CSAIL will collaborate with corporate and university researchers beyond MIT to work on projects like analyzing biological data in search of more accurate diagnostic techniques or increasing the security and privacy of financial information.

Explore Professor Madden’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.

Open access research in the news

Posted May 21st, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

Economist Finkelstein wins John Bates Clark Medal

The American Economic Association has named Amy Finkelstein winner of the 2012 John Bates Clark Medal, a prestigious annual award given to an economist under 40. Professor Finkelstein researches health insurance markets and has, among other work, analyzed the effects of Medicare and Medicaid on healthcare spending. In its announcement the AEA notes that Finkelstein’s research is “centered on some of the most important and policy-relevant issues facing developed economies today,” and calls her “one of the most accomplished applied micro-economists of her generation.”

Explore Professor Finkelstein’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.

Changes to World Bank Resources

Posted May 9th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

Researching development economics?  Note many changes on the our resources from the World Bank:

World Bank e-Library: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/elib – updated search engine and new open access repository

Provides electronic access to over 7,000 books, reports, journals, and working papers published by the bank, many going back as far as the 1970s.

Note: the e-Library has new terms of use, including Creative Commons licenses that allow for broader usage.   This change was made in conjunction with the recent launch of the Open Knowledge Repository —the World Bank’s new site for providing open access to many of its research outputs and knowledge products.  In addition, a new Open Access Policy will go into effect on July 1st.

World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/wdi – new interface

These two databases are now combined in a new interface with more functions for selecting and displaying data, performing customized queries, downloading data, and creating charts and maps.  Provides statistical time-series data on development and the global economy for countries worldwide. Includes a wide range of basic statistics, including social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators. 1960 to present.

Also in the new World dataBank Suite: – new interface

Time series data for over 50 countries. Includes social, economic, financial, infrastructure, governance, partnership, and environmental indicators. 1960 to present.

World Bank Open Data Web Site: http://data.worldbank.org/

In a recent initiative, the Bank has created a new infrastructure for improving public access to its data.  Their Open Data site provides many new tools for accessing and visualizing their data, including:

Library Catalog: Lastly, keep in mind that you can search for materials by the World Bank in the Libraries’ Barton Catalog by specifying it as the publisher in the Advanced Search.

Learn Quantitative Methods at ICPSR

Posted April 25th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

ICPSR logo

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 2012 session.

For a listing of course offerings and application information, see the ICPSR Summer Program web site

Note that while most courses are held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the following two will be held in Amherst, MA:

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

A Professor’s Personal Open Access Policy

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Ellen Duranceau

Kai von Fintel, Professor of Linguistics and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences has announced a personal open access policy. He sets requirements for openness for his journal articles, book chapters, and books.

For journals, he “will only publish in, review for, and serve on editorial boards for journals that allow authors to deposit at least the final manuscript version (“postprint”) in an open access repository (such as MIT’s Dspace or the Semantics Archive), without any embargo (such as having to wait for 24 months before making the OA version available).”

His publishing policy for book chapters is the same as for journals, but he “will consider reviewing books or book chapters that are not OA-friendly, because books are a different business from research journals,” though he “wish[es] that there was more movement towards OA books.”

As for books, Professor von Fintel will limit his publishing to books that “have a significant open access component, such as making at least the final manuscript freely available…”

Professor von Fintel has been taking action for more open access to research and scholarship for many years. In 2007, he launched an open access journal in his field, Semantics & Pragmatics, with a colleague, David Beaver. In 2009, he participated in the faculty committee that crafted the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy. He decided to post his personal open access policy publicly now because, as he tells it, “I had noticed that some of my publication and reviewing decisions were made in a rather unprincipled way that I later regretted. Having a clear personal policy will guide me towards making deliberate decisions in these matters.”

The passage of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy makes it possible for faculty research to be shared openly on the web, von Fintel says, but a personal manifesto is still important because “faculty still have to make principled decisions such as choosing a journal that does not impose an embargo or exerts pressure to opt out of the OA Policy.”

Altman joins MIT Libraries as Director of Research

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Micah Altman to the position of Director of Research, Head/Scientist, Program for Information Science in the MIT Libraries. Altman will be responsible for leading and growing the Libraries’ active research program in applied information science.

He joins MIT after 15 years in a variety of research positions at Harvard University, most recently as the Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Quantitative Social Science, the Archival Director for the Murray Research Archive, and the Associate Director (through 2009) of the Harvard-MIT Data Center.

“Micah has deep experience in a broad range of research-oriented activities in the areas of information science, research data management, digital preservation, and scholarly communication – all areas that have great importance to the MIT Libraries,” said Wolpert.

Altman earned his undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Ethics and Political Philosophy from Brown University, and his PhD in Social Sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Government at Harvard University. In addition to an extensive background in quantitative social science and computer science, Altman has notable expertise in archiving, librarianship, research methods, and scholarly communication through his professional roles at Harvard. He is widely recognized for his writing and presentations on topics that are of considerable relevance to research libraries. Altman’s appointment will begin in March 2012.

Presentation on Research Data Management Services at Johns Hopkins

Posted November 4th, 2011 by Katherine McNeill

Please join us for a presentation by Sayeed Choudhury on the development of research data management services provided to the Johns Hopkins University research community by the Sheridan Libraries (http://dmp.data.jhu.edu/).  This presentation is being hosted by the MIT Libraries’ Research Data Management Team, which provides support for managing research data created at MIT (http://libraries.mit.edu/data-management).

Date:  Monday, Nov. 7th
Time:  2-3pm
Place: 6-120

Bio: G. Sayeed Choudhury is the Associate Dean for Library Digital Programs and Hodson Director of the Digital Research and Curation Center at the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University. He is also the Director of Operations for the Institute of Data Intensive Engineering and Science (IDIES) based at Johns Hopkins. He is the Principal Investigator for the Data Conservancy, one of the awards through NSF’s DataNet program. He has oversight for the digital library activities and services provided by the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University.

Date: Monday, Nov. 7th

>Time: 2-3pm

>Place: 6-120

New York City Tax Lot Data Now Available

Posted October 25th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney

NYC Parcels

Detailed tax lot data for New York City from 2002 – 2011 is available through the MIT Geodata Repository.  Attributes include ownership information, building characteristics (number of floors, total units, year built, etc.), valuations for tax purposes, and more. Easily find available datasets by using borough names, like Manhattan, to search.

President of SSRN to Speak on “The Scholarly Communication Collider”

Posted October 21st, 2011 by Ellen Duranceau

Gregg Gordon, President and CEO of The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), will offer a presentation at MIT during Open Access Week. All members of the MIT community are invited to attend his talk, “The Scholarly Communication Collider,” on Wednesday, October 26 from 11:30-12:30 in 3-270.

Using data from the SSRN and other sources, Gregg Gordon’s presentation will provide a brief history of how scholarly communications have changed in recent years; discuss the need for article level metrics to help identify what we don’t know we don’t know; and outline an approach for using online communities to produce innovative results.

Mr. Gordon will reflect on how searching and accessing the right content, in the right place at the right time, has become the primary issue in our era of overabundance of scholarly research, and on the need to increase the efficient use of scholarly content and provide user-focused search tools.

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a leading multi-disciplinary online repository of working and accepted paper research in the social sciences and the humanities. The SSRN eLibrary has delivered 46 million downloads and grown to over 346,000 documents and 164,000 authors.

ESRI Business Analyst available through MIT GIS Services

Posted October 19th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney
Business Analyst

Business analyst data for Boston's Back Bay neighborhood

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

 

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

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

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

Posted September 22nd, 2011 by Heather Denny

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

New resources

Library hours & study space

Upcoming Events

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