Archive for February, 2011

The development of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology chronicled online in the annual Reports to the President

Posted February 28th, 2011 by Lois Beattie

Reflection: Mit's first building, Back Bay, Boston

The complete collection of Reports to the President, available in print in the Institute Archives & Special Collections, is now also available online.

The president’s report is presented annually to the Corporation and has been published nearly every year since 1871. Recounting the year’s accomplishments and introducing the next year’s goals, each volume, with a few exceptions, is a compilation of annual reports from the academic and administrative entities of the Institute, along with the report of the president. Some years also include reports from the secretary, treasurer, and chancellor. To trace the evolution of the Institute, there is no better place to start than the Reports, which detail the changing objectives, priorities, curricula, research subjects, funding sources, and personnel through the years.

A more extensive description can be found in the MIT Libraries’ digital repository, Dome.

Image reflection: MIT’s first building, Back Bay, Boston

Save the date! Violin music concert April 8th

Posted February 28th, 2011 by Christie Moore

violinSave the date: the 9th annual Prokopoff violin music concert will be held in the Lewis Music Library at 1 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011.

MIT students will perform music chosen from the more than 2,000 violin scores given to the library in 2001 by Stephen Prokopoff’s widow Lois Craig, former Associate Dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.

Friday, April 8, 1 – 2 pm
Lewis Music Library 14E-109
For more information: 617-253-5636

Featured new CD at the Lewis Music Library

Posted February 28th, 2011 by Christie Moore

This CD was just received by the Lewis Music Library:


PhonCD D265 orcmu a

Click on the image to see the Barton catalog record. Music CDs and DVDs circulate for 3 days to members of the MIT community (limit of 5, no renewals).

Naxos CDs are also available to the MIT community as streaming audio:

The Lewis Music Library is located in Bldg. 14E-109 and library hours are posted on the web.

Cool new CD at Lewis Music Library

Posted February 22nd, 2011 by Christie Moore

Here’s a cool new CD that was just received by the Lewis Music Library:

blackkeysClick on the image to see the Barton catalog record. Music CDs and DVDs circulate for 3 days to members of the MIT community (limit of 5, no renewals).

If there is a CD or DVD that you think belongs in the library’s collection, put in a suggested purchase request!

The Lewis Music Library is located in Bldg. 14E-109 and library hours are posted on the web.

Presidents' Day Library Hours: Monday, February 21

Posted February 18th, 2011 by Melissa Feiden

Mount RushmoreOn Monday, February 21, 2011, the following libraries will open at noon (12pm):

All other library locations will be closed.

Libraries resume regular hours on Tuesday, February 22.

Have questions?  Ask Us!

Presidents’ Day Library Hours: Monday, February 21

Posted February 18th, 2011 by Melissa Feiden

Mount RushmoreOn Monday, February 21, 2011, the following libraries will open at noon (12pm):

All other library locations will be closed.

Libraries resume regular hours on Tuesday, February 22.

Have questions?  Ask Us!

Apps4Academics class, Monday, 2/28 at 12

Posted February 14th, 2011 by Remlee Green

Do you have an iPhone, iPad, or Touch? Or are you just interested in learning more about apps that could help with classes or research projects?

iPhone screenshotApps4Academics: iPhone/iPad apps & mobile web sites for academic life

Monday, February 28: 12-1:30pm in 14N-132

Register for class

In this whirlwind show & tell, we will recommend the best iPhone/iPad apps & mobile web sites for use in your academic life. We’ll demo apps for productivity, library research, note-taking, e-reading, PDF-reading & annotating, sketching, and more. Some apps we’ll demo include Evernote, Instapaper, Dropbox, GoodReader, Papers, Wolfram Alpha, PLoS, ACS Mobile, and WorldCat Mobile. We’ll point you to the best apps and mobile sites, and also ask class members to also share their favorite apps. If you’re thinking about getting an iPhone or iPad, this may help you decide how you might use it. The class is 90 minutes, and will include break-out sessions where each small group will discuss the apps they find useful and report back to the larger group. We will have several iPads available for use during the breakout sessions. If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad that you use for academic work, we invite you to bring it and share your knowledge with the group. Feel free to bring your lunch!

Have questions about e-reading?

Posted February 11th, 2011 by Remlee Green

E-reading deviceWith the recent explosion of e-readers and apps, the world of e-reading can be incredibly difficult to navigate.  We’ve been hearing a lot of questions from the MIT community about what services we offer for owners of e-reading devices, like Kindles, Nooks, and iPads.  Find answers to many questions in our guide to Frequently Asked Questions about E-reading!  Some of the questions we answer include:

  • What library books are available to download onto my e-reading device?
  • How do you transfer a PDF file from a computer to an e-reading device?
  • What apps are the best for reading PDFs on my iPhone/iPad/Touch?

At this point, we don’t have a lot of options for downloading e-books to your device, but we’re working on it!  We can direct you to some free options for downloading e-books and PDFs for your e-reading device.

Have questions that we don’t answer in the E-reading FAQAsk Us!

Introducing Scopus, MIT Libraries’ Newest Database

Posted February 11th, 2011 by Barbara Williams

Hey MIT, you now have access to Scopus, “the largest abstract & citation database”, created by Elsevier!

…And now that you have it, why should you use it?

Scopus will complement the databases you already know and love. It brings strong, broad coverage of information from around the world, especially 1996+. Many users prefer its search engine to find literature from

  • social sciences (including arts and humanities),
  • life sciences (Scopus includes all of Medline)
  • physical sciences (including engineering)

And besides journal articles, Scopus retrieves worldwide patents, patent citations, preprints, web sites, conference papers (10% of the content) and trade publications. A lot!
Scopus’ Author search feature helps separate authors with similar names.
Its Affiliation search collects all Scopus records for specific institutions and analyzes them.
Scopus offers several analytical tools you may find useful: the “author evaluator” is a particularly cool tool. See it used here to show where MIT Professor Millie Dresselhaus published. Try the Citation Tracker as well.

Finally, the big question: When to use Web of Science, and when to use Scopus?  Email ASK US! For more details.

Harpsichord lecture/recital Feb.25: Musical Paintings

Posted February 9th, 2011 by Christie Moore

MIT music lecturers Jean Rife and Teresa Neff will present a lecture/recital, Musical Paintings: Jean-Philippe Rameau and 18th-Century Life on Friday, February 25, from 1-2 pm in the Lewis Music Library, 14E-109.

Photo©Susan Wilson,

Jean Rife, lecturer in Music and Theater Arts at MIT, will perform Pièces de clavecin by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764).

Teresa Neff, lecturer in Music and Theater Arts at MIT, Research Fellow for the Handel and Haydn Society and faculty at Boston Conservatory, will provide commentary on the music.

Location: Lewis Music Library, 14E-109

More information: 617-253-5636

Free and open to the public

Data Visualization Tool Developed at MIT Gets Library of Congress Support

Posted February 9th, 2011 by Heather Denny

MIT Libraries receive grant for work on “Exhibit 3.0” software

Exhibit has been used by to help demonstrate new ways of visualizing government data.

A $650,000 grant from the United States Library of Congress will fund work on a new version of Exhibit, the popular open source software tool developed at MIT that helps with searching, browsing and visualizing data on the Web.  The MIT Libraries, in collaboration with the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Zepheira, LLC will redesign and expand upon features of the tool to create “Exhibit 3.0”.  The goal is to provide an enhanced tool that is scalable and useful for data management, Web display and navigation; particularly for libraries, cultural institutions and other organizations grappling with large amounts of digital content.

“This innovative work has already made a considerable impact on digital content communities whose data is diverse and complex. The visualizations bring new understanding to users and curators alike,” said Martha Anderson, Director of Program Management at the Library of Congress.

Exhibit was originally developed as part of the MIT Simile Project, a collaboration of the MIT Libraries, the MIT CSAIL, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to explore applications of the Semantic Web to problems of information management across both large-scale digital libraries and small-scale personal collections. Exhibit runs inside a Web browser and supports many types of information using common Web standards for data publishing.

Since its release, Exhibit has been used by thousands of websites worldwide across a range of diverse industries and institutions.  Most recently Exhibit has been used by, an Open Government Initiative by President Obama’s administration to increase public access to high value data generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

The Exhibit 3.0 project will redesign and re-implement Exhibit to scale from small collections to very large data collections of the magnitude created by the Library of Congress and its National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP).  The redesigned Exhibit will be as simple to use as the current tool but more scalable, more modular, and easier to integrate into a variety of information management systems and websites—making it valuable to an even larger audience of individuals and organizations publishing information on the Web.

In addition to the Library of Congress, the MIT Libraries and other organizations that manage large quantities of data will collaborate on the project for their own collections.

“Libraries are dealing with more and bigger collections of digital data every day, and tools like Exhibit pave the way to making them more useful and easier to combine in new and valuable ways. We’re grateful to the Library of Congress for helping us take Exhibit to the next level and getting it into the hands of librarians and others who work in data-intensive fields,” said MacKenzie Smith, research director at the MIT Libraries and the project’s principal investigator.

Users of the software and software developers will be encouraged to contribute improvements to the open source tool and the project will also incorporate research by students at MIT’s CSAIL that will focus on improving the user experience working with data in Exhibit, and incorporating new data visualization techniques that allow users to explore data in novel ways.

“Impressive data-interactive sites abound on the Web, but right now you need a team of developers to create them.  Exhibit demonstrated that authoring data-interactive sites can be as easy as authoring a static web page.  With Exhibit 3.0 we can move from a prototype to a robust platform that anyone can use,” said David Karger, computer science professor with CSAIL.

The project began in January for a period of one year.  For more information see

MIT Research Available Worldwide Through Faculty Open Access Policy

Posted February 8th, 2011 by Ellen Duranceau

Since its launch in October 2009 to support the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, articles in the MIT Open Access Articles collection have been downloaded from nearly every country in the world.

The collection now contains 2,500 articles, downloaded over 100,000 times, at a recent rate of over 13,000 downloads per month.

Faculty may contribute articles by uploading the author’s final manuscript, post peer-review, via a web form, or sending it to the OA Policy Submission list.

If an author has already submitted the final manuscript to a preprint server or repository (e.g. arXiv), the author may email the paper’s identifying repository number, or the URL, instead of the paper.

For more information, contact

Libraries’ Fund Helps Bridge Key Barrier to Open Access Publishing

Posted February 4th, 2011 by Ellen Duranceau

A large-scale survey of researchers across the globe has found that lack of funding is the most common reason authors do not publish in open access journals. While 89% of those surveyed believe open access publishing is a benefit to their field, 39% of authors who had not yet published open access articles said it was because of funding limitations.


Last spring, the MIT Libraries launched an open access publishing fund that directly addresses this need. The fund was designed to reimburse article processing fees of up to $1000 per article for MIT faculty articles which have been accepted for publication in eligible open-access, peer-reviewed journals, to cover fees when funds from other sources, such as grant funds, are unavailable.

The fund is a pilot project, carried out in cooperation with the Faculty Committee on the Library System. We encourage faculty authors to explore using the fund. Professor Lionel Kimerling and Doctor Jurgen Michel benefited from it when publishing in Optics Express:

“We welcome the new program because it encourages publication in open-access journals that have high impact ratings by defraying the publication fees,” Michel said.


More information:

If you have any questions about eligibility for or use of the fund, please contact

Image Used with Permission From: Salvatore Mele. See: Suenje Dallmeier-Tiessen, et al, “Highlights from the SOAP project survey. What Scientists Think about Open Access Publishing”, Jan. 28, 2011. arXiv:1101.5260v2 [cs.DL]

Harvard and MIT Libraries Explore Far-Reaching Alliance

Posted February 4th, 2011 by Heather Denny

Hayden Library, MIT

Widener Library, Harvard University

New agreement reflects physical proximity, cross-registration, joint programs, and research affinities

The Provosts of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have charged their respective library systems to explore expanded collaborations for sharing library materials, advancing digital preservation and collection, and developing future off-site storage facilities.

Both institutions have identified increased collaboration between and among their complementary libraries as an essential element in developing the research library of the 21st century. While an ambitious level of collaboration is anticipated, each library system will remain engaged with and guided by the respective missions and priorities of each university. While enhanced collaboration may serve to reduce prospective costs, the focus of the collaboration is on the future of 21st-century library services, technologies, and collections.

“No single library system can expect to meet the full intellectual needs of the academic and research communities of MIT and Harvard,” stated Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman. “A wide-ranging exploration of all opportunities for collaboration is of great interest to both institutions.”

Both formal and informal relationships already exist between the MIT and Harvard libraries. MIT has shared in the use of the Harvard Depository since its inception in 1985. A 1995 agreement between Harvard College Library (HCL) and MIT brought reciprocal borrowing privileges to faculty, researchers, and graduate students in both institutions. An April 2010 pilot program extended those privileges to undergraduate students.

While traditional library materials have been the focus of prior agreements, digital materials are at the forefront of the new alliance.

“The increasing primacy of digital materials brings its own urgency to our collaboration, ” observed MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif.  “As new models of online information delivery emerge, Harvard and MIT can support joint programs for open-access as well as joint acquisition and licensing approaches that are appropriate for education and academic research.”

Under the agreement, the two libraries will develop a four-tiered action plan by the end of 2011.  The four tiers are:

Reciprocal access to circulating collections

By developing linked access between Harvard and MIT library catalogs and implementing reciprocal privileges that extend to Harvard’s graduate and professional school libraries, library patrons can anticipate full access to 20 million volumes that users will experience as a single collection.

Enhancing digital preservation and collection practices

MIT and Harvard have earned leadership roles through their open access programs and repositories and through their respective approaches to digital preservation. High priority areas for collaborative growth include digital archives of faculty papers and web-based publications.

Developing wider access to electronic information

Questions of electronic serials pricing, and the costs of building digital information management and delivery systems, point to opportunities for Harvard and MIT to investigate new models for licensing agreements, as well as alternative, open access forms of publication that reflect each institution’s commitment to the dissemination of new knowledge.

Envisioning joint off-site storage facilities for the future

Harvard and MIT have shared the Harvard Depository for high-density, non-browsable, off-site storage since 1985. Together, the two universities could effectively anticipate both a new service model and an additional facility for off-site storage.

“We’ve enjoyed a collaborative working relationship with Harvard’s libraries for many years,” said Ann Wolpert, Director of the MIT Libraries.  “This new agreement builds on our successes and underscores the commitment we share to provide our communities with the best and broadest range of resources possible, and to be at the forefront of advancing the digital preservation of scholarly work.”

“In several ways, the libraries of Harvard and MIT are already united by proximity and affinity,” said Helen Shenton, Executive Director of the Harvard Library. “Our new agreement supports the distinct priorities of two very singular universities. At the same time, it challenges us to collaborate on a sustainable information ecosystem for the 21st century.”

New guide on library betas, widgets, & mobile sites

Posted February 2nd, 2011 by Remlee Green

beta sign

The MIT Libraries are constantly experimenting with new technologies and services to help make access to information easier. You may already know about our betas program, where we experiment with new ideas and technologies, but we’ve recently revamped and expanded the Betas guide.

The new Betas & widgets guide showcases current, graduated, and retired beta tools, and it now includes web widgets and mobile apps and sites, too!

We’ll be adding new betas and widgets in an ongoing basis, so look for updates on the guide itself, or follow the news blog categories for “Betas” and “Mobile web.”

We’d love to hear what you think… Do you have any ideas for betas, web widgets, or things we should try in our physical spaces?  Tell us about it!

Photo credit