Archive for October, 2012

“Magnetic Resonance” on display in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted October 2nd, 2012 by Heather Denny

The fall exhibit in the Maihaugen Gallery showcases a unique collection on view to the public for the very first time. Magnetic Resonance: Four Centuries of Science from the Vail Collection offers a look inside MIT’s Vail Collection—one of the world’s most important collections of books on magnetism, electricity, animal magnetism, and lighter-than-air travel.

The collection includes foundational texts in the history of science and technology, rare titles from the late 15th-19th centuries, works of popular science, and thousands of rare pamphlets and articles. It was given to MIT in 1912, by Theodore N. Vail, president of AT&T and a member of the MIT Corporation. The exhibit marks the 100th anniversary of the Vail Collection’s arrival at the Institute and celebrates the generosity of Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (MIT 1957), who supported a three-year project to unlock the potential of this stunning collection. Every title has been fully cataloged, essential conservation work has been performed, and the Vail Collection can now be shared with the world. Visit the gallery, attend an event, or explore the collection online.

Vail Exhibit EventsEXHIBIT EVENTS:

Behind the Scenes: Conserving and Exhibiting the Vail Collection

Wednesday, October 17, 1pm–2pm, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) MIT’s book conservator, Nancy Schrock, discusses conservation treatment and  display of the Collection. The talk begins in the gallery and proceeds to the Wunsch Conservation Lab.


Witches, Magic, and Monsters: The Spooky Side of MIT’s Vail Collection

Friday, October 26, 3pm, Institute Archives (14N-118) A Halloween-inspired look at the creepier side of the Collection. Online registration required.


The Scientific Conversation and the Vail Collection: Gallery Talks & Tours

Thursday, November 8, 11am–noon, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130)

Wednesday, November 28, 3pm–4pm, Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) Exhibit curator and rare books program manager, Stephen Skuce, leads a tour and talk about the exhibit.


MIT’s Vail Collection: From the Lodestone to the X-Ray

Friday, November 16, 10:30am, Institute Archives (14N-118) A presentation by rare books program manager, Stephen Skuce.

Election Data Resources from ICPSR: Webinars Tuesday and Wednesday

Posted October 1st, 2012 by Katherine McNeill


As the momentum of the 2012 Presidential Election builds, join the ICPSR social science data archive for webinars this week to learn more about their election data resources.

Tuesday, October 2
11-11:50 a.m.: The American National Election Studies: An Introduction
12-12:50 p.m.: The American National Election Study: Finding Hidden Treasure
1-1:50 p.m.: Minority Voting Behavior
2-2:50 p.m.: Latino Voting Behavior and the National Latino Survey

Wednesday, October 3
11-11:50 a.m.: Elections, Polling, and Politics …. Oh, My!
12-12:50 p.m.: SETUPS: The American National Election Studies in the Classroom
1-1:50 p.m.: Election Data in the Classroom

These webcasts are part of ICPSR’s 2012 Data Fair featuring election data.  For still more sessions to be held October 1 – 3, 2012, view the schedule.


Check Out the Complete Listing of Fall 2012 Workshops

Posted October 1st, 2012 by Mark Szarko

Unless otherwise indicated, all sessions take place in the Digital Instruction Resource Center (DIRC), 14N-132.

Workshop in the DIRC classroom

Workshop in the DIRC; photo by L.Barry Hetherington

Pre-registration is required for some, but not all sessions. See below for details.

Resources from the OECD – Register
Fri, Oct 5, 10:00-11:00am, 14N-132
Contact: Katerine McNeill,

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is coming to MIT! Attend a presentation on OECD Information resources by Kathleen DeBoer, Deputy Head of the OECD Washington Center.

Learn about the OECD iLibrary and information the OECD provides on countries around the world, in areas such as:

  • Development
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Trade
  • and more…

Also, learn how to efficiently extract data from their vast array of statistics.

Note: For those interested in working for the OECD (, Ms. DeBoer will be available to meet in the afternoon to discuss the application process; if interested, contact her at

Please register for this session.

Introduction to R – Register
Thu, Oct 11, 1:00-4:00pm, 1-115
Contact: Jennie Murack,

Get an introduction to R, the open-source system for statistical computation and graphics. With hands-on exercises, learn how to import and manage datasets, create R objects, install and load R packages, conduct basic statistical analyses, and create common graphical displays. This workshop is appropriate for those with little or no prior experience with R. Note: MIT only: Athena login required.

Please register for this session.

Managing Your References: Overview of EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero, and Mendeley – Register
Fri, Oct 12, 12:00-1:15pm, 14N-132
Contact: Remlee Green,

Using citation management software to create and maintain a collection of references or PDFs is becoming more common and important in today’s academic world. These software packages (EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero, & Mendeley) 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?

Please register for this session.

Zotero Basics – Register
Mon, Oct 15, 12:00-1:00pm, 14N-132
Contact: Mat Willmott,

Zotero is a free, open-source program that helps you collect, manage, cite, and share your citations and files. With one click, you can save PDFs and citations for most articles, then cite them in Word or OpenOffice. Make a searchable PDF library and find out how to publish dynamic bibliographies and collaborate by using group collections. In this hands-on session, learn tips and tricks on how to use Zotero more efficiently to save you time and energy. Bring a laptop or use one of our computers.

Please register for this session.

Patent Searching Fundamentals – Register
Date: Oct 16, 12:00-1:00pm, 14N-132
Contact: Howard Silver,

While you won’t come out of this session qualified to be a patent attorney, you will be able to successfully find patent references from all over the world and know how to obtain patent text and diagrams. The session will be a hands-on practicum that will help de-mystify the patent literature and expose attendees to key resources for finding patents through free resources available on the web.

Please register for this session.

R Programming – Register
Thu, Oct 18, 1:00-4:00pm, 1-115
Contact: Jennie Murack,

This hands-on, intermediate R course will guide users through a variety of programming functions in the open-source statistical software program, R. This workshop covers blocks, loops, program flow, functions,S3 classes and methods, and debugging in R. This workshop is intended for those already comfortable with using R for data analysis who wish to move on to writing their own functions. Prerequisite: basic familiarity with R, such as acquired from an introductory R workshop. Note: MIT only: Athena login required.

Please register for this session.

EndNote Basics – Register
Thu Oct 18, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Peter Cohn,

EndNote is a “personal bibliographic software” package which allows you to create and manage a database of bibliographic references. Learn how to find and use information more effectively in our hands-on workshop.

Please register for this session.

R Graphics – Register
Thu, Oct 25, 1:00-4:00pm, 1-115
Contact: Jennie Murack,

This introduction to the popular ggplot2 R graphics package will show you how to create a wide variety of graphical displays in R. Topics covered included aesthetic mapping and scales, faceting, and themes. This is an intermediate level workshop appropriate for those already familiar with R. Participants should be familiar with importing and saving data, data types (e.g., numeric, factor, character), and manipulating data frames in R. Note: MIT only: Athena login required.

Please register for this session.

Mendeley Basics – Register
Mon, Oct 29, 4:00-5:00pm, 14N-132
Contact: Peter Cohn,

Mendeley is a free tool that can help you organize and manage your citations and PDFs. Learn how to use Mendeley to discover the latest research, collaborate with others, and automatically generate bibliographies.

Please register for this session.

Introduction to Stata – Register
Thu, November 8, 1:00-4:00pm, 1-115
Contact: Jennie Murack,

This class will provide a hands-on introduction to Stata. You will learn how to navigate Stata’s graphical user interface, create log files, and import data from a variety of software packages. We will also share tips for getting started with Stata including the creation and organization of do-files, examining descriptive statistics, and managing data and value labels. This workshop is designed for individuals who have little or no experience using Stata software. Note: MIT only: Athena login required.

Please register for this session.

Data Management in Stata – Register
Thu, Nov 15, 1:00-4:00pm, 1-115
Contact: Jennie Murack,

This class will introduce common data management techniques in Stata. Topics covered include basic data manipulation commands such as: recoding variables, creating new variables, working with missing data, and generating variables based on complex selection criteria. Participants will be introduced to strategies for merging datasets (adding both variables and observations), and collapsing datasets. This workshop is intended for users who have an introductory level of knowledge of Stata software. Note: MIT only: Athena login required.

Please register for this session.

Easier access to journal articles through LibX

Posted October 1st, 2012 by Remlee Green

Thousands of MIT students, professors, and researchers have downloaded LibX, and several times a year, we hear, “I wish I would have known about LibX 4 years ago!”  Before you look back in regret, save yourself time, and give LibX a try.

What is LibX?

LibX is a browser add-on you can download for Firefox and Google Chrome that will give you easier access to articles and books. LibX will help you to:

  1. Get access to journals easier and faster, especially from off-campus.  Watch a short video.
  2. Find out if you have access to citations in a bibliography quickly by using LibX’s right-click menu.
  3. Turn the web into a library catalog & easily find out if books or articles on Amazon, Wikipedia, and other popular websites are available to borrow from MIT Libraries. Watch a short video.
  4. Search the Barton catalog, Vera, MIT’s WorldCat, and Google Scholar quicker – they’re only 1 click away from any web page.

Download LibX and learn more.