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We provide a pedagogical review on the calculation of highly excited eigenstates of disordered interacting quantum systems which can undergo a many-body localization (MBL) transition, using shift-invert exact diagonalization. We also provide an example code at https://bitbucket.org/dluitz/sinvert_mbl/. Through a detailed analysis of the simulational parameters of the random field Heisenberg spin chain, we provide a practical guide on how to perform efficient computations. We present data for mid-spectrum eigenstates of spin chains of sizes up to $L=26$. This work is also geared towards readers with interest in efficiency of parallel sparse linear algebra techniques that will find a challenging application in the MBL problem.