Archive for October, 2008

Second MIT Libraries Puzzle! Solve for a Chance to Win an iPod Nano

Posted October 31st, 2008 by Ryan Gray

puzzle pieces

The MIT Libraries have launched the second puzzle in a series of puzzles that can be solved using Libraries’ resources. Three puzzles will be released over the course of the Fall 2008 semester, appearing in the Tech, on kiosks in Lobby 7, and elsewhere around campus.

MIT students may view the puzzle and submit the answers online:

Correct answers submitted by the deadline will be entered into a drawing for an Apple iPod Nano.

The deadline for entries for the first puzzle is Tuesday, November 11, 2008.

Lewis Music Library fall newsletter available

Posted October 30th, 2008 by Christie Moore

flying envelope

The fall 2008 issue of What’s the Score? the newsletter of the Lewis Music Library is now available. The web version has been posted online and print copies are on the front counter in the library (Bldg. 14E-109).

Read about library activities, projects, and new subscriptions — and don’t miss the ever-popular bad music jokes!

Thomson Reuters vs. George Mason University (or EndNote vs. Zotero): the Business End of Citation Management Software

Posted October 29th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

Academic software can be big business, and these days there is increasing tension between its different sources – free, open source software and commercially provided software. In the case of citation management software, that tension just grew dramatically.

To defend its market for the popular (and profitable) EndNote software to manage bibliographic citations, global publishing giant Thomson Reuters – a $30 billion company – brought a $10 million lawsuit last month against George Mason University and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The complaint claims that rival open source Zotero software (created at GMU) had ‘reverse engineered’ EndNote to provide a new feature supporting proprietary EndNote citation formats in Zotero. They also claimed trademark infringement for using the EndNote name in documentation about the new feature.

Zotero is a free, open source software add-on to the popular Firefox web browser that rivals EndNote in features and is rapidly gaining popularity among scholars. It was created by faculty at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, home of several innovative open source projects aimed at historians and other scholars as they begin to exploit new opportunities provided by the web. Zotero’s initial development was supported by non-profit foundations and government agencies, including the Mellon Foundation and the US Institute for Museum and Library Services. In just a few short years Zotero has become a serious rival to commercial citation management tools, matching them feature for feature, in part by building a global community of open source software developers who know what researchers need from these tools and can act quickly to improve the product.

The lawsuit focuses on an alleged violation of George Mason University’s site license for EndNote, known as an end user license agreement or EULA, that explicitly forbids reverse engineering the software. The claim is that Zotero project staff, while employed by George Mason University, reverse engineered EndNote to develop support for its proprietary citation formats – a major selling point for EndNote and one of its strongest features. Specifically, the complaint states that the Center for History and New Media released “a new beta version of Zotero to the general public” on July 8, and adds, “A significant and highly touted feature of the new beta version of Zotero, however, is its ability to convert – in direct violation of the License Agreement – Thomson’s 3,500 plus proprietary .ens style files within the EndNote Software into free, open source, easily distributable Zotero .csl files.” Legal analysis of the case points out that Thomson Reuters chose not to claim direct copyright or patent violation against Zotero, but that part of the complaint involves ‘destroying Thomson’s customer base’ and that it also enjoined Zotero, effectively trying to shut the project down completely. The version of Zotero in question is still a beta release and has not been made available as a production release.

Fortunately, in addition to George Mason University’s active defense of the lawsuit, the Software Freedom Law Center is representing pro bono the Zotero developers and stands ready to defend them if Thomson Reuters brings, as it has threatened to do, further litigation against Zotero or its developers.

An interesting twist to the case is that Thomson had previously encouraged EndNote users (primarily scholars) to create their own citation format style sheets for use in the software, and to share them with each other via donation back to Thomson or by posting on public web sites. But now Thomson is enforcing sole ownership of those style sheets regardless of who created them or where they’re located. In other words, unbeknownst to them EndNote users have been creating and sharing proprietary EndNote style sheets for years, but only at Thomson Reuters’ discretion (Thomson’s website changed after the lawsuit was filed to make this policy of exclusivity explicit).

The MIT community uses a variety of bibliographic citation management tools including EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks, as well as other more DIY approaches. All three products are useful to scholars, with pros and cons for different features, and all three are improving – in part because of their rivalry. Competition between commercial and open source software ultimately benefits scholars with better choices. The MIT Libraries support these tools and offer training to the community (, as well as developing and testing new citation services such as Citeline ( that help scholars publish their bibliographies and reading lists on the web.

Clearly Thomson Reuters believes there is more at stake than a simple site license agreement, and is trying to stop a free, open source project that they fear could end a profitable line of business. As an advocate for the best available software for the MIT community, I can only hope that George Mason University prevails in court and continues to provide Zotero – a valuable project trying to make our work a little easier.

The full text of the complaint is available online at and the official statement from George Mason University is found at

- MacKenzie Smith, Associate Director for Technology, MIT Libraries

ESRI ArcGIS 9.3 available at MIT

Posted October 28th, 2008 by Lisa Sweeney

The latest version of GIS software from ESRI, ArcGIS 9.3, is now available to the MIT community. It is available in the MIT GIS Lab, Rotch Library, 7-238. MIT’s ESRI site license also makes it possible for members of the MIT community to run the software on their own machines, through the MIT license server. Information about getting the software installation disks and getting everything set up is available at:

Flick ‘r’ Treat @ The Humanities Library

Posted October 28th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

With classic flicks like The Exorcist and The Shining and contemporary treats like Se7en and Hellboy,  the Humanities Library has a great selection of devilishly good DVDs for you to check out over the Halloween weekend.  Come see highlights from our collection now on display in our Browsery (14S-200).

Bioinformatics Training @ MIT Libraries

Posted October 27th, 2008 by Ryan Gray

GeneGo logo Ensembl Logo Ingenuity Logo

GeneGo Showcase
WHEN: Wednesday, November 5, 1-3 PM
WHERE: DIRC, 14N-132
GeneGo Inc will host a software demonstration and hands on training for their MetaCore pathway analysis tool.

Ensembl Training
WHEN: Friday, November 14, 9AM- 5PM
Learn how to use this free software system that includes automatic annotation of selected eukaryotic genomes.
Ingenuity Training
WHEN: Tuesday, December 2, 9AM-12PM
Learn pathways analysis tools that help researchers analyze their experimental data in the context of biological pathways and functions.
Questions? Contact Courtney Crummett.

More Bioinformatics Resources.

National Library of Medicine (NLM) Fellow Profiled by Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)

Posted October 22nd, 2008 by Heather Denny

Courtney Crummett, MIT Libraries’ Bioinformatics Librarian, has been featured in a recent profile by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), a U.S. Department of Energy institute focusing on science education and research. Her profile is featured amongst other scholars in the areas of science, mathematics, engineering, and other technical fields.

Crummett came to the MIT Libraries in 2007 as part of the highly selective National Library of Medicine (NLM) fellowship program. As part of her fellowship she was involved in a variety of challenging projects that included developing a video series of bioinformatics tutorials with Countway Library, supporting outreach efforts to HST, and working on scholarly publishing issues. In September of this year she accepted the position of Bioinformatics Librarian with MIT’s Engineering and Science Libraries. Read Crummett’s profile…

The MIT Libraries host diversity career event on Tuesday, Oct.21

Posted October 16th, 2008 by Heather Denny

In the first joint program of its kind the MIT Libraries and Harvard College Library will co-host “An Exploration of Academic Research Libraries in Cambridge”–a two day conference focused on careers in academic librarianship.

On October 21st a group of 30 library school students and librarians from both the ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce and the ALA Spectrum Scholar Program will visit the MIT Libraries, after spending the previous day at Harvard College Library. The attendees will learn about the many professionally rewarding aspects of a career in academic research libraries. They will have the opportunity to experience the dynamic environment of a 21st century research library from the perspective of two world-renowned academic libraries, and to learn about the activities and initiatives of those who have chosen academic librarianship as a career.

Please join us in welcoming these attendees from across the country to Cambridge and to the MIT campus.

ARL logo ALA logo

Don’t let your old copies get eaten!

Posted October 15th, 2008 by Ryan Gray

Change over your old copy cards by October 31st!punkin eating copy cards

The old MIT photocopiers will no longer be available after October 31st! The new MIT Library copiers now accept MIT Tech Cash.

If you have an old Copy/Print card with more than 100 copies remaining, bring your old card to Document Services, Hayden Library basement, Room 14-0551. You can exchange your card there for a new Copy/Print card. These new cards are good until June 30, 2009.

Check out all the details here.

Search for books and journals available in libraries worldwide through MIT Libraries’ WorldCat

Posted October 15th, 2008 by Remlee Green

WorldCat record

Looking for an easy way to find books and journals owned not only by MIT, but also by other libraries around the world? Try MIT Libraries’ WorldCat, an experimental interface to the Barton catalog.

Other features include:

  • easy browsing capabilities, with images of book covers and many Google book previews
  • option to set up a user profile, so you can save your favorite items to sharable lists
  • ability to tag, rate, and review items

For a full list of features, read About MIT Libraries’ WorldCat.

WorldCat doesn’t include everything owned by the MIT Libraries, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, make sure to check Barton and Vera, or ask us!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on MIT Libraries WorldCat! Give feedback.

Arthur D. Little, Inc. Archives Come to MIT

Posted October 14th, 2008 by Heather Denny

Arthur Dehon Little (1863-1935) attended MIT as an undergraduate student in chemistry from 1881 to 1884 and was a co-founder and editor of the student newspaper, The Tech. The firm he founded in 1909, Arthur D. Little, Inc., grew into one of the world’s foremost independent consulting and research organizations with an unmatched reputation for excellence in devising novel solutions to challenging problems and leading the way in management systems development. Over its lifetime, the company worked with MIT on numerous research projects and employed a number of MIT graduates and researchers. Arthur D. Little, Inc.’s longstanding relationship with MIT made the Institute Archives a fitting home for ADL, Inc.’s archives.

The Arthur D. Little, Inc. Collection was purchased at auction by the ADL, Inc. Alumni Association and given to MIT in 2002. It was recently made available to the public in the MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections. Selected items from the ADL Collection, as well as several items on loan from ADL alumni, will be on display through October 31 in the MIT Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery. An online exhibit Scatter Acorns That Oaks May Grow” is also available. The exhibit takes its name from the ADL, Inc. motto, Glandes Sparge Ut Quercus Crescant.

Open Access Day Being Celebrated Today Worldwide

Posted October 14th, 2008 by Ellen Duranceau

Today is the first Open Access Day, a worldwide celebration of barrier-free access to scholarship and research.

As part of the celebration, the organizers of Open Access Day — SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the Public Library of Science (PLoS), along with Students for FreeCulture — are offering a new video series, which presents six unique perspectives on the importance of Open Access to research.

The “Voices of Open Access” series includes one-minute interviews with a teacher, research funder, patient advocate, physician scientist, librarian, and PhD student who explain why Open Access matters to them. In a press release, Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, says that: “This series speaks to the heart of the broad appeal of Open Access…the new opportunities it creates for everyone to benefit from the results of science and scholarship.”

More information on Open Access day 2008 — including details about live broadcasts with leading scientists and celebratory plans on more than 100 campuses in 20 countries — is available at the OA Day website.

More information about what is happening at MIT in relation to open access is available at the scholarly publishing website or by contacting

MIT Libraries Puzzle Challenge is back!! First puzzle has launched!

Posted October 10th, 2008 by Ryan Gray

puzzle pieces

The MIT Libraries have launched the first puzzle in a series of puzzles that can be solved using Libraries’ resources. Three puzzles will be released over the course of the Fall 2008 semester, appearing in the Tech, on kiosks in Lobby 7, and elsewhere around campus.

MIT students may view the puzzle and submit the answers online:

Correct answers submitted by the deadline will be entered into a drawing for an Apple iPod Nano.

The deadline for entries for the first puzzle is Tuesday, October 21, 2008.

Reminder (and correction): Columbus Day Weekend Bookmobile, Friday, October 10th

Posted October 9th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

Bookmobile graphic

Discover what’s new from the The Humanities Library and The Lewis Music Library‘s collections, including books, DVDs and CDs.

  • Highlight: selected books from the Humanities Library collection by French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Correction: please note, this event ends at 2pm, not 3pm, as previously reported.


  • Date: Friday October 10th, 2008
  • Time: 11AM – 2PM
  • Where: Lobby 10
  • Cost: FREE!!!

Exhibit at Rotch Library: “Return To Ooze”

Posted October 8th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

Return to Ooze, a show of new artworks by AJ Liberto, opened Friday, October 3, 2008, at the Rotch Library of Art & Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. AJ Liberto received his Master’s degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007 and currently lives and works in Somerville, MA.

The exhibition `Return to Ooze’ will showcase new works revolving around mythical, mystical, and scientific transformations involving liquids. From alchemists to wildcatters to the Cylons of Battlestar Gallactica, ooze plays an integral role in birth, the search for means and meaning and ultimately, death. Return to Ooze acknowledge this idea not only in the liquid-turned-solid materials (plaster, polymers, epoxy) of their makeup, but also in the surfaces, the represented objects, and mythology. In some instances the work will be installed traditionally, in others more surprising spaces will be utilized, such as on support beams, display cabinets, and assorted nooks and walls. The orbits of Return to Ooze circle the unintentional beauty of the architecture of industry and the raw products and by-products of manufacturing. These noisy and occasionally messy aspects of commerce are often expressed in my work alongside careful juxtapositions; fragile vases, tailored menswear or napping animals.

Columbus Day Weekend Bookmobile, Friday Oct. 10th

Posted October 6th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

Bookmobile graphic

Discover what’s new from the The Humanities Library and The Lewis Music Library‘s collections, including books, DVDs and CDs.


  • Date: Friday October 10th, 2008
  • Time: 11AM – 3PM
  • Where: Lobby 10
  • Cost: FREE!!!

Archives exhibits report “On the Making of Silk Purses from Sows’ Ears,” 1921

Posted October 1st, 2008 by Lois Beattie

The For its October Object of the Month, the Institute Archives & Special Collections exhibits a small report issued by Arthur D. Little, Inc. in 1921, “On the Making of Silk Purses from Sows’ Ears.” The report describes the process used by the company’s chemists to make two “silk” purses from pork byproducts to disprove the old adage that “you can’t make a silk purse of a sow’s ear.” The report is part of the Arthur D. Little, Inc. Archives Collection (MC 579), which was given to MIT by the Arthur D. Little, Inc. Alumni Association in 2002. The collection is available for research in the Institute Archives, 14N-118.

During the month of October one of the two silk purses is on display in the Maihaugen Gallery (next to the Institute Archives) along with other objects from the collection or on loan from MIT and ADL alumni.