MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


The MIT Libraries are creative partners in the research and learning process. We select, organize, present, and preserve information resources relevant to education and research at MIT. We sustain these world-class resources and provide quality services on behalf of the present and future research and scholarly community. We build intellectual connections among these resources and educate the MIT community in the effective use of information. We want to be the place people in the MIT community think of first when they need information.

The MIT Libraries' new mission statement, revised, reviewed, and affirmed during 1998—1999, speaks to the abiding, high-value contributions that the MIT Libraries make to MIT's educational and research mission. In an era of rapidly expanding, but costly, unpredictable, and unstable digital possibilities, the Libraries' mission statement provides a framework for focusing our own work, and for deploying institutional resources in support of MIT's educational and research priorities.

In April 1999 the Libraries welcomed the MIT Libraries Visiting Committee. The Committee was interested, engaged, and supportive of the accomplishments and strategic directions of the Libraries. Singled out as especially notable were the student usage study and the report on space needs. The committee commended the staff of the Libraries for conducting the studies, and for taking action based on the results of the studies. Also noted were the work of the Public Services Redefinition Process, the new Communications Manager position, improvements in the stewardship of older materials, the increased availability of networked resources, and the new, innovative approach to computer services support taken by the Technical Planning directorate. The Committee endorsed the inclusion of the MIT Libraries as a line item in the upcoming Capital Campaign.

Perhaps the most strategic development in 1998—1999 was the transfer of Institute responsibility for the MIT Press from the Vice President for Finance to the Director of Libraries. The resulting closer working relationship is already paying dividends in computing decisions and digital projects, and in the sharing of expertise.


The year 1998—1999 found the MIT Libraries straddling two worlds. With one foot on the shoreline of traditional library services and resources, and one foot in the dinghy of digital resources and network-based services, the MIT Libraries experienced daily the tensions and uncertainties of the current state of academic library service. Nevertheless, the educational experience of MIT's current and future students depends on the MIT Libraries' ability to reconcile the competing demands of the digital and print environments. As much as the MIT Libraries might like to push off in the digital dinghy, the boat is still too small, too expensive, and too unstable to support a world-class teaching and research mission of the scope of MIT's. And as much as the MIT community appreciates and intensively uses traditional library resources and services, it is clear that the digital tide is rising–albeit far more slowly and much more unevenly than once predicted.

Integrating new technologies into a mature and complex system, such as scholarly communication, takes time. The individual academic disciplines represented at MIT are, not surprisingly, approaching digital solutions from different research traditions, and with differing scholarly objectives. These differences, and the absence of norms and standards equal to those in the print environment, have lead to a variety of discipline-specific solutions to which the Libraries must adapt–at least in the short run. Fortunately, as faculty became more familiar with the strengths and limitations of digital technology as it applies to their own disciplines, they also begin to understand why the strategies that work for one discipline might not map perfectly to the research traditions and behaviors of their colleagues in other fields.

Additional challenges of the digital environment became more visible in 1998—1999 as well. Issues such as the impact of database licensing and IP ownership on faculty teaching options were illuminated by MIT's distance education initiatives and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The high cost of digital versions of familiar research tools became more obvious as the MIT Libraries celebrated the availability of 100 databases and 500 electronic journals. The significant difficulty of keeping digital learning and research resources persistently and affordably available to students and faculty were topics of national discussion in which MIT and its Libraries participated.


In furtherance of their mission within the Institute, the MIT Libraries continued to support the educational and research needs of the MIT community by focusing on five particular responsibilities of the Libraries at MIT. These were certainly not the only areas of interest and activity for the MIT Libraries, but they are essential responsibilities that the Libraries can and must address across the Institute. It is worth noting that they also reflect and reinforce the educational triad articulated by the Task Force on Student Life and Learning.


The MIT Libraries manage significant Institute resources, on behalf of the MIT community, in the acquisition of information resources and information technology. The attention that surrounds electronic resources may well give the impression that print has become less important to education and research in general, and to students and faculty at MIT in particular. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth, both in publishing and in libraries. The MIT Libraries continue to focus significant resources on print publications; first, because print is still the most pervasive and stable medium of production for the vast majority of disciplines at MIT, and second, because students and faculty continue to produce and need material published on paper.

At the same time, by June 1999 the Libraries were providing access to over 100 databases (many of which include full text) and over 500 individual e-journals. The Libraries continued to improve license agreements, expand communication with readers, strengthen consortial purchasing relationships, and enhance access and control with regard to these new formats. In May 1999, the Libraries made a commitment to archive three electronic MIT Press journals.

Also during 1998—1999, the Task Force on Student Life and Learning issued its report to the President and faculty of MIT. The Task Force urged the Institute to "focus information technology resources around the library system." The report further recommended that "the Library, which has historically been the heart of the university, is the ideal place to ensure that the institution makes the appropriate investment in educational content as well as providing affordable and user-friendly access to information resources."


Both the virtual library and the physical library received intense attention during 1998—1999. The Public Services Redefinition Process, begun in 1997/1998, moved through the planning phase and into implementation. An interlocking series of task forces reinforced the Libraries' tradition of excellence in service, and recommended structural and service adjustments that are intended, in our rapidly changing environment, to enable Libraries' staff to be more responsive to the MIT community.

Clickable links, enhanced authorities control, and link-checking software improved overall quality control in the Libraries' heavily-used electronic catalog. Customer feedback and usability testing were introduced into the design of the Libraries' increasingly popular website. A web version of the Barton online catalog was adapted and introduced, and URL checking was implemented.

Innovative programs were launched to make the Libraries' oldest and more unique materials more visible to the research community. Approximately 200,000 commercial, society, and government publications dating from 1780 to 1963, but not incorporated in the Libraries on-campus holdings, were identified for a five-year reclassification project that will produce records for inclusion in the Libraries web-accessible online catalog. A separate task force was created to review and report on the status of some 50,000 volumes in the Libraries' special collections.

A number of staff positions were redesigned to provide the MIT Libraries with important contemporary capabilities in the skills associated with locating and using information. An Information Technology Librarian for Collection Services joined the Libraries' Computer Coordinating Committee. A Special Formats Cataloger position was added to address the need to incorporate information about non-traditional resources in the Libraries' online catalog. The position of Preservation Librarian was established to give focus to this important, specialized responsibility. A Communication Coordinator assumed responsibility for the Libraries' communications strategy and program for faculty, students, and alumni, and a new Web Manager brought a high-level professional focus to our presence on the Internet.

In addition, traditional MIT Libraries' patron services were extended in time (reference service hours were expanded into the evening to reflect changing student needs), in form (electronic versions of required reading reserves were developed as a pilot project) and in space (borrowers were offered a variety of network-based electronic self-service transaction options). Just as importantly, the MIT Libraries continued to work with IS to encourage a resolution of such increasingly urgent problems as off-campus access to network-based information resources, and network printing.


Careful management of information resources funds gave the Institute its second year in a row without print journal cancellations. New electronic, network-accessible subscriptions of major significance to the MIT community added during the year include IEEE/IEE Electronic Library Online, Chemical Abstracts (SciFinder Scholar), ACS Web Editions electronic journals, Disclosure Global Access (annual reports and filings of US and international public companies), Dow Jones Interactive (full-text news and business information) and Psychological Abstracts online.

With February 1999 thesis submissions, the option of submitting theses electronically was made available to MIT graduates. At about the same time, the Collection Services group completed its multi-year project to catalog all MIT theses and dissertations. Records are now available in Barton, the MIT Libraries' online catalog.

The redesign of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Library was the most recent example of the way the Libraries can collaborate with an academic department to participate directly in the academic life of MIT. Following a major strategic review and redirection of the educational focus of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department, the Aero/Astro Library was invited to participate in an exciting new educational (and physical) vision for the Department. The Libraries accepted the Department's offer to relocate to a central location within a redesigned and renovated Building 33. The new Aero/Astro Library will be a showpiece; a contemporary example of a university branch library, designed explicitly for service and convenience in the digital environment, and capable of supporting a variety of media.

The Libraries' cataloging staff was invited to participate in a national research project (the Cooperative Online Resource Catalog Project) which grew out of the Dublin Core metadata project and is intended to develop a uniform methodology for managing access to web-based resources. As scholarly communication migrates to the Web, this research project will be of increasing importance.

The Libraries also continued to participate in the Institute's planning for educational technology. The Assistant Director for Technology Planning and Administration co-supervised an LCS graduate student on a thesis project to develop a prototype design for an MIT publications database. Subject selectors continued to expand and improve the information selected for inclusion on their discipline-specific websites.


In 1998—1999 the Libraries initiated a major collection review and storage project to improve managerial and logistical control over the Libraries' collections. An accelerated off-campus storage program was designed and launched to address significant overcrowding in on-campus facilities. Overcrowding of collections has become a serious problem; with adverse implications for retrieval reliability, staff and reader confidence, and responsible materials management.

Megan Sniffin-Marinoff was persuaded to leave Simmons College to join the MIT Libraries as the new Institute Archivist. A number of new programs were launched, and other programs were developed in conjunction with STS faculty and Jane Pickering, the new Director of the MIT Museum.

Compliance with Y2K was addressed to assure a smooth computing transition to the next millennium. The Libraries' Computer Coordinating Committee was also charged with developing a plan to upgrade the Libraries' resources management system by 2001.


The year 1998—1999 brought an opportunity for the Libraries to rethink the ways in which their physical spaces reinforce the educational, research, and cultural life of MIT. The goal is to give systematic attention to the ways in which the Libraries' physical organization and study/work spaces reinforce learning and support student and faculty needs. Architectural consultants were retained to work with the Libraries to develop a long-term vision for the Libraries' spaces and to integrate those space goals into the Institute's space planning initiatives. Alternative scenarios for the Libraries' future space and functional requirements and options will address specific recommendations of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning, and will incorporate the larger concepts of the "educational triad" .

The authors@MIT book and author series had its most successful year yet. One program was videotaped for broadcast on CSPAN2. The program organizers had many more requests for slots than there were dates available, and number of programs were standing room only. The series culminated in a lecture by and reception in honor of Howard Johnson in celebration of his book, Holding the Center: Memoirs of a Life in Higher Education.

Once again, this report has but skimmed the surface of an incredibly busy and productive year for the MIT Libraries. The fact that numerous, time-consuming administrative and operational projects received scant attention in these paragraphs is no reflection on their value and importance to the Libraries. The MIT Libraries are privileged in their exceptional staff, and deeply appreciative of the extraordinary commitment that this staff brings to their work. We are likewise honored by the support we continue to receive from our academic and administrative colleagues at MIT.

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

Ann J. Wolpert


The evolution from providing information in traditional print formats, such as journals and books, to providing access to information in electronic formats, such as networked databases and the web, has changed the demands and expectations for library services among MIT faculty, students, and staff. The ability to find text, data, and other information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with minimal lead-time, is a request heard more and more frequently. The MIT Libraries have committed themselves to providing world-class customer service, and in 1998—1999, significant progress was made on initiatives to tailor existing services and to offer new services that will enable library users to find information easily and efficiently where and when they need it.


Library Hours

Building on the survey of undergraduates carried out in 1997/1998 and in response to comments and suggestions from other library users, the hours at a number of libraries were changed and extended. In Barker Library, two librarians collaborated to offer evening reference assistance two days per week during Spring Semester. At the Dewey and Humanities Libraries, reference hours were shifted one hour later each day to better correspond to the usage patterns of students. And, in Rotch Library, an hours survey conducted in the previous year led to changes in the summer hours and a schedule shift in the academic-year reference hours.

Electronic Services

The ubiquitous presence of the web has made it possible to offer traditional library services in new ways. During the past year members of the Libraries' staff worked on four major projects to enhance existing programs:

Electronic reserves: Early in the academic year, library staff members collaborated with IS on the evaluation and selection of the Docutek e-Res software as the best package available for providing electronic course reserves. Once the software was purchased, a DUSP course was chosen as a pilot project for offering electronic versions of course reserve materials. Carrying out this pilot project proved valuable in identifying a number of problems. The most difficult one, and one that makes offering campus-wide electronic reserves challenging, is handling the demand for printing. The Libraries continue to work with IS to solve this and other problems and will test the software again in the fall with several other classes.

Electronic theses: With the February 1999 round of thesis submissions, the Libraries and IS introduced the capability for students to have their dissertations mounted electronically. Three departments–EECS, Brain and Cognitive Science, and Chemical Engineering–were invited to participate in the pilot project. The results of the first round of electronic thesis submittals revealed that students are so busy at submission time that they tend not to find this an attractive option, so the Libraries/IS team has now agreed to accept theses submitted after graduation. The team also found that the speed with which theses could be made public caused problems with holds (for patent or company proprietary reasons). After consultation with the Technology Licensing Office and the Graduate Education Office, mechanisms have been established to ensure that theses on hold are not made available. In the coming year the team will work on developing electronic delivery options for those who prefer to view or print an entire thesis document from their computer workstations instead of ordering a paper copy from Document Services.

Libraries' website redesign: The successful recruitment of a new Web Manager in January 1999 allowed the Libraries to begin the process of redesigning our public website to make it more user-centered. One of the first steps in this process was the evaluation of the current website. To help with this, volunteer faculty, students, and staff were asked to find answers on the Libraries' website to a set of questions. While they were looking for the answers, the steps they took were written down by observers, and they were timed. The data gathered through this type of exercise enabled members of the Libraries' Web Advisory Group to better understand the way users search for information and the stumbling blocks they encounter when information is not organized in the way they expect. Over the coming months the Web Advisory Group will study websites at other libraries across the country to come up with a new model for the Libraries' site. Volunteers will again be solicited to help select the terminology used, and they will also be asked to help pretest the new design.

Electronic hold and recall notices: Members of the Circulation Committee continued their efforts to make it possible for library users to operate in a self-service environment as much as possible. In spring 1999, library borrowers were offered the capability of looking at their own circulation records. They were also given the option of receiving hold and recall notices electronically, which means that the information reaches them more quickly and efficiently.

In addition to the projects just described, other electronic services were developed and continued throughout the Libraries. In the Humanities Library a machine dedicated to the electronic Shakespeare Archive was added courtesy of Peter Donaldson. Subject selectors refined and enlarged webpages for their various disciplines, and a number of them began to include new book lists as regular features. The Dewey Library used the web in new ways to publicize library instructional programs and to allow students to sign up for classes that interested them.


With the growing amount of information available through the network and the need to have sufficient workstations for library users, renovation and updating of library facilities has become an increasingly pressing issue. During 1998—1999 several minor remodeling projects were carried out:

In the Science Library, a new NT server and five workstations were installed to provide access to the variety of databases used by science researchers. The Lindgren and Schering-Plough Libraries also added new machines for use by their clientele.

Due to the Libraries' subscription to IEEE/IEE Electronic Library Online, more equipment and workspace was needed in the reference area of the Barker Engineering Library. To accomplish this, the photocopiers were moved from their space adjacent to the reference desk, and counters were installed in that area and behind the reference desk. Four new computers were added, and the older machines were upgraded. Additional room is available, so we hope to add more machines next year.

The temporary storage area in the Institute Archives was remodeled to make it a more useful space. The shelving configuration was modified to create a better traffic flow, and improvements were made to address health and safety concerns.

As part of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics' plan for an innovative lab space for students, work began on detailed plans for an exciting new Aeronautics and Astronautics Library. The Aero/Astro Library will move from its current location to a spot on the first floor across from the design lab. Although it will occupy a smaller footprint, the emphasis will be on providing as much electronic information and as many workstations as possible. Some less frequently used portions of the collection will be moved to remote storage, and the rest will be housed in compact shelving. The Aero/Astro Library staff look forward to the day when they will occupy a 21st century space that is fully wired and located in close proximity to other areas where students spend time.


In order to inform members of the MIT community about new and enhanced library services, the year 1998—1999 brought greater emphasis on outreach and publicity. Ruth Seidman, the Libraries' new Communications Coordinator, wrote and helped spread the word about some of the resources added. Individual librarians also created email lists of faculty and graduate students that they used to share news about changes in the Libraries. These were all positive steps to inform MIT about the Libraries that will be extended and continued in the coming year.

The work of the public services units extended beyond the Libraries to other parts of MIT. The Institute Archives worked closely with staff of the MIT Museum on a project to make photographs of MIT available electronically, and they also cooperated on an exhibit commemorating the Mid-Century Convocation (on display in the Compton Gallery during summer 1999). The Associate Director for Public Services was a member of a Graduate Education Office (GEO) team that created a communications strategy for the GEO. This effort proved very valuable to the Libraries by creating closer ties and greater understanding between staff of the GEO and the Libraries. Our hope is to grow this relationship in the coming year with the idea of improving services to the graduate student population, the largest customer group for the Libraries.


The Public Services Redefinition Initiative begun in January 1998 ended its first phase in December 1998 with a series of reports and recommendations. The goal of the Redefinition was to create a structure and culture in public services that would enable all staff to participate in the design and delivery of world-class services suitable to an institution of MIT's caliber. As part of the process, the public services management model moved from one of transactional leadership that was more suited to a less complex, more stable environment to one of transformational leadership that fits a constantly changing, uncertain environment. Creation of a dynamic climate that emphasizes creativity, flexibility, risk-taking, tolerance for ambiguity, and innovation was an essential element of the new management model. All public services' staff were encouraged to become active in the Redefinition, and approximately 70 percent of the staff ended up working on one of the six task forces that were appointed.

A number of innovative ideas came out of the Redefinition including:

At the end of the first phase of the Redefinition in December, many of the recommendations were moved to the Implementation Phase, which began in January 1999 and is expected to last for the calendar year. The changes in the organizational structure resulted in the recruitments for a number of new department heads, and the Libraries have been fortunate enough to attract an outstanding group of experienced managers. Catherine Friedman has been hired as the new Head of the Dewey Library, Steve Gass, an MIT alumnus, has been hired as the new Head of the Barker Engineering Library, and Megan Sniffin-Marinoff has been hired as the new Institute Archivist.

An Implementation Team was appointed to lead Phase II, and that group has focused the first months of their work on making sure all public services' staff understand how and why the organization is changing. The Team is also advocating the concept of customer service and is seeing that the most important recommendations from Phase I are acted upon.

A key component of the first phases of the Redefinition has been the emphasis on constant learning and professional development. Many public services' staff have taken advantage of opportunities provided by MIT's Performance Consulting and Training Team to acquire skills in meeting management, facilitation, creative thinking, project planning, and living with change. We expect that there will be a third phase of the Redefinition during which we will build on these new skills to operationalize the new model.

The past year has been another productive one that has brought many changes and enhancements in library services. The public services' staff are indebted to the members of the MIT community who have suggested improvements that could be made, and the staff are to be congratulated on their significant list of accomplishments. This report only captures a few of the most significant achievements, but there are many more of which we are very proud.

Virginia Steel


Collection Services' most significant accomplishments for the year are those which are the least dramatic: the continuing fulfillment and improvement of the steady, regular processes to acquire, catalog, and preserve new resources, as well as ongoing attention to cataloging and preservation of materials added to the collections in previous years. The efficiency and effectiveness of these processes is a credit to all Collection Services' staff. Highlights this year included the completion of a multi-year project to create cataloging records for all MIT theses from 1868 to present, the reduction of turn-around time in monograph acquisitions to one week from receipt of materials in the Libraries, and the transfer of the gifts' donor database and the serials commitment database to FileMaker Pro.

In addition to the significant accomplishments resulting from the daily activities of our staff, this was a year of maturation of our efforts to provide access to pertinent electronic resources for the MIT community and a year of refocused attention to our print collections and our library catalog. In almost all of these efforts, we worked with many partners throughout the Libraries in established matrix relationships: Networked Electronic Resources Domain (NERD), Collection Management Group (CMG), subject specialists, processing staff, and others.


This year we realized a stable level of activity regarding the acquisition processes for electronic resources. Much has been accomplished and learned in the last three years. In 1996, the Libraries were providing access to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Oxford English Dictionary, about a dozen databases through OCLC's (Online Computer Library Center) FirstSearch, and about a half-dozen electronic journals. Today we provide access to 100+ databases (many of which include full text) and 500+ individual e-journals. Along the way, we have learned how to negotiate licenses, facilitate compliance with license terms, seek pricing advantages through consortial buying, and produce catalog records for this new format.

Our negotiation goals are several: to protect MIT against liability charges, to ensure that all members of the MIT community may use the products, and to ensure that they may use them in accordance with the customary standards of scholarship. We have also undertaken several initiatives to educate users regarding use of the products, including a message about user responsibilities on our product screens and "clickable" access to use restrictions or the licenses themselves. In several instances we have provided advice to vendors on their pricing models, marketing options, and license language which they adopted as part of their product roll-out. We take great satisfaction in the progress and success in this area over the last three years. Most important, we are providing online products with great relevance to the community. Additions of note in the last year include the following: IEEE/IEE Electronic Library Online, SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts), ACS Web Editions (electronic journals), Disclosure Global Access (annual reports and filings of U.S. and global public companies), Dow Jones Interactive (a full text news and business database), and Psycinfo (Psychological Abstracts online).

This year we also realized the benefits of the work of the Electronic Resources Cataloging Task Force over the previous two years to define standards and protocols for cataloging electronic resources. We have now cataloged over 500 electronic journals and 25 electronic monographs, plus 53 scores and sound recordings from the Lewis Music Library's Inventions of Note website. We have added "clickable" URLs to 500 records for print serials with electronic versions available, and we are utilizing link-checking software to flag dysfunctional links. Finally, several staff members are participating in the Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) Project, a research project, managed by OCLC, designed to provide a methodology for managing access to web-based resources. Participation in the

project has given MIT catalogers valuable experience working with automated processing tools and with various kinds of metadata.

We continue efforts to create and manage our own database: Barton, the online catalog of the Libraries' collections. This year we realized the final step in acquiring automated services that will enable us to maintain controlled vocabulary searching, consistent name-forms, and cross references. Two years ago, we contracted with a vendor to match our database against the Library of Congress National Authority File in order to provide standardized name and subject forms, and cross-references from non-standard forms. Since that time, we have been seeking a supplier to provide this service on an ongoing basis. This spring we contracted with LTI (Library Technologies Inc.) to process all records added to the catalog since the first match and then to process new records on a daily basis. We look forward to providing a continually updated, consistent database by the beginning of the academic year.


After two years of concentrated attention to the new processes required to acquire and catalog electronic resources, this third year of stability allowed us to turn our attention to dominant issues related to management of our print collections. Significant space shortages for housing our collections have focused our attention on three related projects: the acceleration of moves of collections to storage facilities, the retrospective cataloging of the Dewey Decimal Collection (DDC) which is housed in the RetroSpective Collection (RSC) in Building N57, and the development of a Master Plan for the Libraries' space. In addition, we took initial steps this year toward improving management of our Special Collections (Rare Books) and our Depository Documents collections.


With a goal of moving as many volumes to storage as we acquire every year, we implemented phase one of a three-year cycle. While most of our libraries continue the ongoing storage moves they have been carrying out for the last several years, our three most crowded facilities–Science, Humanities, and Barker Engineering–will, in three successive years, move out a number equivalent to three years of acquisitions. The Science Library was the pilot library in 1998—1999 and has selected approximately 30,000 volumes which will be moved to storage this summer.

The Libraries' RSC is also at full capacity, and for several years the Libraries have been utilizing the Harvard Depository (HD), a state-of-the-art storage facility in Southboro. As we move materials from our libraries, some of them go directly to HD, others are preferably housed in the RSC, requiring, in turn, moves from the RSC to HD. This year, we moved approximately 60,000 volumes to HD (either from RSC or directly from the various libraries), and we have moved about 30,000 volumes from the libraries to RSC. This amount of movement has a very significant impact on all areas of the Libraries, requiring a substantial staff effort for selection, packing and moving of materials, shifting materials remaining on the shelves, bibliographic record changes, and accelerated recalls and deliveries.


Over 200,000 volumes of the 500,000 housed in the RetroSpective Collection at the end of 1997/1998 were the items remaining in the DDC, those which had not previously been reclassified and cataloged in the online catalog. Included are some of the Libraries' oldest materials–commercial publications, society publications, and government documents–published between 1780 and 1963. The need to move materials from RSC to HD, and the need to have online records so that barcode access could be provided, prompted a project to create electronic catalog records for these materials. In July 1998, we initiated a project to provide records for the monographs by scanning and electronically transmitting title page information to OCLC, where cataloging is provided and transmitted back to the Libraries for loading into the online catalog. In addition, we initiated an in-house project to catalog the serials. This year was the first of a planned five-year effort, which will enable an orderly movement of materials. While the impetus of this project was the need to free up space in Building N57, the most significant benefit will be the increased knowledge of these collections among MIT faculty and students.


To seek long-term solutions to the Libraries' space issues, this year we selected consultants from Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott to work with us through the summer and fall of 1999 to define a master plan for the Libraries' space. While collections' housing issues were again the urgent influence, the Libraries are experiencing significant user, service, and technology space issues as well, which the project will address. The goals are the following: to provide a long-term vision for the Libraries' space which will facilitate improved services, enhance the technical infrastructure, and resolve collections' housing issues; to integrate the Libraries' space needs into Institute space planning; and to ensure that short-term space changes support the strategic vision.


The Libraries' rare books collections of approximately 50,000 volumes have been housed and managed within the Institute Archives and Special Collections for many years. They have been used selectively by scholars for research and by faculty members in class sessions. However, they have never been the primary focus of the department or very well-known among librarians in other departments. With significant staff turn-over in recent years, very few staff remained who had any knowledge of these collections. In January 1999, as an initial step toward more fully utilizing these collections, the Libraries established a Special Collections (Rare Books) Task Force with the following charge:

The report of the Task Force will be presented during the summer.


In response to the Public Services Priorities Task Force recommendation that the government documents program be reviewed as an area for potential reduction of staff effort, we undertook several processes toward this end. First, a subgroup of DLG (Divisional Librarians Group)/TSAC (Technical Services and Collections) reviewed the literature of costs and benefits of the Depository Documents Program in libraries. As a result of that review, and its discussion in DLG/TSAC, we concluded that while there are major benefits from the program, significant improvements should be sought through a selection review and through implementation of automated loading of government documents cataloging records. To that end, CMG is currently in the process of reviewing selection decisions, and an ad-hoc cataloging group is in the process of investigating options for tape-loading cataloging records.


While Public Services undergoes a more explicit change process, Collection Services continues to implement and manage evolutionary change. Shifts in staff assignments in the last year demonstrate and support those changes.

The position of Information Technology Librarian for Collection Services was filled in August. We are realizing the anticipated benefits: direct technical assistance on several projects, as well as the more indirect influence on technical skill levels, understanding and consciousness among other staff.

Three years ago we created the position of Acquisitions Librarian for Digital Resources, which has been critical to our success in providing access to the rich array of products we now have. This year marked another step in the transition when we assigned support staff hours to this activity.

We created and posted a position of Special Formats Cataloger in Bibliographic Access Services. The incumbent will join our staff in early July and will provide dedicated attention and skill to the cataloging of video, maps, and electronic resources.

In addition, another position was refocused and renamed MARC Database Manager to reflect the special attention required to maintain our significant Barton database.

In order to manage the significant scale-up of storage activity, as well as the DDC scanning project, we moved a Library Assistant IV position to the RSC last summer. In addition, we allocated 1/2 of a Library Assistant V cataloging position to the serials work.

When the position of Head of Binding and Repair was vacated in the fall, we defined it more broadly and hired a Preservation Librarian, who joined the staff in May.

Carol Fleishauer


With our primary eye on patron needs and expectations, we spent the last year consolidating our new technology staffing and decision making structure. After two years of transition from a highly centralized information systems staff to one which is distributed throughout the organization, the MIT Libraries this year began to see the benefits of the changes we had made. We are excited about the improved services we put in place, including making our Barton catalog available on the web, installing network drops for public use, and upgrading our public access workstations. Meanwhile, we improved our own underlying skills and technology, growing our NT domain, orienting our staff to MIT's technology environment, and joining in the SAP rollout. Our Computer Coordinating Committee (C3) began to plan for our technological future, kicking off a project to upgrade our library management system by 2001, agreeing to work with the MIT Press on an e-journal access project, and developing plans for enabling off-campus access to our academic information resources.

The year was a busy one for the many new faces on our technology staff. We are particularly excited, though, about the future. As we gain confidence in our understanding of the needs of the MIT community we are beginning to build a technological infrastructure for the Libraries that will meet those needs. The MIT community deserves world-class library resources, and we have been laying the groundwork for the computing environment those resources require today and tomorrow.


We have focused our year on meeting and exceeding the growing expectations of the MIT community. Our users expect to find our services on the web now more than ever. To that end, we created WebBarton to bring our catalog to the web. We also conducted a pilot Electronic Reserves project and began accepting graduate theses via the web. Our public access workstations enjoyed an upgrade to accommodate the greater demands of web browsing software. We also installed ZoomText software in each of our five divisional libraries to help those with poor vision use our electronic resources.

Of course, not all information, even electronic information, is available on the web. We continued to support some locally mounted CD-ROM databases including a new installation of Chemical Abstracts and a local copy of the Philosopher's Index. The Humanities Library was also proud to install a copy of the electronic Shakespeare Archive being developed at MIT.

Following up on the success of our program to email notices to patrons three days before their books are due back at the library, we added email notices of items available on hold and items being recalled. These email notices have been immensely popular, and the proof of their success was a 37 percent decline in overdue fines collected by the Libraries.

We have noted that more and more users of the library now bring along their laptop computers. We activated MITnet drops for patron use in three of our divisional libraries so that these users can browse electronic resources alongside the physical collections.


As our services become more electronically mediated, we also must update our staff skills so that we can better respond to new demands. This year we introduced a Technology Orientation package for new staff. This orientation included brief printed descriptions of MIT's technology environment and policy as well as face to face sessions to demystify Athena and describe the Libraries' technology context. Our training room, used for many of these sessions, also received an upgrade this year and will now begin a cycle of annual upgrades to maintain it as a showcase for both MIT community and library staff training.

Our Systems Office staff and Local Technology Experts received additional training in the management of Microsoft Windows NT domains. While our public services are aimed at the web, much of the back office work of the Libraries depends on an increasingly complex NT network. This year we added shared file services for some workgroups and projects to our MITLIBRARIES domain. Our newly mounted local editions of Chemical Abstracts and Philosopher's index also rely on this NT infrastructure.

Libraries' staff continued the rollover to SAP this year; devoting considerable training and adding new machines and upgrades facilitated the implementation of SAP within the Libraries.


The state-of-the-art in the realm of computing is always a moving target. This year we converted staff to Host Explorer so they could take advantage of Kerberized telnet. Our major provider of bibliographic records for our catalog, OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), stopped supporting X.25 connections with its service in Ohio, so that service was moved onto the regular Internet. We added automated link checking to verify URL's in our growing collection of catalog records for electronic resources. And we moved the processing of our "authority records" (which facilitate the "see" and "see also" references in our catalog) to a new outside vendor. These large efforts and a host of less heralded changes benefited from the dedicated work of our revitalized Systems Office.


Most of our efforts take many years to come to fruition. This year witnessed the initiation of a number of projects that we believe will lead to exciting results over the next few years.

We assigned a three person project management team to shepherd us toward our "Third Barton" system. The host-based Geac Advance system at the heart of the current "second-generation" Barton does not adequately meet many staff processing needs. We have high hopes that the new generation of client-server based library management systems will be able to increase the productivity and facilitate the creative ideas of our staff. We aim to install this "third-generation" of the Barton system in the Spring of 2001.

The library management system, which once was the heart of all automation in the library, has now been joined by a host of new automated systems. Our web servers, electronic reserves system, electronic theses and technical reports, databases licensed from various vendors, and many other resources also vie for our attention. More importantly this rich assortment of electronic services can bewilder our customers. We began, this year, to search for a tool which can help us weave this diversity into a consistent and seamless whole for the MIT community.

We have heard a great demand from the community for off-campus access to our licensed databases. Everyone from faculty on sabbatical to students running a MediaOne connection at home find it frustrating that they cannot access the same resources upon which they rely on-campus. We have been developing an off-campus solution that should satisfy most users in the near future.

We have also been working with the MIT Press to develop long-term storage and access solutions for their electronic journals; with the Laboratory for Computer Science to develop a prototype publication server to hold the intellectual output of the campus; with Information Systems to develop methods of making URL's more persistent and "digital shelfspace" more routinely available; and even with the Dibner Institute to prepare for a new library management system for their Burndy Library. We value the relationships, skills, and systems we build through these joint projects.


Our high-level technology positions were finally all filled during the course of the year. Joan Kolias joined us as our Information Technology Librarian for Collection Services, helping us analyze and plan for technology applications in our back offices. Our new Web Manager, Nicole Hennig, formed the Web Advisory Group and began plotting our course to a new and more usable website. A new Barton Advisory Group was formed to help guide the development of services on our library management system.

We developed guidelines to help our department heads know what to expect of our Local Technology Expert positions. These included a way to estimate whether enough hours were being devoted to the task of managing and troubleshooting the computers installed in each department. Our distribution of computer support to these positions within each department, with consulting support from our centralized Systems Office, has met with wide approval among our staff.

Our Computer-Related Capital Equipment Request process was put onto a quarterly cycle affording our staff three opportunities per year to request new equipment. The increased frequency of these requests has allowed us to be more responsive to changing needs and to take advantage of falling equipment prices.

And finally, our Systems Office has received high praise from our staff for dealing quickly and effectively with technology support issues. In addition to serving others, the office has prepared for a renovation that will improve its workspace and efficiency considerably and has reorganized the Libraries' server room to better secure the machines we manage.

More information about the MIT Libraries Technology Planning and Administration can be found on the World Wide Web at

Eric Celeste


FY1999 was a very good year over all. We published 196 new books and 54 reprints for a total of 250 titles, compared to 221 last year. Book sales exceeded forecast, and were up 8.4 percent over last year. Journals sales were up 25 percent and net up 60 percent to $166K. The combined net income from publishing operation was 359K, a record year.

There were many staff changes during the year: 15 new faces and 7 promotions. We have also broken new ground in the design and implementation of staff development programs with 4 task forces involving the participation of about a third of the staff at the Press. Our reporting structure has also changed with Glen Strehle's leaving in December. The Press now reports to the Provost through Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries. We have completed the first planning phase of a new fulfillment and warehousing operation which we will develop in collaboration with Harvard and Yale University Presses.

The MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science was released in three forms: the book, the CD ROM, and the website. The CogNet prototype was completed and the technology is being used to develop ArchNet for the Agha Kahn Foundation under a $500+K grant.

Highlights for the year follow.

Hardcover titles in order of sales include:

Corman, Introduction to Algorithms

Norman, The Invisible Computer

Benninga, Financial Modeling

Wilson, MITECS

Barro, Macroeconomics, 5th

Hays, Architecture Theory since 1968

Judd, Numerical Methods in Economics

Ableson, Structural Interpretation, 2nd

Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing

Leebaert, The Future of The Electronic Marketplace

Paperback titles in order of sales include:

Pozen, The Mutual Fund Business

Akmajian, Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication, 4th

Krugman, Pop Internationalism

Adams, Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print

Krugman, Age of Diminished Expectations, 3rd

Kennedy, Guide to Economics, 4th

Snir, MPI Volume 1, 2nd

Kennedy, Macroeconomic Essentials for Media Interpretation

Sterling, How To Build a Beowulf

Adami, Artificial Life VI

MIT authors include:

Cassell & Jenkins, eds., From Barbie to Mortal Kombat

Johnson, Holding the Center

Maeda, Design by Numbers

Morrison & Tsipis, Reason Enough to Hope

Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck

Singer, Reality Transformed

Stevens, Acoustic Phonetics

Thornton & Wexler, Principle B, VP Ellipsis, and Interpretation in Child Grammar

Wodiczko, Critical Vehicles

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

Abbate, Inventing the Internet

Atkinson, Economic Consequences of Rolling Back the Welfare State

Collins & Kusch, The Shape of Actions

Edelman, Representation and Recognition in Vision

Elster, Strong Feelings

Flake, The Computational Beauty of Nature

Fodor, In Critical Condition

Gottweis, Governing Molecules

Grønbaek & Trigg, From Web to Workplace

Habermas, On the Pragmatics of Communication

Hecht, The Radiance of France

Henderson, On Line and On Paper

Kahn, The Human Relationship with Nature

Kim, Mind in a Physical World

Kimura, Sex and Cognition

Lal, Unintended Consequences

Mazurek, Making Microchips

McCauley et al., Dodging Bullets

Molz & Dain, Civic Space/Cyberspace

Newmeyer, Language Form and Language Function

O'Rourke & Williamson, Globalization and History

Petrinovich, Darwinian Dominion

Pfaff, Drive

Postal, Three Investigations of Extraction

Redish, Beyond the Cognitive Map

Reed & Marks, Neural Smithing

Sterling et al., How to Build a Beowulf

Strober & Chan, The Road Winds Uphill All the Way

Tolba, Global Environmental Diplomacy

Torrego, The Dependencies of Objects

Uriagereka, Rhyme and Reason

Welch, Electric Rhetoric

Wellmer, Endgames

Wilson & Keil, eds., The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences

New hardcover books for trade and general audiences included:

Armstrong, Scenes in a Library

Blau, The Architecture of Red Vienna

Bolter & Grusin, Remediation

Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing

Cohen, Howard Aiken

Coyle, The Weightless World

Galison & Thompson, eds., The Architecture of Science

Hersey, The Monumental Impulse

Heynen, Architecture and Modernity

Krauss, Bachelors

Leach, The Anaesthetics of Architecture

Machedon & Scoffham, Romanian Modernism

Nardi & O'Day, Information Ecologies

Norman, The Invisible Computer

Pennock, Tower of Babel

Schettler et al., Generations at Risk

Schiller, Digital Capitalism

Schmookler, Debating the Good Society

Seyhun, Investment Intelligence from Insider Trading

Smil, Energies

Staniszewski, The Power of Display

Tauber, Confessions of a Medicine Man

Van Leeuuven, The Springboard in the Pond

Books published primarily as texts included:

Auerbach & Kotlikoff, Macroeconomics, 2nd ed.

Campbell, Historical Linguistics

Cook, ed., Music, Cognition, and Computerized Sound

Devitt & Sterelny, Language and Reality, 2nd ed.

Dutta, Strategies and Games

Farmer, Macroeconomics of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies, 2nd ed.

Hershenson, Visual Space Perception: A Primer

Huggett, ed., Space from Zeno to Einstein

Jain et al., Systems that Learn

Judd, Numerical Methods in Economics

Kennedy, A Guide to Econometrics, 4th ed.

Kunda, Social Cognition

Margolis & Laurence, eds., Concepts: Core Readings

Palmer, Vision Science

Pozen, The Mutual Fund Business

Sternberg, ed., The Nature of Cognition

Strand, Neuropeptides

Walsh, Monetary Theory and Policy

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






Total Net Book Sales




Cost Of Sales




Gross Margin on Sales




Other Pub.Income




Bookstore Net




Total Income




Operating Expenses




Net Books Division




Journals Net




Net Pub. Operations





Faculty serving on the MIT Press Editorial Board for 1998 were Harold Ableson, Julian Beinart, Oliver Blanchard, Josh Cohen, Anita Desai, Deborah Fitzgerald, Samuel J. Keyser, Bengt Holstrom, Greg McRae, Albert Meyer, Ron Prinn and Board Chair William Mitchell. Frank Urbanowski, Ann Wolpert and Glenn Strehle served as ex-officio members.

The MIT Press Management Board met twice during the year. Members of the Board were: Ann J. Wolpert, board chair and Director of MIT Libraries,; Mary Curtis, President of Transaction Publishers; Joseph Esposito, President and CEO of Tribal Voice, Inc.; Jack Goellner, Director Emeritus of Johns Hopkins University Press; John Hanley, Chairman and CEO of Scientific American; Stephen Lerman, MIT Professor of Civil Engineering; William Mitchell, Dean of MIT School of Architecture and Planning; Richard Rowe, President of RoweCom; Jerome Rubin, former Group VP, Times Mirror;

Richard Schmalensee, Dean, Sloan School of Management. William Mitchell and Frank Urbanowski served as ex-officio members.






College Bookstore




Retail Bookstore








College Library




Web Booksellers

N / A



Direct Mail












Domestic sales were strong again this year due to a healthy increase in backlist sales overall, which can be accounted for, in part, by sales through the web–both our own site and through on-line retailers such as,, and Backlist units increased by 9 percent total while frontlist stayed relatively flat.

All other channels of distribution are healthy, although independent retail booksellers have dropped slightly and college booksellers remain flat. Both channels continue to be threatened by on-line sales and by chain booksellers.

Library sales were stronger this year with wholesalers consolidating and increasing the level of service and sales direct to libraries. In addition, our domestic sales manager has been working closely with library wholesalers on the promotion of our more expensive reference works.

Subsidiary Rights

Our subsidiary rights program has at its core the sale of translation rights to our books. The income generated by the licensing of foreign rights declined by slightly over twenty-five percent since FY98, although the number of transactions increased from 62 contracts signed during FY98 to 83 contracts generated during the same period in FY99. In the current world economic climate affecting Asia and Latin America especially, the average size of advances has decreased. There is a noticeable increase in translations activity in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland, Hungary and Greece, and in Taiwan and mainland China.

Unlike previous years, when we had one or two prominent (and short) titles appropriate for translation, transactions during FY99 involved sales within a moderate range in terms of the advances offered by foreign publishers. It is also important to note that most foreign payments are now made by wire transfer; in the large MIT accounting system, these take longer to trace and to credit than do payments by check. The end-of-year figures therefore may not reflect money received during FY99 and not credited in the same period.

Income from our reprint program, which includes permission to photocopy and to publish excerpts from our material, increased by thirty-two percent during FY99. Our collaboration with the Copyright Clearance Center, stricter observance of photocopying regulations, a larger backlist, and excellent management of our reprint program account for this substantial increase.

Income from sales to book clubs increased by forty-seven percent during FY99. This market is the least predictable for the sale of subsidiary rights; purchases by book clubs depend not only on our list, but also on the increasingly narrow margins that determine the net amount that booksclubs are able to pay for books.

During FY99 income from the license of electronic rights decreased by forty-three percent. This is another category of sales which is difficult to predict. We expect income in this category to increase with the licensing to institutions of electronic access to MITECS.

Overall, subsidiary rights income in FY99 decreased by two percent since FY98.

Subsidiary Rights Income FY97—FY99









Book Clubs








Electronic, AV Rights










FY 1999

FY 1998

+ or —













UK & Continent:




Other export:








MIT Press export sales fell just 0.8 percent below FY1998 (essentially dead even). This result was considerably better than expected as sales were 5.2 percent ahead of budget. In fiscal 1999, 30.6 percent of MIT Press' total sales (of $16,728 million) came from overseas, dropping 2.6 percent from the previous year.

No new business came out of Asia due to the continuing Asian currency crisis, which has made the sale of American books difficult for the trade and expensive for consumers. Sales to Japan were basically flat with FY98, with just over half our total FY99 Japanese sales billed to United Publishers Services in Tokyo. Sales to our S.E. Asian distributor based in Singapore dropped from $41K in FY98 to just $7K in FY99, mostly due to a stock clean out and a drastic drop in local business.

Our sales to the U.K. & Europe totaled $3,023,078 million, up 3.6 percent from FY98. The U.K. office billed out $1,495,247 million in sales to the U.K., and $1,451,119 in sales to the European Continent. Our top European markets following the UK are #1 Germany $ 255,406; #2 Holland $ 179,618; #3 Sweden $ 135,204; #4 Italy $ 110,594; and #5 France $ 100,980.

Sales to Canada were nearly flat compared with FY98. The weak Canadian dollar didn't help sales, yet new business developed resulting from the rollout of several new Chapters and Indigo stores.

Our Australian distributor, Astam Books, increased sales by 13 percent, a notable achievement considering the weak Australian dollar.

No significant sales to report for Mexico and Latin America. The majority of our business in Latin America came from Brazil. The Latin American markets will receive far greater attention and service from our U.S. office during FY2000.

A few major changes during FY99 occurred in International Sales & Marketing.

On January 1 the Press started billing new titles at U.S. list prices to overseas markets supplied by the U.S. office; previously new titles were marked up by 20 percent except on sales to Canada and Australia. A mark-up of 20 percent on U.S. list prices remains for backlist titles billed to export markets in Asia; a mark-up of 15 percent for new titles and 30 percent for backlist titles remains in effect for sales billed by our U.K. office.

Also by January 1 we transferred from our U.S. office to our U.K. office all matters concerning the sales and promotion of MIT Press books for export sales to the Middle East and India. Orders for these territories are now billed and shipped by Wiley U.K. This change was made to provide more focused and better service in export territories with strong U.K. ties.

Lastly, Don Stanford retired from the Press in March after working as International Sales Manager since the late 1970's. Tom Clerkin, our new International Marketing Manager, joined the Press in April, and has 15+ years of experience with International Sales in Publishing.

Promotion, Publicity and Direct Marketing

We ended FY '99 with direct mail sales of $270,240, down 31 percent from last year. The decline in sales is partly related to our not producing a clearing sale catalog this year. The continued growth of online booksellers has also contributed a decline in direct mail sales, and may continue to do so. This simply means that customers who receive our direct mail promotions may now elect to order the titles they wan–often at a substantial discount–from an online bookseller rather than directly from The Press. This trend does not make direct mail any less important; indeed, we believe that direct mail remains a key form of promotion for our titles, even if the resulting sales end up on a bookseller's ledger. Despite the appearance of declining direct mail sales, we believe that this program continues to serve its primary purpose of making customers aware of new and backlist titles in their areas of interest.

In addition to two seasonal announcement catalogs for booksellers, we produced 13 subject area catalogs, three special promotions, and numerous single book flyers over the course of the year. Economics continues to be our strongest direct mail subject area with traceable sales for the year of $65,130. This is followed by Cognitive Science with sales of $37,874 and Neuroscience with sales of $22,565.


Text sales in the U.S. and Canada were $2,496,161, an increase of 3 percent over last fiscal year. Unit sales were 136,678, a decrease of 3 percent over last fiscal year.

Bestsellers in dollars were Barro/Macroeconomics 5E, Kennedy/Macroeconomic Essentials for Media Interpretation, Akmajian/Introduction to Linguistics 4E, Auerbach/Macroeconomics 2E, and Viscusi/Economics of Regulation and Antitrust, 2E.

Bestsellers in units were Krugman/Pop Internationalism, Rasmussen/Experiencing Architecture, Kennedy/Macroeconomic Essentials for Media Interpretation, Conrad/ Programs and Manifestoes on 20th- century Architecture, and Krugman/Age of Diminished Expectations.

Thirty-five text direct mail campaigns were prepared and mailed to 86, 140 professors.


The MIT Press exhibited books with our own staffed booth or table at 54 U.S.

academic conferences in FY 1999, and displayed books at over 85 other meetings through free and combined exhibits. Sales generated from exhibits are currently at $187,227. The Society for Neuroscience was once again our standout meeting of the year, with 925 books sold for a total of $32,000. Our second most important meeting in terms of sales was the Allied Social Sciences Society, which generated $16,900.


Advertisements for MIT Press books appeared in almost 600 trade and scholarly journals and magazines, as well as conference programs and websites. All of these ads were produced in-house on the Macintosh. The continued focus of the advertising program is to implement better target marketing and wider exposure, with an eye to new print and online media, while staying under budget. Major ad campaigns were implemented for The Invisible Computer, From Barbie to Mortal Kombat, The Springboard in the Pond, Caravaggio's Secrets, Hamlet on the Holodeck, Bachelors, To Conserve a Legacy, Continuous Replay, The Digital Dialectic, Tower of Babel, Generations at Risk, and The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences.

Advertisements for these books appeared in such publications as American Scientist, Technology Review, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, New Republic, Mother Jones, New England Journal of Medicine, Art in America, and Artforum. Banner ads were placed on the websites,, and


The Press's books and authors continue to be covered by a wide variety of general and scholarly media, from national newspapers and magazines to NPR and C-SPAN to scholarly journals in many fields.

One of the most widely reviewed titles of the year was The Invisible Computer by Donald A. Norman, which was covered by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, The New York Times Book Review, Business Week, The San Jose Mercury News, The New York Times, Wired, The Boston Globe, Fortune, American Scientist, New Scientist, PC Week, The Independent on Sunday, Upside, Red Herring, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many others.

Another very widely and favorably reviewed title was Thomas A. P. van Leeuwen's The Springboard in the Pond, which was covered by The New York Times, Psychology Today, The San Francisco Examiner Magazine, Architecture Magazine, Metropolis Magazine, Civilization Magazine, Outside Magazine, Lingua Franca, The Guardian, and many others.

From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games edited by Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins received a tremendous amount of coverage in publications including Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, Wired, Business 2.0, The Boston Globe, Harper's, The New York Times, and others. The authors gave many interviews to reporters at daily newspapers and discussed the book on radio programs such as NPR's "Tech Nation."


We continued an extensive campaign of electronic promotion for our books in FY 1999. We posted announcements for all new professional and many new trade titles to outside e-mail listservs and Usenet groups in relevant fields, and we negotiated links from many outside websites to our own. In addition, we sent regular announcements to the "spam" lists–mailing lists organized by subject. These lists contain the e-mail addresses of visitors to our website who have either asked to receive announcements from us, or who have bought books or subscribed to journals. With help from the DPL, we monitored the number of "hits" the announcements for each book generated. In general, computer-science books received the strongest response; Learning in Graphical Models, edited by Michael I. Jordan, enjoyed the most attention, garnering over 1300 hits in a four-month period. Numerous books in other subject areas also obtained a large number of hits. An economics book, Strategies and Games by Prajit K. Dutta, received 366 hits in a two-month period. Overall, we believe that such e-promotions have significantly increased traffic to our website, and have helped contribute to a recent increase in sales there.


The Digital Projects Lab (DPL) is in the midst of what will most likely be a biannual system upgrade. We purchased a mid-range server (a Sun Enterprise 450) earlier this spring. The machine is now in situ at in Waltham, where connectivity is optimal for an international server. CogNet is currently resident and live on this new machine. We expect the software, which involves moving from our current web database (Illustra) to Oracle 8I, to be complete by the end of the year. The new software system is based on the ArsDigita Community System, the same substrate and toolkit that powers CogNet. The ACS will allow us to offer more "Amazonian" functionality and features: steady-state shopping, personalized views, product recommendations, and more.

To much fanfare, CogNet was publicly launched at the annual Cognitive Science Society meeting in August. To date (9/21) the site has garnered 2472 registrants. The focus for the past six months, and for the next six, has been and will continue to be on content development. Toward that end we have hired Enza Vescera (former Assistant Acquisition Editor for The MIT Press) as our new CogNet Acquisitions Editor. A vigorous promotion and marketing campaign was launched this summer. We are soliciting 300 charter members to help us build content in exchange for a year's free membership. A $150,000 funding request was submitted to SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) in early October.

Our Reputation for advancing scholarly community systems has brought us our first outside commission: a web site for Islamic Architecture (ArchNet) funded by the Agha Kahn Foundation and to be administered under a large grant to MIT's School of Architecture. We will be building a prototype, a very large multi-lingual image base, on a one-year, $500K budget with probable year-2 involvement. Again, we will subcontract most of the software development to ArsDigita ( This project will commence formally on October 1st.


(Exclusive Of Bookstore Web Sales)










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

In the Maine Photographic Workshops' prestigious annual awards, A Day With Picasso by Billy Klüver has been awarded ver was named 1998 Photographic Book of the Year in the Critical Study category.

For his work on Syntactica and Semantica, author Richard K. Larson was awarded a 1998 Educom Medal sponsored by EDUCAUSE and professional disciplinary partner societies such as the Linguistic Society of America.

The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America by Dr. Paul Edwards was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 1998 Rachael Carson Prize competition sponsored by the Society for Social Studies of Science.

The MIT Press received awards for ten titles in the 1999 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show sponsored by the Association of American University Presses. Awards in the "Scholarly Illustrated" category include: Le Corbusier the Noble Savage by Adolf Max Vogt, designed by Yasuyo Iguchi. Awards in the "Journals" category include: Design Issues designed by Karen Moyer. Awards in the "Jacket" category include: Architect? by Roger K. Lewis and designed by Ori Kometani; Architecture Theory Since 1968 by Michael Hays, designed by Jean Wilcox; Mirror Images by Whitney Chadwick and designed by Jean Wilcox; Remediation by David Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin, designed by Ori Kometani; Three Investigations of Extraction by Paul M. Postal, designed by Ori Kometani; Visual Space Perception by Maurice Hershenson, designed by Jim McWethy.

Zen and the Brain by Dr. James H. Austin was awarded the 1998 Scientific and Medical Network Book Prize sponsored by the Scientific and Medical Network.

Parisian Views by Shelley Rice was named one of Seven of the World's Best Photography Books in the Art, Culture, and History category sponsored by the Kraszna-Krauz Foundation.

Eco-Pioneers by Steve Lerner received a Certificate of Merit from The National Arbor Day Foudnation in their annual awards competition.

Rhyme and Reason, an Introduction to Minimalist Syntax by Juan was named the Best New 1998 PSP Book in the category of Literature/Language sponsored by the Association of American Publishers. Honorable Mentions were awarded to: About Face by Jonathan Cole in the Psychology category, Numerical Methods in Economics by Kenneth L. Judd in the Economics category, The Computational Beauty of Nature, Computer Exploration of Fractals, Chaos, Complex Systems and Adaptation by Gary William Flake in the Computer Science category, and The Invisible Computer, Why Good Products Can Fail, the Personal Computer is So Complex, and Information Appliances Are the Solution by Donald A. Norman in the Business & Management category.

City Center to Regional Mall: Architecture, the Authomobile, and Retailing in Los Angeles, 1920-1950 by Richard Longstreth won the 1999 Spiro Kostof Award sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians. The Spiro Kostof Award is one of the highest honors that the Society awards.

A Stream of Windows: Unsettling Reflections on Trade, Immigration, and Democracy by Jagdish Bhagwati won the 1998 Eccles Prize for Excellence in Economic Writing sponsored by Columbia Business School.

The Greening of Sovereignty in World Politics edited by Karen T. Litfin and Engaging Countries, Strengthening Compliance with International Environmental Accords edited by Edith Brown Weiss and Harold K. Jacobson were announced as the two runners-up for the Harold and Margaret Sprout Award sponsored by the International Association. This annual award is for the best book in International Environmental Policy or Politics.

Continuous Replay: The Photographs of Arnie Zane edited by Jonathan Green was awarded Second Prize in the 1999 American Association of Museums Publication Design Competition in the Exhibitions Catalogs category within the category of Institutions with Budgets of Less than $500,000.

Unintended Consequences: The Impact of Factor Endowments, Culture, and Politics on Long-Run Economic Performance by Deepak Lal was named one of the year's Best Books About Asia by the Asia Pacific Media Network.

A Hut of One's Own, Life Outside the Circle of Architecture by Ann Cline was recognized as a finalist in the category of Architecture/Interior Design in the 1999 Independent Publisher Book Awards sponsored by Independent Publisher magazine.

Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption by Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau was awarded the 1998 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communication Policy Research sponsored by the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center.

The Rediscovery of the Mind by John R. Searle (published in 1992) and Recollections of My Life by Santiago Ramón y Cajal and E. Horne Craigie (tr.) with Juan Cano (published in 1989) were selected by 35 noted neuroscientists for the Great Brain Books list, recently published in the journal Cerebrum.


In FY99, the Journals program had gross sales of $4.7 million, a 2.7 percent increase over last year. The deferred subscription reserve account increased from $1,998,898 to $2,053,499. We ceased publication of Terra Nova and added Journal of Cold War Studies, Markup Languages, and Perspectives on Science.

The Journals Department finishes the year publishing 37 journals: Artificial Life, Assemblage, Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science, Computational Linguistics, Computer Music Journal, Design Issues, TDR/The Drama Review, European Legacy, Evolutionary Computation, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, International Organization, International Security, Journal of Architectural Education, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Journal of Cold War Studies, Journal of Contemporary Neurology, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Journal of Functional and Logic Programming, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Leonardo/Leonardo Electronic Almanac/Leonardo Music Journal, Linguistic Inquiry, Markup Languages, NBER Macroeconomics Annual, NBER Tax Policy Annual, Neural Computation, October, Perspectives on Science, Presence: Virtual Reality and Teleoperators, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Real Estate Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, Videre, and The Washington Quarterly. Of these, 14 are available in both print and electronic formats; 6 are available only in electronic format; and 17 are available only in print.

Frank Urbanowski

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99