Archive for November, 2008

New photography exhibit in Rotch Library: Riverscapes

Posted November 25th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

A new exhibit in Rotch Library:

Riverscapes: and exhibition of photographs of historical water landscapes, by Adriana de Miranda.

An opening reception will take place from 5:30 PM until 7:00 PM on November 25, 2008.

The “hydraulic noria” represents the most elegant of hydraulic devices. It is a water-wheel which, using the power of the river, raises water to irrigate fields which are at a higher level than the level of the water. The system is composed of a vertical wheel and an aqueduct. The base of the wheel is submerged in the river and turns because of the current. Water is carried to the top of the wheel and is poured into the channel on the top of the aqueduct, and is directed to irrigate the surrounding fields. Hydraulic norias provide environmental and economic advantages, as well as those of safety. As a clean technology they allow irrigation requiring no petrol or oil, but fully exploiting the power of the river, as an economical device they are built using materials found in the area and have a simple assembly; they are also efficient and have low operational and maintenance costs.

The hydraulic noria, whose earliest evidence dates back to at least the Ist century B.C., is widespread in Syria on the Orontes river, but it still exists today in other parts of the Mediterranean basin, in East Asia and Central America where its technology has not changed. Particularly the Syrian and Chinese devices successfully combine the functional with the aesthetic and display sophisticated forms of construction.

They are visually impressive, present shapes which are the results of an accurate and detailed design and are of great historical, environmental and iconographical importance. These installations were devised as architectural constructions whose design is not only intended to be functional, but also aesthetic. They also show an architecture which has been able to combine essentiality and simplicity, necessary for integration into the landscape, and an architectural shape whose geometric construction is based on schemes of symmetry, modularity and harmony.

This exhibit will be on display from November 25, 2008 until December 16, 2008.

Thanksgiving Holiday Bookmobile

Posted November 24th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

Bookmobile graphic

Gobble up some delicious new offerings from the Humanities Library and the Lewis Music Library‘s collections, including books, DVDs and CDs.


  • Date: Tuesday November 25th, 2008
  • Time: 11AM – 2PM
  • Where: Lobby 10
  • Cost: FREE!!!

A cornucopia of cookbooks @ the Humanities Library!

Posted November 24th, 2008 by MIT Libraries


If you need a new recipe or perhaps an old classic, we probably have it in one of the cookbooks currently on display in the Humanities Library Browsery (14S-200).  Come take a look!

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

Posted November 21st, 2008 by Ryan Gray

puzzle pieces

The MIT Libraries have launched the third 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 third puzzle is midnight, Tuesday, December 5, 2008.

Publishing Smart: a Hands-on Workshop

Posted November 18th, 2008 by Ryan Gray

thumbs up!Ellen Finnie Duranceau, Scholarly Publishing & Licensing Consultant in the MIT Libraries, will address what copyright means to you as an author, how you can assess a publisher’s copyright policies, and how you can use web-based tools that assess journal quality. Matthew VanSleet, GSC Liaison form the Libraries, will participate in the Q&A.

WHEN: Friday, November 21, 11am-12pm

WHERE: 14N-132, DIRC

Paintings exhibit in Rotch Library: Disintegration by R. Marrone

Posted November 13th, 2008 by MIT Libraries

Rotch Library will host an exhibition of paintings by Roberto Marrone from November 14 until November 25, 2008. There will be an opening reception starting at 5:30PM, ending at 7 PM on November 14.

Disintegration (Paintings)

The exhibition displays some of Roberto Marrone’s works. Many of them are the results of the reaction between colour and chemical material. Looking at the painting, the observer reads subjective figures which are the results of how the materials used interfere with each other.

These works are realized in two phases: Firstly the material is distributed on the canvas; layers of colour, oxide, acid and other reactive substances, are superimposed one upon another. Secondly there is the phase of the “reaction”, which involves a “disintegration” of the material with the consequent formation of bright-coloured forms. These abstract forms can be perceived subjectively by the observer.
In addition to these paintings, the exhibition also displays several abstract-figurative drawings by the artist.

Roberto Marrone is an Italian painter who lives and works in Milan.

authors@mit presents: David Mindell, Thursday, November 13

Posted November 12th, 2008 by MIT Libraries


Please join authors@mit and the Humanities Library in celebrating the publication of Digital Apollo, the newest book by MIT’s David Mindell. “Digital Apollo” tells the story of how human pilots and automated systems worked together to achieve the ultimate in flight—the lunar landings of NASA’s Apollo program.

“Digital Apollo is an excellent and unique historical account of the lengthy and often pitched struggle of designers, engineers, and pilots to successfully integrate man and complex computer systems for the Apollo lunar landings. It brings back fond memories.”
—Edgar Mitchell, Sc.D.; Captain, USN (retired) Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 14

About the book:
As Apollo 11’s Lunar Module descended toward the moon under automatic control, a program alarm in the guidance computer’s software nearly caused a mission abort. Neil Armstrong responded by switching off the automatic mode and taking direct control. He stopped monitoring the computer and began flying the spacecraft, relying on skill to land it and earning praise for a triumph of human over machine.

In “Digital Apollo”, engineer-historian David Mindell takes this famous moment as a starting point for an exploration of the relationship between humans and computers in the Apollo program. In each of the six Apollo landings, the astronaut in command seized control from the computer and landed with his hand on the stick. Mindell recounts the story of astronauts’ desire to control their spacecraft in parallel with the history of the Apollo Guidance Computer. From the early days of aviation through the birth of spaceflight, test pilots and astronauts sought to be more than “spam in a can” despite the automatic controls, digital computers, and software developed by engineers. Digital Apollo examines the design and execution of each of the six Apollo moon landings, drawing on transcripts and data telemetry from the flights, astronaut interviews, and NASA’s extensive archives.

Mindell’s exploration of how human pilots and automated systems worked together to achieve the ultimate in flight–a lunar landing–traces and reframes the debate over the future of humans and automation in space. The results have implications for any venture in which human roles seem threatened by automated systems, whether it is the work at our desktops or the future of exploration.

“Digital Apollo” is published by the MIT Press, 2008.

Visit the Digital Apollo website for more information about the book!

David A. Mindell is Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing, Professor of Engineering Systems, and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. He is the author of “Between Human and Machine: Feedback, Control, and Computing before Cybernetics” and “War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor.”

Where: MIT 32-155, Stata Center

When: Thursday November 13th, 6:00pm

The event is free and wheelchair accessible.

For more information, call call 253-5249, or email See the MIT Press Bookstore’s “Events” page for a list of upcoming events.

Ensembl Training at MIT Libraries: This Friday!

Posted November 12th, 2008 by Ryan Gray
Ensembl Logo

Browsing Genses and Genomes with Ensembl.

Free software system includes automatic annotation of selected eukaryotic genomes.

WHEN: Friday, November 14, 9am – 4pm (drop-in)

WHERE: DIRC, 14N-132

Contact Courtney Crummett with questions.

The workshop will include an introduction to Ensembl, a tour of the most important Ensembl views, and an overview of how Ensembl gene and transcripts predictions are made. Participants will learn about comparative genomics and proteomics tools (orthologues, protein families, alignments) or variation tools (SNPs, haplotypes, linkage disquilibrium). The workshop also covers data mining and large data set retrieval with BioMart.

Light snacks provided.

New Podcast: MacKenzie Smith on Endnote vs. Zotero: the Business End of Citation Management Software

Posted November 6th, 2008 by Ellen Duranceau

The latest in the series of podcasts on scholarly publication and copyright is an interview with MacKenzie Smith, Associate Director for Technology in the MIT Libraries. MacKenzie discusses the lawsuit that Thomson Reuters, owner of the proprietary bibliographic management software EndNote, has pursued against George Mason University and the Commonwealth of Virginia in relation to their open-source tool, Zotero.

She provides an overview of the details of the claims in the case, and shares her views on the implications of the lawsuit for universities and scholars.

Download the audio file. (9:12 minutes; 8.4MB)

For more information, see MacKenzie’s blog story on this same topic.

The other episodes in the podcast series are available on the scholarly publication website.

To subscribe to the MIT Libraries’ Podcasts on Scholarly Publishing, paste this link into iTunes or another podcast reader:

We encourage and welcome your feedback, which you may direct to

authors@mit presents: Sherry Turkle, Thursday, November 6

Posted November 5th, 2008 by MIT Libraries


Please join authors@mit and the Humanities Library in welcoming Sherry Turkle as she introduces her newest book, “The Inner History of Devices”

In this volume, the third in a trilogy, Turkle combines memoir, clinical writings, and ethnography to draw new perspectives on the experience of technology. Her  personal stories illuminate how technology enters the inner life.

“What a remarkable book—as if it were a magic toolbox, out of this volume come objects with stories: cell phones, dialysis machines, defibrillators, websites, and much more. Using fieldwork, clinical
work, and memory work, Sherry Turkle and her terrific contributors make the material world a place of living meanings that tell a great deal about who we are—and who we are becoming. Even more: this is a
sophisticated book that is great fun to read.” —Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University

“The Inner History of Devices” is published by The MIT Press.

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT. Her previous books include “Falling for Science: Objects in Mind”, and “Evocative Objects: Things We Think With.”

Where: MIT 35-225, Sloan Laboratory Building

When: Thursday November 6th, 6:00pm

The event is free and wheelchair accessible.

For more information, call call 253-5249, or email See the MIT Press Bookstore’s “Events” page for a list of upcoming events.

Due dates for Dewey books extended because of upcoming renovation

Posted November 3rd, 2008 by Katherine McNeill

Effective November 3rd, all Dewey Library materials with a 30-day loan item status will be given a due date of March 2, 2009.

In preparation for the upcoming renovation, 14,000 linear feet of books need to be removed from the second floor by December. We will move as many of these materials as possible to the first floor and basement. The rest will be temporarily in storage and will continue to be available by requesting an item in Barton.

In order to help us manage the collection during this period of reduced capacity, we are implementing the Dewey Renovation Extended Loan Period.

The due date on all materials already on loan prior to November 3rd will be changed automatically to reflect the new due date. Courtesy notices explaining this action will be sent to all affected patrons. The recall policy will continue to apply during this period.

Use Self-Checkout at Dewey…Win a $25 Gift Certificate

Posted November 3rd, 2008 by Katherine McNeill

You could win a $25 gift certificate…just for checking out books at Dewey Library! Now through November 30th, you can register to win every time you use the self-checkout machine at Dewey.

Just fill out the bottom of your self-check receipt and drop it in the box. Three winners will be drawn at the end of November and notified by email.

Good luck!


Posted November 3rd, 2008 by MIT Libraries

The Humanities Library wishes to encourage everyone to exercise their civic duty and vote on Tuesday, November 4th.  MIT students who are currently living in dorms vote at Kresge Auditorium.

Archives exhibit centers on a 1970s “energy initiative”

Posted November 3rd, 2008 by Lois Beattie

Chart from Project on the Predicament of Mankind, 1972

Today’s MIT Energy Initiative, established by President Susan Hockfield in September 2006, began a new stage of highly focused research and policy analysis at MIT. Over the years MIT faculty members have been active in movements committed to long-range planning for energy needs and environmental management. This month the Object of the Month exhibit by the Institute Archives and Special Collections features one of these efforts: the Project on the Predicament of Mankind, which was carried out by an international team at MIT in the 1970s, sponsored by the Club of Rome. Shown here is a chart from a 1972 report from the project.

From MIT’s earliest days, research has been conducted on various forms of energy. The work is richly documented throughout the holdings of the Institute Archives and Special Collections in the records of the Institute and the papers of its faculty and students. The collections are available for use in the Archives, 14N-118.