MIT Reports to the President 1994-95



The entire public services staff was involved this year in the migration from the Geac 8000 to the Geac Advance system. In addition, some of the staff has begun the co-development work which will move us to the next generation of library automation technology.

The groundwork laid by our work on the Request for Proposal, initial work with Notis on the Horizon project, and the installation of a new information technology infrastructure put us in an excellent position to move forward with Geac when the Horizon project was abandoned.

The work, coordinated by the New System Steering Committee, and managed by the Barton Operations Group, was accomplished through Implementation Teams:

Circulation and Reserves staff, led by Anita Perkins, developed the requirements for their functional areas for the RFP, participated in demonstrations of Geac functionality, refined functional specifications, received training and trained the rest of the circulation and reserves staff, oversaw and tested the migration of bibliographic and patron data, and prepared for a seamless transition to the Advance system. Most importantly, they played a key public relations role in keeping the user community up to date with what was going on and providing a high level of service in a backup mode for an extended period of time.

Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) work was managed by Nina Davis-Millis, whose team ensured that the RFP reflected user and staff needs in terms of access to the MIT collections, coordinated trainer training and provided OPAC training for the entire staff, tested the OPAC after each data migration, and constructed help screens to facilitate use of the new catalog. Simultaneously, this team tested GeoPac, the client-server version of the OPAC for suitability in the MIT environment. This represented the first major co-development activity undertaken with Geac in the development of the next generation of library software. A separate team led by

Tom Owens is investigating Web and Willow access to the OPAC as an alternative to the standard Advance interface.

Public services staff from local technical services units have also been involved in implementation of the various technical service modules; i.e., acquisitions, cataloging, and serials control.

This implementation has been a successful example of cross functional workteams in action. Staff from public services, technical services, systems, and administration worked closely together on each implementation team thereby ensuring a quality product. In addition, Information Systems staff were intimately involved with this project from it's inception, throughout implementation.


World Wide Web (WWW) has been exploited in the past year to deliver basic information about each library unit, services, hours, map of library locations, etc. Resource specific home pages and newsletters have been developed to connect users with resources, services, and information here at MIT and around the world; e.g., literature, real estate, architecture, the virtual reference desk, art, film, etc. The Institute Archives, working with the Chair and Secretary of the Faculty, has mounted the Minutes of the Faculty Meetings.

WWW development and research work included:

Laid the groundwork for successful negotiation of a reciprocal borrowing arrangement with the Harvard College Libraries.

Codified the Libraries' policy of services to non-MIT users and began the process of clarifying expectations for this category of users.

Initiated the sale of computer diskettes at circulation desks to accommodate and encourage downloading of data rather than printing at the various public service workstations.

Expanded the suite of electronic services available at the desktop of our users with the addition of Inspec via FirstSearch, Brittanica Online, OED, etc.

As a result of NHPRC grant-supported work to create electronic bibliographic records for 600 manuscript and archival collections, began providing reference service to users around the world. Staff of the Institute Archives is utilizing the full potential of the AMC (Archives Manuscript Control) format which, in addition to bibliographic and descriptive information, calls for biographies for each manuscript collection and agency histories for the archival collections.

The completion of the Libraries' training room for the first time provides librarians with our own dedicated electronic classroom to do group instruction on the growing number of networked resources.

Inaugurated expedited document delivery arrangements at divisional library reference desks in an effort to dazzle library users, expand the repertoire of reference librarians in connecting users with the information they need, and reducing some of the burden on the centralized Interlibrary Borrowing Service. Reference librarians are now dealing directly with commercial document delivery services to provide "just in time" service in rush situations.

Collaborating with OCLC and using the Willow software developed at the University of Washington, MIT has been providing Z39.5 access to both Medline and RLIN's Avery Index, a major step forward in our goal of providing a standard, user friendly interface in a rapidly growing multi-file environment.

Established an e-mail list to enhance communications with biology faculty, researchers, and students.

Experimented with OCLC's Contents Alert current awareness service to test viability in the networked environment.

Targeted post-docs as an underserved client group and organized a pilot project for addressing needs of this group, "Starting Out and Catching Up: MIT Libraries and Post-Docs."

Offered a rich and broad range of instructional activities in the library, in the classroom, in the laboratory, in the faculty office, and over the network, including: "Instruction on Materials on Pilotless Aircraft," "Electronic Resources in the MIT Libraries," "Overview of Library Services and MEDLINE," "Blasting Your Way Through the Aero Literature," "How to Do Your Bibliography Electronically," "Jewish Cooking and the History of Jewish Food," "The Independent Job Search," "Corporate Strategies," "Architecture Thesis Prep," "Internet Resources in Real Estate and Planning," BIOSIS and STN training sessions, etc.

Assumed responsibility for distribution of Industrial Liaison Program publications to their member companies. Making use of electronic scanning and storing technology, Document Services is using MIT's Graphic Arts' networked printing capability for much of this copy production.

Began testing EmbARK Image Management Module as the possible online catalog for the 35mm slide collection.

Launched a process to rethink document delivery and interlibrary services by attending an ARL-sponsored institute to jump start the process. Scenarios were developed for integration of services, as well as the framework for a successful fee-based service.

Positioned Document Services for full service fee-based services, including rush document delivery service available to all clients, payment of copyright royalty fees where applicable, and document delivery from sources outside MIT.


Recruited and hired the Sloan School Librarian, Kate Pittsley. This is a new position with fulltime responsibility for meeting the information needs of the School of Management.

Engaged the Industrial Relations faculty and graduate students in a focus group discussion to define service and collection needs triggered by the elimination of the Industrial Relations Librarian position.

In collaboration with MIT's Japan Program and with funding from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, recruited and hired a Japanese Science and Technology Information Specialist, Emi Takase. With the project leadership of Dewey Library's Rae Jean Wiggins, WWW access to information about research in Japan for U.S. researchers in universities, companies, and government offices will be developed. A WWW prototype of material science resources has been completed.

Created a librarian position in Document Services and recruited Bill Mayer to plan, implement, and market a suite of new services; to train staff in the skills needed to meet the growing needs of clientele; and to manage office operations and staff.

Restructured collection management responsibilities for Engineering and Science Libraries and created and filled two manager positions, Michael Noga for Science and Carol Robinson for Engineering.

Reallocated a librarian position to create a new position, Assistant Engineering and Science Librarian for Core Information Competencies to develop and coordinate innovative educational programs to promote information literacy in the sciences and engineering.

Merged Computerized Literature Search Service with Document Services as a first step in bringing together the strands of a fee-based service operation.

Trained and launched a local processing team to provide services to Dewey and Humanities Libraries. Using an ARL Office of Management Services consultant to provide the basic team skills training to five staff members, the team is now analyzing workflows and work styles.

GARP (Gopher and Archie Review Panel) was reconfigured this year to reflect the changes in technology brought by the WWW. Membership was expanded and the group's charge expanded. Accomplishments of the year include: HTML training for the Gopher teams, development of "Access Guidelines for Internet Resources," drafted guidelines for WWW page design, explored Web page graphics, drafted a job description for a Web Editor-In-Chief to manage stylistic and content issues for new Web material, and launched an E-Journals Subgroup to identify issues yet to be resolved and develop an e-journals philosophy for the MIT Libraries.

NUT (Network User Interface Team), a cross function team of Libraries and I/S staff, has delivered an electronic forms prototype; has explored and exploited the use of Willow as a standard interface to OCLC and RLIN files, as well as the online public catalog; developed and experimented with an expert system for choosing citation sources; worked with the Dibner Institute Library to provide electronic access to their collection; investigated options for access to Government Printing Office electronic files; and was deeply involved in the user interface aspects of the new online library system.

BLG (Branch Librarians Group), reflecting their new focus on sharing their "special library" expertise with the rest of the staff hosted a panel discussion on "Branch Libraries in an Academic Setting," organized a series of IAP programs--"Going Out on a Limb...Explore the Branch Libraries at MIT," collaborated with the Staff Programs Committee to provide tours, and began a series of articles on the branch libraries for the Libraries' newsletter to the faculty.

PSAC (Public Services Action Committee) continued to work out the details of its founding principles of being visionary, nimble, and inclusive. Accomplishments of the year include the development of Online Guidelines governing online ready reference, extended searching, and document delivery; codified Services to Outside Users; launched an investigation of electronic solutions to library instruction and orientation needs; monitored and supported systemwide library orientation efforts; launched a subgroup to investigate electronic current awareness service options; appointed a one-person team to frame the issues surrounding measurement of service quality; and explored "information officer" or "librarian as research partner" as a result of Chris Sherratt's investigations in an independent study after the Information Services Study.

DLG (Divisional Librarians Group) continued its work in identifying those issues which are unique to the group and addressing them; e.g, public service budgets, development needs and opportunities, dealing with the Schools, public service staffing issues, public service space--use and quality issues, and general information sharing.


"I am grateful."

"...the effort of your group to 'bail us out of hot water' is greatly appreciated."

"...your energy and enthusiasm helped to motivate students to engage in the research process."

"We appreciate your collaborative spirit..."

"I appreciate whomever's efforts made this possible." (FirstSearch)

"I think this service is absolutely splendid. I have been waiting for it for years and now that it is here, I can't use it enough. I am grateful to all of the anonymous you's who have made it possible." (Brittanica Online)

"Thank you once again for your invaluable contribution."

"I very much appreciate all the time you spent on the phone with me..."

"Thanks for your help. I used to come into the library and go away feeling frustrated. Now I can find things."

"I was so excited about everything I had found when I came home with my actual printouts ... my husband said he had not seen me that thrilled with anything in a long time! ...thank you for your special knowledge and interest...."

David S. Ferriero


MIT Reports to the President 1994-95