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Betas & widgets - OLD KEEP FOR ARCHIVE: Betas

Guide to experimental tools that make accessing and organizing information easier.

About betas

The MIT Libraries are experimenting with new technologies and services to help make access to information easier. The tools below are currently in "beta" form and have been created or adapted for the MIT community.  They are still being tinkered with, but we'd like you to try them out and tell us what you think!

Also check out the list of successful beta graduates and not-so-successful betas in the graveyard.

To receive updates on new betas & widgets, follow the betas & widgets category of the news blog.

What works well? What doesn't? Have you written any scripts or tools yourself? Let us know! Email us at

Ask Us! - Chat

drawing of speech bubbleIn Summer 2013, in addition to all the usual options to contact us (web form, email, phone, or by dropping by a library desk), we answered questions by chat between 12-5pm, Monday-Friday.

The chat service was temporarily suspended on August 30, 2013 so that we could assess the program during Fall 2013.

We're happy to report that the service returned on February 3, 2014. Chat with us!

- Posted June 25, 2013; updated January 31, 2014

iPad information kiosk in Hayden Library

iPad information kiosk

Use the information kiosk on the second floor of Hayden Library to give you quick access to information like:  

  • how to find books
  • where to find scanners, copiers and printers
  • nearby food and drink options
  • restroom locations
  • campus map

Since there's no staffed information desk on the second floor, we're hoping that the iPad kiosk will provide basic assistance and help you to navigate the library space and collections.

The kiosk will remain in Hayden until IAP 2014, when it will be evaluated to see if the program merits expansion to other library locations.

- Posted August 22, 2012



You may see the Lewis Music Library’s new MediaMobile roaming around campus!

The MediaMobile is a moveable cart that can travel across campus to highlight MIT Libraries’ online media materials. A large monitor and audio speakers will be used to demo streaming audio and video products, full-text books, music scores, images, and more.

MIT librarians will use the MediaMobile to share information and media in a variety of subjects with the MIT community.

- Posted June 18, 2012

MIT Libraries on Foursquare

Foursquare icon

If you have a smart phone and use the Foursquare app, follow the MIT Libraries!  Foursquare is an app that allows you to check in at locations and read tips and reviews from other users about that place.

We've added tips about all of the MIT Libraries locations, and if you follow us, those will pop up when you check in around campus.  We've also set up a list of libraries, so if you follow the list, you can take a tour of the MIT Libraries with Foursquare!

- Posted September 6, 2011

Mobile music with QR codes

Jazz QR code

Posters scattered throughout Lewis Music Library direct users to listen to streaming music on their mobile devices by scanning QR codes.  Each poster highlights a different genre from Alexander Street Press music databases (Contemporary World Music and American Song).  


  • Make sure you're connected to the "MIT" network on your mobile device (not the "MIT Guest" network) before scanning.  
  • Only 3 users can listen to music at the same time, so if you're turned away, try again later!

- Posted July 19, 2011

Borrow an iPad from the Lewis Music Library


Want to check out an iPad for a few hours? The Lewis Music Library has purchased an iPad to lend to MIT faculty, students, and staff. It contains over 85 music apps, along with an iTunes library holding over 3,000 sample tracks and video clips from the library’s recently-received CDs and DVDs. Borrow an iPad for 4 hours (no renewals or overnight loans). First come, first served.

The iPad was purchased with money from the Class of 1982 Music Library Fund.

We'd love to hear ideas on how you would use an iPad in your work at MIT, especially with library research. Tell us about it!

- Posted May 6, 2010