Archive for February, 2013

Unleashing the power of technical reports

Posted February 28th, 2013 by Chris Sherratt

Did you know the MIT Libraries has a vast storehouse of technical literature NOT in Barton, but easily accessible right here on campus? Recently our librarians have demystified this very important world:

Thousands of research reports from national and international labs and other universities or contracting companies were sent to MIT and are kept in our Annex. The collection is particularly strong in energy, including the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and all its successor agencies (ERDA, DOE).  The research guide will help you find them. And because they are often the sources behind published journal articles or conference papers, they can provide fuller accounts of the research, including designs, experimental details or other practical information.

Bottom line?  As more literature gets digitized, more citations to technical reports are discovered. Dive into this world yourself, or Ask Us!

Obama administration issues directive on open access to federally funded scientific research

Posted February 22nd, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The White House issued a directive today that requires Federal agencies with annual spending of more than $100M in Research & Development to develop plans to make the publications that flow from the research they fund openly available to the public within a year of publication.

The directive, which takes effect today, was announced in a policy memorandum issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP has been evaluating the need for more open access to federally funded research for some time, having collected public comments in 2010 and 2012, including those from MIT. The White House also received a “We the People” petition that reached the level requiring an official response.

This White House directive affects more federal agencies than FASTR, the open access bill that was introduced into both houses of Congress on February 14. Starting today, the Federal agencies have six months to develop policies for making both scientific publications and data openly accessible to the public within twelve months of publication.

For more information:
Peter Suber’s blog post

New statistical databases

Posted February 21st, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Doing quantitative research?  Need statistics for a research project, paper, or to provide context for a project?  Looking for a needle-in-a-haystack?  Try these new statistical databases from the Libraries!

Statista logo

Statista provides statistics on a wide range of topics, including industries, markets, demography, countries & economies.  It harvests data from market researchers, trade associations, scientific publications, and government sources, and compiles it in a central place for you to search.  Download data in tabular or graphical form and link to original data sources and related reports.  Find statistics such as:

  • Global market share held by the leading smartphone operating systems in sales to end users from 1st quarter 2009 to 4th quarter 2012
  • Percentage of U.S. population who has (or ever had) cancer, 1999-2011, by age
  • U.S. organic food sales growth forecast from 2010 to 2014
  • Monthly unemployment rate in the U.S. from January 2012 to January 2013 (seasonally-adjusted)
  • and more…

Access Statista at:

Govistics logo

Researching local areas in the United States?  Govistics provides spending, revenue, employment and crime data for state and local governments and school districts across the U.S., pulling together data from different sources.  Find data such as the following for the City of Cambridge:

  • Government spending and number of employees in all areas, including social services, education, and public safety
  • Number of violent and property crimes
  • Investment portfolio of the city’s retirement system, with data on membership and contributions
  • and more…

Access Govistics at:

Statistical Abstract logo

Need data on your research topic but have no idea who collects it?  Try the Statistical Abstract of the United States!  This online reference source provides summary statistical tables of everything under the sun, and detailed citations to the original source for you to find more detailed data.  Search not only by subject but also filter your results to those available at certain demographic (e.g., age, sex, race, education, marital status), geographic (e.g., state, smsa), and economic (e.g., industry, occupation) breakdowns.  Find data such as:

  • Nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases in private industry by type of injury or illness and days away from work: 2010
  • Coastline counties most frequently hit by hurricanes: 1960 To 2008
  • Municipal solid waste generation, materials recovery, combustion with energy recovery, and discards: 1980 to 2010
  • Research and development expenditures in science and engineering at universities and colleges: 2000 to 2010

Access the Statistical Abstract at:

Want further information on statistics and data resources?  Try Social Science Data Services or other data resources listed on our subject-oriented research guides.

Noteworthy Connections opens in the Maihaugen Gallery

Posted February 21st, 2013 by Heather Denny

David M. Epstein conductor of the MIT Symphony Orchestra, 1965-1998, Photo: MIT Museum

A new exhibition exploring the extraordinary connection between the MIT mind and music has opened in the Libraries’ Maihaugen Gallery.

Noteworthy Connections: Music in the MIT Libraries delves into the holdings of the Lewis Music Library and the Institute Archives and Special Collections, to reveal MIT’s diverse musical interests, the accomplishments of its talented students and faculty, and the rich history the Institute’s musical groups and clubs.

The exhibit will be on view in the gallery until December, 2013. Visit the gallery:

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Building 14N-130

New bill would make most federally funded research openly accessible

Posted February 19th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

FASTR, or Fair Access to Science and Technology Research, was introduced into both houses of Congress on February 14, 2013. The bill builds upon the success of the NIH Public Access Policy by extending public access to research funded by other U.S. government agencies. It was introduced in the Senate by John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and in the House by Mike Doyle (D-PA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

Like its predecessor bill, Federal Research Public Access Act, FASTR would provide open access to research funded by agencies of the U.S. government that spend at least $100 million per year on research, and carry this out by having authors provide their peer-reviewed manuscripts through open access repositories within six months. Repositories could be hosted by an agency, or agencies could request that authors deposit in institutional or subject-based repositories.

What is new in this bill is that it calls for common deposit procedures among agencies; for formats that enable productive reuse, such as computational analysis; and for examining the potential of open licensing for the papers, to enable reuse by the public.

The bill would create open access to research funded by agencies like the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation.

For more information:
Peter Suber’s blog story
Peter Suber’s FASTR reference page
Text of the bill

Naxos Video Library now available

Posted February 19th, 2013 by Christie Moore

The MIT Libraries now have a subscription to Naxos Video Library. This streaming video database provides a large collection of classical music performances, opera, ballet, live concerts, and documentaries.

Shortcut URL:
(MIT certificates required; 5 simultaneous users)

Study under the Dome 24/7! Barker reading room reopens as a 24-hour study space.

Posted February 15th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Photo by L. Barry Hetherington

The Barker Library reading room has reopened to reveal the grandeur of the restored oculus atop the Great Dome. Read about the details of the project in MIT’s Great Dome is reborn.

Natural light, as well as additional lighting around the perimeter of the dome, brightens the entire space revealing beautiful architectural detail. Additional improvements include the installation of acoustic panels and a new sound-mitigation system that will help soften echoes and ambient noise. Comfortable chairs, large tables, and individual study carrels have also returned to the reading room, making it a perfect space for quiet study.

The reading room is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to members of the MIT community with an MIT ID.

OA research in the news: The value of higher education

Posted February 13th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

James Poterba

David Autor

Is the cost of a university degree worth it? It’s a question on the minds of many American families in an era of high unemployment and rising tuition costs. Scholars and policymakers at an on-campus forum last week suggested that though expensive, college is valuable both to individuals and the country at large. Labor economist David Autor pointed to evidence showing that college graduates earn $250,000 to $300,000 more over their lifetimes, regardless of undergraduate major. Autor is co-director of MIT’s School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative, whose mission is to study issues related to the economics of education. Moderator and economics professor James Poterba said that higher education is “an extremely important sector of the U.S. economy,” representing about 3.5 percent of the national GDP.

Explore Professor Autor’s research and Professor Poterba’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Presidents’ Day hours: Monday, February 18

Posted February 13th, 2013 by Grace Mlady

On Monday, February 18, 2013, the following libraries will open at noon (12pm):

All other library locations will be closed. Libraries resume spring term hours on Tuesday, February 19.

Have questions? Ask Us!

MIT Libraries remain closed Sunday, February 10th

Posted February 10th, 2013 by Melissa Feiden

attentionDue to continued travel restrictions and the MIT emergency closing, the MIT Libraries will remain closed today, Sunday, February 10th.  Updates for Monday will be posted to the MIT Libraries homepage, hours page and news blog.

MIT Libraries remain closed Saturday, February 9th

Posted February 9th, 2013 by Melissa Feiden

attentionDue to statewide travel restrictions and the MIT emergency closing, the MIT Libraries will remain closed today, Saturday, February 9th.  Plans for Sunday are to be determined, following the direction of MIT and State/Local authorities, availability of roadways and the MBTA. Updates will be posted to the MIT Libraries homepage, hours page and news blog.

MIT Libraries closed on Friday, February 8th

Posted February 8th, 2013 by Melissa Feiden

attentionDue to the coming snowstorm, MIT and the MIT Libraries will be closed all day on Friday, February 8th.  Any updates regarding library hours for Saturday will be posted to the MIT Libraries web site and our library hours page.  See MIT Emergency Information for details about the MIT closure.

Composer forum Feb. 14 and Feb. 26

Posted February 6th, 2013 by Christie Moore

Composer forum series: 5 pm, Lewis Music Library Bldg. 14E-109
Reception follows. Free and open to the public.


Elena Ruehr

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Elena Ruehr, Lecturer in Music at MIT, discusses her new CD, Averno, for chorus and orchestra, with poetry by American poets Louise Gluck, Langston Hughes, and Emily Dickinson.





Cindy Cox

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Cindy Cox derives her “post-tonal” musical language from acoustics, innovations in technology, harmonic resonance, and poetic allusion. Her compositions synthesize old and new musical designs.



Sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts.

I <3 libraries! Show your library love.

Posted February 1st, 2013 by Remlee Green
Heart made from book pages

Jose Carlos Norte. the love of a book. 7/11/09. Flickr.

It’s February, and you know what that means – it’s time to show your library love.

Meet our matchmakers!
Our subject experts can give you advice on a wide range of topics. These librarians can introduce you to interesting and attractive information in your field of study or any subject you adore.

Nothing wrong with online dating.
It can be hard to figure out the best way to get books and articles. Use this handy dandy chart to help you pick the best option for you.

Not ready to commit?
If a paper book is too much commitment, find an e-book instead.

Love libraries?
We know you love the MIT Libraries already (and we love you!), but if you want to visit other libraries, we’re totally cool with that. Members of the MIT community can visit & borrow materials from many other academic libraries in the area, like Harvard or Boston Library Consortium (BLC) libraries.

Whisper sweet nothings
Have ideas, suggestions, or compliments? We’d love to hear them! Tell us all about it, or ask us anything. We can’t promise that we’ll give you the best dating advice, but we’re great at helping you find the perfect article or book.

During the month of February, tweet the title of a book you love to @MITLibraries or post it on our Facebook page, and you’ll be eligible to win a sweet t-shirt. (MIT only.)

OA research in the news: Role of the Huntington’s gene

Posted February 1st, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Scientists have known for two decades that Huntington’s disease, a fatal brain disorder, is caused by a mutant gene that’s expanded to include DNA repeats. But it’s not clear how the gene produces the disease symptoms. MIT biological engineers, including MIT grad student Christopher Ng and professors Ernest Fraenkel and David Housman, recently published a paper that comes closer to answering that question. They found that the protein encoded by the Huntington’s gene changes the chemical structure of genes involved in brain function. Disruptions to these genes could cause neurodegenerative symptoms.

Explore Professor Fraenkel’s research and Professor Housman’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.