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MIT Libraries Staff Web

Administrative Services: Collections Management Synthesis Team

Administrative Services supports the MIT Libraries' mission and goals in the areas of Budget & Financial, Facilities & Operations, Personnel and Staff Services.

Collections Management Synthesis Team

This team was officially retired on August 31, 2020, and work in this area was transferred to the Service Restart Project Team.

The Synthesis Teams, set up by the Senior Leadership Team (SRLT), are intended to help us all take immediate, useful action during this COVID-19 library closure, and it works across the whole library system.

Each Synthesis Team basically has two roles:

  • to guide the response teams to successfully handle obstacles, issues or new ways of handling remote services during this time;

  • to gather and synthesize any business intelligence/community-related information to share with SRLT.


  • Kim Maxwell (team lead)
  • Christopher Butler
  • Melissa Feiden
  • Emilie Hardman
  • Katie Zimmerman

Email contact: cmst-lib at mit dot edu

Response Teams Reporting to This Team

The Response Teams have two specific roles (specific to this COVID-19 library closure):

  • Gather information about what the community is discussing and doing, as it is affected by the closure;

  • Handle projects that react quickly to current needs. Projects aim at Minimal Viable Product (MVP), not long-term plans.

As of July 13, 2020, the following teams report to the Collections Management Synthesis Team (CMST):

  • COVID Collections Team

  • Controlled Digital Lending: The Libraries are providing access to digital surrogates of currently inaccessible physical collections through Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) programs via HathiTrust and the Internet Archive. Access to these collections was established in March 2020. The people who enabled this to happen work within the Collections directorate.

  • Digital Thesis Submission: As a Response Team, this group’s work is complete. The Team started work on March 9, 2020, with the aim of a quick solution to the problem of how students would submit their theses online rather than in person during the pandemic closure. By April 27, testing had begun, and on May 11 the new workflow was in production. This workflow will also be used for the August 2020 submission of theses. A new project has begun to create a stable production system for digital thesis submission; that project will be handled as part of our regular organizational structure and not as a Response Team.

CMST has also worked informally with other departments/teams/groups around collections issues during this time. Copyright, for example, has become a larger issue due to the remote nature of our services. All copyright discussions are being handled by the Rights Working Group, and the Collections Management Synthesis Team regularly gets input from them related to any potential service changes.