MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


Innovative initiatives have long been a hallmark of MIT’s Libraries. From an early vision of a distributed system of discipline-oriented libraries, through the post-war futuristic ideals of Project Intrex, to the large-scale implementation of off-site storage in the 1970s, the Libraries have experimented with creative approaches to library and information service. In 1999—2000, the MIT Libraries took on a new challenge, that of defining library excellence for MIT in the 21st century.

The MIT Libraries fulfill an essential role in furthering MIT’s mission of excellence in education and research. Underpinning the classroom, laboratory, and research center, the Libraries ensure that advances in knowledge and understanding are preserved and freely available to students and faculty–current and future. MIT has long recognized the richness of its Libraries’ resources and the quality of their services. Indeed, both are understood as factors in the Institute’s ability to attract and retain top-quality faculty and students.

Yet the defining characteristics of a world-class research library are no longer dictated solely by the strengths of 19th and 20th century libraries. Although the digital revolution is still a story in its earliest chapters, and there remains a serious disconnect between the hyperbole of digital champions and the experience of real students and faculty at MIT (and elsewhere), the systematic growth of networked electronic resources has begun to have an impact on teaching, research, and scholarship at the Institute.

This impact is, as yet, suggestive rather than transforming. At present, the potential of electronic publication resides largely in the enhanced speed and expanded geographic reach of current publications of limited length. Traditional library, archival, and publishing practices still continue to satisfy a significant majority of MIT’s current information requirements, and ubiquitous networked access is but one of many obstacles to realizing the full potential of networked resources. Nevertheless, the digital environment provides opportunities for steady movement toward new modes of interaction between the MIT Libraries and the Institute’s faculty and students. As on-going possibilities for improvement are identified, the Libraries will continue to seize those that have relevance to the research and educational mission of MIT.


Three trends emerged in 1999—2000. First, for those disciplines where the Libraries have been able to introduce a critical mass of full-text networked digital resources, faculty and students are taking full, eager advantage of the flexibility provided. Second, our progress in redefining network-based service options has been enthusiastically welcomed by the MIT community. Usability testing, surveys of students and faculty, self-service alternatives, and network outreach strategies are among the tools employed during the past year to develop or refine an array of services that are responsive to faculty and student requirements. Third, the Libraries’ close working relationships with Information Systems and the MIT Press continue to increase understanding and synergism among these important groups, and has resulted in improved service to the MIT community.

One consequence of these trends has been diverging expectations within the MIT community about the shape of library resources and services. For example, some faculty and students would have the MIT Libraries abandon print altogether, while others are deeply dismayed by the limited content, volatility, inadequate interfaces, and high cost of digital publications. Another example of diverging expectations is found in attitudes about the Libraries facilities. One faculty member will articulate the value of having many conveniently located traditional library facilities, while another chafes against the inconvenience caused by fragmenting the Institute’s wealth of resources across multiple on-site and off-site locations.

This is also a time when long-standing legal and operational assumptions about library resources are increasingly in question. Faculty are disconcerted to find that their traditional right to make fair use of copyrighted library material is permissible on-campus, but forbidden in distance education. They are concerned that permanent ownership, which is assured with print collections, has no parallel in the license agreements that make digital resources available to the MIT community. Many faculty are aware that the digital environment itself includes no guarantees concerning the long-term viability of electronic formats, especially as compared to paper. And those who rely on the Libraries’ off-site collections have begun to question the cost and effectiveness of placing 25% (and rising) of research resources in off-site shelving.

Cumulatively, these issues raise fundamental questions about the shape of MIT’s Libraries in the future. While there are no easy resolutions to any of these conundrums, what is certain is that distinctions must be drawn and choices must be made. During 1999—2000, the MIT Libraries turned to a strategic planning process to provide structured guidance for these choices.


The Libraries’ Strategic Plan focuses on three broad directions that are critical to the future of the MIT Libraries. Combined, these strategic directions advance the Libraries’ mission to be creative partners in the research and learning process at MIT, and comprise a Libraries’ vision for resources, service, place, and technology. The directions are to:

Progress toward each of these three strategic directions during 1999—2000 is discussed in greater detail below.

To excel at providing rapid, easy, and precise access to high quality information for education and research

Locating and accessing accurate information has become increasingly difficult for faculty and students in today’s many-media environment. The challenge to the Libraries is to provide user-friendly, integrated, responsive, and precise access to all resources, in any medium, in all relevant disciplines, wherever and whenever it is needed. No small task, to be sure. Taken broadly, this requires the libraries to develop service strategies, collection management practices, acquisitions policies, and system tools to better organize and merge an invaluable traditional Institute asset (the incomparable, still-growing physical collections) with emerging forms of research communication and educational instruction.

In furtherance of this strategic direction, in 1999—2000, the Libraries undertook a number of important initiatives. Among the more visible activities was the project to redesign the Libraries’ web site as an information portal. Released thus far are "Vera: the Virtual Electronic Resources Access" web page; new and updated subject web pages designed to support academic disciplines, research interests, and specific courses at the Institute; and a variety of library instruction and orientation program content. Another highly visible project was the work within Document Services to make MIT theses available electronically. More than 4,000 titles are currently available, with more being added on a regular basis. Yet another interesting project was the second phase of a pilot project to offer electronic reserves, which was successfully concluded in June.

Three major projects to improve bibliographic access to the Libraries’ traditional resources were launched or continued under this strategic direction during 1999—2000. First, success was achieved in improving the visibility and accessibility of government documents in the MIT Libraries collections. Second, significant progress was made in the cataloging of maps and other special format materials so these materials would be visible in the Barton online catalog. And, third, Collections Services successfully completed the second year of a highly creative, multi-year project to provide online bibliographic access to the MIT Libraries’ extraordinary early research collections.

Another area of service growth was interlibrary borrowing. Borrowing material and obtaining photocopies from other libraries to meet the needs of MIT faculty and students rose again during 1999—2000, reflecting a continuous upward trend (33% since 1995—1996) in this information service. The steady increase in demand has two bases. First, increased usage (and increased numbers) of electronic indexes and abstracts now allow faculty and students to identify additional materials relevant to their research. Not all of the references cited in these databases will be available within MIT’s collections. Second, the rapid growth of research in health sciences-related disciplines is not mirrored in the MIT Libraries’ collections. Research and teaching needs must often be met through interlibrary borrowing.

The Libraries also celebrated dramatic progress in expanding access to digital resources over the campus network. As of year end, over 1,300 journals and more than 200 databases were available on the network in support of MIT education and research.

To ensure that MIT Libraries’ spaces and operations facilitate intellectual life on campus

For the foreseeable future, the Libraries’ facilities will continue to play an essential role in MIT’s learning environment and community spaces. Students look to the Libraries for support that contributes to their quality of life, collegiality, and intellectual growth. The Libraries must create spaces that meet the needs of today’s MIT community–as well as their own operational needs. Students and faculty alike look to the Libraries to provide places to think and write, to study and learn, to be a source for information and research materials, and a place where people are ready and willing to help in the use of those materials.

During 1999—2000, to advance this strategic priority, the firm of Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott was retained to assist the Libraries in an appraisal of library facilities needs and opportunities. As a consequence of this systematic planning process, two urgent building projects were identified, proposed, and funded for the fiscal year 2000—2001. A master plan for the MIT Libraries is scheduled for completion in late summer of 2000.

Also during 1999—2000, the Aeronautics/Astronautics Library moved to newly renovated quarters, where it will be an integral part of the Department’s new state-of-the-art teaching laboratory.

Finally, a substantive review of the Libraries’ Special Collections was completed to lay the groundwork for a series of discussions and recommendations regarding the stewardship of these resources, and their role in the intellectual life of the campus.

To be a leader among academic research institutions in the use of applied library technology

Information technology has had a dramatic impact on expectations regarding the definition and scope of libraries. Perhaps nowhere are these expectations more explicit than in a major, technically-oriented teaching and research institution like MIT. Unfortunately, both nationally and at MIT, the gap between expectations and reality is vast. There is a great need for library laboratories where the technical/social/economic impacts of proposed solutions can be reasonably assessed. MIT and its Libraries have a unique responsibility for the development of sustainable information technology models for the future.

During 1999—2000 the MIT Libraries undertook three major projects under the auspices of this strategic priority. The first of these projects is DSpace, a partnership of Hewlett-Packard Laboratories and the MIT Libraries. DSpace is a digital repository designed to provide a durable repository of documents that MIT faculty and researchers expect to share within the Institute and with their colleagues around the world. In a separate but related research initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Libraries will design a business model to sustain DSpace when research funding is no longer available.

The second major applied technology project undertaken during 1999—2000 was that of upgrading the Libraries’ library management system. Planning for the next-generation system began in 1998—1999, and the process of selecting a new system continued in 1999—2000 under the leadership of a small but broad-based and highly effective Libraries’ task force. Implementation of the new system will require substantial effort in 2000—2001.

The third initiative was multi-faceted and responded to the MIT community’s interest in more "self-service" options. A proxy server was brought online early in the academic year to enable qualified students and faculty to access many of the MIT Libraries’ electronic subscription services from off-campus. Additional electronic databases and journals are being added, as contracts are revised, to provide this enhanced level of service to the community. A second "self-service" option being actively pursued is the Libraries’ early participation in wireless infrastructure projects developed for the campus. The Libraries anticipate a high value in this functionality for students and faculty who carry web-accessible portable devices.


At the end of the day, the success of the strategic plan will be measured by two standards. First, success will be found in the eagerness with which the MIT Libraries’ staff rises to the challenges it presents. The directions it describes are not simple nor are the solutions obvious. Moreover, none of these directions can be accomplished without active involvement on the part of the faculty and students of MIT. It will take courage to question assumptions and depart from the comfort of well-established service models.

The second measure of success will be in the MIT Libraries’ ability to provide sustained, high value to the students and faculty of MIT. If the plan is successful, access to resources (including the extraordinary staff of the MIT Libraries) will be simplified and improved, fragmentation will be reduced, Libraries’ spaces will facilitate intellectual life on (and off) campus, and technology will be developed and/or deployed in useful, sustainable, inventive ways.

To achieve the goals of the strategic plan the Libraries must work within the umbrella of the Institute’s master planning process to develop a long-range facilities plan for the MIT Libraries. The Libraries must ensure that staff are appropriately trained in new technologies and competencies, and that library organizational structures support their work. Finally, the Libraries must work closely with the Institute’s academic leadership, Resource Development, the Council on Educational Technology, Information Systems, and many other academic and administrative leaders on campus to identify potential partners and supporters for library initiatives. The Libraries’ success in meeting our goals within the "Campaign for MIT" will obviously be significant.

No report of this nature is complete without acknowledging the extraordinary efforts and commitment of the staff of the MIT Libraries. These exceptional individuals continue to exhibit an energy and enthusiasm that are the envy of our peers, and daily earn the respect and admiration of MIT’s world-class faculty and students. The fact that many important projects and significant contributions cannot be singled out for attention in this document is no reflection on their significance to the Libraries or their importance to the work of the Institute. The MIT Libraries are equally grateful for the generous support they continue to receive from our academic and administrative colleagues here at MIT.

More information about the MIT Libraries can be found on the World Wide Web at

Ann J. Wolpert


The MIT Libraries exist to support education and research at MIT. To do this successfully in an era of changing expectations, library services must evolve to retain the best of the traditional models while adding new approaches that expand and enhance access. During 1999—2000, the Public Services units of the MIT Libraries continued their review and evaluation of existing programs and undertook several pilot projects to inform our planning for future years. In the course of the year, we reaffirmed the essential roles libraries play in providing an array of information resources; different levels of assistance depending on the needs of the user; and conveniently-located, well-equipped spaces that are conducive to study, collaboration, and social interaction.


The completion of a new strategic plan for the MIT Libraries in November 1999 endowed us with a structure and focus for Public Services initiatives already underway and in the planning stages. Significant progress was made in meeting the three strategic directions articulated in the plan: to excel at providing rapid, easy, and precise access to high quality information for education and research at MIT; to ensure that library spaces and operations facilitate intellectual life on campus; and to be a leader among academic research institutions in the use of applied library technology.

To pursue these strategic directions with confidence, this year Public Services staff created a number of survey instruments to help us gain keener insight into the needs of our user communities. We wanted to know: How do students, faculty and staff find and use information, and what impact has the availability of electronic journals and books had on their information seeking? Building on a comprehensive survey of undergraduate and graduate students carried out two years ago. Libraries’ staff conducted several new surveys, including a major survey of faculty library and information usage. Twenty-seven percent of faculty responded to the questionnaire mailed to them. Their answers have provided us with much-needed data about the ways they use library resources, facilities, and services for research and teaching. Other surveys sought feedback on first-year students’ need for instruction in the use of libraries and information resources and on satisfaction levels with the Libraries’ document delivery programs.

Providing Rapid, Easy, and Precise Access to High Quality Information for Education and Research

Beyond the work done to build collections and license electronic resources for use by the MIT community described in the Collection Services section of this report, Public Services staff made additional significant contributions to help library users find services and information. One of the most important projects currently underway is a complete redesign of the MIT Libraries’ web site. Launched in February 1999, this project has placed a heavy emphasis on usability throughout. Users were observed while interacting with our web site, enabling staff to better understand their conceptions of our services, collections, and virtual space. Feedback from our users allowed us to gradually create a structure that site visitors should find both logical and intuitive, a bridge rather than a barrier to their information seeking. Next the redesign team will work with a graphic designer to give form to this logical structure. The new site will be presented for review and comment in Fall 2000, and we expect the site to be finalized early in 2001.

Public Services staff spearheaded another project to make it easier to find electronic journals and databases. Early in 2000 the Libraries announced the creation of the "Vera: Virtual Electronic Resource Access" web page. Prominently listed on the MIT Libraries’ homepage, it provides subject listings and links to licensed and unlicensed electronic resources that have been selected for the MIT community. A significant amount of work was invested in designing Vera so that it would be simple for students and faculty to use and straightforward for staff to update and maintain. To date Vera has proved to be a heavily used resource to help users navigate our growing collection of electronic information. One recent user sent this reaction: "Did I mention that I think this whole VERA thing is the greatest?"

While not so high-profile as either the web site redesign or the Vera project, an effort to ensure the ongoing viability of pages on the web was another key initiative. Public Services staff invested a substantial amount of time in creating and updating subject web pages that correspond to disciplines, specific courses, or research interests at MIT. This type of work has become increasingly important over the past few years as students and faculty have begun to turn to the web as their first source of information.

Another technology-based project that continued this year was the effort by Document Services to make MIT theses available electronically. In a service formally launched in November 1999, we have sent more than 600 MIT theses to requesters on campus and all over the world via electronic delivery. There are more than 4,000 titles currently available, and more are being added on a regular basis. Because the MIT Libraries are highly regarded for the leadership role we have played in the development of electronic thesis delivery, we were invited to join the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD). The addition of MIT as a member of the NDLTD enhanced the stature of that organization and will facilitate cooperation in the development of techniques to distribute theses electronically. Membership in the NDLTD promises to present opportunities for MIT to share in future developments in electronic thesis delivery.

Libraries’ staff also continued to collaborate with I/S on a discovery project on electronic reserves. Four classes made use of the fledgling e-reserves service, one of the classes offering MP3 audio files in addition to scanned articles. In their evaluations of the e-reserves pilot, students in all four classes overwhelmingly responded that they would recommend e-reserves to other students. A report containing cost projections and staffing recommendations has been written and forwarded to the Libraries’ administration and I/S. A decision will be made early in 2000—2001 about future growth of the e-reserves service.

This year Public Services units have also devoted attention to developing their instruction and orientation programs in new directions. A team of librarians finished a videotaped orientation that featured the MIT mascot in an X-Files style mystery that provided a vehicle for showcasing the MIT Libraries and some basic resources. The video, shown on MIT cable and in a number of other venues during the fall orientation, was deemed "pretty cool" by students in one of the dorms. Later in the fall the video was made available to the general public through the Libraries’ web site.

Not all Public Services projects are so technology-intensive. This year staff increased their efforts in the areas of more traditional forms of instruction and outreach. Among the most innovative approaches was the tremendously successful InfoFair hosted by Dewey Library staff to promote MIT Libraries services to user communities at the east end of campus. People who stopped by the InfoFair booth on the plaza in front of the Hermann Building were given free items that provided information about library services and/or about library-supported databases. The entire Dewey staff participated, and more than 200 people attended this one event.

One last undertaking that will undoubtedly result in a number of changes was the work of a small task force to develop a report and recommendations on delivery of materials to members of the MIT community. This group studied the current mechanisms in place for physical and electronic delivery of items owned by the MIT Libraries as well as items we obtain from other libraries and vendors to supplement our collections. At present this work is handled by several different units, so it can be difficult for users to figure out which place to contact. Using the recommendations in the report, during 2000—2001 we intend to simplify and streamline the process for requesting materials and hope to make this much more intuitive for our users.

Ensuring that Library Spaces and Operations Facilitate Intellectual Life on Campus

The past year brought much planning and significant change in a number of library spaces:

Besides planning for space changes, the Libraries succeeded in beginning or continuing several other initiatives to enhance intellectual life at MIT. One ongoing, very popular activity is the authors@mit series, a collaborative effort of the Libraries and the MIT Press Bookstore to bring noted authors with MIT connections to speak at events held in one of the Libraries or elsewhere at MIT. Another program that has received much positive attention is "The Object of the Month" exhibit posted by Institute Archives staff. Each month an archival or manuscript collection object such as a letter, a page of print text, or a visual image, is chosen from one of the Archives’ collections and featured in both a small exhibit case outside the Archives and on the Archives’ web page at

Leading in the Use of Applied Library Technology

In recent months a number of Public Services librarians have studied web-based customer service technology in use in the retail sector and have begun to think about how this technology might be applied to library services. There is a growing sense of urgency about this because library staff are well aware that students and faculty are increasingly likely to turn to the web to find information they need, often from offices and dorms that do not give them the capability of interacting with professional librarians for direction. As a first step in figuring out how to deliver remote information and reference services, a small group of librarians has written a proposal for a digital reference project that would allow reference providers to interact with users as they search the web. We expect to experiment with commercial software during the next year and will be one of a handful of academic libraries that is actively trying to develop an innovative remote reference service.

The Libraries are also eager to pursue wireless technology in order to make it easier for library users to access the array of electronic resources we provide. Due to a relationship established this past year between the Dewey Library management team and the Sloan School I/T management group, Dewey has been slated to be the first divisional library to receive a wireless infrastructure as part of the Sloan School installation for wireless communications in all its facilities. We have also been involved in discussions about wireless deployment on the MIT campus in general and are optimistic that the Libraries’ spaces will be among the first to provide this enhanced access.


Public Services units have continued their work of the past three years to change the organizational culture and structure to ensure that library services are responsive to the needs of the MIT community and change over time as technology and user demands require. One major development during 1999—2000 was the start-up of a series of committees that focus on specific segments of the Libraries’ user population. The faculty survey described earlier in this report was adeptly carried out by the Faculty User Group. This group has already begun to advocate for improvements and changes in services for faculty. The Graduate Student User Group and the Alumni User Group have both established productive working relationships with key players in their constituencies, and plans are in place for closer collaboration on future programming. While groups focusing on service to administration, researchers and post-docs, undergraduate students, and outside users had just begun their work at the end of the fiscal year, they also hold great promise for creating stronger ties, more cooperation, and better understanding of how the MIT Libraries can best serve the MIT community.

On the personnel front, the past year was one in which many units experienced serious problems in retaining staff. Across Public Services, 29% of the staff turned over. Particularly hard hit were the five divisional libraries and the Institute Archives. Staff left their positions for a number of reasons, including internal promotional opportunities, changes in careers, and competition from the for-profit sector. In some cases we filled in with temporary appointments, but even temporary help was hard to find and retain. It is clear that we cannot sustain this level of staff turnover in the future, so a high priority in 2000—2001 will be the development of strategies to improve retention.

On the positive side, we have been very fortunate to recruit exceptional staff to come to the MIT Libraries, and they join an outstanding group of colleagues already in place. Three new department heads [Catherine Friedman, Dewey Library; Steven Gass, Barker Engineering Library, and Megan Sniffin-Marinoff, Institute Archives (who became full-time in July 1999)] and three new associate heads (Elizabeth Andrews, Institute Archives; Patricia Flanagan, Dewey Library; Deborah Helman, Barker Engineering Library) were appointed. In addition to these positions, we filled 30 other slots covering both professional and support staff.


This report only skims the surface of the most visible and notable achievements of Public Services staff in 1999—2000. Given the difficulty experienced with staff turnover, the major progress that has been made on a number of fronts is even more impressive. The MIT Libraries have finished the year with stronger ties to members of the MIT community, and we are well-positioned to continue to grow and develop in the coming year.

Virginia Steel



During most of the 20th century, libraries were defined as buildings holding collections (along with staff who supported the use of those collections in many ways). At the beginning of the 21st century a shift in the very concept of libraries is evident. Libraries will be defined as a matrix of services that facilitate access to information from a broad variety of sources and in many formats. Library collections are becoming a mix of on-site collections, off-site collections, and digital resources. During 1999—2000, the Libraries’ Collection Services staff were engaged in special projects and ongoing processes in support of each of these components of the Libraries’ delivery of information resources to the MIT community.


On-site collections will continue to be a core resource and unique asset for MIT students, faculty, and researchers. Collection Services continued our commitment to acquiring them, providing bibliographic access to them, and caring for them in numerous ways this year. Particular attention was directed to valuable collections which have been difficult to locate and use, but which can significantly expand the readily available information base.

Government Documents

The MIT Libraries have been a Depository Library for U.S. Government Documents since 1946. Through the Depository Program, the Libraries maintain approximately 6,000 subscriptions and acquire approximately 6,000 monographs a year. Due to staffing levels, however, up until now only a small percentage of these materials had records in Barton, the Libraries’ online catalog. During 1999—2000, we moved to fill this access gap. A cross- departmental planning group, coordinated by the Collection Services Information Technology Librarian, planned processes for loading MARC (machine-readable cataloging) records for the monographs from an outside supplier, using software created at UC Riverside. Brief records will be loaded at the time of receipt of the documents. This step has been implemented (after significant cleanup of our existing documents database). Full bibliographic records will be overlaid on a continuous basis as they become available from the Government Printing Office. This step should be implemented by September 2000.

In addition to this project for machine-loading records for government document monographs, we began to deploy serials cataloging staff to an in-house effort to gradually add records for the subscription materials. Taken together, the effect of these two projects will make the Libraries’ rich collections of government documents known to all users of the catalog. In addition to dramatically improving access to the materials, the project has also streamlined handling of government documents by several library units.

Maps and Other Special Formats

In July 1999, we filled a newly defined position in the Bibliographic Access Services department: Special Formats Cataloger. This position was created in recognition of the continuing expansion of our acquisition of formats other than print books and serials, and our insufficient capacity for providing catalog access to them. In the first year of the existence of this position, we have made significant progress toward our goal of effective bibliographic access for all formats of information. Records for the following special formats materials were added to Barton: maps and city plans in the Rotch Library, newly acquired maps in the Lindgren Library, the Anderson Award Projects in Rotch, and videos of architecture lectures held by Rotch and of CLSI and EECS lecture series held by Barker Engineering Library.

Rare Books Task Force

In September, the Libraries’ Steering Committee received the report of the Special Collections Task Force. The report documented the significance of the Libraries’ collections of rare books and their potential as scholarly resources. It called attention to the need for integrated solutions to significant problems of bibliographic and physical access, staffing, space, and security. By the end of 1999—2000, a position in Bibliographic Access Services had been designated as principally responsible for cataloging these collections, an important first step toward those "integrated solutions."

Two additional activities related to on-site collections this year were notable: the cancellation of serial titles amounting to 2% of our serials budget was carried out efficiently last summer to adjust for over-expenditure of the budget in 1998—1999; and collection development policy statements for 22 subjects were completed.


The continuing growth of the Libraries’ physical collections and the growing space pressures on MIT’s campus mandate that off-site collections will be a permanent component of the Libraries’ strategy for providing access to information resources.

Space Planning

In order to achieve an acceptable balance between on-site and off-site collections, as well as to address many other pressing space issues within the Libraries, a master space planning project was conducted during 1999—2000. The report resulting from that process gives direction to interim short-term space projects, as well as to fundraising for capital projects that would relieve space pressures and provide appropriate library spaces for the 21st century. Two proposals to CRSP for space projects in 2000—2001 were approved. One of these, a proposal to install compact shelving in the basement of Hayden Library, will be an initial step toward slowing the movement of collections to off-site locations.


Fiscal year 2000 was the second year in a three-year project to accelerate our moves to storage in order to provide adequate on-site shelving for the remaining collections. Our goals at the beginning of the project were to move 25,000 to 30,000 volumes from the Science Library in year one, 20,000 volumes from the Humanities Library in year two, and 20,000 volumes from Barker Engineering Library in year three. After a slow start in year one, with only 3,000 volumes moved from the Science Library, we made up for lost time this year. An additional 22,000 volumes were moved from the Science Library, as well as 22,000 volumes from the Humanities Library. Barker Engineering Library has already begun the selection process for its moves in 2000—2001. In total this year, 72,000 volumes were sent to the Harvard Depository, comprising 30,000 volumes from the Libraries’ on-site facilities and an additional 42,000 from the RetroSpective Collection (RSC). The moves from the RSC were required in order to make room for another 27,000 volumes from the on-site collections, for which closer proximity to the campus was considered desirable. In addition to the negative impact of disrupting the research process of library users, the movement of this significant volume of materials to storage is a labor-intensive activity for the Libraries, impacting almost every department. The tasks involved include selection, packing and moving, shifting materials remaining on shelves, bibliographic record changes, disposition of duplicates discovered in the process, and accelerated recalls and deliveries.

Retrospective Cataloging of the Early Research Collection

Fiscal year 2000 was also the second year of a multi-year project to provide bibliographic access to the so-called Dewey Decimal Collection, which is housed in the RSC. This collection contains some of the Libraries’ oldest materials, with imprint dates ranging from 1780 to 1963. About 25,000 monograph titles have been cataloged by Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) on a contractual basis since the project began in June 1998, with an estimated total of 65,000 titles in the collection. This year, the entire file of records created during the first year of the project was loaded into Barton, and daily loads of new records were implemented. Requests for these items are increasing as the records become visible and another of MIT Libraries’ rich collections of resources is readily available to the Libraries’ users. In addition to the project for outsourced cataloging of monographs in this collection, serials catalogers are keeping pace in an on-site project to catalog the serial collections. This year, approximately 450 serial titles were cataloged, making it possible to move 11,500 volumes to the Harvard Depository, while at the same time increasing their visibility and use.

Digital Resources

Dramatic progress was made this year in expanding the access to digital resources on MITnet. In April, the Libraries marked the milestones of the 1200th e-journal (ScienceOnline), and the 200th database (Derwent Innovations Index) with a public celebration. By the end of 1999—2000 the totals were 1,337 e-journals and 210 databases, in comparison to approximately 500 e-journals and 100 databases at the end of 1998—1999. Major additions this year included the following:

We continued to develop our processes for managing the acquisitions and cataloging of digital resources, and our presentation of them to our library users.

Acquisitions Processes

The Digital Resources Acquisitions Librarian worked closely with the Libraries’ Web Manager to develop Virtual Electronic Resource Access (Vera), a FileMaker Pro database that now facilitates management of every aspect of our digital resources acquisitions processes, as well as the presentation of digital resources on the Libraries’ web site. Vera provides centralized record-keeping for all the acquisitions processes, including license restrictions, access control methods, URLs, technical contact information, contract renewal dates, and IP addresses. It has substantially improved–actually transformed–the way we manage digital resources. The implementation of a proxy server for off-campus access was another significant transition this year. The Digital Resources Acquisitions Librarian reviewed and renegotiated licenses to maximize the number of products we could deliver off-campus, totaling 79% of our databases and 94% of our e-journals at this point in time.

Cataloging Processes

Over 1,000 electronic journals were cataloged in 1999—2000, and approximately 400 electronic products were cataloged as monographs, more than doubling the numbers cataloged last year. Several large database packages include electronic monographs that are still queued for cataloging. There are many complexities still to be resolved in relation to cataloging digital resources. As an example, redesign of two large databases, after substantial cataloging had been done on the contents, required subsequent recataloging. At year end, the Libraries had engaged in a series of discussions related to the scope of materials to be included in our catalog and whether distinctions can be made among types and levels of records in order to provide timely access to more materials.

Catalogers completed their participation in OCLC’s Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) pilot project, and began to investigate whether CORC could now be used operationally as a means of creating brief records for some electronic materials quickly and inexpensively. The Special Formats Cataloger, as part of an IS/Libraries Discovery Team, is investigating the possible extraction of Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) metadata for building catalog records for Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Our continuing struggles with cataloging issues related to digital resources seems parallel to the uncertainties we faced two or three years ago related to processes for acquiring them. We hope that over the next few years we will be able to construct solutions to the cataloging questions that are as satisfactory, and satisfying, as those we have devised for acquisitions processes.

A System for Managing All Collections

Integral to our management of all collections–on-site, off-site, and digital–is our library management system, currently Geac Advance. Several activities in 1999—2000 contributed to the thrust for continual improvement. In July and August, during the process of testing the Geac authorities loader, staff discovered critical problems with record matching. A software fix was contracted for with the vendor, who subsequently incorporated the changes in an upgrade for its entire customer base. In the early fall, daily vendor-based authorities processing was implemented, resulting in a continuing high level of heading consistency and references in the Libraries’ catalog. We further strengthened our focus on the quality assurance of the database by redefining a support staff position as a MARC Database Quality Technician.

Led by the Third Barton Project Management Team, staff members in Collection Services were involved this year in several stages of the search process for our next library management system. Staff participated in reviewing and evaluating five vendor presentations in the fall of 1999. Following that, scenarios were created in each functional area to provide an evaluative methodology for more in-depth presentations by finalist vendors. In addition, many individual projects were launched in preparation for migration of the database. In the first decades of the 21st century, Collection Services will be continually challenged in our endeavors to manage collections in broadly varying formats, in a mix of physical and virtual locations. The staff will rely on and contribute to changing technologies that will support successful management. We will seek to preserve the best of our traditional values and practices, as we develop the flexibility, experimentation, and vision this new environment requires.

Carol Fleishauer



Facilitating our work through technology is no longer the responsibility of a single person or unit of the MIT Libraries. We have successfully moved to a model, which distributes that responsibility throughout the structure of our organization, always aiming to bring it closer to the sites where mission-critical work gets done. Our Information Technology Librarians have worked within both Public and Collection Services to ensure that we are aware of the opportunities technology affords and pursuing those most likely to serve the mission of the MIT Libraries. Our Systems Office not only professionally manages those systems central to MIT Libraries’ services, but also works with a host of Local Technology Experts spread throughout the Libraries’ departments to manage desktop computing problems at the source and distribute technical know-how into the capillaries of our organization. This extraordinary model of strategizing about and supporting technology has become for us in this last year the ordinary. Still, it takes no less work, commitment, and dedication from our staff both inside the Systems Office and around the Libraries. The fact is that this foundation of effort by Information Technology Librarians, Systems Office staff, and Local Technology Experts has given the MIT Libraries the ability to raise our heads and focus on new strategic opportunities.


Our most exciting new opportunity to harness technology for the MIT Libraries and the Institute presented itself during a conversation with visitors from Hewlett-Packard in August 1999. In the course of the conversation we found common ground and began to discuss opportunities for HP to work directly with the Libraries on a project of mutual interest. Within two weeks we had drafted the project plan that would, many months later, be introduced to the world as the DSpace Project.

DSpace is a digital repository being designed to house those documents which MIT faculty and researchers are prepared to share with their colleagues around the world. HP has granted MIT $1.8 million to conduct the research necessary to build DSpace while also contributing some of its own staff both directly to the project and in support roles from HP facilities. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided $215,000 of grant funding for a related project to design a business model to sustain us after the HP funding runs out at the end of 2001.

A Steering Committee of HP and MIT staff has already met and will continue to meet to ensure the project stays on track. An Advisory Committee of MIT faculty and Libraries’ staff will begin to meet soon to make sure the project is properly positioned within the MIT environment. Already on the DSpace team are two HP employees and two MIT employees, with at least three more staff members to be hired. The DSpace staff have moved into a renovated office in the Barker Engineering Library where they have begun the work of building DSpace itself.

Our announcement of the project was noted in much of the academic and library press. A briefing on DSpace at the Coalition for Networked Information spring task force meeting also helped make the academic community aware of our effort. We have already been contacted by many institutions interested in sharing their knowledge of this domain with us, learning from us, or possibly using the DSpace model on their campus once we have it built. Our timeline calls for an early prototype by the end of 2000 with version 1.0 ready for use by the faculty and researchers of the Institute in Fall 2001.

In addition to being an exciting project in its own right, the DSpace project also serves as a model of the kind of work the MIT Libraries would like to engage in. Our Strategic Plan calls for establishing a "library laboratory" to explore those areas where the MIT Libraries could lead in the appropriate adoption of technology. DSpace is teaching us what we need to learn so that we can work effectively with corporate partners, establish a place for some of our staff to focus on the future, and gain confidence in our ability to articulate fresh visions for the Institute community.


While establishing new services and coming to terms with the future role of libraries at MIT, we still must attend to our core business: managing the assets of the Institute with which we have been entrusted. Much of that management is done via our library management system, known on campus by the name Barton. Our current Barton software system has come to the end of its useful life. Planning for the next-generation system began in 1998—1999 and the process of selecting a new system, the third generation of Barton, continued in 1999—2000.

During this year the "Third Barton Project" met its timeline, inviting five vendors to campus for day-long demonstrations in front of MIT staff and then narrowing this pool down to two final contenders. An RFP was issued to those two candidate vendors (a company called Sirsi, which sells the Unicorn system, and Ex Libris, which sells the Aleph500 system). The Third Barton Project Management Team and the rest of our staff did a great deal of work preparing scenarios these vendors will use during a week-long visit later this summer. We expect to select a vendor and negotiate a contract during Fall 2000 and bring the new library management system up at the end of 2000—2001.

The MIT Libraries would like to acknowledge the support received for this project from the Office of the Provost, the IS Department, and the Finance Department. Their assistance is crucial to the implementation of the Third Barton system.


Responding to the urging of faculty and students who needed access to electronic resources from off-campus, the Libraries began running a "proxy" server in August 1999. While the campus architecture favors certificates as a means of authentication rather than network address, many vendors of information resources depend on identifying legitimate users by the Internet address of their browser. By running a proxy server, the Libraries are now able to check the web certificates of a user and pass legitimate users on to vendors as though they were operating their browser from an on-campus machine.

The MIT Libraries also began testing self-service circulation during the last year. Although installation of a pilot "self-check" system proved difficult, we were able to set up a self-check station in the Hayden Library building. Self-service is an expectation our customers are expressing, and this pilot project will test actual customer behavior.


This year the Libraries began to use the Data Warehouse to keep critical customer information (our patron files) up-to-date. Close alignment with Data Warehouse information should ensure that our records recognize members of the MIT community without additional fuss or bother.

The Libraries have also enjoyed representation on the new I/T Architecture Group that has grown from the work of the Integration Team over the past year. This intimate connection to the Institute-wide strategizing on issues of information technology has helped the Libraries plan effectively for the future while contributing a broader perspective to the work of the Group.

The Libraries successfully made the case that our common spaces should be part of any wireless infrastructure rollout on campus. While this infrastructure has not actually been installed yet, we are pleased that the role of the Libraries was clearly enough understood that our spaces will be covered even if a more modest rollout is eventually agreed to. It is vital that the Libraries continue to be a central part of the Institute’s information technology infrastructure.

YEAR 2000

The Y2K transition was so smooth that it is easy to forget that it was accomplished during this fiscal year. Within the MIT Libraries we made a conscious effort not to overreact to the hype so pervasive in the last six months of 1999. Staff in our Systems Office took sensible precautions with our central systems, such as Barton, and made sure that the rest of our staff understood how to minimize their exposure to potential Y2K bugs. But we did not, as a rule, spend very much time planning for the fall of civilization. Instead we prepared to fix what broke and clean up any resulting mess. The fact that very little broke vindicated this strategy–a strategy which made it possible to spend energies on other opportunities.


Partly due to the minimal time spent on Y2K prep, we were able to forge a new relationship with the MIT Press to collect three of their electronic journals. This small project, which allowed the Press to increase reader and author confidence in their journals and allowed us to get to know some of the problems inherent in mounting a collection of this sort of material, might not have been possible if we had spent our energies less judiciously. The project with the Press leaves us plenty of room to grow, especially since archiving electronic journals is now a hot topic of interest to both academic libraries and the publishing world.


Both the Third Barton and the DSpace projects will demand an enormous amount of effort from us in the coming year. Even more exciting, though, is the fact that our exploration of appropriate technologies for the Libraries will be conducted well beyond the bounds of our Systems staff. For example, our Public Services staff will be exploring tools for digital reference services, while Collection Services staff will investigate ways to enhance the navigation we offer customers through our electronic resources. This work will be facilitated by our excellent Systems Office, including a new programmer there, but the ideas and initiative are coming from the whole staff. Just as they should.

Eric Celeste


We have had an extraordinarily good year overall for fiscal year 2000, our second consecutive year of record surpluses. We have exceeded expectations this year in several categories.

Domestic book sales were up about 8%, with continuing strong performance from the back list. We are especially pleased with export sales, particularly in light of the discontinuance of our export mark-up. Traditionally, except for some special textbook pricing, our prices have been marked up about 30% for export markets. We eliminated that mark-up in January in response to pressure from foreign booksellers who were finding it increasingly difficult to cope with Internet booksellers who were offering their customers U.S. prices on our books. Our strategy to compensate for this change was to raise prices on our back list and to hope for offsetting increased unit sales. It worked. Sales improved in UK/Europe about 6% and in Canada about 12%. Total export sales were up 4.2%.

Domestic textbook sales were up 18% over last year, and sales of books from our website increased from $214K in 1998—1999 to $329,000 in fiscal year 2000. Journals sales were also up. Despite major glitches in migrating to a new fulfillment management system, Journals produced a net surplus of $310,000. We also put the finishing touches on CogNet, which was officially launched at the annual ALA meeting in Chicago in July 2000. Our contract for ArchNet has been renewed for another year by the Aga Kahn Foundation, and the Press worked with the MIT Architecture Department to win a developmental grant from the iCampus for the first two years of the development of M.ArchNet.

We have also made serious strides in the development of our new warehouse fulfillment operation in collaboration with the university presses at Harvard and Yale. All three Presses will be fulfilling orders from the warehouse by the end of fiscal year 2001.

The front list continues to grow. Sales of new titles were up about 7%, from $6241K to $6671K. We also put into place a promising list for fiscal year 2001. New list growth may slow somewhat in fiscal year 2002—03 because we have recently lost four important members of the Acquisition's team. We have been very fortunate in quickly filling two of these four slots with seasoned editors who have hit the ground running. We expect to fill the second slot in economics and finance, and the slot in neuroscience, within the next few months.

While the smash hit of the year was Mapping Boston, the top 20 titles for the year reflected the full range of our core programs. It is noteworthy that we had a good sales performance year even in the face of record returns, particularly in May and June. Overall, our returns were at 22% of sales in fiscal year 2000 compared to 18% in fiscal year1999.

Our reference book program continues to produce one major offering each season, notable recent successes being The MIT Encyclopedia of The Cognitive Sciences, and The New Cognitive Neurosciences.

The Journals division continues to make advances in sales and in developing partnerships for electronic asset management. The most significant connections this past year were partnerships with Project Muse, Catchword, and Highwire. The Journals division has also been instrumental in developing the marketing program for the launch of CogNet, in preparation for taking over management of this program in fiscal year 2001.

The staff of the Digital Projects Lab has been increased from four to six with the addition of two programmers, and the group has moved to new quarters in 3 Cambridge Center. One programmer will be devoted entirely to the support of journals, primarily developing web-enabled sites for individual titles. The DPL is also responsible for the technical development and support of CogNet, the development and management of ArchNet for the Aga Kahn Foundation, and the implementation of the design and functionality of M.ArchNet (in collaboration with the Department of Architecture). The DPL is also responsible for continuing technical support for our website and electronic catalogue, which will migrate to an Oracle database and new server during the coming year. The new configuration will allow for sophisticated e-commerce transactions on the site as well as developing targeted services for our customers.

We have also made significant strides in developing a strategy for overall electronic asset management and have implemented a number of partnerships with e-content accumulators such as NetLibrary, Books 24x7, GlassBooks, eBrary, and R.R.Donnely, and we are currently exploring other vendors such as Questia.

Editorial, Production, and Design continue to increase throughput for our growing list while maintaining our traditionally high standards. We are currently reconfiguring office space to accommodate additions to staff in all three departments to accommodate the growing list.

Our balance sheet has improved as we continue to pay down the negative reserve accumulated from RATA charges. That figure was $1.5 million at the end of fiscal year1998, $1.2 million at the end of fiscal year1999, and will be about $700,000 for fiscal year 2000. We are on target for eliminating it by the end of fiscal year 2002.

MIT authors:

Among the noteworthy books by non-MIT people from our scholarly and professional program were:

New hardcover books for trade and general audiences included:

Books published primarily as texts included:

Editors in the Acquisitions Department included: Laurence Cohen (Editor-in-chief; Social Theory, Science & Technology Studies); Amy Brand (Psychology and Linguistics); Roger Conover (Art and Architecture); Clay Morgan (Environmental Studies); Robert Prior and Douglas Sery (Computer Science); Victoria Richardson (Finance); Michael Rutter (Neuroscience); and Terry Vaughn (Economics).

TITLES (in order of contribution to overhead)



Table 1. Comparative Operating Results (In Thousands)




Total Net Book Sales




Cost Of Sales




Gross Margin on Sales




Other Pub. Income




Bookstore Net




Total Income




Operating Expenses




Net Books Division




Journals Net




Net Pub. Operations





Faculty serving on the MIT Press Editorial Board this year were Joshua Cohen, Carol Fleishauer, Rafael A. Bras, Jed Buchwald, Joseph Jacobson, Leslie Pack Kaebling, Nancy Kanwisher, Michael Scott Morton, and Board Chair William Mitchell. Frank Urbanowski and Ann Wolpert served as ex-officio members.

The MIT Press Management Board met twice during the year. Members of the Board were: Ann J. Wolpert, board chair and Director of MIT Libraries; Mary Curtis, President of Transaction Publishers; Joseph Esposito, former President and CEO of Tribal Voice, Inc.; Jack Goellner, Director Emeritus of Johns Hopkins University Press; William Arms, faculty of Cornell University; John Hanley, Chairman and CEO of Scientific American; Stephen Lerman, MIT Professor of Civil Engineering; William Mitchell, Dean of MIT School of Architecture and Planning; Richard Rowe, President of Rowe.Com; Jerome Rubin, former Group VP, Times Mirror; Richard Schmalensee, Dean, Sloan School of Management; Hal Abelson, MIT Professor of Engineering and Computational Science. Frank Urbanowski served as ex-officio.


Our subsidiary rights program has at its core the sale of translation rights to our books. The income generated by the licensing of foreign rights increased by slightly over 33% since fiscal year1999. The number of translation contracts increased from 83 contracts signed during fiscal year1999 to 108 during the same period in fiscal year 2000. The average size of the advances paid against royalties has remained stable, with the exception of mainland China, where we have begun to implement a policy of minimum advances and to ask for royalty scales more in line with those offered by publishers in the rest of Asia. Total income from translations was spread evenly over the list, including both front list and backlist titles. Our strongest disciplines in the translation market are economics and cognitive science.

A significant shift over the last few years has been the increase in income from our reprint program, which includes permission to photocopy and to publish excerpts from our books. During this past year, The Sciences of the New York Academy of Sciences featured first-serial rights excerpts of Ubel’s Pricing Life and Thornhill and Palmer’s A Natural History of Rape.

In the category of reprint sales, we have begun to license selected English language reprints in those markets where we forecast limited income from sales of our own edition. Income from our reprint program increased by four percent since fiscal year 1999, and constitutes a substantial portion of total subsidiary rights income.

During fiscal year 2000 income from sales to book clubs increased by 53% since fiscal year1999. Following a period of consolidation and reorganization in the book club industry, the number of MIT Press titles featured has increased gradually. Although most titles are purchased by book clubs as alternate selections, in recent months book clubs under the same umbrella have begun to make joint purchases. This market continues to be the least predictable for subsidiary rights and depends both on our publishing list and on the financial formula required by book clubs.

Income from the license of electronic rights during fiscal year 2000 declined by 21%. This figure is somewhat misleading: We make a distinction between sales of the entire book in electronic form and sales of portions of books for which we receive royalties on the basis of frequency of access. Only the second category is included as subsidiary rights income.

Overall, subsidiary rights income in fiscal year 2000 increased by 19.7% since fiscal year1999.

Table 2. Subsidiary rights income FY98-FY00













Book Clubs




Electronic, AV rights








*Please note that this total reflects disbursement of royalties due an author who requested payment before the end of the royalty year.


In the past, The MIT Press Marketing Department had been conceived of as two separate, but coordinated, divisions: Marketing and Promotions. Functionally, however, we have operated as three: Domestic Sales, Promotions (Domestic), and International Marketing (i.e. International sales and promotions). With an increasing reliance on electronic promotional activities to sell our books, and with an increasing electronic component in the mix of Press content including software, CD-ROMs, and site licensing for individual book and resource web sites, it became clear that we needed to create another, distinct division within Marketing, one that would coordinate a cohesive electronic marketing program for projects within the Digital Projects Lab, Journals, and Books, and which would be responsible for keeping up with changes to the electronic market place, especially as it impacts our web site. We created the new position of Electronic Marketing Manager. Our former Bookstore Manager, Jeremy Grainger, accepted a promotion to this position in September.

Jeremy Grainger accepted this position, The MIT Press Bookstore was restructured and now reports directly to the Marketing Director, Vicki Jennings. The Bookstore's former Assistant Manager, Maureen Ziochouski, and Senior Clerk, John Jenkins, were promoted to Bookstore Co-Managers.

Reports from Domestic Sales, Promotions, Electronic Marketing and International Marketing Managers follow.

Domestic Sales

Domestic Sales in fiscal year 2000 remained strong, growing 7.8%. Backlist sales once again accounted for over 60% of total sales. The impact of websellers (particularly,, and continues to widen the audience for our books and helps consumers find our backlist titles that are no longer on the shelves of independent and chain bookstores. The websellers’ growing market share has significantly shifted our customer sales by type over the past year. Wholesaler and webseller sales account for 56% of domestic sales, while chain and independent sales account for 16%. We estimate that wholesalers still provide over 50% of MIT Press titles to websellers.

This sales reallocation and growth has allowed us to work out longstanding issues with Borders (which has been on hold since March 1, 2000). Sales to this major customer have been cut in half, but we are confident that when direct business resumes our efforts will yield a more profitable relationship for both sides.

Along with record sales, The MIT Press absorbed record returns. A proposed merger between Barnes & Noble and Ingram required Ingram to "bulk up" two of their largest distribution centers in anticipation of increased demand. When this fell through these titles were returned, accounting for their unusually large returns rate (23%) this year.

Although independent bookstores were down 2% there is great hope that the launch of this coming year will make them more competitive with websellers and rekindle consumer loyalty to their neighborhood bookstores. Since the majority of fulfillment for orders will come from wholesalers, it is still unclear whether or not we can expect to see a significant increase in the independent bookstore market share. The Booksense advertising campaign, however, has already proven itself to be a valuable branding tool that has helped independents maintain a prominent presence among the webseller and chain giants, ensuring a healthy and competitive bookselling industry for at least the near future.

Table 3. Sales for FY1998—FY2000





College Bookstore




Retail Bookstore








Web Booksellers




Catalog Bookseller













Direct mail

We ended fiscal year 2000 with traceable direct mail sales of $220,476, down 18% from last year. Direct mail’s bottom line continues to be hurt by online booksellers who can offer much quicker delivery than we can, as well as deep discounts on some titles. Nevertheless, we believe that direct mail remains a highly effective means of promoting MIT Press titles, whether customers choose to purchase these titles from us directly or from online booksellers; and statistics we receive from online retailers support this view. So online bookselling does not make direct mail any less important, but simply offers our customers yet another means to purchase our books; and Press-generated direct mail continues to be a crucial means of making customers aware of new and backlist books in their areas of interest.

Fiscal year 2000 direct mail sales were also hurt by a much weaker economics list than in past years. Economics–always our top direct mail money earner–was down $23,896 from last fiscal year. It once again leads the list with traceable sales of $41,234, but the decline is notable. We also decided to produce just one Computer Science catalog this fiscal year, which saved money in production and mailing but eliminated some direct mail sales we would otherwise have had.

In addition to two seasonal announcement catalogs, we produced 14 subject area catalogs, 2 special promotions, and numerous single book flyers over the course of fiscal year 2000. Economics continues to be our strongest direct mail list, followed by Cognitive Science with traceable sales of $30,631 and Neuroscience with sales of $29,295.

Textbook sales

Text sales in the U.S. and Canada were $2,937,950, an increase of 17% over last fiscal year. Unit sales were 143,604, an increase of 5% over last fiscal year. (These numbers are a bit skewed by the high number of college bookstores stocking Krieger/Mapping Boston and Cormen/Introduction to Algorithms; if these two titles are subtracted from total dollar sales, there is an increase of 11% over last fiscal year.)

Bestsellers in dollars were Kennedy/Macroeconomic Essentials for Media Interpretation 1E and 2E, Barro/Macroeconomics 5E, Viscusi/Economics of Regulation and Antitrust, 2E, Lynch/Site Planning 3E, and Dutta/Strategies and Games.

Bestsellers in units were Rasmussen/Experiencing Architecture, Kennedy/Macroeconomic Essentials for Media Interpretation, 1E and 2E, Summerson/Classical Language of Architecture, Krugman/Pop Internationalism, Conrad/ Programs and Manifestoes on 20th Century Architecture, and Krugman/Age of Diminished Expectations.

Twenty-eight text direct mail campaigns were prepared and mailed to 80,535 professors in the U.S.


The MIT Press exhibited books, journals and electronic products (including CogNet and ESPlanner) with our own staffed booths or tables at more than 60 U.S. professional and academic conferences in fiscal year 2000. We also sent books for display via combined and free exhibits to an additional 100 U.S. meetings during this same time period. At-meeting sales (not including conference-generated orders mailed, faxed, or e-mailed in later) tallied $146,746 for fiscal year 2000. Our largest conference moneymaker was The Society For Neuroscience’s annual meeting (October 1999, Miami Beach, FL), which generated $35,277.00 in at meeting sales. Sales dollars were also large for Allied Social Science Association Meeting (January 2000, Boston, MA-mainly economics and finance titles) which generated $11,554.00. Other large-revenue meetings included Supercomputing ($9495, Portland, OR, November 1999), Association for Research in Vision and Opthamology (Ft. Lauderdale, May 2000, $6904.00), The College Art Association ($6732.00, NYC, February 2000) and Toward a Science of Consciousness 2000 ($6090.00, Tucson, AZ, April 2000).

In addition to buying books on-site at meetings, U.S. conference attendees sent in $160,714 in orders after these meetings. This brings total sales generated by U.S. Exhibits in fiscal year 2000 to $307,460.


Advertisements for MIT Press books appeared in almost 600 trade and scholarly journals and magazines, as well as conference programs and websites. All of these ads were produced in-house by our Advertising Manager. The continued focus of the advertising program is to implement better target marketing and wider exposure, with an eye to new print and online media, while staying under budget. Major ad campaigns were implemented for e-topia, Billboard, Inverted Odysseys, Mapping Boston, Paying with Plastic, The Internet Edge, A Natural History of Rape, The Land That Could Be, Without a Map, History of Shit, Lingua ex Machina, Barbara Kruger, and About Face.

Advertisements for these books appeared in such publications as American Scientist, Technology Review, The New York Review of Books, The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The Nation, New Republic, Lingua Franca, Mother Jones, The New York Times Book Review, Art in America, and Artforum. Banner ads were placed on the website.


The Press’s books and authors continue to be covered by a wide variety of general and scholarly media, including national newspapers, magazines, and radio and television programs.

The most widely covered title of the year was A Natural History of Rape by Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, whose argument about the biological origins of rape generated a firestorm of controversy in the popular press and became a major news story in the United States and Europe. The authors discussed their views on U.S. television and radio shows including NBC’s "Today" and "Dateline," CBS’s "The Early Show With Bryant Gumbel," ABC’s "World News Tonight," CNN’s "CNN Live," NPR’s "Talk of the Nation," and many others. Reviews, news stories, and opinion pieces about the book appeared in USA Today, Time, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Detroit Free Press, The Hartford Courant, The San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Associated Press, Scripps-Howard, Science, Nature, The New Scientist, The Guardian, The Observer, the Sunday Times of London, and many others. Not all of this coverage was positive, but the authors’ controversial views drew their share of supporters as well as critics, and the vigorous debate the book has stirred seems likely to continue for some time.

The two most favorably reviewed titles of the year were e-topia: "Urban Life Jim–But Not as We Know It" by William J. Mitchell and Mapping Boston by Alex Krieger and David Cobb with Amy Turner.

Mitchell’s look at how technology is changing the places we live and work was reviewed by architectural, business, scientific, and general interest publications including Architecture Magazine, Architectural Record, The Boston Book Review, The International Herald Tribune, The Independent (UK), The San Diego Union-Tribune, Business Week, Scientific American, The Washington Times, The Industry Standard, Interiors, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, Computer Magazine, Red Herring, CIO, Bookforum, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Mapping Boston enjoyed enthusiastic coverage in New England and well beyond. The Boston Globe and Boston Globe Magazine covered the book extensively; reviews and articles also appeared in The Boston Herald, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Metropolis, and many others.

Exploring the Art and Science of Stopping Time, a CD-ROM on the life and work of Harold Edgerton, also drew enthusiastic coverage in major national media including CBS’s "Sunday Morning" television program, The New York Times’s science section, and a variety of arts and sciences magazines.

Electronic Promotion

We continued an extensive campaign of electronic promotion for our books in the fiscal year 2000. We posted announcements for all new professional and many new trade titles to outside e-mail listservs and Usenet groups in relevant fields, and we negotiated links from many outside websites to our own. In addition, we sent regular announcements to the "spam" lists – mailing lists organized by subject. These lists contain the e-mail addresses of visitors to our website who have either asked to receive announcements from us, or who have bought books or subscribed to journals. In subject areas in which we publish a great many books and/or for which we have a large number of email addresses, we sent announcements every month. We gave special attention to books that we felt would benefit the most and receive the most exposure from electronic promotion, which primarily included computer science, artificial intelligence, and robotics books. Self-Stabilization by Shlomi Dolev, for example, garnered 251 hits in a two-month period, while Layered Learning in Multiagent Systems by Peter Stone garnered 248. We also put extra effort into promoting books for which we felt a niche audience might exist on the Internet, such as Digital Libraries by William Arms, which received 451 hits in a two-month period after appearing on only a few select listservs. With help from the DPL, we monitored the number of "hits" the announcements for each book generated. Overall, we believe that such e-promotions have significantly increased traffic to our website.


Many MIT Press books and authors were recognized for excellence last fiscal year.

The MIT Press outdid itself in the 1999 AAP/PSP Awards sponsored by The Association of American Publishers/Professional and Scholarly Books Division. MIT Press books took first place in six categories and received an honorable mention in one category.

The winners were:

Excellence in Design and Production:
Mapping Boston edited by Alex Krieger and David Cobb, with Amy Turner; foreword by Norman B. Leventhal.

The MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Sciences, edited by Robert A. Wilson and Frank C. Keil

Honorable mention in Psychology:
Sex and Cognition by Doreen Kimura

History of Science and Technology:
The Languages of Edison's Electric Light by Charles Bazerman

Globalization and History: The Revolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy by Kevin H. O’Rourke and Jeffrey G. Williamson

Computer Science:
Design By Numbers by John Maeda

Biological Sciences:
Sensory Exotica: A World Beyond Human Experience by Howard C. Hughes

The following MIT Press titles were selected to be included in the annual list of Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Titles, which was published in the January 2000 issue of the magazine:

Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind-Body Problem and Mental Causation, by Jaegwon Kim.

Confessions of a Medicine Man: An Essay in Popular Philosophy, by Alfred I Tauber.

Truth in Context: An Essay on Pluralism and Objectivity by Michael P. Lynch.

Lynn Margulis, co-editor of Environmental Evolution: Effects of the Origin and Evolution of Life on Planet Earth, was awarded the 1999 National Medal of Science.

The Human Relationship with Nature: Development and Culture by Peter H. Kahn, Jr., received the 2000 Book Award by the Moral Development and Education Group of the American Educational Research Association.

The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II by Gabrielle Hecht won the 1999 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for the best book in European History. The award is sponsored by the American Historical Association.

Ghost in the Shell: Photography and the Human Soul, 1850—2000 by Robert A. Sobieszek, was awarded the George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award for excellence in art publishing. This award was presented by the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA).

The Drive-In, The Supermarket, and the Transformation of Commercial Space in Los Angeles, 1914—1941 by Richard Longstreth, received the 2000 Historic Preservation Book Prize; the award is sponsored by Mary Washington College Center for Historic Preservation.

Design By Numbers by John Maeda, received an Honorable Mention for the 2000 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition.

Mapping Boston by Alex Krieger and David Cobb, with Amy Turner, was awarded Second Prize for the 2000 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition.

The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine by Shigehisa Kuriyama, was awarded the 2000 Oriental Medicine Journal Award for the Achievement of Excellence, as the most significant English-language text in the study of early medical history.

The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919—1934 by Eve Blau, was the winner of the 2000 Spiro Kostof Award by the Society of Architectural Historians for its outstanding contribution to the understanding of urbanism and its relationship to architecture. The award was presented at the Society's annual meeting in Miami on June 16, 2000.

The MIT Press received the 2000 Diana Award for its outstanding lifetime contribution to the field of user documentation. The Award Chair particularly acknowledged MIT Press author Ed Barrett for the contribution of his books to this field.

MIT’s President Emeritus Howard Wesley Johnson received the 1999 Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship Prize for his demonstrated excellence in both science and the creative arts. Howard W. Johnson has devoted more than 40 years to MIT and is the author of Holding the Center: Memoirs of a Life in Higher Education.

The Visual and Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany by Jeffrey F. Hamburger, a Zone Book, was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize in the category of Art and Music. The award is sponsored by the Sixteenth Century Journal.

The Visual and Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany also received the College Art Association’s prestigious Charles Rufus Morey Award which is presented each year to a distinguished book in the history of Art.

Wonders and Order of Nature, 1150—1750 by Lorraine Daston and Katherine Park, a Zone Book, received the Pfizer Prize, the greatest honor bestowed by the History of Science Society.

Germaine Krull: Photography of Modernity by Kim Sichel was named Best Retrospective Winner in the Golden Light Award 1999 Photographic Book of the Year Competition; the award is sponsored by The Maine Photographic Workshops.

MIT Press authors Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau were selected by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA) as joint recipients of the award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding of the Profession. The board recognized Diffie and Landau for their book Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption.

Makin’ Numbers: Howard Aiken and the Computer edited by I. Bernard Cohen and Gregory W. Welch with the cooperation of Robert V. D. Campbell received the Science Books & Films Best Book Award in the category of Knowledge and Data Processing books for junior high and high school readers.

Six MIT Press titles were among the fifty honored by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) for their Superior Jacket Design. The titles recognized are:

The AAUP also recognized six MIT Press among the fifty titles they recognized for Superior Book Design. These titles are:

The Bookbuilders of Boston recognized the following MIT Press jackets for their excellent design and composition:

The Bookbuilders of Boston also honored the following MIT Press books for their creative designs, well-thought-out composition, and craftsmanship in printing and binding:

General Trade Illustrated:
Mapping Boston edited by Alex Krieger and David Cobb
Women in Dada edited by Naomi Sawelson-Gorse

Professional Unillustrated:
H.H. Richardson by Maureen Meister

Professional Illustrated:
The Historiography of Modern Architecture by Panayotis Tournikiotis
Le Corbusier, the Noble Savage by Adolf Max Vogt

Finally, the Bookbuilders of Boston presented a plaque to recognize Mapping Boston edited by Alex Krieger, David Cobb, and Amy Turner as Best Book of Show in the 43rd Annual New England Book Show.

International Marketing

MIT Press export sales during fiscal year 2000 rose 4.2% to $5.328 million. Total export sales of $5.328 million accounted for 29.9% of overall book sales for the Press.

On January 1st 2000 MITP established world pricing on all new and backlist titles. This eliminated all mark-ups (to higher export list prices), and now there’s just one price available to all countries/markets/customers throughout the world. MITP’s decision to go to world pricing was well received by international booksellers and became a very necessary step for MITP to remain competitive with similar university presses and academic publishers, and to cope with the aggressive marketing methods of the Internet booksellers and U.S. wholesalers. Additionally we now have a fair pricing policy for our end user customers.

During fiscal year 2000 our sales in the UK increased by one percent to $1.513 million though our sales in Europe increased by nearly 10% to $1.502 million, thus our UK office did nearly 50% of its sales in the UK market and 50% in European markets. It was a difficult year in the UK with chain booksellers, most notably with Waterstone’s due to their substantial debts, diminishing budgets, de-stocking, low staff morale and high staff turnover, and endless schemes to try to turn the company around. A bright spot is the strengthening markets with UK wholesalers who supply the e-retail side of the trade. Also the new Tate Modern Museum opened in London during first half of 2000, and its bookshop immediately established itself as a key account for MITP. In Europe Germany is our lead export market with sales of $269,000 followed Holland with sales of $174,000, Sweden $154,000, France $115,000 and Italy $98,000.

MITP sales to the territories serviced by our Japan office (Japan office territories: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong) are up 4.9% from Prior Year even though sales to Japan fell by 2% from Prior Year. Japan remains our second largest export market after the UK, yet we’re anticipating flat sales for fiscal year 2001 due to cuts in both private and public university library budgets. Sales growth is expected to continue in other parts of the Far East and S.E. Asia mostly due improving regional economic conditions, to easing up on prepayment policy to select trade, to reestablishing realistic and workable credit lines to the trade, to competitive pricing on textbook orders, and to more proactive sales and marketing efforts.

Sales to Canada, our third largest export market, were up 11.7% to $597,000 despite the Chapters chain having cut back on ordering MITP new titles, and the Chapters account going on credit hold 6 weeks before year-end.

Our fiscal year 2000 sales to Australia were hurt mainly because of the weakened Oz dollar and by Baker & Taylor, Ingram and other U.S. wholesalers successfully servicing the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Table 4. International Book Sales By Area


FY2000 Actual

FY1999 Actual





-9. 6









UK & Continent




Other Export




Total Export





The Electronic Marketing Manager develops and coordinates new features on the Press' home page. New features run approximately every few weeks for six to eight new homepages each year. Special enhanced web features are also coordinated by the EMM. The bulk of the EMM's work this year has been on the cross-divisional team developing and supporting MIT CogNet. A Charter Member drive for individuals was launched at the Cognitive Science Society meeting in August 1999; a trial version of the library site license model was launched at the American Library Association's annual meeting in June month. Response to MIT CogNet among the interdisciplinary scholars, researchers, librarians, and students served by the online community has been tremendous. (see the DPL section for more details).

The Press experimented with its first real-time e-commerce transaction model for downloadable software, ESPlanner, professional strength financial planning software for Windows developed using Institute Professor Franco Modigliani's life cycle modelling approach. ( In addition, the EMM is involved in marketing two new software products WinEcon Microeconomics and WinEcon Macroeconomics. These CDs serve as supplementary learning modules for students in undergraduate level Economics classes. (http:/                 

Digital Projects Lab

A working draft of a 5-year plan for the development of a new product line devoted to the design and implementation of scholarly community web sites was put forward to the administration this past spring. The goal is for the DPL to become a self-sustaining cost-and-revenue center by fiscal year 2002. We anticipate undertaking 2 types of projects: sites funded, owned, and maintained by the Press and sites commissioned by outside clients, be they departments within the Institute (e.g. M.ArchNet), individuals, agents or nominally affiliated with MIT (e.g. the Aga Khan Trust, sponsor of ArchNet). The DPL is currently staffed by a general manager, a senior editor/producer, and two web development programmers.

Our first Press-owned initiative, CogNet (, will launch as a commercial-grade, fee-based service in September. To date we have 9600 registered, individual, non-paying members and 21 institutional site licenses. Our first client-sponsored project, ArchNet, will deploy as a prototype after closing out its initial development year in September. Design of our 2nd client site for the School of Architecture, M.ArchNet, should also begin in September. As of July 1st the DPL offices have relocated to 3 Cambridge Center.

On-line sales web sales history:

Fiscal Year 2000 $311,213.25; Fiscal Year 1999 $198,278.08; Fiscal Year 1998 $156,071.84; Fiscal Year 1997 $114,867.13

Table 5. MIT Press Bookstore sales through 4th Quarter FY00





















































































































































% of sales $








MITP portion

50% (down 6%)



Sales were slightly down this quarter, but please keep in mind that we did not have a "dock" sale this last April as we did in 1999. If we did not include the ~30,000 in hurt book sales from this event in last years total, our performance this year would be about even. We do have another sale scheduled for September. Please also note the continued shift in Press vs. non-Press sales. The MIT Press share has dropped 6% with a corresponding increase in non-Press sales. This mirrors a general fluctuation in the number of books stocked in the bookstore for each category. We intend to reverse this trend slightly. On the local front, we continue to face stiff competition from online and local booksellers who offer deep discounts on their books.


We continue to actively pursue off-site sales around the MIT campus as a means to expand sales without expanding our physical store. Off-site sales were up 47% from $17,447 to $25,580 this year. The authors@mit series continues to be a success, contributing to roughly half of this total. MIT’s Tim Berners-Lee and the Mapping Boston launch were our highest grossing authors@mit events while MIT’s Philip Greenspun topped out the non-sponsored events with his frequent campus lectures.


After an understaffed year we are almost back to a full head count with the addition of Margy Avery and Yves Etheart. Both are veteran booksellers coming to us from the Harvard Bookstore and are fitting in nicely at our bookstore. We are also bidding a fond farewell to Michelle Phelan who has been with the bookstore for several years.


We continue to develop our participation in MIT’s "Internal Service Provider" program which will allow MIT departments to purchase MIT Press books from us directly through SAP. We also intend to have a redeveloped e-commerce site in place by the end of the summer. This will give our online customers access to thousands more books as well as all MIT Press titles. Other plans being considered in response to customer demand include a frequent buyer program, an Institute-wide discount policy, and free same day campus delivery.


In fiscal year 2000, the Journals program had gross sales of $4.6 million, a 2 % decrease from last year because of our fulfillment system conversion. The deferred subscription reserve account stayed flat, ending the year at $1,946,544. The new journals added in fiscal year 2000 were Reflections: The SoL Journal and Harvard Design Magazine. European Legacy was transferred to another publisher.

The division ends the year publishing 38 journals. The others are: Artificial Life, Assemblage, Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science, Computational Linguistics, Computer Music Journal, Design Issues, TDR/The Drama Review, Evolutionary Computation, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, International Organization, International Security, Journal of Architectural Education, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Journal of Cold War Studies, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Journal of Functional and Logic Programming, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Leonardo/Leonardo Electronic Almanac/Leonardo Music Journal, Linguistic Inquiry, NBER Frontiers in Health Policy Research, NBER Macroeconomics Annual, Markup Languages, NBER Tax Policy Annual, Neural Computation, Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, October, Perspectives on Science, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, Real Estate Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, and The Washington Quarterly.

More information about the MIT Press can be found on the World Wide Web at

Frank Urbanowski

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000