To push the frontiers of knowledge in our research would not be possible without libraries. The library connects us with the current knowledge and state of the art, and this is the starting point for our own work. The library also instills in me a sense for tradition—to look at fifty or hundred year old writings reminds me that I am part of a long-lasting human effort to understand the world around us.
John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics
The MIT Libraries are privileged and pleased to support the work of the extraordinary faculty and students of MIT. Our community expects a high level of excellence from their library system, and the staff of the Libraries are more than equal to the challenge. For their part, students and faculty expressed their appreciation for the Libraries' excellence in many ways in FY2003—not the least of which was Professor Ketterle's thoughtful remark.
While the Libraries have always been a critical part of the Institute's intellectual and community infrastructure, in FY2003 they—like many other units of the Institute—actively pursued the task of reinventing excellence. In the Libraries' domain, change manifested itself in the form of modernized physical spaces, new services concepts devised by both information services staff and information management staff, expanded programming of seminars and events, and a vibrant applied research program. Library staff eagerly pursued these activities despite financial constraints, a rapidly expanding, appropriately demanding client base, and continued volatility in the publishing environment.
With the Libraries' powerfully productive information resources and services now reaching those who access them over networks as well as those who visit the Libraries' physical facilities, every academic department, every lab and center, every desktop and dorm room at MIT can readily take advantage of the Libraries' physical and digital assets. Indeed, our excellence is increasingly assumed to be a fundamental aspect of the Institute's infrastructure, its "intellectual plumbing." Of this we should be proud, just as we are proud of the service philosophy and culture of innovation that frame our operational choices. In his classic book Excellence (Norton, 1984), John W. Gardner points out that the society that scorns excellence in plumbing and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy will find that "neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." The MIT Libraries aim to excel at both.
The Libraries' FY2003 departmental reports illuminate the amazing level of effort and unstinting professionalism that are required to have facilities, resources, technology, and services that "hold water." By supporting current and future Nobel laureates in their work, and by connecting faculty and students alike to the traditions, current knowledge, and state of the art of their disciplines, the Libraries underpin the aspirations and expectations of the research and teaching enterprises of MIT.
FY2003 was a year that clearly validated the Libraries' strategic plan. Student and faculty use of the Libraries rose significantly in a number of areas, as did donations from alumni, research support from foundations and industry partners, and enrollments in the Libraries' instructional programs. Specifically:
- Donors demonstrated a gratifying willingness to support the Libraries' vision and mission through gifts for information resources, for student study spaces, and for the conservation and preservation of the Libraries' rare and unusual collections.
- Parents and alumni signed up in notable numbers to learn about the history of MIT and the current and future role of the Institute Archives in capturing and preserving that history.
- Students expressed their gratitude in words and actions for the new spaces built within the Libraries on their behalf. The value of appropriately designed, thoughtfully outfitted study space was instantly recognized and greatly appreciated.
- The importance of the network as a true service outlet was affirmed. Not only were extensive current information resources served to and used by the MIT community over the network, but a variety of web-based service modules were developed for specific constituencies within the MIT community.
- Research that advanced MIT's (and the world's) ability to use and manage digitally formatted information was conducted in close cooperation with MIT faculty and researchers and MIT's industry partners.
- The authors@mit program continued to attract exceptional readers and impressive audiences. A growing number of lectures are now available to MIT alumni/ae and others via MIT World.
- The prescience of the Institute's 1998 Task Force on Student Life and Learning was demonstrated in the exceptional number of students who attended library instructional programs designed to facilitate effective use of information resources.
MIT's Libraries have long been distinguished by the closeness of their working relationships with MIT administrators, faculty, and students. This admirable characteristic was furthered in FY2003 through the innovative and enthusiastic efforts of the Libraries User Group committees, by the creativity and diligence of the intra-library functional service teams, and by the conscientious outreach activities of subject specialists and managers in each divisional and branch library within the library system.
Under the leadership of Tom Rosko, newly recruited Institute archivist, records-management activities were enhanced by a new, highly productive relationship with the Office of the Executive Vice President. We were honored by President Vest's delivery of the keynote address at the 141st Membership Meeting of the Association of Research Libraries in Washington, DC, in October 2002. In April 2003 the Libraries were delighted to work with MIT's Office of Government and Community Relations in welcoming Maurice Sendak to MIT to deliver the 2003 Arbuthnot Lecture. And we were gratified by the remarkably enthusiastic response to DSpace when it was released in November 2002 as an open source software system.
Strong working relationships were likewise developed or maintained with the leaderships of Information Systems, Academic Computing, the OpenCourseWare project, SloanSpace, AMPS, and the technical staff of numerous departments, labs, and centers here at the Institute. The Libraries' Systems and Technology Services group became an active and constructive partner in planning for and supporting educational technology at the Institute. Collection Services developed an innovative service concept called the Metadata Unit to support the work of OpenCourseWare and other web-based Institute initiatives.
Ellen Faran was warmly welcomed to MIT as the new director of the MIT Press following Frank Urbanowski's retirement in January 2003. Public Services staff worked closely with the Stellar development team to devise improved ways to deliver required and recommended course readings to class participants. The Digital Library Research Group achieved remarkable success with its federation goals for the DSpace program.
In FY2003, the Libraries benefited greatly from the contributions of the faculty and Corporation committees with which it is privileged to work. The Faculty Committee on the Library System had an exceptionally productive and energetic year, focusing its efforts predominantly on two issues: first, the continuing priority of a new Science and Engineering Library for MIT, and second, copyright and publishing issues as they relate to scholarly communications. The MIT Libraries Visiting Committee held a lively two-day meeting in April 2003. The Committee's discussions were energetic and constructive, and the Libraries—as always—appreciated the insights, optimism, challenge, and encouragement provided by this highly engaged group of extraordinarily accomplished individuals.
In FY2004 the Libraries will continue to work toward the goal of a new Engineering and Science Library that will define the state of the art for technically oriented libraries in the 21st century. The Libraries are deeply appreciative of the support they have received for this initiative from a broad cross section of the academic and administrative leadership of the Institute. The success of this effort will be an important element in the Institute's ongoing plans to improve the quality of life for students on the MIT campus. Its achievement will secondarily enable the development of a schedule for continued improvements to other shabby and outdated library facilities, and allow for the rationalization of improbably dispersed collections.
The challenges that will face the Libraries in FY2004 are not unique to the Libraries, although the relative youth of our research initiatives and resource development programs will limit the available responses. The current economic climate will most certainly oblige the Libraries to rethink their services and structure. Particular to the Libraries in this challenge is our unique mission-based responsibility to provide the entire MIT community with both information resources and information services. Our strong relationships with the faculty of the Institute in both teaching and research will introduce complexity to the choices that must be made, as will our responsibilities to the Institute for archives and records management. At the end of the day, the potential impact of any change in resources and services offered by the Libraries must be seen as a positive reflection on the ubiquity with which the MIT Libraries serve the information and study/work requirements of all MIT faculty and students.
More information about the MIT Libraries can be found online at http://libraries.mit.edu/.
This past year has seen the MIT Libraries build on the strong momentum of recent years toward fulfilling the goals of our current five-year strategic plan—providing easy access to high-quality information, ensuring that library spaces and operations facilitate campus intellectual life, and leading the way in applied library technology. Among the many accomplishments are improved physical space in Hayden Library for study and provision of services, increases in instructional activities and support for electronic reserves, reorienting reference services to better support users whether they are in the library or accessing networked resources, new web-based tools for improving information discovery and management, and long-term planning for new library spaces. Key elements of our success have been our commitment to collaboration—across library departments, academic departments, research centers and laboratories, administrative departments, and student organizations; our focus on user needs; and our determination to develop staff and provide them with an environment to experiment and grow.
Evolving the Service Model
While the traditional strength of the MIT Libraries has been their decentralized configuration, several factors—collocating libraries with schools and departments, the expanding digital service environment, and the ever-increasing interdisciplinary research and teaching agenda—strain against this decentralized model. As we move into the 21st century we must evolve our service model, focusing on the needs of faculty and students—ensuring their productivity and success while at the same time maintaining responsible stewardship of our scholarly and fiscal resources. As new needs arise we must exhibit the flexibility needed to respond, working creatively to reallocate resources and partner effectively with others across the Institute.
Evolving our service model requires a vision. Over the last year and half, Public Services has developed and articulated a new reference vision for the MIT Libraries that provides a simple but rich framework for developing library services to better support the needs of the MIT community:
The MIT Libraries will provide a reference environment that enables user self-sufficiency and easy access to information staff. Library space, both physical and virtual, will be intuitive. It will facilitate independent discovery and provide quick connectivity to appropriate experts when needed. The availability of real-time assistance will be extended to better meet community needs. Staff will be well trained in customer service, library policies and procedures, and a core set of information tools and resources. A robust referral system will provide the timely linkage of users to subject and technical experts, and ensure necessary follow-up and assessment.
The vision goes on to highlight three key goals:
- Simplify access to library materials, services, and staff expertise
- Enable user self-sufficiency through effective self-help mechanisms
- Simplify access for people who have general questions or who don't know where to start
- Simplify access for people who could/should utilize expert help
- Foster flexibility and experimentation for library staff and services
- Break out of the 9-to-5 mold
- Encourage growth and experimentation
- Evolve services to the changing face of research and teaching at MIT
- Successfully market services, internally and externally
- Brand and unify services
- Build strong relationships with user communities
- Support teaching and development of lifelong learning skills
- Develop appropriate assessment mechanisms
Improving the Physical Infrastructure
Simplifying access to library materials, services, and staff requires good facilities. Great progress has been made this past year. The most dramatic and obvious enhancement is the renovation of the entrance area to Hayden Library, the home of the Science and Humanities Libraries, resulting in new user spaces, a service desk reconfiguration, and a revitalized public-computing cluster area. By imaginative design, the user space allows for 24-hour study space and includes two group study rooms, the first ever offered in Hayden. The new service desk configuration brings together for the first time circulation, reserve, and references service points, creating a more friendly and obvious service profile as well as allowing for staffing efficiencies. Student feedback on the new space has been overwhelmingly positive:
Love the new 24-hour study area and the new desk setups. Renovation of Humanities Library is needed now!!
The 24-hour study room in Hayden is amazing. There should be more of them all over campus.
2003 Enrolled Student Survey
Additional benefits of the renovation have been a more rational organization of collections in the first-floor Science Library and creation of a new Digital Instruction Resource Center (in the space formerly occupied by the Reserve Book Room) that provides improved support for an expanding instructional program. Due in no small part to this successful renovation, visits to Hayden increased by 19 percent, from 295,545 in 2002 to 350,675 in 2003.
Significant efforts were made this past year in planning for future space improvements. The Dewey Library management team worked collaboratively with representatives from the Sloan School and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to complete a strategic architectural program and 50 percent schematic design for a new management and social sciences library to become part of the new Sloan/East Campus building complex. The project now awaits fundraising thresholds to be achieved before moving forward.
Substantial progress has also been made in achieving the recommendations of the Faculty Committee on the Library System for a new combined Science and Engineering Library and the renovation and expansion of an integrated Humanities and Social Science Library in Building 14. Work has begun on a programming and feasibility study for a new Engineering and Science Library. Efforts have centered on developing an exciting vision for the library of the future, providing alternative programming scenarios, benchmarking activities and operations at peer institutions, and garnering input from both our own staff and experts from other organizations. A completed report is expected this fall.
Efforts were also focused on more immediate facility improvements in the Rotch Visual Collections (RVC) and the Barker Engineering Library. Overcrowding of collections and staff has contributed to difficult working environments for both library staff and users in the RVC. An analysis of options for better organizing the space was prepared this past year, resulting in an approved plan to renovate parts of the space this summer. The changes will better delineate staff and user space, resulting in improved working conditions for everyone. Staff in the Barker Engineering Library developed a creative redesign of part of Barker's main floor space to incorporate much needed group study space. Work has already begun in reconstructing the former photocopier space to accommodate two group study spaces and some new soft seating. The new space will be ready for the upcoming fall semester.
New Online Self-Help Tools
Complementing the facility improvements and planning have been powerful new self-help tools that facilitate information discovery and management for the MIT community. Notable among them are:
- DSpace (http://dspace.mit.edu/)—a digital repository for capturing, distributing, and preserving the intellectual output of MIT.
- SFX (http://libraries.mit.edu/about/faqs/sfx.html)—a context-sensitive linkage tool that makes it easier for users navigating our web space to link from bibliographic citations to full-text articles.
- Business Database Advisor ( http://libraries.mit.edu/guides/subjects/business-databases/)—a web-based tool that allows users to quickly choose the best business database for their needs.
- Information Navigator (http://libraries.mit.edu/tutorials/general/)—a web resource designed to help students get started finding the information they need.
- "Your Account" (http://libraries.mit.edu/ordering/circ.html#online)—a Barton feature allowing users to identify the material they have checked out, automatically renew materials, and place holds on material out to other users, all through the web.
- Geodata Search Tool (http://libraries.mit.edu/gis/data/instructions.html)—a tool allowing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) users to search and retrieve data in the MIT GIS spatial data repository.
All these tools have been enabled through collaborations involving Public Service staff with colleagues from Collections Services, Systems and Technology Services, and the Digital Library Research Group; and in the case of the Geodata Search tool, with colleagues from Information Systems.
Expanding Electronic Reserves
Self-help has been further aided for students by our collaboration with Academic Media Production Services to develop support for electronic reserves within Stellar, MIT's locally produced course management system. While in the past the Libraries were only able to support electronic reserves for a handful of courses using a stand-alone system, partnering with Stellar has allowed us to expand support dramatically, with over 25 courses supported during fall semester and over 35 courses in the spring. This has been accomplished within existing resources, and we expect a modest increase in support of up to 50 courses each semester this academic year. We hope over time that this functionality will be transportable to any course management system used at MIT.
Enhancing Evening Service
Improving reference service in the evening hours is a goal that has required serious planning and coordination. After a thorough review of options and informed by our previous experience with digital reference, Public Service is setting up the infrastructure to launch a new central help service this fall that will provide reference support until 9 pm Monday through Thursday. Led by our coordinator of Central Reference Services, working in conjunction with reference, circulation, and systems staff, this effort is focusing on implementing the help email management system, training staff in its use, and developing appropriate assessment criteria to evaluate its success. In addition, Public Service has been focusing on improving the level of knowledge among all Public Service staff by developing a series of training modules covering the core information competencies identified for providing high-quality service in support of the MIT community.
The library's teaching role should put less emphasis on the acquisition of information per se, and more on the need for students to acquire lifelong skills in locating, filtering, evaluating, and using effectively the wealth of information available to them.
1998 Report of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning
Since the task force report was issued in 1998, the Libraries have rededicated themselves to meeting the report's challenge to help students better understand today's expanding information environment. While the improvements we have made in web site design and self-help tools have been substantial, at the core of our success is our instructional program. Last year's report highlighted the enormous growth in the Libraries' instructional program, with activity increasing by 71 percent in the number of sessions offered and 95 percent in the number of attendees. This year the program continued to grow with an increase of 26 percent in sessions offered (307 sessions) and 17 percent in the number of attendees (6,570 attendees). Highlighting a few of those sessions will illustrate their range and nature:
- 2.009 Product Manufacturing Processes—a collaboration between Mechanical Engineering and the Libraries, this was a full-semester commitment by the ME Librarian with assistance from colleagues in other units in support of this required senior-level ME course.
- 9.00 Introduction to Psychology—300 students were given a library orientation and 180 of them also attended a course-related instructional session. Supported by a team of librarians across the system, and coordinated by the psychology librarian.
- 12.00 Solving Complex Problems—a combination of activities including orientations to relevant libraries and resources for 90 students, and presentations to the course teaching fellows ("teach the teachers"). Coordinated by the associate head of the Science Library working with a team of library staff across the system.
- Business Research Workshops—41 workshops, attended by over 300 participants, were provided by the Dewey Library staff. The workshops, the first phase of the Dewey Library Instruction Plan, were designed to fit the busy schedule of Sloan School students and were offered primarily during lunch hours and after 5 pm.
- GIS Workshops—the Libraries' GIS specialist provided over 20 instructional sessions during the year on the use of GIS tools and finding data for GIS applications.
While many instructional activities were directly related to subjects and courses, the Libraries also offer sessions on general and specific services and resources, e.g., overviews of the library system, tours of specific locations, DSpace, EndNote, thesis preparation, and document conversion services. Fundamental to our success in teaching students effective lifelong learning skills are the close relationships subject selectors have with the departments, centers, and laboratories. Over two-dozen librarians have in-depth knowledge of specific subject areas and the faculty and students at MIT involved in those areas. In addition, we have developed a user group structure to concentrate on broad needs for particular user types that cross subject lines. Faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, alumni are all important components of the MIT community, and our user group structure allows us to better understand their general needs and develop and improve services on their behalf. This fall will see the establishment of a new user group in support of postdoctoral researchers at MIT.
Advancing Geographic Information Systems
Having successfully established a physical lab in Rotch Library and a virtual lab at http://libraries.mit.edu/gis/ in partnership with Information Systems, this year the Spatial Data Services team has created two important new tools in support of MIT's Geographic Information Systems community. The first is the Geospatial Data Repository. The repository allows the Libraries to store GIS data, and provides an infrastructure for the development of tailored user interfaces for access and delivery of the data. The first user interface created is the Geodata Search Tool, developed as an extension of the ArcView software. Future plans are to create a web interface for this tool. Another significant milestone this past year was the creation of an ongoing collection development fund in support of GIS. The demand for GIS services on campus remains high. The web site now receives 3,000 to over 4,000 hits per month during the semester. The GIS specialist handled over 800 reference transactions this past year, was involved in teaching 10 IAP courses and giving nine lectures within existing courses for Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Urban Studies and Planning, and provided numerous orientation sessions.
In yet another partnership with Information Systems, the Libraries began circulating laptop computers to students. IS provided the Libraries with six laptops that were then configured with a core set of software in support of research and teaching. In November 2002, three laptops each were made available from Hayden Library (Humanities and Science Libraries) and Barker Library. They circulated more than 1,200 times between November and the following June. This new service has been well received. User surveys conducted during the first few months of the service revealed the primary use of the machines in writing papers and working on class projects, followed by email, other research, web surfing, and other class work. Students commented on the value of the service and suggested that it be extended to other libraries.
Focus on Collections
As always, subject selectors, with support from processing and circulation staff, concentrated on collection building and management issues to insure effective support for teaching and research of faculty and students. Though burdened by a physical infrastructure that necessitates a never-ending need to select, process, and send material to off-campus storage, library staff never lose sight of their mission to make accessible to the community the core resources they need to be productive. The challenges of managing collection resources in the existing mixed digital and physical environment are complicated by a number of issues ranging from licensing restrictions, bundled pricing options, cancellation restrictions, archiving, and ever-increasing prices. Despite these challenges, the library staff remain steadfast in their commitment to provide the best possible collections and resources in support of the community, all the while juggling their multiple responsibilities for outreach, instruction, and reference alongside their collection development and management activities.
Activity in the Libraries remains healthy, growing in many areas and showing modest declines in others. Circulation activity on Barton grew by 4 percent.
Barton Circulation Activity
|Rotch Visual Col.||52||233||+348%|
Visits to the Libraries jumped significantly with an overall increase of 13 percent.
|Rotch Visual Col.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
*Includes both Humanities and Science Libraries
As reported earlier, instructional activity again grew substantially with an increase of 26 percent in sessions offered (307 sessions) and 17 percent in number of attendees (6,570 attendees).
Based on sampling, reference transactions exhibited a slight decline, falling 5 percent to 61,008. This may have been partially due to the improved usability of our web site, better online self-help tools, improved layout of collections and services in Hayden Library, and the fact that one of the sample periods occurred during reconstruction in Hayden when library visits were dramatically down.
Interlibrary Borrowing (ILB) requests jumped 9 percent to a total of 14,177. Of that number more than 10 percent were actually found at MIT, demonstrating an ongoing need to focus on user education regarding the use of Barton, Vera, and other tools for the discovery of collections available locally. The ILB unit improved on its customary high fill rate, successfully filling a remarkable 98.5 percent of requests, compared to last year's 97.4 percent fill rate.
Recognizing the extraordinary talents, initiative, and responsible nature of the staff members of Public Services is both a privilege and a welcome duty. They work with an unparalleled dedication to providing the MIT community with the best possible support in their research, teaching, and learning endeavors. The entire staff works in a collaborative and participatory style that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. It is my pleasure to lead such an impressive group of people. Particularly worthy of note are those staff members who were acknowledged by their peers with the Libraries' Infinite Mile Award (see the addendum at the end of this report).
Simply stated, the Public Services staff of the MIT Libraries is outstanding. In order to maintain our high standard, we must remain committed to our staff and provide them with the resources and training necessary to develop their true potential and successfully fulfill their responsibilities. We must continue our efforts to insure that staff at all levels are properly acknowledged and compensated for their efforts.
I have only been able to touch on some of the accomplishments and challenges of the past year in Public Services. A more detailed account of the many achievements of the departments, units, committees, and groups is available in their individual annual reports.
Finally, as Public Services prepares for a dynamic and exciting future, we will continue to develop a library service environment that is dispersed into the fabric of the MIT community. We will continue to develop programs for instruction, reference, and collections that are effectively marketed and personalized to the needs of our users, and that integrate print and virtual versions seamlessly. We will value modes of working that are flexible and collaborative, and incorporate development and training. We will work tirelessly to provide the physical space and technologies needed to support the faculty, students, and staff of MIT.
Providing Access to Information
Scholarly Journals Purchasing Environment
This year the Libraries undertook a communications initiative to raise awareness among the faculty about problems posed by the journal publishing environment. While high inflation for scientific, technical and medical journals has been a constant since the 1980s, the pressure on the Libraries' budget has been exacerbated by the transition to dual-format publishing, that is, publishing journals in both print and electronic form. The large commercial publishers have developed a new set of strategies aimed at maintaining market share in this environment: licensing e-journals in packages along with print subscriptions, contractual requirements for maintaining spending levels, and very small incentives to switch to electronic versions only. Continual price increases, combined with limited purchasing flexibility, result in reduced opportunities to buy books or add new journal titles or databases. Licensed packages constrain the Libraries' ability to make title-by-title journal selection or cancellation decisions related to the needs of the MIT community.
Reducing the dominance of high-profit commercial publishers requires pressure at several points in the chain of scholarly communication. Since the faculty creates the "raw materials" in this chain, it can play a critical role in changing the system. The Libraries carried out the following activities this year to bring the attention of the faculty to this issue: the director of Libraries and the associate director for Collection Services made presentations to the Academic Council and the Faculty Committee on the Library System. The Academic Council recommended that we contribute an article to the Faculty Newsletter. The chair of the Faculty Committee agreed to contribute a letter to his faculty colleagues, which introduced the article by the associate director for collection services in the December/January issue. In turn, the chair of the Faculty Committee was invited to one of the regular faculty dinners to engage in a discussion of the issues with his colleagues. The director of Libraries and the chair of the Faculty Committee wrote letters to editors and editorial board members of journals that cost more than $5,000, to call their attention to the issues. MIT's intellectual property counsel was invited to the last session of the Faculty Committee to provide clarification on issues surrounding intellectual property. Finally, the Libraries mounted a website on scholarly communication issues in June.
Acquiring Information Resources
Purchasing and Leasing
Funding for inflation in journal prices continued at the 8 percent level this year, representing the fifth of a five-year funding agreement with two successive provosts. A title-by-title comparison of journal prices indicated an 8.76 percent increase in prices, and the Libraries will undertake a small (1 percent) cancellation project during the summer months to bring expenditures back into balance with the budget.
As in the previous year, the Libraries' budget included $125,000 in one-time funding for digital information resources. Continuing products purchased in the previous year consumed $40,000 of this, and $85,000 was used for new products that do not require a continuing commitment: British Standards Online and ASTM Standards, Past Masters, the New York Times archive, Geology and GSA Bulletin archives, and the JSTOR Language and Literature collection archive. These purchases provide retrospective coverage of resources serving a broad spectrum of disciplines at MIT. In addition, approximately two dozen new products were purchased through review and redirection of funds from existing digital and print subscriptions.
For the second year in a row, the Libraries received $100,000 funding for collections in support of emerging areas of research and education at the Institute. Both last year and this year, substantial monies were allocated to the support of biotechnology and biomedicine. In addition, this year we allocated funding to interdisciplinary work related to the environment, to the purchase of data sets for Geographic Information Systems and social sciences data, and to Asian and Asian American Studies initiatives carried out in several sections of the Humanities Department. These successive annual budget increments have been extremely beneficial in enhancing the support the Libraries are able to provide for important new programs at the Institute.
In addition to adding to existing administrative and manuscript collections, the Institute Archives acquired four new manuscript collections this year: the papers of Rudiger Dornbusch (economics), Peter Eagleson (civil and environmental engineering), and Edward David (MIT Corporation, science advisor to President Richard Nixon), as well as selected records of the Arthur D. Little company. Major gifts of library materials were received from Thomas Hedden, Chin Kung, and the estates of Rudiger Dornbusch, Mark Steven Foltz, Kenneth L. Hale, and Philip Kubzansky.
Creating and Enhancing Records to Facilitate Use of the Collections
Monograph cataloging continued to struggle with backlogs created by the transition to the ExLibris Aleph system. A breakthrough occurred this spring when staff pulled together for two "big pushes"—quick cataloging of items with high-quality copy, discarding the usual practice of "first in, first out." This reduced the backlog by half. Both special formats cataloging and electronic books cataloging have been delayed while the department focused on the book backlog. Progress was made, however, in the area of maps with the implementation of a pre-cat system whereby maps are sent to Lindgren Library, with access available via a brief record, while they are awaiting cataloging. There was steady output of records for MIT theses, technical reports, rare books, and serials (both print and electronic). Addition of records for musical scores to Barton, the Libraries' online catalog, resulted from two special projects. Grant funding was obtained to provide cataloging for the significant collection of approximately 1,700 violin scores gifted by the widow of Stephen Prokopoff. In addition, a collection of 87 manuscript scores from the library of the MIT Concert Band was cataloged.
In the Database Maintenance Section (DMS) of Bibliographic Access Services, much effort was expended in testing and implementing Patch 5, the first upgrade to the Aleph system installed two years ago. The patch was implemented in June 2003, and will enable the completion of many projects that have been pending since installation, such as loading Tables of Contents data and Authorities records. In addition, DMS carried out an unusual number of database cleanup projects this year. Together, the projects completed this year and those we are now poised to complete in FY2004 will greatly enhance the value of the Libraries online catalog.
The special effort undertaken in the second half of FY2002 to dedicate staff time in the Archives to processing collections continued into the first half of FY2003. The office records of President Jerome Wiesner and Chancellor Paul Gray (in addition to several smaller collections) were processed. These large, tandem collections document the 1970s, a very significant period in MIT's history. Descriptive finding aids for each collection are currently being edited for publication and distribution.
Use of the Archives Collections
Manuscript collections most used this year were the papers of mathematician Norbert Wiener, engineer Harold Edgerton, MIT president Jerome Wiesner, and architect Kevin Lynch; the records of Science for the People and the Rotch Traveling Scholarship; and the Recombinant DNA Oral History Collection. MIT presidents' records, records of the Corporation, and records from the former Planning Office were also used frequently. Copies of the MIT president's reports from 1930 to date were supplied to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. They will be translated and published by Tsinghua University, with a preface written by President Vest. Various documents were provided to the Sloan School and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in preparation for anniversary projects. The following 2002-2003 publications cited materials held by the Institute Archives and Special Collections:
Blackmer, Donald L. M. The MIT Center for International Studies: The Founding Years 1951-1969. Cambridge: MIT Center for International Studies, 2002.
Conant, Jennet. Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Etzkowitz, Henry. MIT and the Rise of Entrepreneurial Science. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.
Hughes, Agatha C., and Thomas P. Hughes, eds. Systems, Experts, and Computers: The Systems Approach in Management and Engineering, World War II and After. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002.
Laird, Thomas. Into Tibet: The CIA's First Atomic Spy and His Secret Expedition to Lhasa. New York: Grove Press, 2002.
McElheny, Victor K. Watson and DNA. Cambridge, Mass: Perseus Publishing, 2003.
Caring for Collections
The services of the Preservation Services Unit were expanded this year to include a conservation program. Renovation and expansion of the physical space were completed in September, and a conservator was hired and began work in February. Both the space renovation and the position were made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, and the new program will enable the Preservation Unit to provide appropriate treatments to some of the Libraries' most valuable and unique materials. An additional donation established an endowed fund to support the conservation work, and the laboratory was named in honor of the donors: the E. Martin and Ethel Wunsch Conservation Laboratory.
Disaster Planning and Response
A disaster planning team was formed to strengthen disaster preparedness. The preservation librarian met with 10 departments to inform staff about disaster response, and the emergency phone list was updated and distributed.
In March, the Rotch Library suffered a major leak from an air conditioning unit, resulting in water damage to approximately 1,000 volumes. The Libraries contracted with Munters, a company specializing in disaster recovery, to vacuum freeze-dry the volumes. The volumes were returned in June, some ready for the shelves, others requiring additional repair work.
Storage of Library Materials
The Libraries continue the necessary transfer of materials to two storage facilities: the RetroSpective Collection (RSC) and Harvard Depository (HD). Until Institute space planning results in additional on-campus library space, it is necessary to continue moving materials to storage facilities in order to create space for new additions to the collections. Barker Library completed a three-year project to review its collections and select materials for storage, with a total of 38,500 volumes shifted during the three years. Dewey Library led the way in implementing the new storage strategy of shifting print journals for which the Libraries license online versions. While the print copies are owned and provide the assurance of continuing access for future students and faculty, the leased online versions serve the primary interests of current students and faculty.
The effort to create online records for the Dewey Decimal Collections housed in the RSC continued in its fifth year. This project, originally projected as a five-year project, is now expected take about six and a half years. Creating the records for both monographs (under contract with OCLC) and serials (an in-house project), and the associated bar-coding of the items, also makes it possible to transfer these materials to HD.
As a Library Council strategic initiative, the head of Collection Management Services coordinated an assessment of the Libraries' non-text holdings. Each library completed a survey form, recording cataloging, housing, and preservation needs for these collections. Responses were submitted in April, and the results will be compiled early in FY2004.
Managing Digital Collections
Also as a Library Council strategic initiative, a small group began to explore the options for an appropriate system to manage scanned images from the Libraries' collections. In addition, an ad-hoc working group explored the issues related to moving the Libraries' electronic theses collection into the DSpace environment. Both efforts were ongoing at year-end.
Metadata Services Unit
During the last two years, the department head of Bibliographic Access Services has chaired a Metadata Advisory Group to increase the awareness of library staff related to a broad range of metadata schemas and to begin to provide metadata services to MIT beyond the cataloging of library collections. The goals were realized this year in the presentation of a Metadata Unit Business Plan to the OpenCourseWare Initiative. The Libraries' proposal to provide metadata services was accepted and funded by OCW. Work began in April and staffing was completed by July 1, 2003. The service plan includes the following: (1) training and the creation of training materials for faculty liaisons, (2) quality assurance of metadata created at the input stage, (3) enhancement of initial metadata to conform to various standards and broaden subject access, and (4) consultation services. The metadata enhancements the Libraries provide will improve searching and retrieval of the resources in OCW. Once the staff are trained and have reached the expected production levels, the Metadata Services Unit will seek opportunities to market its services to other Institute initiatives.
The Metadata Advisory Group continued its exploration of other metadata schemas this year, particularly XML. Outreach activities included a presentation to MIT's Educational Technology Partners Group and consulting on image metadata to DSpace.
In a separate effort, the original monograph cataloger provided consultation to Information Systems regarding indexing their online list of products and services.
A New Navigation Tool
Under the direction of the head of Serials and Acquisitions Services, the Libraries implemented the Ex Libris SFX linking tool in the spring. SFX facilitates linking directly from an article citation in an online database to the full text of that article. This provides users with a powerful new way to move among electronic information sources. This capability depends on KnowledgeBase, a new database maintained by SAS staff. The design of the menu and public FAQs are the responsibility of the Web Advisory Group, and the technical support is handled by Systems and Technology Services staff.
Article Delivery from the RetroSpective Collection
A service providing web delivery of articles from journals housed in the RetroSpective Collection was initiated in September. This is a cooperative project with Document Services, utilizing Web-Docs. A fee-based service, it enables direct online delivery of articles to users, in lieu of shipping volumes to the various libraries for pickup by users. During the year, 1,216 requests were processed, mostly for non-MIT users.
New Ways of Working
As a Library Council strategic initiative, several small groups worked with the associate director for collection services to define metrics for measuring the acquisition and use of electronic information sources. They based their efforts on an E-Metrics report from a working group of the Association of Research Libraries. By year-end, a set of metrics related to the number of patron-accessible electronic resources and expenditures for networked resources were agreed upon, and the data will be collected starting with FY2003. In addition, a trial collection of data related to use of networked resources and services was planned for August/September 2003.
The Database Management Section expanded its contribution to Bibliographic Access Services by taking over the shelf-listing for all Library of Congress copy. In response to rule revisions in the national cataloging code, the responsibility for cataloging "integrating resources" was shifted from Bibliographic Access Services to Serials Cataloging. This newly named category reflects the growth in the number of electronic databases with continually changing content.
Expanding Role of Cataloging
A mission statement was created to recognize expansion and transition in the role of cataloging units:
Cataloging Mission Statement
The cataloging units of the MIT Libraries develop and apply creative solutions to manage and facilitate the use of information resources. We continually build expertise in metadata standards and database structures, as well as knowledge of the resources and their scholarly context. We use this expertise to define, create, and manage metadata for multiple uses, current and future. In collaboration with others, we design and manage tools that enable users to effectively discover and access information resources. In these processes, we provide quality control to ensure the currency, accuracy, and coherence of the data. We continually redesign both methods and tools to anticipate and respond to changes in technology and user needs. In carrying out our work, we partner with other groups, within the libraries and beyond. (March 2003)
Staffing for Digital Resources
In the continual evolution of staff positions and organizational structure to support the shift to electronic scholarly resources, this year we transformed a serials copy cataloging position into a "hybrid" position. In addition to serials copy cataloging work, this position now includes several activities related to managing electronic resources data: performing quality control tasks in the VERA database, managing e-journal package maintenance, and keeping the data in Barton and VERA synchronized. In addition, the person in the position participates in Digprob, the team that responds to access problems related to digital resources. There is general consensus that this position has been highly beneficial, blending the expertise and knowledge of cataloging and acquisitions staff. It is a striking example of the expansion of the cataloging mission.
License Negotiation and Compliance
This year we recognized that negotiation of licenses for digital products was beginning to be more labor intensive than we could accommodate. Therefore, we developed an MIT Libraries Standard License and began to ask providers of individual e-journals to use it. This has proven more successful than we had hoped, with 60 percent of providers adopting our license.
As our range of electronic information products expands, license compliance investigation and communication requires more time and attention. This year we received at least nine reports of breaches of licensing terms. The digital resources acquisitions librarian documented a protocol for handling breaches and began working with providers to clarify their responsibility for publicizing rules of use at their sites.
The digital resources acquisitions librarian worked throughout the year with colleagues at Harvard Libraries and ExLibris, our system vendor, to develop functional specifications and data elements for a new electronic resources management product. This effort may lead to a next generation e-resource management system, replacing our home-grown VERA system. Our intense participation in the development phase should ensure that the system will meet our needs more precisely than the usual off-the-shelf system would.
Streamlining Acquisitions Processes
Several refinements to workflows and reports resulted from our increasing ability to maximize use the of the Aleph system: automated emailing of purchase orders to vendors, automated production of claim and cancellation letters, and downloading Online Computer Library Catalog (OCLC) records to create order records. The serials acquisitions librarian tested the Electronic Data Interchange invoice loading for major serials vendors, in preparation for production use in 2004. In another streamlining initiative, we transferred nearly 60 monographic series from serials vendors to our major book vendor for receipt on our existing approval plan. A multi-year review of our profile for receipts of government documents through the Federal Depository Library program was completed.
Financial Data Retention Project
Archives staff participated in this project, sponsored by the Institute auditor, the director of Libraries, and the associate controller, marking a new collaborative model for record retention decisions. Business rules and legal requirements for financial records were reviewed, and new record retention schedules are in preparation. The project also motivated the request to the president for a presidential designee for records management decisions; Kathryn Willmore, vice-president and secretary of the Corporation, will fill this role.
Records Management Process Improvement Project
The Archives presented a proposal to the executive vice-president to transfer non-permanent Institute records to Iron Mountain, a company specializing in records and information management. He approved the project and will provide funding for it. Beginning in FY2004, the records currently housed in N57 will be transferred, and the Archives will arrange with MIT offices to begin to ship records to Iron Mountain for temporary retention. The project will reduce costs in the long-term and improve service to MIT offices. It will also allow the Archives staff to redirect its efforts to coordinating and consulting with Institute offices on record maintenance, retention, and disposal.
Two Collections Services units provide direct service to users: the Institute Archives and Special Collections, and the RetroSpective Collection. In addition to the ongoing regular use of these facilities by members of the MIT community and by many outside users from all over the world, there was a notable expansion of Collections Services outreach initiatives this year.
- The Archives displayed examples of the special and unique materials in its collections through displays of the Object of the Month.
- The Archives hosted a meeting of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association.
- The acting Institute archivist gave a presentation at Family Weekend 2002: "A Great Plan Becomes a Reality: A Look at MIT's History."
- The reference archivist and the preservation librarian participated in the presentation "The Science of Libraries: Information Technology from the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution" as part of MIT's Exponential Occasion.
- The preservation librarian presented Independent Activities Period programs on preservation and pamphlet binding; the reference archivist presented an IAP program on the Archives collections.
- The Archives staff worked with students in the MIT Seminar in Historical Methods.
- Preservation Services participated in the dedication of the E. Martin and Ethel Wunsch Conservation Laboratory.
- The preservation librarian and the conservator worked with students in a Chemical Engineering class.
Two Collection Services staff members and two Collection Services staff teams were recognized with the Libraries' Infinite Mile Award (see the addendum at the end of this report).
Transitions in Departmental Leadership
Sarah Mitchell, department head of Bibliographic Access Services since 1988, retired on June 6, 2003. Tom Rosko was appointed the new head of the Institute Archives and Special Collections, effective May 1, 2003.
Through its efforts in budget analysis and planning, delivery services, facilities planning/operations, financial, payroll and staff records, personnel, and procurement, Administrative Services (AS) supports the MIT Libraries' mission and goals. The support provided by AS is 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 MIT Libraries and their responsibilities to the Institute. The goal of AS is to work behind the scenes in collaboration with the Libraries' staff and with departments throughout the Institute to insure that outstanding staff are recruited and hired and that staff are retained, remunerated, and provided growth opportunities consistent with MIT policies; that the Libraries' services and resources are housed in facilities that are well planned and well maintained—now and in the future; and that financial resources are accounted for and fairly allocated within the Libraries. In addition, AS reports statistics to outside agencies, including the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
Exciting opportunities for the MIT Libraries to pursue research activities have been enabled through sponsored funding. With the growth of these funded research projects has come a closer relationship with the Office of Sponsored Programs, specifically by the associate director for administration, but all facets of Administrative Services are affected: facilities, budget, payroll and personnel. AS supports and acknowledges the significant advantage the sponsored research programs have provided; therefore, AS willingly works to facilitate these activities and integrate them into the overall administrative processes of the Libraries.
In October 2002, Administrative Services unveiled its new web site, intended to bring together in one place the services we provide: http://libraries.mit.edu/about/depts/admin.html.
The associate director for administration and the AS staff, in collaboration with the director of Libraries and the other associate directors, have worked and will continue to work to define and refine the role of Administrative Services.
Budget and Accounting
Every department of MIT undergoes an internal, periodic audit by the staff of the Audit Division. It was the Libraries' turn in FY2003. Although an audit can be daunting, the positive attitude of the audit staff and their emphasis, not only on assessing how well the Libraries comply with Institute policies and procedures, but also on how the Libraries' financial procedures could be more efficient, were particularly beneficial. Although a few areas were singled out as needing some attention (compensatory time, time cards), the report emphasized that "the Libraries maintain adequate financial and administrative controls and is in compliance with Institute policies and procedures as they relate to the scope of our review." Processes and policies that needed immediate attention were tended to. A revisit by the Audit Department will take place by the end of December 2003.
The first hints of a budget crunch became apparent during FY2003. Early in the year the provost recommended that economies be instituted to help ameliorate possible income shortfalls in FY2004 and FY2005. The Libraries' administration requested that all cost center managers economize as much as possible during FY2003. Through conscientious efforts, most departments were able to return a portion of their authorized budget to the Libraries' central budget. The savings were accomplished by keeping staff positions vacant for a period of time, as well as by economizing operation expenses. This effort will help the Libraries prepare for potentially tighter budgets during the next few years.
The Libraries are appreciative of the continuing support provided by the Institute administration for the Libraries' operating budget. The high inflation rate for the cost of library materials has stretched library material budgets across the country. Not many universities have been able to maintain the support necessary to meet the inflation rate—MIT has. This is covered in more depth in the Collection Services section of the Libraries' annual report. The Libraries also acknowledge the support provided by the administration to fund a new technology staff position. As the Libraries become ever more dependent upon technology to provide support and access to services, well-qualified and knowledgeable technology staff are necessary.
The use of the MIT VIP credit card has increased within the Libraries. Administrative Services has encouraged cost centers to use the VIP card whenever possible. The time saved within the department, Administrative Services, and centralized accounts payable is significant. Another change that has increased the efficiency of the financial processes within Administrative Services has been the redesignation of the administrative assistant position within AS to financial assistant. This designation and reporting line more closely align the position to the actual work completed. Since October 2002, financial processes have shown consistent improvement.
The growth of sponsored programs within the Libraries has increased activity in several ways. Not only has it allowed the Libraries to lead and participate in exciting endeavors, it has brought new opportunities for the Libraries, specifically Administrative Services, to become acquainted with the requirements of "funded programs." The funded programs have fostered a close working relationship between the Libraries and the Office of Sponsored Programs. A goal for the upcoming year will be to streamline the reporting processes as well as to explore new opportunities for sponsored projects.
Facilities and Operations
At the beginning of FY2003, two large construction projects were underway, funded by a combination of Committee for the Review of Space Planning funding and gifts — Preservation Services and the E. Martin ('44) and Ethel Wunsch Conservation Laboratory (Hallor Associates, architect).
Additionally, within Hayden Library, the 24-hour study room, the entrance/access services area, and the Science Library reference area (Tappe Associates, architects) were under renovation. The projects began in May and were to be completed by the start of classes in September 2002 (actual completion was at the end of October). With help and cooperation from various departments in the Libraries, staff adjusted services, moved work spaces, and relocated materials temporarily to make these projects possible. The result was a modern, fully functional preservation and conservation space and a long overdue facelift to the Hayden entrance that enhanced the attractiveness of the space, while making it much more efficient for users and staff. The 24-hour and group study rooms have been well received by students, staff, and others around the Institute and help to meet the need evidenced in The Report of the Presidential Task Force on Student Life and Learning for more community space within the Institute. The impact of the renovation within the Science Library is clearly evident. Members of the MIT community can gain access to this secure, safe facility at all hours using their MIT ID card.
An outcome from the projects was the relocation of the Libraries' training room from Hayden basement to the former Reserve Book Room (14N-132). The new Digital Instruction Resource Center (DIRC) has garnered high marks. The DIRC currently houses 21 training stations, an LCD projector, ADA station, and scanner. The goal is to improve the functionality of DIRC as funds permit.
Two planning projects made progress during the year. Moore, Ruble, and Yudell, and Sasaki Associates completed a program statement and a preliminary design for the Dewey Library for Management and Social Sciences. The proposed facility will be an integral piece of the MIT East Campus project. It is anticipated that this project will progress through final schematics during FY2004, once funding has been identified.
The second project began in October 2002, when the provost charged and appointed a steering committee to coordinate the planning of a new Engineering/Science Library (ESL). The ESL planning committee, appointed by the steering committee and comprised of library and facility staff, began planning during the winter. Early on, the firm of DEGW was chosen as a consultant. Benchmark data was collected during the spring. A workshop of library and information professionals was held in April to assess the status and forecast the future direction of engineering and science instruction and research. The discussion helped inform the ESL planning and steering committees about factors that could impact the planning for the ESL and its ability to meet the challenges presented by the 21st century. A preliminary program, with potential sites identified, will be completed during the fall of 2003.
A Libraries kiosk will be located on the "student street" in the Stata Center. This kiosk will house technology to access the resources of the Libraries along with an area where librarians can provide small-group instruction. It is anticipated that the kiosk will be ready in January 2004.
Space Planning Projects
The Libraries submitted seven projects to the Committee for Review of Space Planning (CRSP) for review and approval during FY2003. Of those seven, two were funded and will be completed in FY2004. The number one priority for the year was the creation of the Archives Storage Center in the Stata Center. This project includes state-of-the-art humidity control, compact shelving, processing areas, a secured vault, and a very high-end security system that could include fingerprint recognition and moisture detection systems. The space will allow the Libraries to provide a more secure, controlled atmosphere for fragile and valuable materials presently housed on campus, as well as materials returned from RSC and the Harvard Depository. The project is to be completed in early January 2004, with occupancy in late spring.
The second funded project is the construction of an ADA-compliant rest room on the first floor of the Hayden Library. When the library was built in 1949, there were no disabilities-act requirements. Hayden Library had no restroom facilities for disabled users. This ADA unisex restroom will be accessible through the 24-hour study room. Construction is to be completed in September of 2003.
The Ergonomic Survey was completed in FY2003. The Environmental Health and Safety Office surveyed every workstation and job function in the Libraries. The survey found that educating the end users and providing some new equipment could solve virtually all ergonomic needs. The Libraries made a major effort to purchase the majority of the equipment reflected in the surveys, including 80 new chairs, 30 new keyboard trays, and many specialized pointing and keyboard devices. Few departments have made as concerted an effort to meet the ergonomic needs of staff as the Libraries have.
MIT has been confronted, along with other academic institutions, with a substantial increase in the cost of insurance. Since the collections of the Libraries are a major asset of the Institute, a significant effort was made this past year to assess their value and the likelihood of loss. A creative and workable solution was developed and agreed upon by the Libraries and the Office of Risk Management. It insures the collections for their value and replacement, yet reduces the premium.
The Libraries filled six administrative staff positions as a result of serious searches during FY2003, each falling neatly into one of three categories. Two of the six were library department head positions—head, Institute Archives and Special Collections, and head, Engineering and Science Libraries. Both searches required a proactive recruitment strategy, as well as significant time and attention on the part of the associate directors for the respective areas, to build strong applicant pools. Cost of living in the Boston area represented a major challenge in recruiting for and filling these two positions.
Two of the remaining four positions filled were programmer positions in Systems and Technology Services—one of which was a new position created to support the library systems manager. The job market was in our favor in recruiting to fill these positions, and we received a significant number of applications for both. We were even fortunate to hire an MIT graduate to fill one of the positions.
The final two administrative staff positions filled this year were temporary, specialist positions. Both represented additions to the Libraries' headcount and are funded by soft money. The position of conservator was posted as a two-year position, funded by an anonymous donor whose gift was designated for the building of a conservation laboratory and implementation of a conservation program. The metadata specialist position, another temporary, two-year position, was recently filled and is funded by OCW project funds. Both positions have the possibility for extension dependent on funding.
The number of support staff positions filled this year was 17—one more than was filled last year. Four of these positions were clerical positions, two were full-time library technology experts, and the remaining were library assistant positions. Three of these represented internal transfers.
Worthy of note this year is the number of former voucher employees who were selected to fill these positions. One-third of the new support staff hires had been working for the Libraries as voucher employees. In response to the decline in student interest in library employment, we have turned to the voucher payroll to hire temporary help for carrying out what were traditionally student worker responsibilities. These voucher employees provide valuable support for lower level tasks which otherwise would fall back onto the already full plates of support and administrative staff. The added benefit is that we gain firsthand experience with these individuals and are able to more successfully assess their knowledge, skills, and competencies when they apply for regular support staff positions. The investment in their training during their voucher status pays off as well for those who end up joining the regular staff.
Our support staff recruitment program continues to be enhanced by MIT's tuition assistance benefit. Local library school students seek out MIT for this benefit, as well as the opportunity for gaining stimulating and meaningful work experience in an academic library setting. Almost half of the FY03 support staff hires are or will soon be enrolled in the library school at Simmons College.
Recruitment initiatives related to sponsored research have become more commonplace in the Libraries over the past several years with the development, operationalizing, and federation of DSpace. During FY2003 the positions of DSpace programmer and project manager were posted and filled. Due to immediate project demands and grant deadlines, searches to fill these positions were somewhat abbreviated and fast-paced.
The Libraries' termination rate remained stable this year at under 10 percent. Thirteen support staff left the Libraries' employ, five citing relocation and one citing the desire for further education as reasons. Once again the Libraries supported the growth of the library profession as three support staff obtained librarian positions at other institutions after completion of the MLS.
Three of the five administrative staff departures were attributed to retirement. These long-term employees, who provided between 13 and 24 years of distinguished service to the Libraries, will be sorely missed and the resulting vacancies represent significant restructuring and recruitment challenges. The positions vacated were head, Bibliographic Access Services, communications coordinator, and Lindgren librarian.
The MIT Libraries remain competitive in the marketplace as a result of MIT's commitment to improving librarian salaries. According to the recently released (2002-2003) Association of Research Libraries Annual Salary Survey, MIT remains competitive in the standings of 114 academic and research libraries, rising two steps from last year's ranking in average professional salary and an impressive eight steps in beginning professional salary (see below). Among the 22 selected peer institutions in this group, MIT remains fairly competitive at 9th, just below Harvard.
MIT Improves Standing Among ARL Peers
|Beginning Professional Salary||15||17||9|
|Average Professional Salary||23||18||16|
The special attention of the MIT administration to improving librarian salaries, as well as the improvement in the vacation benefit, represent significant strides in enhancing the Libraries' ability to attract and retain librarians and other administrative staff. As the cost of living in the Boston area continues to negatively impact recruitment and retention efforts, it will be important for us to maintain and even enhance our competitive position.
Despite the low minority applicant trend we traditionally experience, almost one-quarter of the candidates interviewed this year for administrative staff positions were underrepresented minorities. With the appointment of one of those candidates, the Libraries increased its minority representation among administrative staff, which now stands at 5%. Offers were actually made to two minority candidates this year, but we were unsuccessful in one negotiation due to salary and cost of living issues. Minority representation among the support staff remains higher than administrative staff at 13%.
Support Staff Reclassification Project
A significant amount of time was spent this year on the Institute's support staff reclassification project. Hours were spent in collaboration with the Libraries' compensation specialist from Human Resources to discuss and plan communication and job assessment strategies and the application of classification and compensation policies in a systematic and equitable way. The associate director for administration and the personnel administrator kept staff informed of procedures, process, and project status through all-staff meetings and email communications. Since the library assistant job description had not been revised for over 10 years, the personnel administrator and compensation specialist elected to meet with department heads and functional groups of library supervisors to assess the daily business of the Libraries, the current role of library assistants in carrying out their responsibilities, the complexity of those responsibilities, and the impact technology has had on daily work. From the information gathered at these meetings, they created the Library Assistant Job Level Guide, a comprehensive document that describes the library assistant I, II, and III jobs, outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, and job descriptors for each. This tool was then used by library supervisors to classify the library assistants in their areas based on their review of individual responsibilities and performance. These recommendations were reviewed by the personnel administrator, associate director for administration, the Libraries' human resources officer and the compensation specialist and, in some cases adjusted, before final review and approval by the Libraries' Steering Committee.
It is understandable that economic conditions limited the funds available to fully address market and equity issues revealed through the process. We worked closely with the Libraries' human resources officer and compensation specialist to carefully assess individual salaries, experience, qualifications, and performance and to apply salary adjustments accordingly with the limited amount of funds. The most egregious cases were addressed first, of course, with remaining funds allocated as equitably as possible within the established guidelines.
The tremendous amount of work within the condensed timeframe did not permit the resolution of some classification issues. Closer scrutiny of the local technology expert position is warranted relative to the computer assistant classification. This issue, along with the development of a process for position reclassifications and support staff promotions, will be addressed in the coming year.
Rewards and Recognition
In late June the Libraries came together for the third annual Rewards and Recognition Luncheon and ceremony where the collective and individual accomplishments of 21 of our colleagues were recognized. Five individuals and four teams received certificates of appreciation and cash awards as part of the Libraries' Infinite Mile Program for their contributions in the areas of Innovation and Creativity, Communication and Collaboration, Results, Outcome and Productivity, and Community (see the addendum at the end of this report).
The Libraries' Spot Award program continues to be a success, with thank you submissions up this year by 50 percent. The program consists of a monthly drawing of four names from a pool of submitted "thank you's". The award is $100 in gift certificates to vendors such as Home Depot, Amazon.com, and Simon Malls.
Training and Professional Development
Responsibility for providing training opportunities for library staff is shared by many groups and individuals in the Libraries including Administrative Services. The Libraries' Instruction Committee developed a reporting form for collecting library instruction activity statistics, which was used this year for reporting in-house training activity as well. Though the form is not yet used universally throughout the library system, it is anticipated that this tool will become a valuable resource in assessing training activity in the Libraries.
For FY2003 there was a total of 32 training sessions reported, which provided training support for 369 participants, including both administrative and support staff. The training sessions ranged from technology-oriented programs (Aleph Staff-Mode Catalog, Eudora Tips and Tricks, Writing for the Web, BrioQuery, EndNote), to local library skill development (Barker Basic Reference, Census Data, Lexis/Nexis Overview), to general information and personal skill development (Helping Patrons with Disabilities, Planning an IAP Session, The Art of Presenting). Trainers were predominantly library staff members, with a few sessions facilitated by IS trainers or vendors. More than half of the sessions took place in the Libraries' newly created Digital Instruction Resource Center.
Two major training and development programs were not captured via the above-mentioned report form. In January, the Libraries, along with Harvard University Libraries, cosponsored "Library Management Skills Institute I - The Manager," facilitated by the Association of Research Libraries. A total of 34 attendees, evenly divided between Harvard and MIT, spent three days at the MIT Faculty Club engaging in learner-driven activities, developed specifically for academic library professionals, to build skills and awareness in recognizing and expanding the ability to influence others, making effective decisions, coaching employees, understanding behavioral styles and preferences, working in groups and teams, and practicing facilitative leadership.
The Libraries' Advisory Committee on Workplace Issues, in keeping with one of its charges, conducted the session "What Do You Think?" for some 20 new library staff members this spring. The program was designed by library staff as a means of raising awareness about harassment and providing a formal orientation to the Institute's Policy on Harassment. Attendance is a requirement for all new library employees.
Participation in professional organizations and conferences is also an important way for librarians 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 and contribution to the profession and provided financial support for travel, lodging, and registration fees to the two-thirds of the administrative staff who participated in these activities last year. At the beginning of this fiscal year the Libraries implemented a revised policy for funding professional development activity, which, in addition to revising funding rates, suggested serious consideration by library staff of limiting travel to two events per year.
The winter of 2002-2003 will likely go down as presenting one of the greatest challenges to Delivery Services. Delivery Services staff were resourceful in making deliveries amid variable weather conditions and campus construction sites (particularly the Stata area). Even with these additional challenges, the activity level of materials moved from the RetroSpective Collection to the other libraries increased by 11 percent.
Internal record keeping of hours and policies associated with compensatory time was clarified, triggering some new processes and procedures. A standardized time card and a compensatory policy were devised and agreed to by the Libraries and Human Resources.
In the fall, the Libraries adopted the "vacation tracker" provided by Human Resources for the management of vacation accrual. This is in preparation for eventually integrating the SAP Payroll system into the Libraries' operations.
The Libraries are continuing to experience difficulty in hiring students. The opportunities afforded MIT students in academic departments and labs are more consistent with career goals, as well as generally offering a higher hourly pay rate. This has required the Libraries to turn more and more to voucher, temporary employees. Although this has served as a good pool and a testing ground for full-time regular employees when vacancies occur, it does mean that the Libraries' hourly budget is stretched more now than it was three or four years ago due to the necessity of paying employee benefits on voucher employees' wages.
All in all, this has been a year of major accomplishments for Administrative Services. Although the work of Administrative Services is not always visible, the members of the department take pride in their work in creating the infrastructure for the frontline services of the Libraries and Institute Archives. There are many day-to-day emergencies the department responds to that cannot be detailed here. A day in Administrative Services is never boring, and although each day brings a new challenge, it also provides a reward—knowing that the work, needs, or efforts of a colleague have been supported.
Technology continues to underpin much of the Libraries' work—supporting our business operations, our many services to the MIT community of scholars, and increasingly our actual collections. Fiscal year 2003 saw notable activity on all these fronts, and more. Nearly every department of the Libraries has identified technology-related projects that they want to undertake, requiring support and guidance from the Libraries' technology experts. Increasingly the Libraries' biggest asset, the collection of information resources we manage, make available, and preserve are digital and online. During 2003, the technology directorate of the Libraries reorganized to improve our ability to effectively support this increased demand, while at the same time leveraging the success of our new digital library research program. These are exciting times for those of us involved with applying technology in libraries—the opportunities to reinvent ourselves are inspiring, and MIT is at the center of it all.
Systems and Technology Services
This has been a year of tremendous change for the Libraries' production technology operation. The former Systems Office group morphed into a full-blown Systems and Technology Services (STS) department, occupying a newly renovated space in the Hayden basement, consolidating and restructuring staff lines dedicated to technology but formerly distributed throughout the system, and adding two additional staff members. A new head was appointed to the department, Nina Davis-Millis, formerly the acting associate director for public services, and information technology librarian for public services in the MIT Libraries. Nina brings a wealth of experience with the Libraries' core services, and a strong commitment to its strategic goal of "excellence in providing rapid, easy, and precise access to high quality information for education and research at MIT."
At the same time that we were reorganizing our technical support, we put in place structures to broaden participation in and engagement with technology projects throughout the Libraries. In collaboration with the Libraries' senior management group, the Library Council, a process has been defined for setting system-wide priorities for projects requiring significant involvement of STS staff. This process serves to ensure that our time is devoted to the projects most valuable to the Libraries as a whole, and enables us to better manage our time and bring projects to successful completion. To further assist in this goal a new Technology Advisory Group was established, composed of representatives from each department and from STS.
The Libraries remain committed to a decentralized support model for the specific technology-related needs of both individual staff members and their departments, with local technology experts reporting to library units but receiving training and support from library technology consultants who work in STS.
Throughout the year we have been grateful for the support and collaboration of many colleagues from Information Systems. It is worth noting that our connections span IS's entire organizational structure, strongly suggesting the depth and significance of our relationship, and the commitment of the Libraries' STS department to our role as a participatory and contributive member of the Institute's IT community.
- Fiscal year 2003 saw many improvements to Barton, the Libraries' collection management and online catalog system, including a new user interface and new features to support personalization by users. Better reporting facilities were implemented, allowing us to better understand how our collections and services are being used. We are also working on new disaster recovery plans that will ensure the continuation of this critical system under any circumstances.
- The Libraries' public web site was improved and extended. Use of our public site continues to increase, pointing to the growing reliance of library patrons on the web as a primary means of reaching us. Usability testing for this and other web-based interfaces continues to be a high priority and important service of systems staff.
- Security threats to our computer servers and desktop machines continue to rise, requiring newer and better maintenance to prevent service outages or compromised information resources.
- During 2003 the systems staff helped to plan and set up the Libraries' new Digital Instruction Resource Center, a state-of-the-art twenty-one-workstation training room for using library resources.
- We are continuing to work on ways to improve support for local staff computer use, and to streamline their ability to acquire necessary equipment.
New Technology Projects
- STS staff who are technology consultants and project management specialists are involved in a range of new projects with various departments, from looking for better ways to capture e-metrics for the use of our collections, to implementing innovative digital reference services to support patrons wherever they are. We participate in a dozen of these projects in any year, and are beginning to see even greater efficiencies in our ability to move these projects forward.
- As an example of this, in 2003 the Libraries implemented a new online service, called SFX, which supports online linking among the growing list of full-text resources to which the Libraries provide access to the MIT community, thereby increasing the use of these valuable assets.
- As another example, STS staff began collaborating with staff from the Rotch Visual Collections to identify and implement a new system for cataloging visual images used by MIT's faculty for teaching and research, thus broadening the reach and value of these collections.
Digital Library Research Group
At the same time we created the Systems and Technology Services department, we formed another group in the technology area to manage the growing need for, and success of, an active applied research program in digital library development. These are times of dramatic change for libraries and archives due largely to the rapid deployment of technology throughout research universities, and indeed the world. The MIT Libraries are uniquely positioned to help the research library community understand and respond to these new opportunities and external forces, and the Digital Library Research Group is well on its way to filling that role. The research group directly addresses the Libraries' strategic goal of "being a leader among academic research institutions in the use of applied library technology," and is currently working on, or has recently completed, five projects in FY03, accounting for nearly a million dollars in additional research funding.
The past year has been one of major accomplishment for the Libraries' DSpace project, a joint development with Hewlett-Packard to create an easy-to-use and freely available digital repository for the long-term management and preservation of MIT's digital research output—including research papers, digital images, multimedia material, datasets, and teaching material. The DSpace@MIT service went live in the fall of 2002 to the MIT campus, and the DSpace open source system was publicly released on November 4, 2002, with a very successful launch event. This symposium on scholarly communication and the ways that initiatives like DSpace can help libraries address significant problems is documented on video at http://mitworld.mit.edu/.
Within MIT the DSpace service continues to take shape as it grows. We began the service with five "early adopter" campus communities and spent the year working with them to add their material to the system and improve it. We have also actively marketed the service to a number of other communities and expect the coming year to show a dramatic increase in its adoption at MIT. Thanks to effective advocacy, the DSpace service is now well known on campus, and we're beginning to see the innovative uses to which the faculty may put it. Furthermore, our experiences at MIT are beginning to inform research universities worldwide who wish to build similar services at their institutions, as can be seen in the number of current research projects that are spinning out from this initial effort.
The Digital Library Research Group has received funding from the Cambridge/MIT Institute (CMI) for a number of projects building on DSpace. Last summer, two members of the group, both senior business strategists, undertook a study of the value of digital repositories like DSpace for the preservation of digital research assets within the UK. That project has led to two additional ones: DSpace@Cambridge, a project to implement an institutional repository at Cambridge University using the DSpace system, and LEADIRS (LEarning About Digital Institutional Repositories Seminars), an innovative series of seminars to help higher education and further-education institutions in the UK develop their own plans for creating institutional repository services. CMI is a strong supporter of the DSpace vision—centering on the curation, management, preservation, and distribution of valuable digital research assets—and they are investing significantly in our success.
The DSpace Federation
In January 2003 the Digital Library Research Group began a project to extend the DSpace concept in North America with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Six major US and Canadian research libraries are collaborating with MIT to explore the use of DSpace at their own institutions and to work with us to improve the system, the service model, and our understanding of how institutional repositories might be adopted across a range of research institutions. These "early federators" are Columbia University, Cornell University, Ohio State University, and the universities of Rochester, Toronto, and Washington.
In addition to formal partnerships, the DSpace system has been downloaded by approximately 4,000 institutions worldwide, of which more than 100 have indicated interest in using the system to create their own institutional repository along the lines of the MIT model. In the eight months since the public release of the system, half a dozen institutions in Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, and the US are running a live DSpace system, and many more are slated to launch this fall. It is fair to say that in a very short time DSpace has become one of the most well known and widely cited digital repository systems in use by libraries in the world.
Following on the success of the initial DSpace development project, Hewlett-Packard, under the auspices of the HP/MIT Alliance, has funded a new project to take DSpace into new and important directions. SIMILE is a three-year project led by David Karger, a faculty member in MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, with the collaboration of the WorldWideWeb Consortium (W3C), HP Labs, and the MIT Libraries' Digital Library Research Group. The project seeks to extend support in DSpace for rich, customized metadata using W3C standards such as RDF and the Semantic Web. A project of this nature could both prove the utility of these W3C technologies as well as provide a critical breakthrough in digital library functionality. Because of the adoption of DSpace by research institutions worldwide, SIMILE's improvements to the DSpace platform will have immediate channels to a key audience of early adopters of advanced web technologies.
During the summer and fall of 2002, the Libraries undertook to assist MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative with a thorough analysis of its metadata requirements. Staff from the Libraries' technology and collection services groups worked with OCW and Sapient staff to define and implement a content management system for OCW that enabled the creation of a new production system and workflow. This effort also led to the creation of a new unit in the Libraries to provide ongoing support for OCW's metadata, as well as additional innovative projects at MIT in the future.
Technology staff have also worked with MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative to consider how next-generation course management systems should interoperate with library systems and services to provide our information resources to the classroom, and to manage teaching material over time.
Beyond MIT, the Libraries have joined the Digital Library Federation, a group of US research libraries that is leading the development of digital libraries. DLRG staff participated in several national initiatives in this area: the architecture of the Library of Congress's new National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, and the Electronic Records Administration program of the National Archives. Our experience with DSpace and other digital library and archiving research projects is proving to be of great value in an area of growing national concern.
FY2003 was a year of enormous progress on many aspects of technology-related activities in the Libraries, from our mission-critical production systems and use of desktop computers, to our growing role in the international digital library research agenda. The coming year will offer even further challenges and opportunities as we increase the number of technology-related projects we undertake and scale up our research program. MIT Libraries' leadership in the area of technology use in libraries is firmly established, as befits an institution of MIT's stature.
Infinite Mile Awards
Innovation and Creativity
Sarah Williams was honored for creating a new, highly successful campus-wide GIS service in partnership with Information Systems. She was recognized for her ability to collaborate across many boundaries both in the Libraries and Institute-wide, her boundless enthusiasm and energy, and her innate commitment to service.
Pat Flanagan and Catherine Friedman were granted a team award for their work with their staff and other MIT groups to envision library services for the new Sloan/East Campus building complex. Working in a very short timeline, they coordinated benchmarking efforts, faculty and student surveys, and a collections count as well as facilitating their staff in innovative thinking about the future of library services.
Communication and Collaboration
Laura Lucero was honored for her extraordinary interpersonal skills and the deeply humane way in which she approaches workplace relationships, as well as for her valuable contributions and dedication to the libraries. She was recognized for her unique ability to step into challenging situations to get things back on track, her reliably human touch in an increasingly mechanized environment, and her ability to transform even everyday working relationships into meaningful interactions between caring people.
Marilyn McSweeney was recognized as an exceptional leader of a hard-working, cooperative, innovative department, staffed by workers who feel mentored and respected. She is described as caring, compassionate, calm, and trusting, and as working with an honest and open communication style. She is noted for carefully keeping department staff well informed of system-wide efforts and regularly asking for their input.
Jennifer Edelman, Pat Flanagan, Steve Gass, Colin Homiski, and Lisa Horowitz were granted a team award to recognize their efforts in leading the MIT Libraries in developing its Reference Vision. The team was cited for its high degree of risk taking, involving staff in the development of the vision, and quickly providing a vision for our future Public Services.
Results, Outcome, and Productivity
Deborah Helman was recognized for her outstanding leadership of the Barker staff during her recent role as the interim library head. In this temporary assignment she was able to move the organization forward, providing new and improved services. Deborah was cited for her ability to communicate with her staff, translate their ideas into action, and to challenge them in a positive way.
Lauren Moffa, Walter Powers, and Arnie Sheinfeld were given a team award for their prodigious contributions in cataloging the DDC serials collection at RSC, and for their overall service to the staff of the MIT Libraries. They were recognized not only for the accuracy, knowledge, grace and speed with which they performed the specific job they were assigned but for extending their work to include correcting, updating, and performing minor miracles on existing catalog records and developing procedures to share with all library staff. This team's work has benefited both the MIT Libraries' staff and its users.
Maggie Bartley was honored for her leadership in developing workshops and tools that help students conduct research independently. The Business Database Advisor and the classes tailored to Sloan School students were created in a collaborative fashion that has enhanced team spirit at Dewey Library, and these efforts have provided a model from which other libraries at MIT can learn and build upon.
Preservation Services staff members Jennifer Banks, Kate Beattie, Chris Coughlin, Heather Kaufman, Christine McCarthy, and Nummi Nummerdo were honored as a team for their rapid and efficient response to a crisis. They remedied the disaster situation that arose when a pipe burst in the Rotch Library Stacks, damaging books on all five floors. They worked on all affected areas, removing and sorting the damaged books, expertly directing staff, and arranging for an outside vendor to come and install special drying equipment and remove books to their facility for intensive drying. They inspired confidence and helped to allay the dismay that accompanies a book disaster, and by their support and professionalism demonstrated the very best spirit of community.