Archive for April, 2013

New Library Fellow Blog

Posted April 29th, 2013 by MIT Libraries

You may recall that MIT Libraries launched a new fellows program in October, 2012. The fellows have been involved in a number of library activities since they started and now Helen Bailey, Fellow for Digital Curation and Preservation, wants to share her experience. She has started a blog, Life Cycles of the Bits and Pages, that will chronicle her time as a fellow in the MIT Libraries. Check it out to learn more about her projects.

Musical Treasures: Gallery talk Wednesday, May 1 at noon

Posted April 26th, 2013 by Christie Moore

chant_leaf Music Librarian Peter Munstedt will give a gallery talk, “Musical Treasures in the MIT Libraries” on Wednesday, May 1 from noon-12:45 pm. The Maihaugen exhibit Noteworthy Connections: Music in the MIT Libraries will be on view until July 2013.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Noon-12:45 pm
Maihaugen Gallery, Bldg. 14N-130
Free and open to the public.

Herb Pomeroy – MIT Jazz@50 Exhibition, April 25

Posted April 23rd, 2013 by Christie Moore

pomeroyInterested in jazz at MIT? Photographs, recordings, scores, video clips, and other materials from the Lewis Music Library and the Institute Archives and Special Collections will be featured in a special one-day exhibit on Thursday afternoon, 4/25/2013. There will be many items from the Herb Pomeroy Collection in celebration of the 50th anniversary of jazz becoming a part of the MIT curriculum under the leadership of Herb Pomeroy.

Date: Thursday, April 25, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Free and open to the public.

Violin music concert Tuesday noon, 4/30/13

Posted April 23rd, 2013 by Christie Moore

violin concertThe 11th annual Prokopoff violin music concert will be held on Tuesday, April 30th, from noon-1 pm in the Lewis Music Library. MIT students will perform selections by Bach, Saint-Saens, Wieniawski, Kreisler, Tchaikovsky, and Mendelssohn.  This annual event honors the collection of over 2,000 violin music scores collected by Stephen Prokopoff and donated to the library in 2001 by Lois Craig, former Associate Dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. Come enjoy some wonderful music in an attractive setting!

Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: noon-1 pm

The concert is free and open to the public.

New databases on U.S. law, government and elections

Posted April 23rd, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Do research on U.S. history, law, government, or elections?  Then try out these new databases from the MIT Libraries!

HeinOnline logo

HeinOnline Political Science Research Package (

Full text legal history collection of image-based documents. Includes world constitutions, treaties, U.S. Supreme Court reports, U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional Record, presidential papers and resources for researching legislative histories. 1700s – present.

CQ Congress logo

CQ Press Congress Collection (

Access resources and data on the U.S. Congress. Includes roll call votes, voting records, legislative histories and analyses.

CQ Voting logo

CQ Press Voting and Elections Collection (

View and download historic and current data on voting and elections in the U.S. at the national and state level. Includes analyses of voting behavior, election processes, major and minor political parties, and voter behavior and demographics.  The MIT Libraries’ subscription includes access to the data sets. The site is organized into six categories:

  • Presidential Elections:explanations of the presidential electoral process, analyses and data for historical and modern presidential elections, modern voting behavior, key events and issues, and biographies.
  • Congressional Elections: explanations of the congressional electoral process, including reapportionment and redistricting; data for historical and modern congressional elections; analyses of modern congressional elections; modern voting behavior; modern district profiles; key events and issues; and biographies.
  • Gubernatorial Elections: explanations of the gubernatorial electoral process and data for historical and modern gubernatorial elections.
  • Campaigns and Elections: explores the American system of voting and elections, electoral process and reform, media, interest groups, and the impact of money.
  • Political Parties: party system in America, including party strength and control, and profiles Democratic, Republican, and third parties.
  • Voters and Demographics: covers expansion of voting rights, voter turnout, voting behavior, modern county census data, and modern district profiles.


Want more?  Check out our research guides to:

Earth Week Film Screening: Chasing Ice, Friday April 26

Posted April 21st, 2013 by Heather McCann

MIT Libraries in cooperation with the MIT Earth Day Committee present a film viewing of Chasing Ice on Friday, April 26. The film will be introduced by Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.


This 2012 Oscar nominated documentary follows photographer James Balog and his crew as they as they conduct the Extreme Ice Survey, deploying time lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. Register for the MIT Sustainability Summit to see a talk by Chasing Ice photographer James Balog on Saturday evening!

Refreshments at 4 PM in lobby outside 6-120; Film starts at 4:30 in 6-120. Free and open to the public.

For more information, contact: Heather McCann; hmccann(at) 617.253.7098

Web site:

Sponsored by MIT Libraries, Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, EHS, MITEI, and the MIT Earth Day Committee

MIT Libraries closed Friday, April 19th

Posted April 19th, 2013 by Melissa Feiden

attentionThe MIT Libraries will be closed on Friday April 19th. More information is available at

Finals Week Study Breaks

Posted April 18th, 2013 by Mark Szarko

photo by Christopher Maynor

Take a study break, have a snack, and de-stress!

Thursday, May 16, 2-3:30 PM
Hayden Library (14S) – Cookies with Canines

Monday, May 20, 2:00 PM
Dewey Library (E53-100) – Study Break

Monday, May 20, 2-3:30 PM
Rotch Library (7-238) – Study Break

Tuesday, May 21, 2-3:30
Barker Library (10-500) – Study Break

Cookies and beverages will be served near the entrance to each library. Therapy dogs from Dog B.O.N.E.S. will make a special visit to Hayden Library for Cookies with Canines.

OA research in the news: The Townsend Thai Project

Posted April 18th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

In 1997, economist Robert Townsend and colleague Sombat Sakunthasathien, a Thai government researcher, began to gather data on family and community finances in rural and urban Thailand. They’ve never stopped. Their program, the Thai Family Research Project (part of the Townsend Thai Project), includes surveys of 2,880 households and 262 community groups. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of data points, making it one of the largest datasets in the developing world. Among their findings is that much of Thailand’s expanding economy is coming from rural areas. They’ve now written a book, Chronicles from the Field, which delves into statistics but also recounts the human side of doing field work. “Organizations deal with people, and this is all about the people,” Townsend tells the MIT News. “You need to build up trust. The households need to understand why you’re asking them all these questions, and you need to be honest with them. By going back, you establish that you care.”

The book is accompanied by a documentary film, “Emerging Thailand: The Spirit of Small Enterprise,” which will screen at MIT on April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in E25-111.

Explore Professor Townsend’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.

Loan grace period extended through Wednesday, April 24

Posted April 17th, 2013 by Grace Mlady

Due to Monday’s tragic events at the Boston Marathon, the Libraries’ grace period for loans has been extended and fines are suspended until next Wednesday, April 24.

This extension applies to all items with a loan period of 14 days or longer.

Have questions? Ask Us!

Micah Altman wins Pizzigati Prize

Posted April 12th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Micah Altman, MIT Libraries’ Director of Research, has been awarded the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest for his work developing software that encourages transparency and public participation in the electoral redistricting process. The award was presented today, April 13, at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference of the National Technology Network in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The drawing of legislative districts has always been one of the least transparent — and most easily manipulated — steps toward democratic governance. Altman teamed up with Michael McDonald, Associate Professor at George Mason University, to find a way to break the political insider lockgrip on the electoral mapping process.

The initiative the scholars went on to launch, the Public Mapping Project, involved government and nonprofits across the country in an effort to develop redistricting software that any concerned citizen could use.

DistrictBuilder, the software that eventually emerged out of this effort, runs on ordinary Web browsers. Anyone with a computer can access DistrictBuilder and use it to both create legislative maps that fairly divide political power, and evaluate the maps that legislators create. DistrictBuilder has already been used to support redistricting efforts in the states of Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Virginia and others.

In addition to being honored by the prize, Altman finds it rewarding to see a new generation of voters involved in the process.

“It’s been very gratifying to see students use the software to create legal districts and really engage with the political process,” Altman said.

The $10,000 cash grant is awarded annually to those who have created or led an effort to create an open source software product of significant value to the nonprofit sector and movements for social change. The prize is named after MIT computer science graduate and open source computing advocate, Tony Pizzigati ’92 who worked at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.

Open access gains momentum in Washington

Posted April 12th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

White House takes action to increase access to the results of federally funded scientific research

When MIT faculty adopted an open access (OA) policy for their scholarly articles in March 2009, they expressed a strong philosophical commitment to disseminating “the fruits of their research and scholarship” as widely as possible. The MIT Libraries are paying close attention to recent events in Washington that have the potential to expand this commitment to include a significant percentage of all federally funded research in the United States.

On February 22, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a directive asking each federal agency with over $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research they fund. Agencies have six months to come up with policies that would make both articles and data openly available to the public, consistent with a set of objectives set out in the memorandum. The OSTP has been evaluating the need for more open access to federally funded research for several years; in 2010 and 2012 it collected public comments, including those from MIT.

Eight days earlier, on February 14, bipartisan lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced a bill called the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), which would provide open access to work funded by US government agencies that spend at least $100 million a year on research. FASTR is a stronger version of an earlier bill that failed to make it out of committee. It asks that authors make their peer-reviewed manuscripts available to OA repositories within six months of publication; that agencies devise common deposit procedures (thus making the law easier to comply with); and that articles are deposited in a format and under terms that allow them to be widely reused and analyzed.

“By next year, I hope we can say: Don’t give candy; give knowledge,” writes Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project, in his analysis of the Valentine’s Day bill.

Suber calls the executive and legislative strategies complementary. The directive alone isn’t law, which means the next president could rescind it. As for FASTR, it’s unclear whether it will be adopted and how the sequester — the across-the-board budget cuts to federal agencies — will affect it.

“The legislative situation in Washington is problematic due to the budget impasse,” says Ann Wolpert, director of MIT Libraries. “But open access advocacy groups continue to keep pressure on the appropriate committees of Congress.”

In late February, Wolpert published a serendipitously timed article in the New England Journal of Medicine called “For the Sake of Inquiry and Knowledge — The Inevitability of Open Access.” The article was one of four opinion pieces on the pros and cons of OA that the journal commissioned last fall. In it Wolpert explores the “powerful motivations” underlying open access, including the fact that scholarly authors write for impact, not royalties, that much of research is taxpayer funded, and that journal publishers have often disproportionally raised their subscription prices. The Internet, of course, was the disruption to the long-running, intricate scholarly publishing system that has enabled open access.

“For all its known flaws, no one wants to destroy peer-reviewed publication,” Wolpert writes. “But the nonpublisher stakeholders in the scholarly communication system can no longer support the prices and access constraints desired by traditional publishers.”

Because of the diversity of research culture, Wolpert writes, we should expect open access to come in fits and starts depending on the discipline and on new communication tools that will “flourish or perish.”

For now, the White House directive provides a welcome push. “I’m confident the library community and academia will be active during this time in support of plans that make sense from the perspective of research universities and their libraries,” Wolpert says, adding that the MIT Faculty Open Access Working Group of the Committee on the Library System has both FASTR and the directive on its upcoming agenda.

Celebrate Preservation Week, April 21-27

Posted April 12th, 2013 by MIT Libraries

Preservation Week is almost here! What’s Preservation Week, you ask? It was created in 2010 by the American Library Association to highlight the importance of preserving library and cultural heritage collections.

Celebrate Preservation Week, April 21st -27th, with a series of events hosted by Curation and Preservation Services of the MIT Libraries. Events are open to all, but some events require registration due to limited seating.

For details about these events and more information on Preservation Week, please visit the MIT Libraries Preservation Week web page.


Save the Music! Transforming MIT music collections for future use

Monday, April 22nd, 2013, 2-3pm

MIT Room 14N-132 (160 Memorial Drive)

Please register for this event


Webinar: The Preservation of Family Photographs

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013, 2-3pm

MIT Room 14N-132 (160 Memorial Drive)


Webinar: Personal Digital Archiving

followed by Q+A with Kari Smith, MIT Digital Archivist

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013, 2-4pm

MIT Room 14N-132 (160 Memorial Drive)


Where Science Meets Artifact: An Inside Look at

the Role of Conservation Science in Preserving Cultural Heritage

Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 3-4pm

Presented by Shannon Taylor, MIT ’13 and Dr. Katherine Eremin, Patricia Cornwall Conservation Scientist at the Harvard Art Museums’ Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies

MIT Room 56-114 (21 Ames Street)

Patriots’ Day library hours: Monday, April 15

Posted April 10th, 2013 by Grace Mlady

On Monday, April 15, 2013, the following libraries will open at noon (12pm):

All other library locations will be closed. Libraries resume regular hours on Tuesday, April 16.

Have questions? Ask Us!

Comprehensive Physiology is now online!

Posted April 8th, 2013 by Chris Sherratt

Once upon a time when librarians got questions about the human body, they’d walk to the colorful, well-worn, reference volumes of Handbook of Physiology. The Libraries is pleased to announce this venerable source has formed the basis of the new, digital, Comprehensive Physiology,, and we subscribe!

It begins with more than 30,000 pages from the American Physiological Society’s Handbook, and the plan is to produce 4000 pages each year to update and refresh it. Each major system of the body is included: respiration, circulation, gastrointestinal, nervous and more. Its January 2013 issue covers sleep apnea, animal locomotion, and the effect of exercise on cognitive abilities. For those in life sciences, neuroscience, or anyone on a physiological quest, we invite you to check this out—now only a click away!

Happy Day of DH!

Posted April 8th, 2013 by Patsy Baudoin

Monday, April 8th is this year’s Day of DH.

A Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities is a project that examines the state of the digital humanities through the lens of those within it. Follow the day’s activities @DayofDH on Twitter.

If you’re interested in the digital humanities or if you’re wondering what it is, explore our most recent research guide, Digital Humanities. Since it’s a work in progress, please let us know what you’d like to see added to it. 




Royal Society of Chemistry offers vouchers to publish articles open access without fee

Posted April 3rd, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has announced an experimental program for 2013 that will provide vouchers to authors, allowing them to publish their RSC articles open access without paying the standard article publication fee.

The program, called “Gold for Gold,” is offered at universities, like MIT, whose libraries subscribe to “RSC Gold,” the entire package of RSC journals and databases.

All MIT authors publishing in RSC journals are eligible. A limited number of vouchers (based on the cost to the MIT Libraries for the RSC Gold subscription) will be distributed by the Libraries on a first-come, first-served basis. Vouchers can be applied only to articles that have been accepted for publication, and cannot be applied retrospectively to articles already published.

To request a voucher, send an email request to, including:

    Your name


    The title of your article


    The RSC journal the article has been accepted by

If vouchers are still available, a voucher number will be sent back to you by the Libraries via email.

To use a voucher, it should be entered into the Gold for Gold online acceptance form after the author receives notification that the article has been accepted. (The author will be asked to sign a different publication agreement at this stage.)

Benefits of vouchers
Upon publication, the article will be accessible to all readers, worldwide, regardless of whether they or their institutions subscribe to RSC journals. The Gold for Gold open access articles will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution license, maximizing the potential for openness and reuse.

RSC explains that they envisioned the program as “a mechanism to ease some of the economic burden on our authors who either needed to comply with open access mandates or simply wanted their articles published open access for other reasons.” Choosing the RSC open access option is one way to fulfill the requirements of the NIH Public Access Policy, with no action required by the author other than indicating the article is NIH funded.

For more information, or to provide feedback about this pilot program:
Gold for Gold FAQ
Erja Kajosalo, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Librarian

OA research in the news: Profs receive undergrad teaching award

Posted April 3rd, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Linda Griffith

Four professors were recently named MacVicar Faculty Fellows, honored for their outstanding undergraduate teaching and commitment to innovation in education. The honorees are Linda Griffith, Rob Miller, Laura Schulz, and Emma Teng; each receives an allowance for 10 years to help “enrich the undergraduate learning experience.”

Explore Professor Griffith’s research, Professor Miller’s research, and Professor Schulz’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.

Barker Library closed Saturday

Posted April 2nd, 2013 by Cassandra Silvia

Barker Library will be closed for a private function on Saturday, April 6th. Access to the 24 hour space will be available from closing time Friday until 6am and will resume at 8pm on Saturday. The library will be open for regular business hours on Sunday.

If you need Saturday access to materials you have on hold at Barker, please email or call the Barker service desk to have your item(s) delivered to another MIT library.

Thank you for your patience.

Composer Forrest Larson April 10

Posted April 2nd, 2013 by Christie Moore

Composer forum series: Forrest Larson, composer, violist and electronic musician.

forrest-larsonMIT Lewis Music Library staff member Forrest Larson will discuss his compositions that use “found sounds” from both natural as well as urban landscapes in compositions with acoustic instruments. MIT student Emily Su will perform The Crows Return for flute and recorded sound.  Forrest will also discuss Seabird Fantasy, commissioned by the MIT Wind Ensemble.

He has also written works for string quartet, string orchestra, unaccompanied violin, viola and cello. He plays live analog electronic instruments with the group Sonic Sandbox.

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: 5-6 pm
Reception follows.
Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts.

Study happier with the MIT Libraries!

Posted April 1st, 2013 by Remlee Green

Did you know that 94% of students who study in the library get better grades on final exams?*  There are tons of great study spots at the 5 libraries around campus, and everyone has a favorite.  You won’t know your favorite until you’ve tried them all.  Here are some highlights:

  • photo of girl reading in Hayden LibraryRestored Barker Dome:
    Enjoy the beauty and natural light from the newly open skylight. Judging from the number of people in the reading room, the secret is already out! There are also more study spaces on the 6th – 8th floors, including spaces for groups on the 8th floor.
  • 24/7 spaces: 
    Dewey, Hayden, and now Barker, all have study spaces that are open around-the-clock for MIT students. Just use your MIT ID for secure access.
  • Individual & group study spaces: 
    We have spaces for both individual and group needs. You can even reserve some of the group study rooms. Some offer LCD screens with laptop connectors and even video conferencing capabilities.  Find out more about all of our study spaces.

*OK, we made that part up. April Fool’s!