Archive for February, 2009

Tell us what you think about MIT’s WorldCat!

Posted February 27th, 2009 by Remlee Green

There’s been a new beta in town: MIT’s WorldCat – and we need your feedback!   It will only take a few minutes, and it’s for a good cause. Take the survey now.

MIT’s WorldCat is an experimental interface to the Barton catalog. It offers an easy way to find books and journals owned not only by MIT, but also by other libraries around the world.

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

To find out more the interface, visit MIT’s WorldCat: About this Beta.

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!

Want to give us feedback, but don’t want to take the survey? Email us.

Lewis Music Library event: enChanting Musical Artifacts in Unlikely Places

Posted February 26th, 2009 by Christie Moore

The MIT Lewis Music Library will host an event entitled “enChanting Musical Artifacts in Unlikely Places: Rare Resources in MIT’s Lewis Music Library.” In this presentation, MIT Assistant Professor of Music Michael Scott Cuthbert and MIT Libraries’ Conservator Nancy Schrock will demonstrate the value of original sources by examining three manuscripts of medieval and Renaissance chant, two of which were recently acquired by the Lewis Music Library.


Where: MIT Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
When: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 12:30pm-1:30pm

This week’s GIS workshop – Site selection!

Posted February 24th, 2009 by Heather McCann

MIT GIS Services is offering a series of workshops to introduce the MIT community to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). All sessions will be held in the MIT GIS Lab, Rotch Library, 7-238. These workshops are restricted to the MIT community and will require an active kerberos account. No registration required – seats are available on a first come basis. MIT GIS Services are cooperatively supported by the MIT Libraries, OEIT, and IS&T.

Site Selection – Making Spatial Decisions Using a GIS
Friday, February 27, 2-4 pm
MIT GIS Lab, Rotch Library, 7-238
Learn to select a new project location based on a variety of data types and perform analysis using tools provided in ArcGIS.
PreReq: Participants should have previous experience using ArcGIS.


Check out the new Circulation FAQ web pages!

Posted February 23rd, 2009 by Melissa Feiden

Circulation FAQWant to find out how long you can keep library materials?  Have a question about Your Account in Barton?  Need some information about course reserves?  Want to find out about the MIT Libraries fines policies?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then check out the recently updated Circulation FAQ, where you can find answers to common questions about MIT Libraries circulation policies.

If you have questions about information in the Circulation FAQ, Ask Us!

New Installment of the BioInformatics Tutorials Series (BITS)

Posted February 23rd, 2009 by Ryan Gray

New installment of the BioInformatics Tutorials Series (BITS) brought to you by MIT Engineering and Science Libraries and Harvard’s Countway Library of Medicine!

BIT 3.1: Entrez Gene (5:35)
BIT 3.2: OMIM and OMIA (6:34)
BIT 3.3: HomoloGene (6:28)

Be sure to check out our complete listing of MIT Libraries video tutorials.

Dewey Library Renovation: 2nd Floor Completed

Posted February 18th, 2009 by Katherine McNeill

Completely transformed over the course of winter break and IAP, Dewey Library’s 2nd floor is attractive, bright and welcoming. Highlights include:

  • 9 new group study rooms, each equipped with LCD screen and whiteboard
  • More than 40 newly-refinished carrels with power outlets
  • New carpeting and cork flooring dramatically reduce noise
  • Water-conserving fixtures in bathrooms
  • Energy-efficient lighting automatically turns on when you enter the room

Dewey 2nd Floor Stacks

Renovation of the basement has now begun, and will be completed by the end of the spring semester. The first floor will be renovated over the summer. Dewey will continue to be open for business as usual throughout the project.

Tell us what you think either via email ( or by filling out a comment card at the library. See for more information.

GIS workshops – Spring 2009

Posted February 16th, 2009 by Lisa Sweeney

MIT GIS Services will be offering a series of workshops to introduce the MIT community to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). All sessions will be held in the MIT GIS Lab, Rotch Library, 7-238. These workshops are restricted to the MIT community and will require an active kerberos account. No registration required – seats are available on a first come basis. MIT GIS Services are cooperatively supported by the MIT Libraries, OEIT, and IS&T.
MIT geocoded

  • Introduction to GIS using ESRI ArcGIS Desktop and QGIS (FOSS)
    Friday, February 20, 2-4 pm
  • Site Selection – Making Spatial Decisions Using a GIS
    Friday, February 27, 2-4 pm
  • Using Elevation Data and Hydrographic Tools in a GIS
    Friday, March 6, 2-4 pm
  • Model Builder and Python
    Friday, March 13, 2-4 pm

MIT Libraries has Access to New Bioinformatics Tool: GeneGo MetaCore

Posted February 12th, 2009 by Ryan Gray

GeneGo MetaCore logo

GeneGo MetaCore is an integrated software suite for functional analysis of experimental data in systems biology.

You need to first register with GeneGo to access MIT’s License to MetaCore.

Don’t worry, it is fast and easy. Go to the GeneGo Resource Guide for registration information and to learn more about GeneGo MetaCore.

Login information will be sent to you ASAP (within 24hrs, M-F) and you may then login to GeneGo MetaCore.

We have training coming up on March 11th, 2009 from 9-12 Noon in the DIRC (14N-132).

Email Courtney Crummett to register.

Dance on down to the Bookmobile at Stata!

Posted February 12th, 2009 by MIT Libraries

Take a break over the long weekend with something from the Humanities and Lewis Music Library’s collections, including books, DVDs and CDs. Come by at 1 PM to watch the Ballroom Dance Club liven up the bookmobile with a few dances!

  • Date: Friday February 13th, 2009
  • Time: 11AM – 2PM
  • Where: Stata Center (building 32), Information Intersection — Student Street
  • Cost: FREE!!!

Stock Up at the MIT Libraries Booksale, Thursday, February 26

Posted February 12th, 2009 by Ryan Gray

Book sale
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time: 10:00AM-3:00PM

Location: 10-105, Bush Room

Stop by and browse titles in subjects including Architecture, Art, Chemistry, Children’s Books, Engineering, Fiction, History, Linguistics, Math, Movies, Music & Physics.

Open to the MIT Community only; Dealers and their representatives by appointment only.

Questions? Email the Gifts Office or call x3.5693.

All proceeds benefit the Libraries’ Preservation Fund.

Should Traditional Publishing Perish?

Posted February 4th, 2009 by Ellen Duranceau

The 14th Annual LIDS Student Conference, organized by the students of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, included a panel of five MIT faculty who discussed the advantages of open access publishing, concluding that changes in traditional publishing are needed and inevitable.

Professor John N. Tsitsiklis, Clarence J LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Director of LIDS, moderated the panel, and opened the discussion with a reflection on journal pricing, noting that not-for-profit journals in his field are dramatically less expensive than their for-profit counterparts.

Professor David Forney, Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering, discussed the “shocking” and “scandalous” pricing policies of commercial journal publishers, who “exploit their monopoly mercilessly.”  He believes that they are “bankrupting our libraries and impacting what else libraries can buy, including books.” Professor Forney recommended supporting professional society journals, and refusing to support commercial journals.  His personal policy is not to review for Elsevier journals.

With respect to open access, Professor Forney reported that the IEEE Information Theory Society (of which he was President in 2008) has for the past five years supported the “physics model,” in which authors are encouraged to post articles on a preprint server (arXiv) before publication, for rapid dissemination and increased visibility.  While the IEEE initially expressed some concerns about a possible impact on journal sales as a result of preprint posting, Professor Forney stated that in fact there has been “no demonstrable effect; no downside,” while the information theory section has become the most rapidly growing part of arXiv.

Professor of Mathematics Gil Strang focused on open access for books, concluding that “free textbooks will be the way.”He has made his own Calculus text available freely online.

Professor Alan V. Oppenheim, Ford Professor of Electrical Engineering, also spoke about books from the perspective of a textbook author, emphasizing that the partnership an author has with a book publisher can be win/win as long as the publisher does not act as a gatekeeper, but rather supports the author and the educational community in disseminating the work.  He speculates that publishers will follow Polaroid’s model, selling content inexpensively as Polaroid did cameras, and deriving profit from related services, rather than the core product.

Professor Kai von Fintel, Professor of Linguistics, and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, reported on his experience as co-Editor in Chief of a new open access journal in his field, Semantics & Pragmatics. The journal is sponsored by the Linguistics Society of America, University of Texas, and the MIT Libraries, and in contrast to commercial journals, has a very small budget.

They use open source software to manage the publication process, and all the work is performed pro bono except for typesetting of documents that are submitted in MSWord. This is the only real cost of publishing the journal.They perform traditional peer review, which is a feature from the traditional model that Professor von Fintel believes needs to be kept.

Professor von Fintel agrees with others on the panel that textbooks are likely to be shared freely.His textbook is currently openly available on the web, and when a publisher approached him about taking it over, he was not able to identify a single advantage that the publisher could offer him in return for publishing traditionally.Royalties for such books are not high in his field, and he’s already got the attention of the intended audience for the book.He updates the book every year, a process traditional publishers cannot support.

Professor Tsitsiklis concluded the panel by commenting that “there was not much controversy” expressed about where publishing is going and needs to go.

The panel was indeed united by common themes: the appropriateness of open access to scholarly work in cases where payment is not expected and the primary goal is the dissemination of ideas; the merits of the arXiv-style preprint server for sharing work quickly and openly; the inevitability of open access textbooks; and the advantage of inexpensive open access journal alternatives.Questions remain about the form books will take given a change in the value proposition for book publishing, and which types of books will be open access, but overall, it would seem the panel agrees with Professor Oppenheim that “traditional publishing should perish,” as “anything stagnant should.”

More information on open access publishing, see:

MIT Libraries’ Scholarly Publishing Website

More faculty voices: Podcasts on Scholarly Publishing & Copyright

or contact

Check out the new web pages for the engineering and science libraries

Posted February 2nd, 2009 by Darcy Duke

New ESL homepage screenshotCheck out the new home pages for the engineering and science libraries at MIT!

Engineering and Science Libraries:
Aeronautics and Astronautics Library:
Barker Engineering Library:
Lindgren Library:
Science Library:

These pages were redesigned via a user-centered process to simplify access to information about the libraries.  Our goal was to emphasize our combined virtual services and resources while still providing information about our unique physical locations.

Please let us know if you have any thoughts or suggestions about our new look! Email

Archives February exhibit: Tech Songs, 1903

Posted February 2nd, 2009 by Lois Beattie

Cover of Tech Songs, 1903Tech Songs, 1903, was compiled when MIT was located in Boston’s Back Bay and known informally as “Boston Tech” or simply “Tech.”  February’s Object of the Month exhibit by the Institute Archives and Special Collections is a glimpse into student life at the beginning of the 20th century.  A poster is displayed in the exhibit case opposite Room 14N-118; the version on the Web includes the entire song book and performances of some of the songs.

Browsing the Archives’ exhibits may whet your appetite for more information about MIT’s history. You are  welcome to explore further in the Archives, 14N-118, Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.