Archive for June, 2011

Libraries closed for Independence Day weekend

Posted June 30th, 2011 by Heather Denny

All MIT libraries will be closed for the Independence Day weekend, Saturday, July 2 through Monday, July 4.

The Libraries will resume regular hours on Tuesday, July 5.  See our summer hours page for a list of library locations and hours.

Have questions?  Ask us!

Access to Bureau van Dijk’s Databases Orbis and Zephyr Canceled

Posted June 30th, 2011 by Katherine McNeill

The MIT Libraries is unable to renew its subscriptions to Orbis, a worldwide directory of company information, and Zephyr, a database of merger and acquisition deals, due to large unbudgeted price increases for these resources.

The cancellation also applies to subsets of Orbis, including the following databases: Amadeus (European companies), Icarus (US companies), Osiris (public companies worldwide), and Bankscope (banks worldwide).  Access to these databases ceased on June 30, 2011 via their native interfaces and also via the WRDS platform.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause MIT faculty, staff, and students who work with these resources.  However, their cost in FY2012 is double that of FY2010.  Such an unprecedented rate of increase would have required the cancellations of multiple other resources which are necessary to support research and teaching in management and social sciences and which are more fairly priced for academic customers such as MIT.  While regrettable, the cancellations of Orbis and Zephyr will enable us to continue to support a range of content in all disciplines, on reasonable terms, to the MIT community in the future.

Alternatives to Orbis and Zephyr

The MIT Libraries currently subscribe to other databases that provide content similar to Orbis and ZephyrHoovers Online provides profiles of over 80 million companies worldwide.  LexisNexis Company Dossier provides profiles of over 40 million companies worldwide and includes options for exporting data. SDC Platinum available at a workstation in Dewey Library and via client software, provides access to information on mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, joint ventures and other deals worldwide.  Other databases for company information and financial data are listed in the following research guides:

We will continue to evaluate new products for potential purchase to provide additional access to company and deals information worldwide.

For questions about the cancellation or for research assistance, please contact Alex Caracuzzo, MIT Sloan, Management, and Finance Librarian at, or visit Ask Us!.

Check out the travel collection in Hayden library!

Posted June 28th, 2011 by Melissa Feiden

Jetting off this summer to some fabulous destination?  Or just dreaming of places to go?  If so, you might take a few moments to see if we have a guide book for your vacation spot.  The MIT Libraries has a Travel Collection in Hayden Library that now circulates for 30 days.  This collection has recently been updated with the purchase of a host of new travel books.

Guidebooks for places like Italy, Morocco, New York City, and Paris (just to name a few) are already on the shelf.  And guidebooks for Boston, San Francisco, and Washington DC (and others) will be available shortly.

If we are missing a location, you can suggest we purchase it.

Have questions?  Ask Us!

Institute Archives collection appears in the New York Times

Posted June 28th, 2011 by Lois Beattie

Archives/Libraries logoThe Institute Archives and Special Collections was featured on June 21 in an Opinionator Blog by Errol Morris in the New York Times in a 5-part series titled “Did My Brother Invent E-Mail With Tom Van Vleck?” Alternating family history with interviews with MIT scientists and engineers, Morris tells a fascinating and moving story about the intersection of his family and the exciting evolution of computing at MIT in the 1960s. Part 3, headed “Room 14N-118” (the MIT address of the Archives), describes his search in the records of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (collection AC 282), where his brother was working on Project MAC.  He observes the  fragility of the historical record of our activities, and talks with Jerry Saltzer (MIT professor emeritus) about the changing nature of writing and disseminating information.


Check Out the Complete Listing of JulyAP 2011 Sessions

Posted June 22nd, 2011 by Mark Szarko

All sessions take place in the Digital Instruction Resource Center (DIRC), 14N-132.  Pre-registration is required for some, but not all sessions. See below for details.

Bioinformatics for Beginners – Register

  • When: Tue July 12, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • Where: 14N-132
  • Contact: Howard Silver,
  • Description: Bioinformatics techniques and tools are being incorporated into researcher’s toolkits across a broad range of disciplines.  The session is a hands-on practicum and an excellent starting point for people who are new to, or curious about bioinformatics research tools.  It features the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Entrez family of databases and the BIOBASE family of resources.

Endnote Basics – Register

  • When: Mon July 18, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • Where: 14N-132
  • Contact: Peter Cohn,
  • Description: EndNote is a “personal bibliographic software” package which allows you to create and manage a database of bibliographic references.  Attendees will create a personal database of cited literature by importing references from resources such as Barton, Web of Science, & other sources of published literature.  Your database can be used to automatically generate in-text citations and bibliographies in your manuscripts.  It can also help you organize and manage your PDF files.

Fair Use and Electronic Reserves –  Register

  • When: Thu July 28, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • Where: 14N-132
  • Contact: Roshni Gohil,
  • Description: Are you teaching or supporting a fall class and want to learn more about copyright and electronic reserves on Stellar?  We’ll provide an overview of “fair use” and other copyright restrictions for course materials and help you navigate through the ins and outs of electronic reserves.  Staff from the MIT Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Publishing & Licensing and Course Reserves Team will be available to answer questions.  Please sign up in advance so that we can better tailor the session for your needs.

Managing Your References:  Overview of EndNote, RefWorks, and Zotero – Register

  • When: Thu July 21, 12:00 – 1:15 pm
  • Where: 14N-132
  • Contact: Anita Perkins,
  • Description: Using citation management software to create and maintain a collection of references is becoming more common and important in today’s academic world.  These software packages allow users to search databases, retrieve relevant citations, and build a bibliography to be added to a paper or thesis or stored for future reference.  But which software package should you use, and how do you get started?  This session will focus on EndNote, RefWorks, and Zotero, the three major options for bibliographic software at MIT.  We will include a discussion comparing and contrasting the three software packages, and we will introduce some of the basic concepts and functionality of each program.

Managing Research Data 101

  • When: Fri July 29, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • Where: 14N-132
  • Contact: Amy Stout,
  • Description: For researchers struggling to manage their data, basic strategies will be provided for:  best practices for retention and archiving; effective directory structures and naming conventions; good file formats for long-term access; data security and backup options; and metadata, tagging, and citation options.

ILLiad downtime on Wednesday, June 22

Posted June 20th, 2011 by Melissa Feiden

Please be aware that, due to a scheduled software upgrade, ILLiad will be unavailable from 8:30am – 4:00pm EST this Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

During this outage, you will not be able to:

  • place new Interlibrary Borrowing requests
  • place requests for article delivery from the Library Storage Annex
  • download PDF copies of articles
  • track or change existing requests
  • renew Interlibrary Borrowing books
  • do anything that requires ILLiad

For more information, see our ILLiad system outage page.

1897 Binding Ticket Shows Origins of Red Rot

Posted June 17th, 2011 by Nick Szydlowski

1897 Binding Ticket

This 114-year-old binding ticket was recently discovered in a volume of the journal Western Electrician, which was being prepared for digitization.  It shows the options that were available to the MIT Libraries for journal binding in 1897. 

Leather binding with red rotUnder the heading “Style,” the ticket lists a number of options, most of which involve a leather spine.  The leather being used by library binders at that time has not aged well.  The image at the right shows a different journal volume, bound in 1901.  The leather on the spine has disintegrated and started to flake away – a condition referred to as “red rot.”

Law sheep, roan, and skiver, all made from sheepskin, were popular for library bindings because they were cheaper than goatskin.  Unfortunately they were also far less durable, and have degraded significantly over time. 

Fortunately today’s library binders use heavyweight buckram cloth, rather than leather, to bind journals.  In addition to being less expensive, these cloth cases are actually more durable than the leather bindings of decades past.

Hayden library construction noise and 24-hour study room closure

Posted June 16th, 2011 by Melissa Feiden

Due to construction in building 14, the Hayden library 24-hour reading room and Hayden book return will be closed on the evenings of Monday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 21 from 11:00pm until 6:00am.

There is an additional 24-hour study room in the Dewey library (E-53, MIT community only). Alternative book drop locations are in Lobby 10 and the Stata Center.

In addition to these dates, there will be loud construction noise in Hayden for the week of Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 25.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have questions, Ask Us!

Choose Your Own Destination in MIT’s WorldCat

Posted June 16th, 2011 by Cassandra Silvia

Malmo, Sweden Central StationThe bug that prevented MIT community members from choosing their preferred pickup location when requesting an item through MIT’s WorldCat Local has been fixed. The request page now includes a drop down box of all participating MIT Libraries. The fix was tested this week and everything worked as advertised. Happy requesting!

Want to learn more about requesting materials through WorldCat Local? See our WorldCat FAQ for more information.

New way to reserve Hayden 3rd-floor group study room!

Posted June 10th, 2011 by Melissa Feiden

A new touch-screen reservation device has been installed outside the Hayden Library 3rd-floor group study room (14E-311).  You can reserve the study room using this new touch-screen device or reserve the room in advance through your online calendar.  You can also view the room schedule to check on availability.

For full details on scheduling 14E-311 and other MIT Libraries group study rooms, see reserving group study spaces.

Features of the Hayden group study room include:

  • 14 chairs
  • 6 tables, each 30″ x 60″– use separately or group together
  • 37” LCD widescreen monitor (wall-mounted) with laptop connector cable
  • large chalkboard
  • tall windows — much daylight, view of Hayden Courtyard
  • window blinds — block light during presentations

If you have questions about using the Hayden group study room, contact the library at 617.253.5671.

Happy studying!

True or false: The MIT Libraries only have academic stuff.

Posted June 9th, 2011 by Heather Denny

Library Myths sets the record straight, debunking common misconceptions about libraries. The premiere episode reveals things you never knew you could check out of the MIT Libraries.


Happy As A Clam

Posted June 7th, 2011 by Rebecca Caswell

Book before boxing

This 18th c. work on political science and natural law arrived in the Conservation Lab with both its front and back covers detached.  In order to ensure that all of the pieces stayed together, it was being stored in a plastic bag.  Although this provided a good temporary solution, it isn’t an appropriate means for long-term storage.

Book after boxing

The Conservation Lab makes a variety of different enclosures, which are selected based on the needs of the book.  Because of this item’s age and value, it was housed in a  custom made cloth covered clamshell box.  This type of box will prevent the book from sustaining further damage while in transit from storage, while also protecting it from light, dust, and other environmental hazards.

This lovely clamshell box gives new meaning to the phrase “happy as a clam”!

Contest Offers $10,001 for App to Support Open Science

Posted June 6th, 2011 by Ellen Duranceau

Mendeley, a free reference manager that helps researchers organize and discover research articles, has announced a prize of $10,001 for the best new open source application to use with their large crowd-sourced open database of research papers.

Mendeley, whose database includes 70 million documents, allows researchers to import papers, generate bibliographies, track and tag documents, view usage statistics, and find and read papers from anywhere.

Mendeley has launched the contest because they want to “make science more open,” and to support a “world in which science is mashed up… with anything.”

Judges of the “Mendeley API Binary Battle” include Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, John Wilbanks of Creative Commons, and Werner Vogels, CTO of

Special Barker Library hours for Commencement activities

Posted June 1st, 2011 by Melissa Feiden

Barker Reading RoomBarker Library will have special hours on Thursday and Friday due to MIT Commencement related activities. The Barker reading room will close at 4:00pm on Thursday, June 2.  The Barker Library will be closed from 12:00pm (noon) until 4:00pm on Friday, June 3.

Although the Barker reading room will not be open to the community during this period, guests are welcome to take a look during the library’s open hours.

If you need to access materials in the Barker Library during the closure, you can request items through Your Account in Barton.  Barker staff will retrieve materials as needed.

Have questions?  Ask Us!