Archive for July, 2013

University of Chicago begins lending library materials through BorrowDirect

Posted July 31st, 2013 by Heather Denny

Beginning in August, MIT will be able to tap into the book collections of yet another top institution when the University of Chicago becomes an active member of Borrow Direct, a partnership that allows library materials to be shared between member institutions.BorrowDirectPartnerLogo

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 includes MIT and the libraries of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard.

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

Through Borrow Direct, faculty, students, and staff from participating institutions can search over 50 million volumes in the members’ 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.

Dambrogio named as MIT Libraries’ new conservator

Posted July 31st, 2013 by Heather Denny

Jana Dambrogio

Jana Dambrogio will join the staff of the MIT Libraries in September as the new Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator. In this role she will manage MIT’s special collections conservation program–planning and executing conservation treatments for the physical maintenance of rare books, archives, and manuscripts. She will also contribute to the Libraries’ overall preservation strategy.

Dambrogio comes from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) where she has been a senior conservator since 2004. In addition to her work at NARA, she brings an impressive array of experience from consultancies, fellowships, and internships at other well-known national and international institutions such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, the Vatican Secret Archives, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and Houghton Library at Harvard University.

“Jana is an experienced and innovative conservator who is prepared to continue the high level of commitment, notable ability, and passion for conservation that we have been fortunate to have in this position,” said Nancy McGovern, MIT Libraries’ Head of Curation and Preservation Services.

The Libraries conservator position is endowed by generous long-time MIT Libraries’ supporter Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (Class of 1957).

OA research in the news: Programming with natural language

Posted July 26th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Regina Barzilay

Regina Barzilay

Researchers in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have demonstrated it’s possible to use English instead of specialized programming languages to complete some computing tasks. Regina Barzilay, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering, recently coauthored two new papers: One shows that a computer can take similar natural language requests and convert them into notation that allows flexible and specific searching. In the other, Barzilay and researchers describe a system that can automatically write working software programs based on natural language specifications.

Explore Professor Barzilay’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.

National Digital Stewardship Alliance releases inaugural agenda for digital stewardship

Posted July 23rd, 2013 by Heather Denny

As members of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), a consortium of over 145 leading government, academic, and private sector organizations committed to long term preservation of digital information, the MIT Libraries are pleased to announce the NDSA’s release of the inaugural National Agenda NDSAimagefor Digital Stewardship.

MIT Libraries’ Director of Research, Micah Altman, played a key role in the creation of the document, serving on the NDSA Coordinating Committee, contributing as a joint author, and formally introducing the report at the Library of Congress’s annual Digital Preservation conference. Nancy McGovern, MIT Libraries’ Head of Curation and Preservation Services, also contributed to the report, and is leading a related project on digital repository self-assessment.

The National Agenda’s purpose is to highlight emerging technological trends, identify gaps in digital stewardship capacity, and provide insight into the work needed to ensure that today’s valuable digital content remains accessible and comprehensible in the future.

“Digital stewardship is vital for the authenticity of public records, the reliability of scientific evidence, and the enduring accessibility to our cultural heritage. Knowledge of ongoing research, practice, and organizational collaborations has been distributed widely across disciplines, sectors, and communities of practice.The agenda identifies the highest-impact opportunities to advance the state of the art, the state of practice, and the state of collaboration in this rapidly changing field,” said Dr. Altman.

The 2014 Agenda integrates the perspective of dozens of experts and hundreds of institutions, convened through the Library of Congress. It outlines the challenges and opportunities related to digital preservation activities in four broad areas: Organizational Roles, Policies, and Practices; Digital Content Areas; Infrastructure Development; and Research Priorities.

Read the full report.

APIs for scholarly resources: A guide for getting started

Posted July 23rd, 2013 by Mark Clemente

APIs, short for application programming interface, are tools used to share content and data between software applications.  APIs are used in many contexts, but some examples include embedding content from one website into another, dynamically pulling content from one application to display in another application, or extracting data from a database in a more programmatic way than a regular user interface might allow.

Many scholarly publishers, databases, and products offer APIs to allow users with programming skills to more powerfully extract data to serve a variety of research purposes.  With an API, users might create programmatic searches of a citation database, extract statistical data, or dynamically query and post blog content.

To learn more about these APIs, the MIT Libraries offer a guide to APIs for scholarly resources.  The guide lists commonly used scholarly resources at MIT that make their APIs available for use, including Nature, Web of Science, arXiv, PubMed, Scopus, and others.  If you have programming skills and would like to use APIs in your research, use the guide to begin your exploration.

For more information, please contact Mark Clemente, Library Fellow for Scholarly Publishing and Licensing, at


PubMed logoPLoS logoORCID logoarXiv logo



By JoVE, we’ve got it!

Posted July 19th, 2013 by Chris Sherratt

You might be one of the many researchers at MIT enjoying the resource JoVE. It’s a way to “read” and see science in motion!

Best explained on its website,“Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is a peer reviewed, PubMed indexed journal devoted to the publication of biological, medical, chemical, and physical research in a video format…  JoVE takes advantage of video technology to capture and transmit the multiple facets and intricacies of life science research.”

The Barton record for JoVE lists the various sections available through the Libraries; these include Applied Physics, Bioengineering, Chemistry, Neuroscience, and more.

The Libraries heartily invites you to take a look at “The First Scientific Video Journal.”  Ask Us! for further details.

jove image

OA research in the news: Challenges for women entrepreneurs

Posted July 11th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Fiona Murray

Fiona Murray

Last month, Dell released its first Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), a report analyzing conditions that help women entrepreneurs flourish in various countries. The United States was the top-ranked nation in the list, though the report notes there is room for improvement in all countries because “women and men are not on a level playing field in terms of access to resources, which continues to impact women’s ability to start and grow businesses.” In light of the GEDI study, MIT News recently spoke with Fiona Murray, a professor in the Sloan School of Management, about her research and MIT’s role in supporting women entrepreneurs.

Explore Professor Murray’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.

OneMine helps you dig deeper

Posted July 10th, 2013 by Chris Sherratt

Although today you won’t find a Course called “Mining Engineering” at MIT, people have been interested from the Institute’s beginning in 1865 (Course 3, geology and mining) through the present day: see the new (2012) Mining and Oil & Gas Club@ MIT. This group seeks to “catalyze interest in the mining and oil & gas industries within the MIT Community,” and the Libraries is pleased to offer something that might help.

Explore OneMine, “an innovative collaboration among societies that serve the mining and minerals community.” Gathering documents from groups like SME, (Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration), TMS (The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society), and AIME and SAIMM (for those in the know), OneMine wants to provide materials online that previously have been in print only. We are very interested in your feedback on OneMine, so try a search on “rare earth oxide extraction”, and Tell Us what you unearth!


ILLiad downtime Wednesday, July 24th, noon-5pm

Posted July 9th, 2013 by Melissa Feiden

ILLiad at MITPlease be aware that, due to a scheduled software upgrade, ILLiad will be unavailable from 12:00pm – 5:00pm EST on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
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.

New Energy Statistics Database from the U.N.

Posted July 5th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill


Need to compare data on energy production and use across countries over time?  Try the United Nations Energy Statistics Database, available for download from the Harvard-MIT Data Center.  This new dataset covers the historical period of 1990-2005 and provides comprehensive energy statistics on more than 215 countries on topics such as:

  • production
  • trade
  • transformation
  • consumption

Note: this dataset comes as a fixed-field dataset that can be understood utilizing the accompanying documentation.  For questions about using this or other research datasets in the social sciences, contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at

For updated data covering more recent years, see the Energy Statistics Database via UNdata.

Looking for more energy statistics or other available datasets? See:

Ever wonder where MIT history lives? Explore the MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections

Posted July 1st, 2013 by Remlee Green

photo of the Institute Archives reading roomMIT’s history comes alive in the Institute Archives and Special Collections. Come explore!

  • Ever wondered where William Barton Rogers spent his honeymoon? Read his diary.
  • In 1962 Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions set a new standard in the philosophy of science. Read his drafts in person at the Institute Archives & Special Collections.

Libraries closed on Thursday, July 4

Posted July 1st, 2013 by Grace Mlady

Fireworks ShowAll MIT libraries will be closed for Independence Day, Thursday, July 4.

The Libraries will resume summer hours on Friday, July 5.  Please see our hours page for a list of library locations and hours.

Have questions? Ask Us!