Archive for June, 2013

SciFinder: Same great content, slightly new look

Posted June 27th, 2013 by Chris Sherratt

Many at MIT and thousands around the globe are well acquainted with SciFinder, the most comprehensive discovery tool for chemical information. Now it sports a new interface designed to save you time and improve the search experience. Use the “get URL”: to see if you agree with Christine McCue of CAS who says:

“We are confident that the improvements unveiled today will enhance the SciFinder user experience and enable new and faster scientific breakthroughs.”

For more information contact Erja Kajosalo,, Librarian for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. She knows tips like ‘Chrome on the Mac is not usable with SciFinder and Substance or Reaction Explores due to Java not being compatible.’  Or, use  Ask Us!

chem pic


OA research in the news: Bertschinger appointed as Community & Equity Officer

Posted June 27th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Edmund Bertschinger

Edmund Bertschinger

Last week, MIT Provost Chris Kaiser announced that physics department head Edmund Bertschinger will take on a newly created role as Institute Community and Equity Officer. Bertschinger will work with Kaiser and President Rafael Reif to “help make MIT a place where everyone truly feels they belong,” said Reif. Bertschinger has worked for years on issues of diversity and inclusion: he’s served on MIT’s Committee on Race and Diversity since 2009 and has chaired the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Office of Minority Education since 2010. As department head, he has used mentoring to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to get involved in physics research and education. Bertschinger’s research is in cosmology with a focus on the growth of the structure in the universe.

Explore Professor Bertschinger’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.

Chat with us: “Ask Us! – Chat” beta

Posted June 26th, 2013 by Remlee Green

drawing of a speech bubbleThis summer, we’re trying an experiment, and we need your help! In the past, you may have contacted us with questions by web form, email, phone, or by dropping by a library desk.  (And we love all your questions! Keep them coming!)

This summer, in addition to all the usual ways to contact us, we’ll be happy to answer your questions by chat between 12-5pm, Monday-Friday. To start a chat with us, visit the Ask Us! page. At the end of the chat, we’ll ask you to fill out a very short survey that will help us to figure out how valuable you think the service is.

In August, we’ll evaluate the beta service and decide whether to continue it into the Fall term or not. To see a list of other experimental library tools and services, see our betas & widgets page.

MIT and Harvard libraries awarded grant to foster careers in digital stewardship

Posted June 26th, 2013 by Heather Denny

MIT and Harvard libraries will play a role in ensuring a new generation of library school graduates will be prepared for jobs in digital stewardship. The universities were jointly awarded a 2013 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that will fund a pilot program to help recent graduates gain the skills, experience, and network needed to begin successful careers.

“There’s a real gap between students graduating and the skills they need for available jobs. The program aims to bridge that gap,” said Nancy McGovern, head of curation and preservation services for MIT Libraries, and a co-author of the grant proposal.


The program will mirror a national digital curation residency program developed by the Library of Congress, but it will be the first of its kind in the Boston-area. Over the course of two years a total of ten residents will get hands-on experience in projects that involve digital library collections, long-term preservation, and accessibility of digital assets. Recent library school graduates will have a chance to apply for the program that will give them the opportunity to work with a host institution in the Boston-area, and network with other area institutions, industry leaders, and peers.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for the MIT Libraries to participate in raising awareness, and building community and competencies in this field,” said McGovern.

McGovern will coordinate the development of the program’s curriculum, in collaboration with Andrea Goethals, manager of digital preservation and repository services for Harvard Library, and lead author of the grant proposal. The first year of the grant will cover planning and preparation. The program will welcome the first cohort of residents in fall 2014.

MIT and Harvard will also work closely with a similar grant-funded project in New York led by the Metropolitan New York Library Council and Brooklyn Historical Society. See the full list of 2013 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant recipients.

Academic Media Production Services (AMPS) joins the Office of Digital Learning (ODL)

Posted June 26th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Effective July 1, 2013 Academic Media Production Services (AMPS), the MIT Libraries’ unit responsible for video production, distance education, and MIT TechTV, will become part of the Office of Digital Learning (ODL).

The ODL, formed in November 2012, is comprised of MITx, MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), and the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT). The addition of AMPS will add a key asset—video expertise and infrastructure—to the office that is charged with exploring emerging technologies to transform education at MIT.

“AMPS has played a big role in creating high quality video for MIT’s educational programs, including OCW and the first MITx classes. I’m excited to have the team on board in the Office of Digital Learning, and to work with Larry Gallagher, director of video productions, who will report to me,” said Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s director of digital learning.

“I also value the work AMPS does to support important Institute initiatives and distance education, and they will continue to provide these services as part of ODL,” he said.

AMPS has been a unit of the MIT Libraries since 2007. During the past six years, the video production group opened a state-of-the-art studio in Building 24, and played a key role in producing video for major Institute initiatives and events such as MIT150. The distance education and lecture capture group supported numerous MIT classes, webcasting live events and lectures to the world, and sharing increasing amounts of content online through MIT TechTV. AMPS recent involvement with MITx created a natural transition for the group.

“I am personally delighted by the recognition of [AMPS] talents that is signaled through this administrative change, said Ann Wolpert, director of Libraries. “The synergy between the mission of ODL and these highly skilled units is clear and compelling, and the strength and experience the staff of these units will bring to MIT’s new focus on digital learning will contribute significantly to the success of this high-priority activity of the Institute.”

During and after the transition AMPS will continue to provide a full suite of video services to the MIT community. See a portfolio of AMPS’ work, and learn more about the services they offer.

Notice anything different? Web site improvements

Posted June 25th, 2013 by Remlee Green

You may have recently noticed improvements to many pages on our web site.  Now you can:

  • Screenshot of library locations web pageSearch BartonPlus, our new search interface, from the “Start your search” tab on the home page.
  • Locate current and future library hours more easily with a date-picker option.
  • Find and reserve study spaces more easily on new study spaces pages.
  • Learn more about each MIT library on improved library locations pages, including new “About us” and “collections” pages.
  • Find your way around our site more easily with a new navigation bar.

This is a work-in-progress.  Over the next year, you’ll see even more improvements, including:

  • New styling on our research guides.
  • More consistent navigation throughout our web site.

We’re still working out a few bugs, so if you notice anything odd, or if you have thoughts about improvements you’d like to see, tell us about it!

Check out the complete listing of JulyAP 2013 sessions

Posted June 18th, 2013 by Mark Szarko

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

photo by L.Barry Hetherington

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

Patent Searching Fundamentals – Register
Wed July 10, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Howard Silver,

You won’t come out of this session qualified to be a patent attorney, but 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.

Please register for this session.

Take Charge of Your Stuff: Personal Content Management Tools – Register
Mon July 15, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Peter Cohn,

Personal content management tools help you get organized so you can work more efficiently and save yourself time. Some tools help you organize all sorts of information (notes, pdfs, documents, etc.) and work more efficiently. Others let you annotate, cite, and/or share your content. In this session we’ll show you tools for doing this while working solo or in a group.

Please register for this session.

Research Data Management: File Organization – Register
Mon July 15, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Katherine McNeill,

Do you struggle with organizing your research data? Wonder if there’s a better way to arrange and name your data files to optimize your work? This workshop will teach you practical techniques for organizing your data files. Topics will include: file and folder organizational structures and file naming. Will include hands-on exercises to apply the concepts to your particular data project.

Please register for this session.

Introduction to GIS – Register
Tue July 16, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Jennie Murack,

Learn the basics of visualizing and analyzing geographic information and creating your own maps in a Geographic Information System (GIS). We will introduce open source and proprietary GIS software options and let attendees choose to work through exercises using ESRI ArcGIS (proprietary) and/or Quantum GIS (QGIS) (open source). Learn to work with data from the MIT Geodata Repository, analyze the data, and create maps that can be used in reports and presentations.

Please register for this session.

Digitization @MIT Libraries – Register
Wed July 17, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Andrew Haggarty,

Boxes of dusty photos and slides? Old records sitting in the basement? Tax forms piling up in desk drawers? Take a tour through some of the digitization options available to the MIT community on campus through MIT Libraries, learn how to safely (and cheaply) digitize your items, and what steps you can take for long-term preservation.

Please register for this session.

Managing Your References: Overview of EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley – Register
Wed July 17, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Peter Cohn,

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, 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. We’ll take a look at these 3 tools.

Please register for this session.

Managing Confidential Data – Register
Thu July 18, 9:00 – 3:00, 56-114
Contact: Randi Shapiro,

This tutorial provides a framework for identifying and managing confidential information in research. It is most appropriate for mid-late career graduate students, faculty, and professional research staff who actively engage in the design/planning of research. The course will provide an overview of the major legal requirements governing confidential research data; and the core technological measures used to safeguard data. And it will provide an introduction to the statistical methods and software tools used to analyze and limit disclosure risks.

Failures of confidentiality threaten research integrity, reputation, legality, and funding. Every researcher in the social, behavioral and health sciences must understand how to manage confidential information in research. Successful management of confidential information is particularly challenging because it requires satisfying a combination of complex legal, statistical and technological constants. And the management of this information has grown increasingly challenging because of recent changes in the law, new forms of data collection, and advances in statistical methods for linking data.

The course will be presented in a half-day format, followed by an individualized consulting session focused on each attendee’s research project.

Please register for this class.

GIS Level 2 – Register
Thu July 18, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Jennie Murack,

Expand your experience with GIS software and learn how to create and edit GIS files, geocode addresses onto a map, re-project data, and use tools like Clip, Buffer, and Spatial Join.

Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of ArcGIS (such as taking the Intro to GIS workshop)

Please register for this session.

Commercialize Your Science and Engineering Research Register
Fri July 19, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Howard Silver,

This session will introduce scientists and engineers to business information resources that will help you understand the commercial potential for your ideas, how to find partners, and sources for financial support. We will use realistic examples and hands-on exercises with key resources to demonstrate how to match your ideas and discoveries with the opportunities and realities of the marketplace.

Please register for this session.

EndNote Basics
Wed July 31, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, 14N-132
Contact: Anita Perkins,

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.

University of Chicago joins Borrow Direct, expanding access for MIT and other partner institutions

Posted June 17th, 2013 by Heather Denny

MIT will soon be able to tap into the book collections of yet another top institution when the University of Chicago joins Borrow Direct, a partnership that allows for the sharing of library materials between member institutions, this fall.

The Reading Room, Mansueto Library, University of Chicago. Photo by John Schiebel

The University of Chicago Library is the ninth largest research library in North America with 10.7 million volumes in print and electronic form. Chicago will become the tenth university to join the Borrow Direct partnership, which already includes MIT and the libraries of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard.

Through Borrow Direct, faculty, students, and staff from participating institutions can search over 50 million volumes in the school’s combined library catalogs, and request circulating materials directly from the library where they are held.

“The strength of the combined collections of the outstanding libraries represented in Borrow Direct [is] a tremendous asset to our community and to library users across the cooperative,” said Ann Wolpert, MIT’s Director of Libraries, when MIT joined the partnership in 2011.

Since the Borrow Direct service was implemented at MIT, MIT users have borrowed nearly 2,500 items from other institutions. The average turnaround time to receive a requested item at MIT is 3.5 days.

Learn more about how to use Borrow Direct, or go directly to MIT’s WorldCat to search for books from Borrow Direct libraries.


MIT responds to White House directive on expanding open access

Posted June 14th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

MIT has issued a response to the White House in support of open access again — this time to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in relation to the OSTP’s February 22 directive on public access to federally funded research and data. The directive asks each federal agency with over $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to create a plan to support increased public access to the results of research they fund, and gives them six months (until August 22) to come up with policies that would make both articles and data openly available to the public.

For articles, MIT’s response calls for copyright to be “assigned…in a non-exclusive manner to ensure frictionless reuse” including for “discovery, sharing, and text mining.” MIT also supports enhancing access through the use of open licensing (e.g. via Creative Commons), which would maximize the potential for reuse and “fuel innovation.” The response recommends that publications be made available within six months of publication — but certainly no later than 12 months — and that “common procedures, requirements, and processes should be established across all funding agencies” so that participation is convenient for authors.

For data, MIT reiterated the call for common practices. In addition, MIT recommended persistent identifiers for data sets, and an “agreed-upon standard for citing data” which would “enable easy reuse and verification,” as well as “allow the impact of data to be tracked.” Other recommendations open access to data included developing a “minimum set of core metadata” and “an API for standards-based data exchange, to help ensure a level of interoperability and discovery across all disciplines.” The response also emphasizes the need for common legal agreements that ensure discovery, mining, reuse and sharing and recommends against allowing any “single entity or group” being allowed to “secure an exclusive right over digital data or new business opportunities.”

Following MIT’s response, the Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the Association of Research Libraries issued a proposal called SHARE in response to the directive. The proposal emphasizes that “universities have invested in the infrastructure, tools, and services necessary to provide effective and efficient access to their research and scholarship,” and that to meet the goals of the White House directive they could develop a federated “system of cross-institutional digital repositories” to be called the “SHared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE).” Publishers have also put forward their own proposal.

Background information:

White house directive on open access to data and publications

Responses to directive, including MIT’s on publications (see p. 71) and on data (see p. 25)

Publisher proposal (CHORUS)

Association of American Universities, APLU, and ARL proposal (SHARE); also discussed in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Prior MIT Responses to open access inquiries from the OSTP in 2010 and 2012

OA research in the news: Tracking bird flu

Posted June 13th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Ram Sasisekharan

New studies coauthored by biological engineering professor Ram Sasisekharan show that two bird flu strains could become highly infectious among humans with just a few genetic mutations. Both strains have already jumped from birds to humans, though neither has spread beyond a few hundred people. “There is cause for concern,” Sasisekharan told the MIT News. But the researchers hope their work can be used to develop better vaccines. “Our research provides insights to help keep track of potentially important mutations so that proactive steps can be taken to be better prepared against dangerous viruses,” he said.

Explore Professor Sasisekharan’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.

Access data on banks in the U.S. and beyond

Posted June 11th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Need data on banks and banking?  Try these databases from the MIT Libraries:

OECD Banking Statistics logo

For banks in OECD-member countries, from the OECD:
Access data since 1979 on classification of bank assets and liabilities, income statement and balance sheet and structure of the financial system for OECD-member countries.   This is just one of many statistical databases you can access from the OECD.

WRDS logo

For U.S. banks, from Wharton Research Data Services:

  1. Bank Regulatory Database:
    Provides accounting data for bank holding companies, commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loans institutions.
  2. FDIC: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Datasets:
    Historical financial data for commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loans.
  3. Federal Reserve Bank Reports:
    Includes: Foreign Exchange Rates (H.10 Report), Interest Rates (H.15 Report), and FRB-Philadelphia State Indexes.

For more Libraries’ guides related to banking, see:

Make time to “Make stuff”

Posted June 10th, 2013 by Chris Sherratt

MIT people love to make things and now that summer is here, perhaps you can make time to pick up that put-off  project or learn to use that tool everyone else (you think) already knows how to wield. The MIT Libraries has a place to get started.

Mechanical Engineering Librarian Angie Locknar has created a guide to the shops and tools on campus here: “We wanted to have one place to go to find things that people might need if they like to invent/create/build … plus we’re hoping users will send other helpful links to include.”

Make this summer to design and make stuff!

The Trope Tank’s Trope Report Technical Report Series

Posted June 7th, 2013 by Patsy Baudoin

In 2012 CMS/WHS Professor Nick Montfort published The Trivial Program ‘yes’, the first of a series of technical papers, the “Trope Report Technical Report Series.” Read the first five tech reports in DSpace. Note, too, that “trope report” is a palindrome, one of Professor Montfort’s favorite literary genres.

The “Trope Tank” is the name of his lab for creative computing at 14N-233, and there’s more about it at