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FAQs [Frequently asked questions]

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PSFC Library


  • Visiting the PSFC Library
  • Borrowing and Returning Materials
  • Suggesting Materials for the PSFC Library
  • Electronic Journal Access
  • Obtaining Books and Journal Articles Not at PSFC or MIT
  • ILP Points [MIT Corporate Relations Industrial Liaison Program]
  • Preprint Manuscript and Dataset File Submission for Archival Distribution




Who may visit and use the PSFC Library?
Library access is open to MIT faculty, students, and staff and their invited guests, in compliance with MIT’s campus access policies.  For exceptions, please contact the PSFC Librarian.


When is the PSFC Library open?
The library is open 24 hours, 7 days a week to the PSFC community.




How do I check out a book?
Currently, there is no online or electronic platform for tracking borrowed resources.   Books have “card pockets” on the overside of the back cover.  Simply write your name on the card and insert it in the small black box labelled “Circulation Cards” located just inside the Library door.   There’s no need to write in a due date.   At this time, you do not need your MIT ID to check out a book.

For how long can I borrow a book? 
There is no set time frame for most circulating books.   You will receive periodic emails asking you to return those books you are no longer using.  If you have had book for more than 2 weeks and another library patron requests it, you will receive an email asking you to return it.  Please note: Reference books do not circulate to allow access to the PSFC research community.  Some books are designed as “Overnight Use Only” during the semesters when certain courses are offered.  

Are there fines for overdue books?
We do not charge overdue fines.


Can I return MIT Libraries’ books to the PSFC Library?
No.  The PSFC Library is a distinct entity from MIT Main Libraries.   The closest drop off for MIT Libraries’ books is at Rotch Library [7-238] (located on the 2nd floor of the lobby 7 dome at 77 Mass. Ave).  Also, you can use interdepartmental mail, addressed to:

MIT Libraries Circulation

If you are off-campus, items may be sent to the following address:

MIT Libraries Book Return
MIT Libraries
350 Brookline St.
Cambridge, MA 02139





Can I suggest a purchase for the PSFC Library?
Yes.  Please inform the PSFC Librarian via email of your suggestion.  A Library advisory group reviews these requests to determine which acquisitions are appropriate for the collection.




Do I need a password to use online resources, such as journals and e-books?

In Lieu of passwords, there are distinct pathways to gain access.   One of these options must apply:

-Use an MIT IP address (i.e. be on campus).
-Simulate an MIT IP address with IS&T’s VPN
-Authenticate via MIT’s Touchstone

See here for details and more information

Important note: These paths will only work if the MIT Libraries have a subscription to the resource.  For locating resources that MIT does not have, either in print form or electronically,  see  How do IBorrow & request materials from non-MIT libraries


The quickest way to access commonly used online journals is via the PSFC Library electronic index.


How do I get access to a journal article that is available electronically?
Links to e-books, online journals, databases, and other streaming/electronic materials are available through the
PSFC Library Catalog or through the digital portals to MIT Libraries
Important note: Googling a journal title will not necessarily provide the correct link to an authorized portal for journal access. 


Can I get access to journals while not on campus?
Yes, by using Certificates and by simulating an MIT IP address with IS&T’s VPN.  See here for details and more information

How do I get a copy of an article that is at MIT Libraries, however only in print form (non-electronic)?
You can request PDFs of 50 pages or less from print books, journals, and serials through the Scan and Deliver service.





How do I borrow & request materials from non-MIT libraries?

How do I request to borrow a book that is not in the PSFC Library collection?
First check with the
MIT Libraries catalog.  If it is not there, then request through ILLiad/ILB and Borrow Direct (partner libraries, like Harvard, Yale, etc.)


How do I get access to a journal article that neither the PSFC Library nor MIT Libraries provide access to?

Interlibrary Borrowing (ILB) is a free service that helps current MIT faculty, students, and staff access materials not available at the MIT Libraries.

Use ILLiad to make ILB requests and check on, renew, and retrieve requested electronic documents (MIT only)




What are ILP points and how do I earn them for my manuscripts and other professional activities?

MIT Corporate Relations (MIT-CR)  aids and directs companies interested in multidisciplinary involvement with the Institute. Its expert staff works with MIT senior administration, faculty, and company executives to structure and define individualized alliances that mutually benefit the company and MIT.

MIT Corporate Relations (MIT-CR) allots a fixed percentage of the gross revenue received in Industrial Liaison Program membership fees directly on a pro-rata basis to the MIT faculty and staff who participate in MIT-CR contacts or activities. This is done via a revenue sharing program using a system of points.

Each point receives a dollar value and is then awarded to qualified faculty and researchers each year.   On average, 1 point = ~$150.00 (or more).   Points are accumulated for the submission of documents, such as preprint manuscripts, and other undertakings such as conference-related activities and corporate connections.

Preprint manuscripts are considered for ILP points ONLY if they are channeled through the PSFC Library web portal, found here:


Your username and password are your PSFC computing login.  If you have any problems logging in, contact Mark London @


Points accrue for the fiscal year for those manuscripts submitted within the cycle of July 1st through June 30th each year.  Monies are distributed each September.   FY 2022 = July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 with monies distributed in September of 2022.


If you submit a manuscript on July 2, 2022 it will be awarded in the 2023 fiscal year, with monies distributed in Sept. of 2023.


Additional points can be earned through other activities.  See here:  You must submit to ILP any other activity (aside manuscripts) yourself.


ILP determines the validity of the award (not the PSFC Library), i.e. the framework is to award for “current” manuscripts that fall approximately within the current fiscal year with some sway (typically within 1 to 1.5 years from publication date).  As such, a manuscript submitted in 2022 that is dated prior to 2020 most likely will not receive points.  Manuscripts dated in late 2020 possibly will be considered.  Additionally, ILP determines who is eligible to receive points (e.g. grad students and some other designations are exempt).





Why do I need to submit my accepted manuscript and dataset files to the PSFC Library?

All government agencies require that either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions (also known as “juried conference papers”) be deposited in a public access compliant repository; be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication; possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication; be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements. 

In addition, MIT requires affiliated researchers to deposit preprints into their institutional repository. 

The PSFC Library provides a portal to manage these requirements.

The US government mandate for Data Management, Open Access, and Creating Data Files for Published Figures requires that each figure or table in your manuscript that is generated from data sets must have an associated, machine-readable data file and be accessible in an institutional repository.

Submit your dataset files to the PSFC Library reports management portal.

Data files are required to be in a machine readable format, containing the exact data displayed in the figures. Please use HDF5 created by either the IDL/Python library or the Matlab library. XLS files are acceptable, however not preferred. See: Recommendations for format of data associated with publications.