Category: Events

New England Archivists Fall Meeting

The Institute Archives and Special Collections hosted the Fall 2017 Meeting of the New England Archivists (NEA) on September 23, 2017. The half-day symposium was an opportunity for members to reflect about archives and the work of archivists under the theme “Infinite Conversations” through a series of facilitated conversations. Over 100 people attended the meeting, which was held in buildings 14, 6, and 2.

IASC staff serving on the Program Committee were Liz Andrews, Myles Crowley, Nora Murphy, and Chris Tanguay. The idea for the theme was inspired by Sherry Turkle’s book Reclaiming Conversations. Jonathan Franzen in the New York Times describes the book as,

…a call to arms: Our rapturous submission to digital technology has led to an atrophying of human capacities like empathy and self-reflection, and the time has come to reassert ourselves, behave like adults and put technology in its place.

Attendees seemed to take the theme to heart as evidenced through low social media output and the distinctive hum of continuing conversations that could be heard through the halls of MIT. For those that couldn’t attend the tweets featured here do give some idea of what the meeting was like.

In preparation for the meeting, a call for conversation topics and facilitators was put out to the NEA community instead of the traditional call for presentations. Sessions included:

Facilitators for each session provided questions for the audience and helped guide the conversation. While there was a room designated for impromptu popup sessions, the space was not utilized.

To view the program online, visit NEA’s Fall 2017 Meeting website. Session reports should be available in the January 2018 issue of the NEA Newsletter.


Time Travel at MIT

Twelve years ago, this week, MIT held a Time Traveler Convention at the East Campus courtyard in hopes of answering the question of whether time travel is possible. It was inspired by Dorothy Gambrell’s Cat and Girl, which posited “Technically, you would only need one time traveler convention.” The convention included speeches by MIT faculty members Edward Farhi, Alan Guth, Erik Demaine. Though widely publicized, no time travelers revealed themselves at the event. You can learn more about the convention in The Tech, Time Travelers Event Attracts News Media; Dr. Who Still Missing,” by viewing the convention’s website, which is still available online, or by traveling back to May 7, 2005, 8:00 EDT, should the technology become available.

However, MIT’s connection to time travel does not end there – the Institute Archives and Special Collections (IASC) holds some materials that might be of interest to potential travelers. Professor Rainer Weiss’ personal archives (MC 517), contains materials documenting the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which has gone on to observe ripples in spacetime. Our collections of theses and publications also holds a few items that discuss the possibility of time travel.

Photograph of "Prologue: A Novel" and "The Accidental Time Machine" books

Time Travel fiction in the IASC

Publications from the Center for Theoretical Physics include Time Travel? (QC1.C46 no. 2101) and An Obstacle to Building a Time Machine (QC1.C46 no.2009). Among the theses is “Three Lessons in Causality: What String Theory Has to Say About Naked Singularities, Time Travel and Horizon Complementarity,” (Thesis Phy 2004 PhD) available by request in the reading room or in DSpace.

If facts aren’t your thing, the IASC also holds two works of fiction in their collections. Prologue: A Novel, by Greg Ahlgren (PS3601.H53 P76 2011) and The Accidental Time Machine, by Joe W. Haldeman (PS3558.A353 A65 2008) are both available for use in our reading room.

– Chris Tanguay

Art+Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon

Wikipedia editors at Art+Feminism edit-a-thon

Wikipedia editors at Art+Feminism edit-a-thon

This past Saturday on March 11th, MIT Libraries hosted a Wikipedia edit-a-thon affiliated with Art+Feminism, a global initiative whose purpose is to “create meaningful changes to the body of knowledge available about feminism and the arts on Wikipedia.” The global event is a general call to edit Wikipedia by adding information about feminism and art. At MIT we went more specific and focused on comics, cartoonists, and zines.

The MIT node event was enhanced this year by including zines from Rhonda Kauffman’s personal collection, as well as zine making supplies on hand. Participants were encouraged to submit a page for a zine about the event itself that Rhonda will be putting together. There were also plenty of art supplies on hand and enthusiastic artists who spent time drawing throughout the event.

Wikipedia editor

Wikipedia editor

More info about the event can be found on the Wikipedia meetup page. In total there were about 20 people in attendance, 17 of whom signed in to our event dashboard that kept track of the work completed. Outcomes of the event include: 1 new article created, 32 articles edited, 199 total edits, and over seven thousand words added to Wikipedia.


Wikipedia meetup page

-Greta Kuriger Suiter