Research universities operate in the world of ideas, concepts, and knowledge. These intellectual intangibles are both an essential raw material of the educational process, and a fundamental outcome of university research. The new knowledge that emerges from institutions such as MIT has traditionally been reviewed, structured, and shared across disciplines and institutions in the form of "packages" of information. These packages, which historically took the familiar form of books and journals, have been critical to the university's ability to organize and use knowledge in a comprehensible, efficient framework. It is the mission of university libraries to acquire, organize, and maintain these information packages, whatever form they take, for the benefit of current and future faculty and students.
Like its peers, MIT is both a consumer and a producer of packaged information. The Institute relies heavily on the ready availability of such organized information as a fundamental building block of education and research. Needless to say, MIT also contributes significantly to the stream of publications that flows from universities. MIT faculty take for granted, and well they should, the ability of their Libraries to capture and preserve their intellectual contributions and to collaborate with them to select and manage the many other diverse forms of information that contribute daily to MIT's excellence in teaching and research.
Equally important but somewhat less visible are the Libraries' additional responsibilities for instructing students in the effective use of these information resources, and of preserving important information resources from one generation to the next. No other aspect of the academy or of society attends to this particular set of responsibilities. Across disciplines and over time, libraries have captured, made available, and preserved advances in knowledge for the benefit of their faculty and society, and they have instructed each subsequent generation of students in the productive use of information resources. Indeed, the magnitude of this traditional value is manifested in the ubiquitous and familiar presence of research libraries across the landscape of higher education.
As electronic analogs of print publications began to emerge in significant numbers in the mid to late 1990's, this underlying framework for efficient, persistent knowledge management faded from view, and libraries' traditional values of selection, organization, instruction, and preservation became increasingly disconnected from the digitized items that libraries served over campus networks. Not surprisingly, speculation concerning the future of academic research libraries arose as faculty learned to appreciate the convenience of networked digital resources. Despite libraries' preeminent status as early, enthusiastic adopters of information technology and computer applications, libraries found to their dismay that they had become the symbol of an academic business model many wished to change.
The more popular scenarios of those years assumed that print books and journals would become first obsolete, then irrelevant, as all useful information would be rapidly digitized. Scholars would communicate with one another directly through the Internet, eliminating the middlemen of publishers and libraries. The need for faculty and students to physically visit any educational facilities, including classrooms and libraries, would disappear; replaced by web-based services and door to door (or desktop to desktop) delivery of needed information. Rank and position would no longer apply within academic disciplines, as traditional scholarly publishing went the way of the typewriter and the mimeograph.
Today the obstacles to change appear far more serious, and the opportunities for rapid transformation far more limited. The collapse of digital-only publishing reminds us that underlying value propositions still apply to the creation, communication, and preservation of new knowledge. The growing burden of email brings home the impracticality of one-on-one communication strategies and reinforces the efficiencies of "packaged" scholarly communication. The relentless pressure to extend the legal status of tangible property to intangible ideas forebodes a future based on ubiquitous transaction fees, and threatens the very notion of "fair use" in higher education. Long-term digital archiving remains a hugely complicated and expensive alternative to traditional print on paper, and no political/economic system for archiving has yet emerged that inspires sufficient confidence or trust.
While we remain optimistic that the system can and will change for the better, we are now far wiser about speed with which change might occur. We appreciate the enduring efficiencies of packaged information (despite the flaws), the complexity of the environment in which change must occur, and the strength and determination of the forces that stand in opposition to a vision of more freely accessible information. And with the full promise of digital information still poised tantalizingly on the horizon, the MIT Libraries now have five years of practical experience with the best the electronic environment has to offer.
In the "doing" of digital information the Libraries have a far more realistic understanding of the advantages, costs and obstacles associated with fulfilling the digital promise. For example, the MIT Libraries now "rent" access to some 8,000 electronic journals and well over 200 databases. Reluctantly, we have begun to rely on information packages for which there is no guaranteed archive, at MIT or anywhere, and which will disappear completely the moment MIT stops paying. Meanwhile, walk-in visits to the Libraries increased, the cost of library material continues to rise at a rate higher than that of inflation, and the MIT Libraries' physical collections continue to grow by about 40,000 linear shelf feet per year.
On the other hand, the ground-breaking DSpace project made significant progress during FY2001. DSpace is an innovative research partnership between Hewlett Packard and the MIT Libraries to build a durable digital repository for MIT faculty intellectual output. The project hold the promise of enabling faculty to manage their own material in the furtherance of education and research, and has vastly increased our understanding of the challenges of developing a digital repository that can begin to approach to the advantages of paper archives.
In these times of challenge and uncertainty, the MIT Libraries five-year master plan, developed with broad participation and considerable care in 1999, has continued to be an effective blueprint for innovation and change. Progress was made in FY2001 in virtually every strategic direction identified in the plan.
In FY2001 the libraries progressed in their aim to excel at providing rapid, easy, and precise access to high quality information for education and research at MIT in the following ways:
- Network-based access to the Libraries' core collections was expanded again in 2001.
- Access to materials was enhanced through expanded use of the web and via on-going classification and collection management projects.
- Service to students and faculty was improved through new training programs and innovative service models.
Progress toward the goal of ensuring that library spaces and operations facilitate intellectual life on campus was made in the following ways:
- Group study rooms were introduced in several facilities.
- Wireless network access was introduced in many locations.
- Planning for a new Preservation Services Center was initiated.
The libraries strive to be a leader among academic research institutions in the use of applied library technology. During FY 2001:
- The DSpace project continued to break new ground in the development of digital repositories.
- The integrated library management system selected for implementation provides for robust self-service and resource linking functionality.
Both the E-Reserves project and Ask Us Live reference service were innovative experiments in network-based information service.
These accomplishments reflect an extraordinary level of focus on the part of the MIT Libraries' staff, and speak to the continued relevance of the Libraries' five-year plan. Yet these were not the only efforts and initiatives of the MIT Libraries during FY2001. As the attached directorate reports attest, the year was exhilarating, challenging, and occasionally nerve-wracking.
The overall goals for the year were set at the Libraries' annual planning retreat in June 2000, at which time the expanded leadership team of the Libraries agreed upon the strategic priorities the Libraries would collectively pursue during FY2001. Commitments were made to implement a new, more functional Barton integrated library system; to employ the principles of usability testing systematically across the Libraries' web pages; to continue to work toward upgraded, contemporary Libraries' facilities; to continue the important experimental work of the DSpace project; to explore tools for enhanced navigation of information resources; and (with Academic Computing and Information Systems) to increase delivery of Libraries' services over MIT's network.
The staff of the Libraries were Herculean in their commitment to achieving these goals. As daunting as the commitments list may appear, the staff accomplished all this and more. Among the highlights of the year were the following successes:
- Installation of a new integrated library system on an accelerated schedule;
- Unveiling of the Libraries' completely new, redesigned, and usability-tested web site;
- Introduction of a pilot project to test web-based reference services, "Ask Us Live";
- Launching of BELL: Buried E-Journal Locator List, a service that allows users to find full-text articles within journals that are only accessible within aggregated databases;
- Restructuring the roster of Public Services positions to create two new forward-looking positions-a GIS Specialist, to support MIT's growing need for geo-spatial expertise; and a Data Services Librarian, to enhance student and faculty access to numeric social sciences data;
- Development of a new Document Services capability to deliver electronic articles directly to requestors' desktops;
- Increasing electronic resources to the level of nearly 25 percent of both titles and serial expenditures;
- Continuation (year three of five) of a multi-year project to make records of important historical library material available in the Barton online catalog;
- Initiation of a preservation survey and of a plan to catalog two of the Institute's most important special collections;
- Introduction of a table-of-contents service within Barton to link bibliographic records to the table of contents of many recently published books;
- Implementation of cost-recovery printing in Libraries' reading rooms;
- Planning for compact shelving to be installed in the basement of Building 14;
- Grateful acceptance of an anonymous gift to establish a badly-needed, long-desired Preservation Services Laboratory; and
- Grateful acknowledgement of numerous large and small gifts in furtherance of the Libraries mission and capital campaign goals.
In April 2001 the Libraries were pleased to welcome the MIT Libraries Visiting Committee for their biannual meeting. The meeting convened for two full days, rather than the customary day and a half, because of the rich and full agenda. Special attention was paid to providing the committee with opportunities to interact with Libraries staff, to talk directly with faculty, especially the Faculty Committee on the Library System, and to engage one-on-one with graduate and undergraduate students of the Institute. Attendance was strong, and the discussions were energetic and stimulating for staff and committee members alike. As always, the Libraries benefited greatly from the knowledgeable insights of this committed group of leaders.
Throughout the year, the Faculty Committee on the Library System continued to provide strong leadership within the Institute for improved Libraries finances and facilities. The Chairman of the Faculty Committee, Professor John Lienhard, worked diligently to focus the work of the committee on a targeted set of needs, and to keep the value of the Libraries, and the challenges they face, in the forefront of the academic agenda of the Institute.
The MIT Libraries were also very pleased to continue their individual and collective involvement with a number of the Institute's important planning initiatives. Staff were active in such Institute undertakings as the Council on Educational Technology, planning for the OpenCourseware Initiative, the Information Technology Architecture Group, and in discussions with the Open Knowledge Infrastructure planning effort. The Director of Libraries was honored to have been invited to join the SHASS Ad Hoc Committee on the Humanities Library.
A number of important staff positions were filled during FY2001. The Libraries celebrated the hiring of MJ Miller, the first full-time Director of Resource Development in the history of the MIT Libraries. In short order her enthusiastic professionalism and early successes reinforced the merits of this decision. The subsequent rise in interest in the Libraries' giving opportunities has been most welcome, and her skills and experience greatly appreciated.
Also warmly welcomed in FY2001 were the considerable experience and depth provided by James L. Mullins. Jim joined the Libraries mid-year as Assistant Director for Administrative Services. Jim's prior experience included a wide range of contemporary library management challenges. His in-depth understanding of facilities improvements proved critical to the Libraries' ability to keep their space planning and building improvement projects on schedule.
The DSpace Project, an initiative of MIT's partnership with Hewlett-Packard, was successful in its goal to hire its full contingent of key staff. A prototype version of the repository was developed and project staff began work toward the early adopter phase of the project. Once DSpace was on schedule for early adopters, two Sloan School graduates, Mary Barton and Julie Harford, were retained to conduct related business model research proposed to and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The full measure of the accomplishments of FY2001 will be found in the directorate reports attached to this brief overview. The exceptional achievements of the MIT Libraries during FY2001 are a true reflection of the commitment and professionalism of the staff of these legendary libraries. MIT is fortunate indeed to benefit from the teamwork, dedication, and enthusiasm of so many accomplished individuals. Individually and collectively, it is they who have made the Libraries the exciting, forward-looking organization it is today. MIT Libraries staff are a splendid example of the capacity of intelligent and committed individuals to pursue a worthy goal and, even in a year as busy as FY2001, manage to have fun along the way.
As always, the MIT Libraries are deeply indebted to many groups and individuals for their achievements. This is particularly true of the year just past. The Faculty Committee on the Library System, chaired by Professor John Lienhard, worked tirelessly to improve the finances and facilities of the Libraries. The MIT Libraries Visiting Committee provided invaluable insights to our work and mission. The Information Systems Department and the Academic Computing group were essential in their support for our initiatives. At one time or another, every member of Academic Council provided a helping hand when needed. For these friends and the many others not named specifically, the MIT Libraries extend their thanks and sincere appreciation.
More information about the MIT Libraries can be found online at http://libraries.mit.edu/.
The MIT Libraries have long provided a wealth of services in support of MIT's educational and research programs. Inherent in this role has been the need to continuously add and adjust services to ensure that they meet the information needs of faculty, students, researchers, and staff as their needs evolve over time and as technology changes the ways information is delivered. Now that a significant amount of information is available on the web in the form of electronic journals and books, members of the MIT community are beginning to expect that library services themselves will be modified to provide enhanced assistance to users who rarely or never physically visit the library facilities. During FY2001 much of the focus of the MIT Libraries' Public Service units has been on ways to add new services while retaining and enhancing the most important traditional in-person services for our user community.
We are now in the second year of operation under the set of Strategic Directions identified in FY2000, with significant progress to report in many areas. The staff have done an admirable job carrying out a number of high-visibility systemwide initiatives while also paying close attention to the needs of their local units. In some instances this dichotomy of system needs competing with local needs has created some tension, but through careful discussion and management, the issues have been resolved with the Libraries overall and the individual units having made major steps forward. Many of the projects the Public Services units have carried out have included use of new systems and digital tools, and the staff are to be commended for learning how to use these most effectively to deliver the highest quality services to the MIT community.
Across the Library System
This year's most impressive achievement has been the planning, development, and implementation of the Ex Libris Aleph integrated library system to replace the GEAC Advance system. Circulation, reference, and processing staff across the libraries dedicated substantial portions of their time and energy to this task and were successful in getting the new system is now ready to be turned on shortly after the start of FY2002. Public Services staff took leadership roles in fleshing out new functionality in the circulation system, developing an online catalog that is easy to understand and navigate, and creating a web tutorial and other instructional aids to help members of the MIT community learn the new system. All Public Services staff contributed to this major undertaking either by participating in one of the working groups or by staying in their units to fill in behind the staff working on Aleph. The timeframe for implementing Aleph was ambitious, but the staff used all of their skills to create a new system that will provide users with improved, easier access to both primary and secondary scholarly resources and to personal information about their own use of library materials. Work will continue in the coming year to expand the range of features offered and to implement functionality that was not deemed essential for day one.
A second major project in which Public Services staff played a lead role was the complete redesign of the MIT Libraries' web site. Work on this began in FY2000 and continued throughout FY2001. The goals of the project were
- to select and present quality resources;
- to organize information in ways that are useful to the MIT community;
- to educate the MIT community in the effective use of information;
- to promote the MIT Libraries and our services;
- to promote user self-sufficiency; and
- to promote user feedback and communication with the Libraries.
The overall organization of the web site changed substantially from the earlier version. Instead of presenting a virtual presence that mimics the physical realities of the disparate units within the MIT Libraries, the web content was reorganized to make it easier for users to find information regardless of location. New categories were established for the homepage, and usability tests were conducted at each stage of the design development to be sure the new site would be logical and intuitive for users. A graphic design firm was engaged to create a new look for the reworked content, and the new user-centered site was put up in test mode early in the spring. After receiving feedback from users, the design was finalized and the new web site officially launched in June 2001. It was listed as a spotlight on the MIT homepage shortly after its debut and has received positive comments from faculty, students, and staff. There is more still to be done to expand the information available from the divisional and branch libraries and other departments, but we are very proud of the new design and functionality.
A third high visibility undertaking during FY2001 has been the establishment of a pilot project to deliver real-time reference assistance over the web. As earlier annual reports have documented, in the past decade, the MIT Libraries have licensed access to a wide array of resources in electronic formats that can be accessed from offices, laboratories, and dormitories as well as in the various libraries. However, until this year, there has been no electronic counterpart to the expert research assistance available from trained librarians. As an experiment in providing digital reference service, during FY2001 the Libraries negotiated an agreement with LSSI, Inc., a vendor of library products and services, to test a new reference product. Using this software, librarians are able to "co-browse" the web alongside remote users to help them refine their searches and locate databases and e-journals of interest to them, and librarians can also "push" webpages out to a user's computer. The pilot digital reference service, "Ask Us Live," was offered for 10 hours each week for the second half of the year and has been very well received by the MIT community. Planning is underway to expand on the pilot project during FY2002, and we have also begun discussions about how this kind of electronic reference assistance will impact our traditional in-person reference and information services in the long run.
On the Local Scene
Progress on Strategic Direction 1— Providing Easy Access to High Quality Information
In addition to the sometimes-overwhelming systemwide projects described above and in other sections of this report, each of the individual library units within the Public Services directorate took real strides to enhance access to information. The Institute Archives received a sizable and important collection of records from the MIT Planning Office including files, maps, and blueprints. The Office of the Executive Vice President provided funding for expedited processing, and project staff were hired to sort and organize the materials. By the end of the year the Planning Office records had been organized into 37 different collections, which have now been placed in preservation quality containers to preserve them for the future, and the contents have been listed and described so that they will be easily accessible. The Institute Archives also collaborated with staff in Bibliographic Access Services to prepare a plan for cataloging the rare books owned by the Libraries so that there will be records for these materials in the Barton catalog. For some time these valuable resources have been somewhat invisible to members of the community, but work has now begun to enhance access to the items in this collection.
In Document Services the focus was on delivering more materials to users' desktops. Building on the popular electronic thesis delivery service established last year, the department implemented "Web-Docs," a fee-based electronic article desktop delivery service. Faculty in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science were the first to try the service, but after getting a favorable response, the service was quickly expanded to the entire MIT community and eventually to outside customers as well. Web-Docs usage has been smaller than hoped, so Document Services expects to promote its visibility in FY2002.
In other areas, significant progress has been made in preparing the Libraries to enhance access to numeric social sciences data and geospatial data. Library staff members participated in the I/S Geospatial Data Discovery Project through which agreement was reached on a joint GIS service program with staffing coming from both the Libraries and I/S. We were successful in reallocating salary monies within Public Services to create a full-time Geographic Information Specialist headquartered in Rotch Library. A highly qualified individual has been recruited to fill this position, and she will assume her position early in FY2002. A new Data Services Librarian has also been hired, and she will begin in August 2002. We are looking forward to having the staff in place at last to develop and promote widespread use of data and GIS services to faculty and students around the Institute.
Many staff in the Libraries devoted a portion of their attention to expanding our outreach and instructional activities. In particular, the user groups of librarians formed to focus on segments of the MIT population arranged new activities to help strengthen the ties to our user communities. One example of this new focus is the Undergraduate User Group, which visited students in one of the dormitories and arranged for a library presence on Registration Day. Another example is the Graduate Student User Group, which started a regular column on library news and topics in the Graduate Student Newsletter, hosted a welcoming reception for graduate students in the Barker Engineering Library at the beginning of fall semester, and engaged the Graduate Student Council in discussion about library space planning, programs, and services. The establishment of these mechanisms for communicating with students has planted seeds that will continue to bear fruit in coming years.
Progress on Strategic Direction II—Improving Library Spaces and Operations
This year saw the continuation of major space planning efforts across the Libraries as well as smaller modifications and improvements in individual units. Programmatic planning for a combined Engineering and Science Library was a primary focus, and a team of staff worked with an architectural consultant to develop a program statement. As this planning was underway, concerns surfaced about the future of the Humanities Library in Building 14. A committee comprised of several SHASS faculty, the Director of Libraries, and the Head of the Humanities Library was formed at the behest of the Chancellor. This group worked through the spring to better understand the information needs and expectations of humanists for a Humanities Library, and they expect to complete a report early in FY2002. One positive by-product of this has been the renewed focus by Humanities faculty on the library, which will be very helpful as we plan for the future.
Planning also continued for the Libraries' Information Kiosk to be located on the Student Street in the Stata Center. Members of the Libraries staff participated in brainstorming sessions with representative students to get a clear sense of how this space could best be used to benefit the students. Working with I/S staff, plans have now been tentatively laid to use this space to experiment with a virtual presence system that would enable students in the Information Kiosk to see and interact with librarians at a remote location. We also hope to try such technology-enabled experiments as a flexible polymer video display fabric as a means of creating banners to promote resources, activities, and events on the street.
A third major planning project that emerged and gained energy during the year centered around the future location of the Sloan School and the possibility of either building a new Dewey Library as part of the Sloan complex or having Dewey take over additional space in the Hermann Building which would be renovated for this purpose. Several Dewey Library staff participated in Sloan planning meetings and conducted brainstorming sessions with the rest of the professional staff. A vision of Dewey Library as an intellectual crossroads for Sloan, Economics, and Political Science students and faculty has blossomed and will be carried forward in future planning discussions.
One of the highlights of the year was the September dedication of the new Aeronautics/Astronautics laboratory space in Building 33, which includes a new state-of-the-art Aero/Astro Library. As with any building project, some punch-list issues have taken time to resolve, but the Libraries are pleased to have this wonderful facility in such close proximity to student workspaces. Judging by the comments students have made, they are enjoying the new space and equipment as much as the library staff are.
The Dewey Library was the first library at MIT to receive a wireless communications infrastructure when the Sloan School installed a wireless communications infrastructure in all their facilities. Wireless access to the network is now available on the first and second floors in Dewey and will make it easier for students with laptops to connect while they do their library research and study. Rotch Library also added wireless capability on the entry level and look forward to its implementation and expansion to other floors in the coming year.
Although not as grand in scale as the projects just mentioned, several other achievements in the space category are worthy of note. One of the most frequently voiced requests the Libraries receive is for additional group study spaces that will allow small groups of students to work on joint projects and to prepare for presentations. During the past year, by repurposing other spaces, one group study space was created in the Barker Engineering Library, four group study spaces were created in Dewey Library, and four group study spaces were identified in Rotch Library. Individual study carrels were added in the Science Library and have already seen heavy use. These carrels provide more privacy than the large tables in the Science reading room and enhance the study environment for many students who seek peace and quiet and no distractions while they work.
Other projects to modify spaces in Building 14 were also planned and started, but these are described in other sections of the Libraries annual report and do not need to be repeated here.
As the year progressed, a number of significant changes and trends occurred in services the Libraries have provided. Foremost among these was the decision to phase out the Computerized Literature Search Services. This service had been very valuable to a small, loyal cadre of users, but the costs of continuing to provide the service in light of demands for other new programs resulted in a plan to close the service. After the initial decision was made in September, the CLSS librarian announced her impending retirement, and the service closed officially in February 2001. Since then there have been a handful of requests for in-depth database searching, but these have been referred to existing fee-based services in other academic research libraries when appropriate.
The Libraries continue to be used as placed to study, user materials, and get assistance, although these use patterns are changing. Doorcount statistics dropped several years ago, but this year they rebounded. Circulation continues to hold fairly steady, but in-house use has dropped off, probably due to the growth in the number of materials available in digital formats. The trends in reference transactions vary depending on location-in the Archives, reference activity increased 14 percent while many of the other libraries showed a slight decline in the number of reference queries. On the other hand, email ("Ask Us") and digital reference ("Ask Us Live") services grew substantially and now account for roughly 10 percent of all reference transactions. Interlibrary borrowing requests to obtain items needed by MIT faculty, students, and researchers, plateaued, but we have grown concerned that the number of items requested through ILB but owned at MIT increased dramatically from less than 5 percent to 14 percent. Reasons for this change will be explored in the next several months.
One other significant change in service philosophy was the introduction of fee-based printing from public computers. Over the past several years the Libraries have witnessed a decline in the number of photocopies made (in FY2001 copy activity has decreased by 25 percent) while the number of pages printed has steadily increased. With no charging mechanism in place, there was no incentive for users to exercise any restraint, and, as a result, costs to the Libraries were rising rapidly. Rather than risking further expenditures from the Libraries' tight budget, we decided to implement the UnipriNT management system, which uses the copy-card system to charge users for each page printed from electronic databases and other web resources. The system was installed first in Dewey Library as a test and then throughout the other library locations. After a two-month break-in period in which the system was operational but printing continued to be free, charging was turned on in late February. A thorough public relations campaign was launched to educate the community about the reasons for taking this step, and we have been pleased that there have been few complaints since the program began.
Notable Staff Accomplishments
Many of the staff in Public Services made contributions to the profession in a variety of ways too numerous to list. Among the highlights are the following.
- Pat Flanagan, Deborah Helman, Lisa Horowitz, and Sarah Wenzel made a presentation on digital reference services at the 2001 ACRL national conference.
- Catherine Friedman has served a one-year term as President of the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.
- Steven Gass was one of two U.S. librarians invited to make presentations at a Japanese XML workshop for electronic journals sponsored by the Japan Science and Technology Corporation in March 2001.
- Nicole Hennig published an article entitled "Card sorting usability tests of the MIT Libraries' web site: categories from the users' point of view."
- Megan Sniffin-Marinoff was elected to the Council of the Society of American Archivists.
- Theresa Tobin has served a one-year term as Chair of the Women's Studies Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.
Looking Forward: Challenges for the Future
One of the serious problems that continues to plague Public Service units is the high rate of staff turnover. During the past year more than 20 staff left their positions, and nearly the same number of new staff were hired. While we are pleased at our ability to attract excellent people, this level of turnover creates problems in moving new initiatives forward and handling the routine work in each of the units. Dewey Library has been particularly hard hit; over the past two years 70 percent of their staff have turned over. The turnover problem has been compounded in FY2001 by a number of staff going on extended sick leaves that kept them out of work for months. The staffing situation is one that will bear further discussion and scrutiny in the next year.
Overall, the Public Services units have accomplished a great deal in meeting the information needs of the MIT community. They have pressed forward and made laudable progress on large systemwide projects, and they have continued to mold and shape local services as user needs have evolved. MIT is fortunate to have such an able staff. Without the contributions of each and every staff member, we could not have accomplished all that we have. To our users, thank you for your support, and, to the staff, bravo!
Fiscal year 2001 was dominated by efforts related to implementing a new library management system, Ex Libris' ALEPH. Significant progress in many other initiatives was also realized. Acquisition and cataloging of digital resources continued to challenge our staff, as did the management of print and other physical collections.
3rd Barton Implementation
The implementation of a new library management system is a major endeavor. This year's processes required significant time, attention, critical thinking, and planning skill from a broad cross-section of Libraries' staff. Almost all Collections Services staff were involved, some spending over 50 percent of their time in related activities. Library management systems are highly integrated. The ALEPH system will facilitate functions related to acquisition, receipt and check-in of materials, fund account management, cataloging of materials and database management, circulation of materials, and the generation of the on-line public catalog. It will enable workflow connections between these functions, as well as on-line user services based on the nearly one million bibliographic records and associated authorities records that were migrated. In addition, it will mesh with external records systems, such as those of commercial vendors of library materials, vendors of bibliographic data, MIT central accounting, and MIT student information services.
The inventory of activities listed below paints only the broadest picture of the effort required:
- Selection of system—The Information Technology Librarian was instrumental in the coordination of the vendor demonstrations during the summer months. Many staff participated in follow-up analysis of system functionality in relation to defined requirements.
- Negotiation of contract terms—A short seven-month implementation timeline after contract completion added a significant stress factor.
- Preparatory database cleanup—This included deletion of records for materials no longer held, correction of irregularities in call numbers and dates, review and deletion of orders and invoices that were no longer active, clean-up of vendor records, and resolution of data conflicts to ensure system number matching.
- System configuration—This included determination of indexing tables and logical bases, character sorting and equivalencies, basic system settings and mapping data. Mapping serials data was especially complex since it was the first time that data has been migrated.
- Data migration—The Database Management Librarian assisted the Systems Manager in monitoring the data migration processes, which required round-the-clock vigilance.
- Testing—Iterative testing of data was required after initial migration and through a series of requested revisions. Testing was complicated by system instability and downtime at critical points, as well as delays in the vendor deliverables. Financial data migration was particularly "dirty" and required intense analysis and correction. The record loader had not yet been delivered at fiscal year-end; it is expected in early FY2002 and still requires testing.
- Training—Two monograph catalogers and one serials cataloger were three of a total of five instructors responsible for teaching beginning and advanced GUI OPAC searching to over 200 staff members. Specific work-related training continues in all work units and in cross-departmental sessions such as serials check-in.
- Workflow and work process definition—Due to the accelerated implementation, delays in deliverables, and complexity of analyzing data migration issues, insufficient time was available for planning effective work flow and work processes. This planning will continue during the first months of FY2002 and will be informed by a growing working knowledge of the system. However, an effort was undertaken to work with ExLibris and our major book wholesale vendor to create a suitable record loader for ordering on the vendor's system and loading vendor bibliographic records into our Library Management System. Since our staffing level is based on this automated record loading, it was critical to be able to extend it into the new environment.
Management of Digital Information Resources
The Libraries continue to provide access to digital information resources at an accelerating rate. This year we were able to make significant progress in our goal of providing a critical mass of relevant and significant electronic journals. Early in the year, we purchased access to Elsevier's Science Direct, providing 560 full text e-journals. Later in the year, we purchased access to Kluwer Online, including almost 800 titles. Other major purchases in support of the Engineering and Science community included JSTOR General Science Collection, five full-text titles from Jane's, Access Science (the web version of McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology), an upgrade to SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts online) to allow for more simultaneous users, 24-hour access, and substructure searching, and additional user permissions for Web of Science (the ISI databases). Major purchases in support of Humanities and the Social Sciences included the Oxford English Dictionary on the Web, the Euromonitor Global Market Information Database, Women's Resources International, 300 full-text psychology journals from ProQuest, Grove's Dictionary of Music, Index to Current Urban Documents, cq.com (to access congressional information), and BNA Environmental Library.
Between fiscal years 1997 and 2001, the percent of serial titles purchased (i.e. titles which require ongoing commitment of funds such as journal subscriptions) which were electronic resources increased from 0.7 percent to 24 percent; the percent of serial dollars spent on electronic resources increased from 4 percent to 25 percent. At the end of FY2000, the Libraries' provided access to 2,046 electronic journals and 210 electronic databases. At the end of FY2001, these numbers were 3,295 and 274 respectively.
Managing this growing array of electronic resources requires additional staff time. This year we shifted a part-time position into the Digital Resources Unit to support activities related to the licensing of these products as well as problem resolution. There is an increasing need to monitor and resolve access problems, which may be related to the provider's server, to IP filtering, or to something as mundane as an unresolved renewal problem. We reached a threshold this year, due to our growing list of supported products, where resolving access problems is as time-consuming as efforts related to licensing new products.
ERESCAT, an ad hoc group of staff from Collection Services as well as the Web Manager from Public Services, was created to grapple with policy issues related to extending limited cataloging staff resources to covering digital products as well as traditional information resources. An interim report will be shared within the Libraries during the summer months. The report recognizes the current necessity of continuing to maintain both Barton and Vera as tools to manage and provide access to digital resources. It defines the unique characteristics of digital resources that impact cataloging decisions, and the factors influencing whether a digital product will be included in Barton. It recognizes the current period as one of experimentation, during which the cataloging staff will aggressively pursue pragmatic strategies for cataloging e-resources on a product-by-product basis, as well as for managing and deleting records.
Several experimental efforts were undertaken during this year. For one product, Books 24 x 7, records provided by the vendor were loaded into our catalog. This required resolution of a few electronic data problems as well as creating a special loader script. For another product, the publications of the Association of Computing Machinery, staff utilized OCLC's CORC metadata harvesting software to create brief records for all of the conference proceedings. In addition, we have subscribed to OCLC's Bibliographic Notification Service so that we will receive full MARC records as they become available in the OCLC database. In the case of the IEEE Explore package of resources, we have undertaken a cooperative cataloging initiative with the University of California, San Diego. Within this agreement, MIT will contribute cataloging records for the IEE colloquia publications, and the records will be incorporated into the OCLC WorldCat Collection Set for use by other libraries. These flexible alternatives to traditional cataloging models are a credit to the creativity of catalog department managers and staff and signal a cultural shift that will increase success in providing effective bibliographic access in an environment of rapid change.
Provision of title level access to the contents of "aggregator databases," collections of information resources that do not have stable content, is still a challenge. At the end of the year, Serials Solutions, the best option to date, was purchased to provide access to approximately 8,000 fulltext titles in this category via Vera.
One of the major unresolved issues related to electronic information resources is their preservation for use by future generations of scholars. D-Space, the joint MIT Libraries/Hewlett Packard initiative, will have an impact in this area. In addition, this year the Libraries presented a proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to plan for a multi-year project to archive "dynamic e-journals", scholarly web sites such as the MIT Press's Cognet. These sites represent the leading edge of changes in publishing no longer bound to conventions needed in the print environment. It is important to find a way to make these more fully realized e-journals available to future scholars. In January, the Mellon Foundation announced that it would fund this planning project, and in April, a Project Planner was hired. We expect to submit a proposal to Mellon in early calendar year 2002 for a multi-year implementation project.
Management of Print Information Resources
During this year of extremely intense systems planning and accelerated activity related to the management of digital information resources, considerable effort was also directed toward the management of our traditional library collections.
In our continuing efforts to reduce the need to send collections to off-site storage, the spring months were devoted to planning for a CRSP funded compact shelving installation in the basement of Building 14. Engineering studies carried out as part of the Shepley Bulfinch feasibility study of Building 14 indicated which area of the basement has sufficient floor loading capacity for this installation. Early in the calendar year, the Institute assigned a project manager, and contracts for the work were awarded to Acme Office Systems and William B. Meyer, Inc., Library Relocation Division. With a goal of using this opportunity to improve the usability of collections throughout Building 14, a working group consisting of public services and collections staff was convened to plan collections arrangement. We plan to move all bound journals and bound theses from the Science Library to the basement, and to move all books classed in Q from the basement to the Science Library. Because of the juxtaposition of compact shelving with stationery shelving, it is necessary to rearrange the entire basement collection at the end of the project. The group has planned an arrangement that will improve the usability of the collections and provide adequate growth in each area. The collections and shelving will also be cleaned. The project began immediately after final exams in May. Journals from the compact shelving area were moved to the Humanities and Science reading rooms for the construction period.
The compact shelving planning group decided to try to move any materials that we would want to move from Hayden Basement to storage in the foreseeable future at this time, so that when the collections are rearranged they will be stable enough not to require significant shifts for several years. Staff spent many hours preparing volumes for moves to the Retrospective Collection and the Harvard Depository. Approximately 21,000 volumes will have been moved before the collections are rearranged. It will take at least six months to arrange and shelve these materials in the RSC; we anticipate being able to provide less than the usual level of service in the interim period.
FY2001 was the last year in a three-year project to accelerate moves of materials to storage in order to provide adequate on-site shelving for growing collections. Our goal for this year was to move 20,000 volumes from Barker Engineering Library. Over 17,000 volumes were moved before we had to temporarily suspend these moves in order to carry out the large Hayden basement moves. In addition, however over 40,000 other volumes were moved to storage from various locations in the library system, significantly surpassing our required standard of annually removing volumes equal to new acquisitions (45,000-50,000 volumes per year).
Significant Achievements Related to Improving Bibliographic Access
This was the third year of a five-year project to provide bibliographic access to the Dewey Decimal Collection, housed in the RSC. An additional 12,000 monograph titles (for a total to date of approximately 37,000 titles) were cataloged this year through contractual arrangement with OCLC. In addition, serials cataloging staff continued to provide in-house cataloging for serial and journal titles from the same DDC areas.
A staff shift in Bibliographic Access Services at the end of last year resulted in the reassignment of a cataloger to rare books cataloging. This individual attended two week-long classes at the Rare Book School of the University of Virginia and began to catalog materials from the Rotch Limited Access collection. An ad hoc group of cataloging, preservation, and archives staff was convened to recommend handling, marking, security and cataloging procedures. A report was approved by Steering Committee at the end of the year, and the cataloging of the rare book collections will begin in July 2001. The large collection formerly referred to as Rare is being renamed as two collections: MIT Founders Collection and MIT Legacy Collection. Survey data related to physical condition of volumes cataloged will be entered into a database for future reference.
In an effort to expand capacity to catalog maps, staff in the Copy Based Cataloging unit were trained to catalog maps with available cataloging copy. Lindgren Library's remaining uncataloged maps were cataloged, with the exception of non-Roman language materials. Still needing cataloging is a large map collection in the Rotch Library.
Review of processes to expedite supply of theses to Document Services customers resulted in identification and elimination of redundant efforts in the entire workflow chain. In order to be able to respond effectively to submission of electronic-only theses, Passport macros were created that streamline cataloging processes.
We contracted with Blackwell North America to receive upgrades for Barton records from their Table of Contents Enrichment Service. This will provide a deeper level of access to our book collections.
Significant Achievements Related to Acquisitions
Acquisitions staff were happy to welcome a new Financial Administrator and Assistant Director for Administrative Services after several months of interim arrangements. After years of "desire," the Libraries and central accounting implemented a data feed of payment information, which will result in faster payment of invoices and closer synchronization of MIT payment information and the Libraries' system (now ALEPH) payment information. Significant effort went into completing all year end ordering, receiving, and invoicing on Geac Advance before the end of the fiscal year, which was accelerated by the closing down of the Geac system.
The Head of Serials Acquisitions gave a well-attended and well-received presentation of the Federal Depository Library Program for distribution of government documents. The Dewey Library committed to a six-month time frame for completing its review of documents item selections, which will feed into our efforts to complete cataloging of government document serials.
The Head of Serials Acquisitions and two processing supervisors presented a claiming workshop for all check in and claiming staff.
Gifts-in-kind contributed about 10 percent of our monograph acquisitions and included a few very special additions to the collections: Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, illustrated by Barry Moser, Wenyuange siku quanshu dianzi ban, a complete library of four branches of literature on CD-ROM, and an epic Irish poem, The Tain, by Thomas Kinsella, translated into Spanish, which was delivered in person by the Mexican consulate.
Significant Achievements Related to Preservation and Collections Management
In December, the Libraries learned of a gift from an anonymous donor for the purpose of establishing a Preservation Center. In January, the Libraries submitted a successful CRSP proposal for a space change to accommodate this center. An architect and a project planner have been assigned, and the work will begin in January of 2002.
The Retrospective Collection staff prepared a proposal for A New Service Model for the Retrospective Collection. It was reviewed by Steering Committee in January and implementation planning is now underway to fulfill the following goals: develop an article delivery service, implement a notification service related to status of requests, limit the hours the RSC is open to the public, require a referral letter for non-MIT users, permit direct user access to the stacks only under limited conditions, develop a communications plan, and prepare a list of action items for facility improvements. A part-time position was moved from Serials and Acquisitions Services to the RSC to provide staffing for the document delivery initiative.
The staff responded to the many demands and uncertainties of this year with tremendous energy, commitment, and intelligence. The MIT Libraries, including Collection Services, have always been blessed with highly capable staff members. This year demonstrated a melding into a highly capable organization.
Administrative Services (AS) supports the MIT Libraries' mission and goals in the areas of Budget and Financial, Delivery Services, Facilities/Operations and Procurement, Payroll and Staff Records, and Personnel. It would not be an overstatement to say that the services provided by AS are fundamental to the operation of the Libraries -recognizing its role in providing the infrastructure necessary to support the Libraries' Staff in their provision of services and resources to the users of the Libraries and their responsibilities to the Institute. The goal of AS is to work behind the scenes to insure that staff are recruited, hired, retained, remunerated and provided growth opportunities consistent with MIT policies in well planned and maintained facilities, at present and in the future.
To integrate the services provided by Administrative Services more directly into the decision making processing of the Libraries, it was decided at the beginning of FY2001 to create the position of Assistant Director for Administration who would administer AS and would serve on the Steering Committee of the Libraries. With the retirement of the Head of Administrative Services, a review of the role of Administrative Services was undertaken. It was determined that a department that included all administrative services would be logical, to this end, the human resources function that had been split between AS and the Director's Office was integrated as one area within Administrative Services. It was also determined that the larger role of facility planning, short and long term, would become a responsibility of AS (with coordination and collaboration with Public and Collection Services).
To fill this new position a search was undertaken for a person to serve as Assistant Director for Administration. The Search Committee conducted a national search during the summer of 2000. The search was successful and an appointment was made January 1, 2001.
Budget and Financial
A major transition took place during this past year. The retirement of the AS Department Head after many years of service, along with the resignation of the Business Services Administrator several months later, could have seriously hampered the efficiency and effectiveness of AS. However, on an interim basis, the Associate Director for Collections Services and a staff accountant on loan from the Controller's Accounting Office provided able leadership for AS. During the fall, a successful search was completed and the vacant Financial Administrator position was filled effective January 1, 2001.
Concurrent with this appointment came the implementation of the new integrated on-line library system. Not only does the new system integrate all facets of accessing research information for the MIT Libraries, it is also the financial procurement and auditing system for the acquisition of library resources, both print and digital products. The Financial Administrator worked closely with colleagues in SAS to insure that all present and historic records were correctly transferred and that an accurate and efficient process to procure and pay for library acquisitions is in place.
The work involved in moving materials throughout the MIT Libraries as well as distributing all mail and other delivery services requires not only coordination and cooperation of all involved, it requires strong backs. The amount of library materials moved throughout the Libraries' has been steadily increasing. With the shift of more and more of the Libraries' holdings into storage, either at RSC or the Harvard Depository, the requests and return of materials from these sites places additional demands upon Delivery Services (DSO). It can only be expected that as more materials are sent to storage these demands and expectations will increase.
Many factors come into play as materials are moved throughout the Libraries'-not the least of which is renovation of facilities, creating difficulties in accessing loading docks or delivery sites. Coupled with this is the disruption caused by street repairs or right of way work, making it difficult to reach some delivery points. The DSO Staff has been resourceful and creative in adjusting to these challenges. This spring, the DSO Staff began to record the number of materials distributed through its operations. In future annual reports, it will be possible to compare past and present use, as well as project demand for Delivery Services in upcoming years.
Facilities and Operations
FY2001 saw significant steps taken on several critical facility issues, including: short term maintenance, building renovation and upgrades, and a major effort to identify long term facility planning.
During the summer of 2000, construction of a fire pipeline into Building 14 was begun. Preliminary meetings were held to discuss the various phases and its impact on operations. Piping was brought through the basement of Building 14 into two newly cored penetrations to the exterior. This work affected various units of the Libraries, including Preservation Services, Document Services, Music Library, and Delivery Services.
Building 14 has long been subject to roof leaks, especially in 14S. After a particularly bad leak in February, an intensive effort undertaken by the Department of Facilities identified several problems with drainage and cracks in the roof and floor of the penthouse. Work was completed during spring to correct the problems, and at the end of the FY2001, the issues seem to have been resolved.
The Dewey Library Staff identified several safety issues with the basement of Building E53, including emergency signs and lighting. This was brought to the attention the Department of Facilities who installed the necessary signs and lights. To freshen the appearance of the Dewey Library, new drapes were installed to replace ones hung when the building was built in the 1960s.
The installation of a series of panels depicting the history of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) caused a major refurbishing to take place along the corridor in 14N. This was accomplished by collaboration and coordination between the Libraries and SHASS. The result is a much brighter and attractive corridor in close proximity to the entrance to the Humanities and Science Libraries in Hayden.
Aeronautics and Astronautics Library
FY2001 saw the completion of the work on the Aero/Astro Library. Begun during FY2000, the complete re-thinking and re-designing of this library has enabled it to be more fully integrated into the teaching and learning processes of the departments it serves. Located adjacent to laboratories, it is easily accessible to students and faculty as their need for information arises. The space was designed to accommodate print materials, access to digital resources, study space and staff work areas. Although less square footage than the older facility, the use of compact shelving and excellent design has made the space more effective in meeting its mission.
CRSP FY2001 Project
In order to house as many print materials as possible within Building 14, it was determined that installation of compact shelving (moveable shelving that reduces space dedicated to aisles), should be investigated for the basement of Building 14. After an engineering study determined that only a limited portion of the floor had the strength to support compact shelving, a CRSP proposal was funded in FY2001 that provided for the installation of compact shelving in this section at the center of the basement. While the capacity was not what had been hoped, the new compact shelving is expected to extend the shelving capacity for up to five more years. The project began after the end of classes in May 2001 and is underway during the summer of 2001. For further discussion of this important project, especially the impact upon collection shelving and storage, please see the Annual Report of Collection Services.
A second project was also funded as part of the FY2001 CRSP projects, which is the renovation of Hayden Libraries entrance. This project is expected to include the integration of the Reserve Book Room into the immediate area and to provide a 24-hour study room. Due to planning delays and the review being undertaken by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, and Abbot during FY2001 of Building 14 (see below) that could have impinged on this project, it was decided to delay this project until FY02.
CRSP Proposals FY2002
The libraries responded to the call for FY2002 CRSP proposals by submitting two projects. The MIT Libraries had been given an anonymous gift to support the creation of a Preservation Services Laboratory. The gift was to purchase the necessary equipment and cover some staff costs. The Preservation Services Laboratory will eventually become part of an integrated Preservation Services Center, which will house both the Preservation Services Laboratory as well as a new digital projects laboratory. Funding is now being sought for this companion Digital Projects Laboratory. In order to house the additional equipment and staff necessary for such a center, the Libraries had to identify space adjacent to the site of the current Preservation unit. The concurrent impact required a juggling of space between the original Preservation unit, the Library Systems Office and the Institute Archives. In spring 2001 the Libraries were informed that this project had received CRSP support. Planning will begin during summer 2001, with the project to begin during IAP, January 2002.
Long Term Facility Planning
During FY2001 a major effort was begun to assess the long-term facility needs of the MIT Libraries. Since the MIT Libraries are housed in facilities that basically have not changed since the 1960s with the completion of the Dewey Library, the ability of the Libraries to house collections and provide services consistent with the needs and expectations of students and faculty of MIT at the beginning of the 21st century is seriously compromised.
The FY2000 Libraries Master Plan, prepared with the assistance of Shepley Bulfinch (SBRA) architectural firm, called for combining the Engineering and Science Libraries into one facility. In FY2001, the Libraries again contracted with Shepley Bulfinch to assist with a Feasibility Study of Building 14 to discover its potential for housing a combined engineering and science library as well as the central services currently housed there. Their report was received in May 2001. It concluded "that an expanded Building 14 would not effectively accommodate the programs for both the Science and Engineering Library and the Library Central Services."
The report includes the following components: analysis of existing building conditions, analysis of compliance with building codes; program for a Science and Engineering Library; program for the Libraries' Central Services; proposed architectural diagram; preliminary phasing and project cost estimates. Even with the proposed aggressive and expensive expansion plan, the Building 14 library facilities would fall 20 percent short of program needs for a combined Science and Engineering Library and Central Library Services. However, the feasibility study illuminated a number of opportunities for improving library facilities in Building 14 and will continue to inform viable alternatives for functional program accommodation. It has already been of great use in planning the compact shelving project for the basement and in providing reliable data for continued space planning.
Payroll and Staff Records
At the invitation of Financial Systems Services, the Staff Administrator participated in the development and testing of an alternate platform on the web for journal voucher preparation. Voucher employees hired for projects or unfilled positions increased from 12 in 1999-2000 to 40 in 2000-2001. In order for Library Council members to track voucher payroll expenditures, a form was created. To facilitate the links between Human Resources and the Libraries Payroll, the Staff Administrator assumed responsibility for correcting errors and/or resolving problems with payroll status.
Recruitment and search activities in the MIT Libraries continued to receive a high level of energy and attention in FY2001. The Libraries filled 13 administrative and professional staff positions as a result of serious searches. In addition to traditional librarian positions, these newly filled vacancies included a Library Technology Consultant, an Analyst/Programmer, a GIS and Statistics Specialist, a Financial Administrator, and several non-librarian supervisor positions. Also included in this total were the search to fill a Libraries' Steering Committee position, Assistant Director for Administration, and a newly developed position in the Libraries, that of Director of Development. Two additional administrative staff level positions were filled through the waiving of the serious search process and internal promotions of highly qualified support staff (Library Technology Consultant and Supervisor, Dewey and Humanities Processing) and another was filled through the upgrade of a support staff position (to Facilities and Operations Administrator), again creating an opportunity for an internal promotion.
The Libraries also conducted a record number of serious searches to fill Sponsored Research Staff positions this year. Grants from Hewlett-Packard and the Mellon Foundation for the DSpace Project and for the E-Journals Archiving Project have provided funding to fill several "hot skill" positions. The Libraries now have four Sponsored Research Staff associated with these exciting projects, a Project Planner for E-Journals Archiving, and for the DSpace Project-a Systems Curator and two Senior Marketing Development Managers.
The largest number of positions filled throughout FY2001, however, was among support staff. A total of 32 positions were filled this year, which represents approximately one-third of the Libraries' support staff headcount. A competitive local job market has clearly taken its toll on the Libraries' ability to attract and retain library assistants. Salary requirements for many of these incoming library assistants have created internal equity issues, which will require analysis and attention over the next year.
The recruitment of student assistants in the Libraries remains a challenge. There are many other jobs on and off campus that offer better wages and more meaningful career opportunities for students. In order for many library departments to carry out routine, basic services, it has become necessary to hire temporary hourly/casual employees. While this strategy has proven effective in some cases, it can only be for a limited period of time and does not allow the Libraries to establish valuable relationships with the student community.
The Libraries recorded 26 terminations this year-nine from the administrative staff and 15 from the support staff. Of the nine departing administrative staff members, two retired and two left the workforce for family reasons. Exit interviews with other departing staff members show salary still to be one factor impacting the decision to leave the MIT Libraries. Another of the factors cited for leaving the Libraries is the perception of a heavy burden on limited staff. A clear message from several of these departing staff members was that the Libraries do not have enough staff to accomplish the innovative things they want to do and still maintain effective patron services.
The Libraries have seen a significant impact of the special allocation provided in FY2001 for market adjustments to librarian salaries. These salary increases have been noted by staff as recognition on the part of the Institute of their value to the teaching and research programs of MIT. These salary increases have also improved the MIT Libraries' competitive position among our peers.
According to the Association of Research Libraries' (ARL) recent salary survey (reporting 1999-2000 data), MIT ranked 23rd of 122 in Average Professional Salary. This figure is up from 39th last year. Among our true peer institutions (22) in this group, the MIT Libraries have risen in the standings from 17th to 12th. It is worth noting, however, that seven of the peer institutions out-ranking MIT are located in the northeast. (See Table 1 below.)
Table 1. MIT Ranks 12th Among Peer Group
and Below Group Average in Salary Ranking
Peer Group Average
MIT has improved its standing in Beginning Professional Salary as well, up from 37th to 15th within the entire ARL group, and up from 14th to 8th among our true peer group. Again, a number of the peer institutions outranking MIT are New England institutions, including Harvard.
Statistics support that MIT's ranking among its peer institutions, both for beginning and average professional salaries, has substantially improved as a result of the Institute's attention to enhancing the MIT Libraries' position in the competitive marketplace. These statistics also indicate that continued attention to librarian salaries will further improve MIT's competitive edge against other academic library peers such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and the UC system.
Two of the fifteen support staff departures were due to retirement. While salary is an issue in attracting new support staff it does not appear to be a direct factor in support staff departures. A significant number of last year's support staff terminations can be attributed to job advancement or career pursuit. It is worth noting that five (one-third) of the 15 positions vacated this year were by employees who had been with the Libraries for one year or less, however, several of these were attributable to performance issues.
Administrative Services' staff has begun collaborating with the Compensation Office to analyze market data and assess salaries of both administrative and support staff in the Libraries. In addition to reviewing salary data, the Libraries' have provided compensation staff with information regarding recruitment and retention challenges for library staff in the form of a "Strategic Workforce Planning" document.
Rewards and Recognition
By all accounts the Libraries' implementation of the Institute's Rewards and Recognition initiative was a success. Operating under a significant time constraint, the Libraries' design team developed programs for both the Infinite Mile Award and the Spot Award during the first half of the year. On June 27 a luncheon was held for library staff to celebrate the contributions of all staff members during what has been a very demanding year. The luncheon was followed by a celebratory and even moving presentation of the Infinite Mile Awards. Within each of the award categories (Innovation and Creativity; Communication and Collaboration; Results, Productivity, and Outcome; and Community), four individuals and four teams-a total of 25 staff members-received a certificate of appreciation and a cash award.
Both programs were explicitly designed around peer-recognition. The impressive number of persuasive and heart-felt nominations received for the Infinite Mile Award was truly gratifying and reflected the great respect and appreciation library staff members have for one another. The Spot Award Program, a monthly drawing from a pool of submitted "thank you's," kicked off at the June 27th award event. The program was well received and thank you's have already begun rolling in.
It is discouraging to note the decrease in the Libraries' minority representation among the administrative staff. With the departure of two Asian females since July 2000, the percentage of underrepresented minorities on the administrative staff is now at three percent. One of the librarians took a position at the Harvard Business School and the other elected to devote more time to her young family. In both cases the MIT Libraries developed and supported creative strategies to try to retain these individuals, including sponsorship in the Association of Research Libraries Leadership and Career Development Program for underrepresented minority librarians in the former case, and the creation of a job share arrangement in the latter. Though ultimately unsuccessful, both strategies enabled us to retain these librarians in our employ for a longer period of time.
Despite diligent recruitment efforts in the serious search process we have been able to identify only a very few minority applicants in our candidate pools. This is a trend experienced by academic and research libraries across the country, as the percentage of minority library school students remains low. Of that small portion of minority students, few are electing to pursue librarianship in the academic setting. The highly competitive job market for librarians in general as well as MIT's need for librarians with sci/tech backgrounds are added complications.
Recruitment for the majority of librarian positions involves a full national search where positions are posted with various American Library Association minority groups. Full or limited local searches are conducted to fill non-librarian, professional positions and a local affirmative action source, such as The Bay State Banner, is used. Each applicant pool is diligently reviewed to identify any possible minority applicants, and to interview those applicants who meet the qualifications. Of the searches conducted this year, a total of six minority candidates were interviewed.
Minority representation on the support staff is much more encouraging. Of currently filled positions, 13 percent are from underrepresented minority groups.
In order for library staff to keep up in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of technology, they must be proactive in seeking out and participating in skill development opportunities. The Libraries, in turn, must provide an environment that supports and encourages continuous learning.
Responsibility for providing technology training opportunities for library staff is shared by many groups and individuals in the Libraries outside of Administrative Services. For non-technology training, many library staff avail themselves of MIT's Office for Organization and Employee Development offerings, which are convenient and receive good reviews. Several specific opportunities were organized this year for library staff members.
- In an effort to develop strong presentation skills in our library professionals (for bibliographic instruction in the classrooms, demonstrations of library technologies and systems to the MIT community, presentations to Visiting Committee, donors, etc.) a workshop was scheduled last summer with a local trainer. Approximately 12 staff members learned how to present themselves and their material more effectively, through group exercises, videotaping, and critiquing.
- In response to a request from some newer supervisors, a special session of "Giving Performance Appraisals" was scheduled with MIT Human Resources. With the many competing priorities in the Libraries at that time, only four supervisors were able to attend. In preparation for the 2001 support staff performance evaluation cycle, another special session is planned.
- Complaint Handler's Training, led by Professor J. Samuel Keyser, was scheduled for 13 staff members in December 2001. It has been the Libraries' goal to provide this training to all supervisors as well as all committee members of the Libraries' Advisory Committee on Workplace Issues.
Participation in professional organizations and conferences is also an important way for librarian and other professional staff to receive training and keep up-to-date with current technologies and best practices in the library profession. The Libraries place a high value on professional development opportunities and provide financial support for travel, lodging, and registration fees. Despite the fact that this funding only represents partial funding of these important development activities, statistics show that the majority of the Libraries' professional staff participates regularly in some type of funded professional activity. Professional associations include the American Library Association, Library and Information Technology Association, American Society of Information Science, Geological Society of America, and the American Chemical Society.
The procurement of library supplies and equipment and the monitoring of all contracts with vendors are completed by the Facilities and Operations Administrator. Due to the illness since February 2001 of the Facilities and Operations Administrator, members of the AS staff have shared many of the duties. The Staff Administrator assumed much of the day-to-day supervision of facilities, procurement, and parking.
This has been a year of great change for the staff of the Administrative Services Department. With significant personnel changes, the integration of other operations within the department, and a new department head, it has been a challenging time for all involved. However, it has been an opportunity for the AS staff to pull together and to learn more about each area within the department.
During this fiscal year the MIT Libraries has established itself as a committed player in the educational technology landscape of the Institute. The strong progress of our DSpace initiative, along with the creation of another Mellon-funded initiative, have helped draw vital attention and funding to the Libraries' role in educational technology. Libraries managers have participated in planning groups from MITCET to OCW, and expect to continue their engagement with educational technology efforts across the campus. And within the Libraries new ideas continue to be nurtured, building out our limited research experience. Even as we take a place at the campuswide ed-tech table, we also continue to improve our own operational technology foundations. This year we made the transition to the third generation of our Barton library management system, a transition which demanded extraordinary effort from our whole staff. We also revised our public web and our printing architecture with an eye on the sustainability of these services.
Taking a Seat at the Educational Technology Table
Libraries have long been at the heart of education technology on the campus. In fact, books are a masterful piece of educational technology, and all that libraries do to manage these assets for MIT are expressions of earlier efforts to master this educational technology. But the world moves on and today the new expressions of educational technology are in the digital realm, where again the library is building a role and reputation for itself.
MIT Libraries administrators now sit on both the MIT Council on Education Technology and the Open CourseWare steering committee. We have also engaged deeply in our role on the campuswide Information Technology Architecture Group. Managers of the Open Knowledge Initiative and Stellar projects from Academic Computing have sought our expertise, and Libraries staff have participated in the "knowledge summit" sponsored by these efforts. We have begun regular formal strategic planning meeting between the highest levels of Academic Computing and Libraries management, so that our efforts may be well coordinated. This participation in the Institute's vision and planning for educational technology has seen vital growth this year, and sprouts from the Libraries' mission and research agenda.
The DSpace project, supported by the Hewlett-Packard Laboratories ($1.8M) and the Andew W. Mellon Foundation ($214,000) seeks to build a system which can capture, preserve, and communicate the research output of the Institute which is born in digital form (see http://web.mit.edu/dspace/). The project is now fully staffed and has defined the core attributes of the system. This year we established a Faculty Advisory Board which has met twice and a Technical Review Board which has helped the team confront some sticky technical choices. We have also identified a set of "early adopters" within the Institute. These departments, labs, and centers will begin to use DSpace in the fall of 2001, while the rest of campus will await the formal release of the repository in the first few months of calendar year 2002.
The MIT Libraries have also begun active planning for the handoff of DSpace from the research team to our operational technology group. This handoff could take place as soon as the summer of 2002.
We have also hired two Sloan MBAs to take on the Mellon-funded challenge of building a business model for DSpace. We believe such a plan to be crucial to our ability to sustain DSpace for the long term called for in our commitment to faculty.
This year the MIT Libraries were gratified to attract a second Mellon Foundation grant ($140,000), this time for the purpose of planning for an ejournal archiving project. We are interested in tackling the archiving of a specific subset of the new scholarly literature, a medium we think will constitute the next generation of ejournal publishing, a medium we will call "dynamic ejournals." Dynamic ejournals are scholarly web sites which aim to share discoveries and insights, but do not feel bound by the conventions of "issues" and "articles" that have become standard in print. We believe that the dynamic ejournals currently published represent the leading edge of a broad range of dynamic content which we must learn to capture for future scholars.
This effort builds on the close relationship between the MIT Libraries and the MIT Press. The Press produces CogNet, one of the premier examples of a "dynamic ejournal" present in the world today.
The goal of this planning grant is to develop a proposal for actually undertaking the archiving task proposed for submission to the Mellon Foundation for further funding. This project proposal should be ready to submit to Mellon before the end of FY2002.
One of the most encouraging aspects of our new energy around research into educational technology issues is the fact that staff throughout the Libraries now feel empowered to investigate new service ideas on their own initiative. One of the most intriguing initiatives from our staff this year has been one to develop a service which would place the skills of the reference librarian out on the net. Libraries have always been more than the sum of their collections, they have also offered skilled guidance and research assistance to those who stop at the desk in a reading room and seek such aid. Digital libraries have been missing this essential component of library service, and the digital reference team has been exploring ways to bring this service to the web.
This year the team succeeded in mounting a small pilot "Ask Us" service on the MIT Libraries web page. The team worked closely with LSSI, a library vendor who in turn works with a high-end provider of web-based interactive customer support and service systems. They have learned the benefits and limitations of such software while providing the library vendor with insight into the real needs of academic research libraries and their patrons. We hope to expand this pilot project in the next academic year.
Tending to Operational Technology Foundations
Even as we reach for new horizons and investigate our role in the emerging digital delivery mechanisms of education, we also have to tend to the established technologies of our trade. Managing the physical (and electronic) assets of the Libraries is done with the help of an automated system we call the "Library Management System." After six years of service, the current library management system reached the end of its anticipated functionality on schedule in FY2000. The process of migrating to a new system was begun last year and reached the implementation stage this year. We also found that our web site had outgrown its original design and functionality, and it was redesigned with the benefit of significant user input this year. And, finally, we found that to sustain the growth in printing inspired by networked resources, we had to move to a cost-recovery architecture for public printing.
This year's task was to make a choice between the Sirsi Unicorn system and the Ex Libris Aleph 500 system and then to implement that choice. Aiming for both selection and implementation in a single year was an ambitious agenda, but we felt the process would be difficult no matter the pace, and so were determined to press ahead as quickly as possible. We reviewed the vendor responses to an RFP issued last summer, solicited information from and made site visits to various sites currently running these two systems, compiled information from various phone and email contacts with the vendors, and most importantly, obtained extensive feedback from our staff following week-long hands-on demonstrations from each vendor. Our RFP was relatively brief, with much of the emphasis of our process weighted toward the hands-on demonstrations provided to our staff. Our review led us to conclude that the Aleph 500 system from Ex Libris would be the best match for the MIT Libraries.
Contract negotiations took place in the fall of 2000. We promoted one of our staff to the position of Project Manager for the transition to the new system, and serious work on that transition began last December. The transition process has been difficult due both to the tight timeframe and to Ex Libris' decision to support our migration via a team operating in Israel. Our staff performed terrifically well planning for the transition, converting our data, and configuring the new system. We met our target of making the transition on the fiscal year boundary, missing our original forecast "switch-to-production" date by only one week. This target was met due to the extraordinary efforts of our staff over the past six months. We've documented that the effort required close to five percent of the total productivity of our staff during this period.
Public Web Redesign
When the MIT Libraries undertook its first professional design of its web pages four years ago, we developed a distinctive look which reflected our physical embodiment. Thanks in large part to usability studies by our Web Manager, we've learned that this reflection of our physical layout does not serve the MIT community very well. Our users, it turns out, would rather see a web page which emphasizes the services of the Libraries instead of their locations. And these services also need to be identified by names which are meaningful to the users themselves, rather than those which we in the libraries recognize. In retrospect, this all may seem self-evident, but diligent usability studies were the tool which unlocked our thinking and moved us toward a fresh solution.
These usability studies took place last summer and a redesign was embarked on this fall. The new design was unveiled to the community in June and has, to date, received warm reviews. Our Web Manager has worked with the campuswide web services team to pass along the techniques and strategy of usability studies and our web site redesign stands as tribute to their value.
The presence of meaningful quantities of relevant journal literature online has begun to change student and faculty collection utilization patterns. Photocopying journal articles has begun to give way to printing them from online collections. (Reading full articles online seems to await more advanced display technologies.) The MIT Libraries has noticed this shift as a decrease in photocopying and a corresponding increase in printing. While we charge for photocopies, which helps us recover the costs of the machines, service, and consumables involved, we were not charging for printing from computers. Given the shift underway, we realized we could not long continue to provide printing within the Libraries unless we found some way to recover the costs.
After some considerable investigation in 1999, we settled on a plan to add the same vend-a-cards to our public printing infrastructure as was already in place for photocopiers. Our cost analysis made it clear to us that even though we could expect a decline in online printing volume of as much as 75 percent once charging was in place, we would be able to recover the costs of the hardware, servers, and supplies required for public printing within three years.
We have been charging for public printing since February 2001 throughout the Libraries. Very few patrons need personal assistance to understand how the system works. We have begun to see the anticipated decline in online printing volume, but the experience of other libraries leads us to expect that volume will recover within four years. Perhaps most surprising of all, we have had only a very few complaints about the new charges.
The opportunities for applying technology to the work of the Libraries never end. In the coming year we hope to implement a laptop loan program which takes advantage of the wonderful new wireless networking made available to the Libraries though MITCET's initiative. We also expect to focus on issues of staff training that will enhance our ability to support the digital technology we present to both the public and our own staff. And we will have to seek new technology leadership since our Assistant Director for Technology Planning and Administration will halt his weekly commute from Minnesota. These and the continuing challenges of participating in the Institutes own educational technology dreams will keep the MIT Libraries innovating.
FY2001 was a busy, productive, turbulent year. Highlights include a record number of new titles released supporting continued growth in frontlist sales; successful completion of the monumental undertaking of building a new warehouse, moving 1.7 million books, and implementing a new inventory management/fulfillment system in partnership with Harvard and Yale; filling several critical positions in the Acquisition Department, including four new senior editors to replace defections; benchmark accomplishments in establishing data warehousing and electronic asset management systems; the launching of our first fee-based e-community, CogNet; the redesign and deployment of our web site; the first full year of the implementation of world pricing system; the completion of the process of mounting electronic files for all journals with our hosting partner CatchWord; equity adjustments for about 35 percent of our staff; a record number of design and publishing awards and prizes; and the worst sales shortfall in Press history.
The financial year ending in June was the worst in recent memory for university press publishing in general. While budgeted shortfall in sales here was not as serious as for most of our sister presses (Yale, Chicago, California, Harvard), book division sales were $1.221 million under budget, the shortfall entirely attributed to domestic backlist sales. Journals net proceeds were about $250K less than expected. Nevertheless, we reported a breakeven on overall operations. No mean feat, especially in light of the warehouse/systems conversion completed during the year, and the other undertakings listed above.
On the positive side, UK/European sales were up 6 percent overall, exceeding forecast (In fact UK sterling sales were up 20 percent); subrights income was ahead of budget; and the MIT Press Bookstore sales exceeded forecast.
I think it would be useful here to recount the convergence of several events impacting industry-wide sales, some of which are elements of continuing trends and some particular to this past year.
At $350K, Canadian sales were down 50 percent from last year. The restructuring of major chains (Chapters and Indigo) forced us to put these customers on hold most of the year because they weren't paying their bills. A similar negative effect happened with Borders, a major chain and one of our major customers, whom we also put on hold for about nine months because we felt their accounting practices in terms of returns and chargebacks and lateness in bill paying left us no alternative but to cut them off until they cleaned up their act. They are buying books again in orderly fashion.
In general, financial stresses and strains that uniquely affect scholarly publishing continue, like the drain on library acquisitions budgets caused by the high cost of scientific, medical and technical journals published by commercial publishers, and the new costs of electronic communications technologies. Furthermore, the continuing growth of interlibrary loans of books, and more recently e-books, does not help sales.
In the textbook arena, students are downloading and printing books that university libraries have put on electronic reserve, free of charge. Campus copy shops are offering penny-a-page deals early in the semester, and turning their backs as students copy entire books. And the used textbook market is more sophisticated than ever. These days, if you go online and type in a title, you'll get seven or eight quotes for it, new and used.
But this last year, almost everybody got hammered from a new direction: the general retail market for books took a nosedive.
Beginning in the mid-1990's, university presses benefited from the explosion of superstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders, and web retailers like Amazon.com, all of which were large enough to make room for specialized, scholarly titles. Retailers and distributors greatly expanded their warehouse capacity to feed demand, creating a surge in orders to fill their shelves. Amazon.com, in particular, built four new warehouses in 1999 and added another last year. The Ingram Book Company, the other major distributor, also added new warehouse space and so did BarnesandNoble.com. During FY2001, growth in on-line book sales has flattened and Ingram closed two facilities, in Chino, CA and Denver, CO. In the past year, chains have consolidated, warehouses have closed, and Amazon has fallen on hard times. Finding they have ordered far more books than they can sell, those retailers are returning them to publishers by the crateload.
The Association of American Publishers' preliminary report on industry-wide book sales for 2000 showed sales of adult clothbound books down 11.6 percent and paperback sales down 7.2 percent. Sales of university press books also slumped overall, down 2.4 percent.
In recent years many independent bookstores, which are important channels for sale of scholarly books, have been forced to close by competitive pressure from chains, and that sad trend continues. The American Booksellers Association, the trade association for the independents, reported recently that its membership had dropped by almost 25 percent in the last year. The smaller chains are also starting to go under; Wallace's and Bibelot are both gone, and the largest chain in Canada, Chapters, is closing stores. Crown Books has filed for bankruptcy. Amazon closed one of its warehouses; Ingram, the largest jobber supplying trade bookstores, closed two of its distribution centers.
All of these recent closings have exacerbated one of the chronic and intractable problems of the publishing industry: the practice by publishers of accepting unsold stock from bookstores and issuing credits against unpaid invoices. "Gone today, here tomorrow," is a bitter publishing joke in the best of times. The number of adult hardcover consumer books returned from bookstores in the first four months of this year rose 11 percent from last year, and the number of adult trade paperbacks rose 13 percent.
Table 2. Comparative Operating Results (In Thousands)
|Total Net Book Sales||17,103||18,029||16,776|
|Cost of Sales||7,341||8,039||7,390|
|Gross Margin on Sales||9,762||9,990||9,386|
|Other Pub. Income||642||182||178|
|Net Books Division||(71)||201||193|
|Net Pub. Operations||-||502||359|
During FY2001 the university presses of MIT, Harvard, and Yale completed construction of a new distribution center, named TriLiteral, located in Cumberland, RI. MIT Press and Harvard University Press closed its existing joint warehouse, Uniserv, in Littleton, MA and moved all inventory to the new distribution center. MIT Press began shipping from the new facility in April 2001. In the spring of 2002 the three presses will merge their order processing and customer service operations into TriLiteral and will combine orders for their books into single shipments to the same customer accounts.
Highlights From the Book Division
Barrett et al., The MIT Guide to Teaching Web Site Design
Buchwald and Warwick, eds., Histories of the Electron
Byrne et al., eds., Fact and Value
Dornbusch, Keys to Prosperity
Kenstowicz, ed., Ken Hale: A Life in Language
Marantz et al., eds., Image, Language, Brain
Miller and Lessard, The Strategic Management of Large Engineering Projects
Pesetsky, Phrasal Movement and Its Kin
Sussman and Wisdom, Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics
Williams, Technology and the Dream
Among the noteworthy books by non-MIT people from our scholarly and professional program were:
Auyang, Mind in Everyday Life and Cognitive Science
Brands, Rethinking Public Key Infrastructures and Digital Certificates
Branscomb and Auerswald, Taking Technical Risks
Brulle, Agency, Democracy, and Nature
Cabeza and Kingtone, eds., Handbook of Functional Neuroimaging of Cognition
Cargill et al., Financial Policy and Central Banking in Japan
Carroll, Making Use
Cope, Virtual Music
Darst, Smokestack Diplomacy
Davies, Norms of Nature
Davis and Steil, Institutional Investors
Faugeras and Luong, The Geometry of Multiple Images
Fields, Distribution and Development
Geiser, Materials Matter
Gollier, The Economics of Risk and Time
Gomory and Baumol, Trade Conflict
Guesnerie, Assessing Rational Expectations
Harel et al., Dynamic Logic
Heath, Communicative Action and Rational Choice
Jackson, Spectrum of Belief
Jacquemin, Spotting and Discovering Terms through Natural Language Processing
Jurist, Beyond Hegel and Nietzsche
Kecman, Learning and Soft Computing
Keijzer, Representation and Behavior
King, Complex Demonstratives
Levesque and Lakemeyer, The Logic of Knowledge Bases
Marcus, The Algebraic Mind
Mead, Collective Electrodynamics
Melamed, Empirical Methods for Exploiting Parallel Texts
Nelson and Luciana, eds., Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Nolfi and Floreano, Evolutionary Robotics
Nordhaus and Boyer, Warming the World
Perry, Knowledge, Possibility, and Consciousness
Persson and Tabellini, Political Economics
Pillow, Sublime Understanding
Rattray, Strategic Warfare in Cyberspace
Redmond and Smith, From Whirlwind to MITRE
Ringius, Radioactive Waste Disposal at Sea
Rocke, Nationalizing Science
Rowe, Machine Musicianship
Salanié, Microeconomics of Market Failures
Smil, Enriching the Earth
Stern, Metaphor in Context
Sutton, Marshall's Tendencies
Thagard, Coherence in Thought and Action
Thomson, A Guide for the Young Economist
Townsend and Bever, Sentence Comprehension
Tye, Consciousness, Color, and Content
Walter, Neurophilosophy of Free Will
New hardcover books for trade and general audiences included:
Azoulay, Death's Showcase
Baldi, The Shattered Self
Batchen, Each Wild Idea
Bhagwati, The Wind of the Hundred Days
Brennan, Painting Gender, Constructing Theory
Connah, How Architecture Got Its Hump
Da Costa, Global E-Commerce Strategies for Small Businesses
Dowie, American Foundations
Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth
Fernandez-Galliano, Fire and Memory
Florman, Myth and Metamorphosis
Gottlieb, Environmentalism Unbound
Gould IV, Labored Relations
Grosz, Architecture from the Outside
Harries, Infinity and Perspective
Kachur, Displaying the Marvelous
Kwinter, Architectures of Time
Lavin, Clean New World
Leatherbarrow, Uncommon Ground
Lehmann, Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity
Llinás, I of the Vortex
Manovich, The Language of New Media
Menzel and D'Aluisio, Robo sapiens
Murray, Women Becoming Mathematicians
Rajchman, The Deleuze Connections
Roberts, The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance
Spinella, The Psychopharmacology of Herbal Medicine
Taylor, Hans Bellmer: The Anatomy of Anxiety
Books published primarily as texts included:
Allen and Hand, Logic Primer, 2nd ed.
Benninga, Financial Modeling, 2nd ed.
Cabral, Introduction to Industrial Organization
Cartwright, Evolution and Human Behavior
De La Grandville, Bond Pricing and Portfolio Analysis
Felleisen et al., How to Design Programs
Friedman et al., Essentials of Programming Languages, 2nd ed.
Gluck and Myers, Gateway to Memory
Ljungqvist and Sargent, Recursive Macroeconomic Theory
Mallot, Computational Vision
Murphy, Introduction to AI Robotics
O'Reilly and Munakata, Computational Explorations in Cognitive Neuroscience
Pevzner, Computational Molecular Biology
Roland, Transition and Economics
Snyder, Music and Memory
Viscusi et al., Economics of Regulation and Antitrust, 3rd ed.
Editors in the Acquisitions Department included: Laurence Cohen (Editor-in-chief; Social Theory, Science and Technology Studies); Roger Conover (Art and Architecture); John Covell and Elizabeth Murry (Economics, Finance, and Business); Clay Morgan (Environmental Studies); Barbara Murphy (Neuroscience); Robert Prior and Douglas Sery (Computer Science); and Tom Stone (Psychology and Linguistics).
In FY2001, the Journals program had earned sales of $4.8 million, a four percent increase from last year. The deferred subscription reserve account increased from $1,946,544 to $2.3 million. The year was spent in improving processes for our new fulfillment system and in developing electronic versions of all our journals through a technology partner, CatchWord Ltd. In addition, the division was heavily involved in the launching of our electronic community MIT CogNet, and in supporting its marketing and subscription efforts.
Five new journals were added: Journal of Machine Learning Research, Grey Room, American Journal of Bioethics, Global Environmental Politics, and NBER/Innovation Policy and the Economy (annual). Five journals terminated or left our program mid-year: Assemblage, Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, Journal of Functional and Logic Programming, and Real Estate Economics.
The division ends the year still publishing 38 journals. The others are: Artificial Life, Computational Linguistics, Computer Music Journal, Design Issues, TDR/The Drama Review, Evolutionary Computation, Harvard Design Magazine, 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 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 and the Economy, Neural Computation, Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, October, Perspectives on Science, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, Reflections: The SoL Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, and The Washington Quarterly.
Editorial and Management Boards
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), Mary Curtis, Joseph Esposito, Jack Goellner, William Arms, John Hanley, Stephen Lerman, William Mitchell, Richard Rowe, Jerome Rubin, Richard Schmalensee, Hal Abelson, and Ian Page. Frank Urbanowski served as ex-officio.
Digital Projects Lab (DPL)
The Press's flagship e-community site for the brain and cognitive sciences, CogNet, launched as a fee-based service on October 1st of last year. Through the end of June 2001 we have acquired 47 paid institutional site licenses totaling $62k and an additional $15k in member subscriptions by individuals. This coming fiscal year we plan to upgrade our software toolkit (from the ArsDigita Community System to a Java-based architecture).
The DPL is also involved in a major initiative to digitize the Press's out-of-print book and journal collection. Approximately ~2500 books from the Press's complete published collection of ~6500 titles are now out of print and unavailable. The project is a joint venture with Hewlett Packard Laboratories' Digital Content and Remastering Department. The DPL is currently staffed by a general manager, a senior project manager, one lead programmer/analyst and two junior programmers, and a web designer.
The Marketing Department at The MIT Press took on two major projects in the last fiscal year. We built a new web site, in cooperation with the journals department, and we played a major role in the move to the new warehouse and in the implementation of a new order processing system, which also includes a sales analysis and accounting module.
Overall sales were down from last year by 5.1 percent, due mainly to two factors, one foreign and one domestic. A major bookselling chain in Canada, Chapters, went bankrupt. In previous years, we had done over $300,000 in business with this chain. In the U.S., a major wholesaler closed two distribution centers which cut our sales to wholesalers by roughly $900,000 overall. Despite these two major losses, which add up to over $1,200,000, gains were made in other sectors leaving us down in net dollars by $925,100.
Because Chapters is merging with a viable chain and the merger has been approved by the Canadian government, and because we see signs of stabilization in the wholesaler sector in the U.S., we have projected a modest increase in income for next year. Reports from Domestic Sales, Promotions, International Marketing and Electronic Marketing follow.
After the last three years of strong sales led by triple digit growth in our webseller market, sales for FY2001 experienced an abrupt flattening. While front list sales remained strong, back list sales dropped significantly due to the distribution downsizing of a few of our largest customers. In the past year, warehouses for Ingram, amazon.com, and fatbrain.com have closed a total of seven warehouses. In addition to these closures some significant accounts have gone out of business, including Crown, Bibelot, and BigWords.com. Last year we estimated that 50 percent of the MIT Press books sold online were provided through a wholesaler. It is no surprise that this is the hardest hit customer category this fiscal year, down from $5,466,687 to $4,544,589. Wholesalers not only absorb the .com downturn but also the returns of small chains and independents that have gone out of business.
In addition to closing warehouses, most accounts large and small, are adopting a philosophy of "just in time" ordering. For instance, Ingram, who in the past ordered for a 12-16 week ordering cycle has now trimmed this to 6-8 weeks. Most realize overstocking is expensive and are instead increasingly relying on publishers for quicker order turnaround. The importance of recently updating our warehouse operations cannot be overstated. Speed of delivery will become a key component in maintaining favorable status with our accounts and allowing us to more time to effectively capitalize on various forms of publicity that often hit with little lead time to get books to accounts.
Chain stores remain strong with Barnes and Noble adding FatBrain to their company roster. Barnes and Noble's distribution centers now provide fulfillment for their superstores, their college division, bn.com, and FatBrain.com. After their deal fell through last year with Ingram, Barnes and Noble have put considerable emphasis on distribution self-sufficiency, providing another blow to wholesalers who were heavily relied upon by the chains to fulfill special orders and high level stock. In August, we resumed shipping to Borders after placing them on hold for nine months while we worked out various issues concerning late payments, excessive returns, and chargebacks.
With the help of an outside web developer and designer, the Press has developed an all new web site. Slated to launch in July, the new site brings many new features and upgrades, including an updated graphic design, a modern shopping cart system, and vastly improved searching capabilities. One of the site's most important features is an improved categorization system, allowing for better linking between related books, journals, and digital products.
The new site's open architecture will allow the Press to undertake several system integration projects in the coming year. The site will be linked with our Bookmaster fulfillment system, making possible much quicker order turnaround, and also with the EclipseNet journals fulfillment system, which will allow journals customers to access their subscription information online. The site may also be upgraded to handle real-time e-commerce transactions for e-book order fulfillment.
MIT Press total export sales during FY2001 came in at $5.047M-down 5.5 percent from previous fiscal year. Total export sales account for approximately 30 percent of overall book sales for the Press.
Our best results for international sales came out of our London Office/Wiley UK-combined UK and European sales increased to $3.280M up 2.8 percent over previous fiscal year. It's been a mixed selling season in the UK seeing sales growth and optimism with the independents, wholesalers, museum and gallery shops, and specialist booksellers-while it was another difficult period for UK chain booksellers such as Waterstone's and Blackwells due to heavy returns and continuing management problems. Sales in continental Europe are holding steady despite the majority of independent bookseller's ongoing concern over the high list prices of most imported English-language books. Our European sales are coming almost entirely from the academic independent booksellers.
In the Canadian market, we suffered enormous returns from Chapters, Canada's largest chain bookseller which was sold last year and recently merged with Canada's other leading chain Indigo Books, and has now become Chapters-Indigo. Chapters remained on credit hold for most of FY 01 due to not having made a payment to MITP since August 2000. Payment delays and returns of up to 100 percent by Chapters, were problems felt industry-wide by Canadian and US publishers. The sales that we did acheive in Canada were from the independents and mostly text sales.
The weakened Australian dollar continues to make imported US books expensive and consequently Oz consumers cut back on purchasing books including much needed academic and reference titles. Text sales remain steady due to special pricing considerations to make the books more affordable.
Sales to Japan are slightly down from last fiscal year and perhaps not too worisome at this time - the slight decline due to expected cuts in both private and public university library budgets. In other export markets we experienced sales growth in parts of the Far East, Middle East and sub-Continent but sales to Latin America remain exceedingly challenging except for the significant iincrease in sales to Mexico. All export sales felt the impact of the move to the new warehouse -TriLiteral, by way of delayed order processing and shipments.
Table 3. Export Sales
|FY 2001 Actual||FY 2000||Actual + / -|
|All Other Export||$702K||$741K||-5.5%|
Fiscal Year 2001 was an extremely active direct mail year, with the production of fourteen subject area catalogs, two special promotions, numerous single book flyers, and two seasonal announcement catalogs. Because of our conversion to Bookmaster, we are currently unable to produce sales reports that fully reflect our direct mail sales for the fourth quarter. We estimate our traceable direct mail sales for FY2001 to be about $179,170. Direct mail's bottom line continues to be down from previous fiscal years. We believe direct mail sales are hurt primarily by online booksellers, who can offer much quicker delivery than we can, as well as discounts on some titles. Nevertheless, we continue to believe that direct mail remains a highly effective means of promoting MIT Press titles, and of making our professional customers aware of new and backlist books in their specific areas of interest.
Our Cognitive Science catalogs reflected the strongest direct mail sales at $34,432 for the year. This is followed by Economics at $30,659, and Neuroscience at $23,646.
FY2001 we mailed thirty direct mail text promotions to over 85,000 U.S. professors in various disciplines. The fall of 2000 saw the largest direct mail promotion in at least a decade. Highlights included new editions of the best-selling texts of Benninga's Financial Modeling and Viscusi's Economics of Regulation and Antitrust. New editions of successful texts are important revenue generators for The Press. At one point, both the first and second editions of Benninga's text were on our bestseller list. Fall 2000 also featured two major new economics texts in Cabral's Introduction to Industrial Organization and Ljungqvist and Sargent's Recursive Macroeconomic Theory.
Because the warehouse change occurred at the same time that spring direct mail text requests were arriving, we fulfilled text requests from the office. This involved sending out hundreds and hundreds of examination copies. Highlights of the Spring campaigns were Friedman/Essentials of Programming Languages 2E, which we took over from Mcgraw Hill, and Felliesen/Introduction to Computer Programming. Felleisen has recently been adopted at Georgia Tech for a class of 1500 students per semester, one of the largest adoptions ever for one of our textbooks.
The MIT Press exhibited titles at 168 U.S. professional and academic conferences in FY2001, generating $143,784 in onsite sales plus $222, 735 in "mail-in" sales. Total sales generated by U.S. exhibits in FY2001 was $366,519, an increase of more than $59,000 from FY2000. Overall expenses this year were slightly lower than last year's.
The year's top ten U.S. conferences, ranked by sales are:
- Society for Neuroscience, November 5-8, 2000, New Orleans, LA
- Allied Social Science Association, January 5-7, 2001, New Orleans, LA
- College Art Association, February 28-March 3, 2001, Chicago, IL
- Econometric Society World Congress, August 11-16, 2000, Seattle, WA
- International Society of Molecular Biology, August 20-23, 2000, La Jolla, CA
- Society for Research in Child Development, April 19-22, 2001, Minneapolis, MN
- Association for Research in Vision and Opthalmology, April 29-May 4, 2001, Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Super Computing 2000, November 16-19, 2000, Dallas, TX
- American Association for Artificial Intelligence, August 1-3, 2000, Austin, TX
- Psychonomic Society, November 16-19, 2000, New Orleans, LA
Advertisements for MIT Press books appeared in almost 600 trade and scholarly journals and magazines, as well as conference programs and web sites. 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 Robo sapiens, MIT CogNet, Labored Relations, Culture in Practice, Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, Gateway to Memory, The Wind of the Hundred Days, Clean New World, Karl Blossfeldt, The Elusive Quest for Growth, Writing on Water, and The Invisible Heart.
Advertisements for these books appeared in such publications as American Scientist, Technology Review, The New York Review of Books, Economic Journal, Foreign Affairs, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation, New Republic, Lingua Franca, Mother Jones, Whole Earth, The New York Times Book Review, Art in America, and Artforum. Banner ads were placed on the slashdot.org web site.
MIT Press titles received extensive coverage in U.S. newspapers, magazines and journals in FY2001, and a number of MIT Press authors discussed their work on radio and television programs.
This year's most widely and favorably reviewed title was Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio. An illustrated look at the current state of robotics, the book presents haunting photographs of humanoid and biomimetic robots along with interviews and profiles of their inventors, most of whom work in labs in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Robo sapiens was the subject of feature articles and reviews in Wired magazine (cover story, September 2000), Discover magazine, Scientific American (featured review), The Wall Street Journal, Salon.com, The San Jose Mercury News, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Industry Standard, Business 2.0, Psychology Today, ArtByte, Publishers Weekly, and many others. In his Scientific American review, professor and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge say, "It is very difficult to write clearly and simply about such things and still remain faithful to the underlying technology. Menzel and D'Aluisio accomplish this feat. The interviews and sidebars are consistently intriguing but also show great effort in avoiding the misinterpretations that could come from comparing so many different research enterprises . . . Menzel's color photos are beautiful and, for the most part, extremely effective."
Russell Roberts's The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance also received high-profile coverage. Milton Friedman called the book, which uses the genre of romance fiction to address current economic and business issues, "A page-turning, well-written love story that also teaches an impressive amount of economics." The author discussed the book on television and radio programs including C-SPAN's Book-TV, NPR's "Talk of the Nation," and CNBC's "Today's Business." Reviews and opinion pieces about the book appeared in Barron's, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, American Enterprise Magazine (excerpt), National Journal, Reason Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Business Economics, The Daily Telegraph, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, St. Louis Dispatch, The Irish Times and others. George Will's widely syndicated Washington Post column called The Invisble Heart "delightfully didactic." A starred review in Kirkus described it as "radical economic ideas delivered as marvelously inventive fiction." Publishers Weekly's review called the book a "snappy, well-written novel [that] casts economic polemic in fictional form."
Jagdish Bhagwati's The Wind of the Hundred Days: How Washington Mismanaged Globalization also received a substantial amount of U.S. coverage. Reviews, news stories, interviews, and opinion pieces appeared in Booklist, Foreign Affairs, Lingua Franca, International Economy Magazine, Business 2.0, The New York Times, Industry Standard (web site), International Finance, Barnes & Noble, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Independent, and the India-West newspaper.
Maud Lavin's Clean New World has so far been reviewed by The New York Times Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Design Issues, Metropolis, Artbyte, I.D., Print Magazine, Techdirections, and Afterimage.
Rodolfo Llinas's I of the Vortex was reviewed by Discover magazine, American Scientist, and the San Francisco Examiner, and excerpted in Cerebrum.
Vaclav Smil's Feeding the World: A Challenge for the Twenty-First Century received positive reviews in all three of the major U.S. general science publications. Science, The American Scientist, and Scientific American all praised Smil's book, which explains how we can produce enough food to support the world's growing population, without irreparably damaging the biosphere. (On the strength of this book and others, Smil is the recipient of this year's AAAS prize for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, as described in the awards section, below.)
In FY2001, we posted announcements of all new professional and many new trade books to email lists and Usenet groups in relevant fields. We also negotiated links from related web sites to our own. And we made extensive use of our own email lists, which contain the email addresses of visitors to our site who have bought books, subscribed to journals, or asked to receive announcements of new titles on particular subjects. Over the past year, we have developed robust databases that generate book announcements more quickly, store detailed information more effectively, and report more clearly on electronic promotion activities.
This type of promotion works particularly well for certain kinds of books, and we spent additional time promoting these books, using listserv search engines and exploring the Internet to find appropriate lists and web sites. Titles in computer science, robotics, and new media, which often garner hundreds of hits per month as a result of our e-promotion campaigns, represent a large portion of the books in this category. Making Use by John Carroll, for example, received 221 hits in a one-month period, while Introduction to AI Robotics by Robin R. Murphy received 231.
Certain books in other categories also garnered many hits, often from people who receive announcements through our email lists. The Mind Doesn't Work That Way by Jerry Fodor received 185 hits after we sent an announcement to our Philosophy email list, our Cognition, Brain, and Behavior email list, and two listservs. Women Becoming Mathematicians by Margaret A. M. Murray, which received 70 hits in one month, appeared on a number of women's-studies-related listservs and web sites in addition to our History of Science and Technology, Science and Technology, and Gender Studies email lists.
The Press's books and authors were honored in a wide variety of contexts and competitions in FY2001, with particular recognition in the categories of design and lifetime achievement. Titles winning multiple design awards include Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History by Geoffrey Batchen, which won four awards for its elegant design by (former) MIT Press designer Ori Kometani, and Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity by Ulrich Lehmann, which won three awards for its design, also by Ori Kometani. Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape by Jan Albers, The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919-1934 by Eve Blau, and Women Becoming Mathematicians: Creating a Professional Identity in Post-World War II America by Margaret A. M. Murray each won two design awards.
Two MIT Press authors were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2001. Vaclav Smil, author of numerous MIT Press titles including Energies, Enriching the Earth, and Feeding the World, received the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology presented in February of 2001 at the association's annual meeting in San Francisco. This prestigious award "honors working scientists and engineers who make outstanding contributions to the 'popularization' of science." Lewis Branscomb, who has edited several MIT Press titles on science and technology policy, received the Vannevar Bush Award presented in May of 2001 by the National Science Board (NSB) at a Department of State-hosted awards dinner. The award is given for lifetime achievement in science and public service.
Here are some additional highlights from July 2000 through June 2001. For outstanding design, MIT Press books were honored in five different competitions.
Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity by Ulrich Lehmann, in the categories of Scholarly Illustrated and Jackets and Covers, and Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History by Geoffrey Batchen, in the category of Scholarly Illustrated, were chosen as winners in the AAUP annual Book, Jacket, and Journal competition for excellence in design. The competition took place on January 11 and 12, 2001. The winners were showcased at the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Annual Meeting in Toronto, June 16-19, and then proceeded on a tour.
Photography in Boston, 1955-1985 edited by Rachel Rosenfield Lafo and Gillian Nagler, along with book designer Jean Wilcox was awarded First Place in the category of Books Over $10 in the New England Museum Association Publications Award presented by the New England Museum Association (NEMA). The book will be exhibited at the NEMA annual conference in Newport, Rhode Island, November 14-16, 2001 and the winners will be announced in the summer issue of NemaNews. Following the conference, all entries are donated to the Boston Public Library.
Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History by Geoffrey Batchen and Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity by Ulrich Lehmann were chosen as "outstanding examples of book and book cover design" in the AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers of 2000 competition presented by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). The books will be displayed at AIGA's National Design Center in New York, August 2001. The show will travel nationally and be documented in 365: AIGA Year in Design, AIGA's annual design compendium. The winners will also exhibit at the Frankfurt International Book Fair, fall 2001.
Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History by Geoffrey Batchen, Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity by Ulrich Lehmann, and Women Becoming Mathematicians: Creating a Professional Identity in Post-World War II America by Margaret A. M. Murray were selected to appear in Print: America's Graphic Design Magazine as part of Print's Regional Design Annual 2001. The books will appear in the section devoted to the Eastern Region of the country in late September, 2001. The designers will receive Certificates of Design Excellence in recognition of their outstanding work.
Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History by Geoffrey Batchen was awarded a BoNE (Best of New England) Award presented by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Boston. This book was chosen from among 117 books as one of 39 of the best designed books featured at the 2001 BoNE Show on display at MassArt's Bakalar Gallery June 7-July 13, 2001. The 117 books in the show were selected from 800 entries. The following MIT Press books also appeared in the show: The Internet Upheaval: Raising Questions, Seeking Answers in Communications Policy edited by Ingo Vogelsang and Benjamin M. Compaine, Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design by Maud Lavin, Truth from Trash: How Learning Makes Sense by Chris Thornton, Coherence in Thought and Action by Paul Thagard, and Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts by Douglas Kahn.
In addition to winning a design award, Women Becoming Mathematicians: Creating a Professional Identity in Post-World War II America by Margaret A. M. Murray received Honorable Mention in the category of History of Science and Technology in the 2000 Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division Annual Awards Competition presented by the Association of American Publishers, Inc. Winners in this competition included An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage by Malcolm Macmillan in the category of History of Science and Technology and How Children Learn the Meanings of Words by Paul Bloom in the category of Psychology. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony on Tuesday, February 6, 2001 during the P/SP Annual Conference in Washington D.C.
Another double winner, Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape by Jan Albers was awarded the 2001 Media Award presented by the National Arbor Day Foundation and one of the Vermont Book Professionals Association (VBPA) Milestone Awards 2000 as one of the Judges' Three Favorite Books, chosen from the Twelve Best Books of Vermont. The Media award recognizes outstanding publications which bring issues relative to the importance of trees and conservation to the public and was presented on April 28, 2001 at the 29th annual National Arbor Day Awards Banquet and Ceremonies in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The VBPA Awards were presented at the VBPA Awards Night held at the Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT June 9, 2001.
The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919-1934 by Eve Blau received two awards, recognizing this book's importance as a representation of both Austrian culture and architecture. The Center for Austrian Studies presented this title with the 2000 Austrian Cultural Institute Prize for the best book on Austrian History announced at the center's annual conference on April 5, 2001. The Society of Architectural Historians rewarded Blau's book with the 2001 Hitchcock Award for excellence in architectural publications. This award was presented at the society's Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 19, 2001 in Toronto, Ontario.
Another book honored at the Society of Architectural Historian's Annual Meeting was Mapping Boston by Alex Krieger and David Cobb with Amy Turner. This book received the 2001 Philip C. Johnson Award. As with the Hitchcock Award, this prize is given for excellence in architectural publications.
Two medical awards have been given to MIT Press books. The First Prize for the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Medical Book Award in the category of Books for Allied Health Professionals was awarded to Confessions of a Medicine Man: An Essay in Popular Philosophy by Alfred I. Tauber. The William H. Welch Medal for 2001 presented by the American Association for the History of Medicine was awarded to The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine by Shigehisa Kuriyama. The medal is awarded "to the sole author of a book of outstanding scholarly merit in the field of medical history published during the five calendar years preceding the award."
The International Studies Association presented the Press with two awards. The Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for the best book published on the topic of international environmental affairs was presented to Exporting Environmentalism: U.S. Multinational Chemical Corporations in Brazil and Mexico by Ronie Garcia-Johnson by the Environmental Studies Section of the ISA. Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy: Industry, Environmentalists, and U.S. Power by Elizabeth R. DeSombre received the 2001 Chadwick F. Alger Prize for the best book published in 2000 in the area of international organization. The awards were presented on Thursday, February 22, 2001 at the ISA convention in Chicago.
In economics, The MIT Press received the 43rd Nikkei Prize for Excellent Books in Economic Science for The Spatial Economy by Masahisa Fujita, Paul R. Krugman, and Anthony J. Venables. The award was announced on October 11, 2000 by the Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER).
In photography, Germaine Krull: Photographer of Modernity by Kim Sichel was chosen as a finalist in the 2000 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Awards presented by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation. The winners were announced at The Arts Club in London on Tuesday, February 6, 2001.
The 2001 Lionel Trilling Book Award for the best book by a Columbia University professor was awarded to Jonathan Crary for Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture. The awards were presented at Columbia's annual awards ceremony, Monday, April 23, 2001 by the 2001 Academic Awards Committee of Columbia College.
Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio was a winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (The IPPY Awards) in the category of Science presented by Independent Publisher magazine. The awards were presented at Book Expo America (BEA) in Chicago, IL June 1-3, 2001.
Finally, the Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Technics presented by the Media Ecology Association (MEA) was presented to Remediation: Understanding New Media by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin. The award was announced at the MEA's annual convention in New York City, June 15, 2001.
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 decreased by seven percent since FY2000. The number of translation contracts increased from 108 contracts signed during FY2000 to 124 during the same period in FY2001. The average size of the advances paid against royalties has decreased slightly in most markets, particularly Japan, due to a struggling economy. However, royalty scales remain stable and over time we make up for smaller advances with royalties. The number of translation contracts signed for simplified character editions for distribution in mainland China continues to increase steadily, as do the advances and the royalty scales. Total income from translations remains spread evenly between backlist and frontlist 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, as well as the sale of paperback reprints. It is unfortunate that in FY2001 The Sciences, one of our best clients for excerpts, was closed down by the New York Academy of Sciences.
In the category of reprint sales, we continue to license selected English language reprints in those markets where we forecast limited income from sales of our own editions. Income from our reprint program increased by eighteen percent since FY2000, and constitutes a substantial portion of total subsidiary rights income.
During FY2001 income from sales to book clubs increased by 78 percent since FY2000. Following a period of consolidation and reorganization in the book club industry, the number of MIT Press titles featured continues to increase gradually. This market is the least predictable for subsidiary rights; it depends both on our publishing list and on the financial formula required by book clubs.
Income from the license of electronic rights during FY2001 increased by 19 percent. 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 FY2001 increased by 6.1 percent over FY2000.
Table 4. Subsidiary Rights Income
|Electronic, AV rights||$4,559||$3,574||$3,996|
*Please note that this total reflects disbursement of royalties due an author who requested payment before the end of the royalty year.
Table 5. FY2001 Dollar Sales Compared to FY2000
|Month||Total (w/o tax)||HC||PB||JOURN||HURT||MISC.||Non-MITP|
|% comparison 00||6%||-10%||6%||-14%||143%||-11%||2%|
|% comparison 99||5%||-9%||-6%||-17%||71%||5%||9%|
|% of sales||25%||15%||1%||12%||3%||44%|
|MITP portion||418,773||= 53% of sales|
Sales in FY2001 climbed six percent compared to the previous year to give us the third highest grossing total in our store's history. Growth areas included a six percent rebound in MIT Press paperback sales, a two percent rise in non-MIT Press items, and a 143 percent rise in hurt book sales. The large increase in hurt book sales was largely due to the two "loading dock sales" we held this year which themselves grossed about $55K. We also had success in correcting the slide in Press vs. non-Press sales with 53 percent of sales this year being made on MIT Press books (as opposed to 50 percent last year). Press hardcover sales dropped for the second year in a row; we will increase our efforts to rectify this trend.
One of our goals for this last year was to reduce the amount of stock in the store while maintaining depth and sales. Through more intelligent ordering and more efficient stock handling, we successfully reduced the amount on non-MIT Press inventory by 18 percent and the amount of MIT Press inventory by six percent.
Our second major goal was to reduce the Bookstore's expenses without hurting sales. We successfully cut our expenses in all areas. Our overall expenses were 17 percent less in FY2001 than compared to FY2000.
We benefited this year from a relatively stable staff of talented booksellers and look forward to a period of more focused training in the new fiscal year. Also, the newly instituted dual-management system continues to work effectively and efficiently.
In addition to previously mentioned successes in inventory control and operating expenses, we continued our plan of physical improvements in the store with the installation of a new anti-theft security system, an improved computer infrastructure, and a more efficient redesign of our office and storage areas.
In the new year we intend to continue improvements to the store interior, including a new lighting system, new in-store signage, and better display units. We also plan to increase the street visibility of the store. Further work on the bookstore website is also on the agenda.