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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999


The Role of Libraries, Part I

Item #d98aug38


The Global Climate Change Digest demonstrates the complex relationships among the natural and human environments. Research libraries in government agencies and university research centers were among the first institutions to identify and manage vast amounts of scientific information produced as a result of growing R&D and subsequent policy initiatives from around the world.

Libraries and library associations have accepted a great challenge to assist in the organization, management, and dissemination of the data and information resources related to global climate change. The journal Library Hi Tech devoted a special double issue (Vol. 13, Nos. 1-2, Pierian Press, P.O. Box 1808, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106; 800-678-2435) to global change and the roles libraries play in information and data management. This special issue elaborates on the primary roles played by libraries to organize, manage, archive, and share data and information resources. The role of librarians as primary gateways providing access to the multidisciplinary global change resources is detailed. These discussions have also been presented at recent annual meetings of the American Library Association and Special Libraries Association.

Members of the U.S. Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS) were asked to draw upon their special expertise and to help compile the resources cataloged in the special issue of Library Hi Tech. The following list, which resulted from that effort, should be of particular interest to the readers of the Global Climate Change Digest. The resources of U.S. Government and intergovernmental institutions are presented in this month’s issue, and the resources of national, nongovernmental, and academic institutions will be listed in a future issue.

In addition to web pages and online numeric and bibliographic databases, online public-access catalogs (OPACs) are also included in this compilation. Access to library resources via OPACs has become a practice of primary importance. These electronic catalogs allow users to browse the holdings of individual libraries, and they serve as important information tools to identify specific information and data resources, verify citations, facilitate interlibrary loans, and establish critical professional contacts.

U.S. Governmental and Intergovernmental Resources

Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI)

With its home page at, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) leads the Technical Information Management Program for the DOE, which provides direction and coordination for management and dissemination of scientific and technical information (STI) resulting from the DOE Research and Development programs as well as global-change research programs. The primary contact is OSTI Information Services (P.O. Box 62, Oak Ridge TN 37831; (423) 576-8407, Fax: (423) 576-2865, usertalk@ Elements of OSTI’s information service include:

Energy Files

The Energy Science and Technology Virtual Library Environment

DOE Information Bridge

Public Web site (no registration or password required) for searchable and downloadable bibliographic records and full text of DOE research report literature from 1996 forward

DOE Reports Bibliographic Database

Citations for DOE-sponsored technical reports.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Biological Resources Division (BRD)

With its home page at, BRD works with others to provide the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support the sound management and conservation of our nation’s biological resources. A fundamental part of the BRD mission is embodied in its commitment to make data and information on the nation’s biological resources more accessible to more people. Subcomponents of BRD’s information system are:

BRD Library Network

National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

The NBII is an electronic gateway to biological data and information maintained by federal, state, and local government agencies; private sector organizations; and other partners around the nation and the world.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Library

The USGS Library is one of the largest earth science libraries in the world. Established in 1882, the library serves the search needs of USGS scientists throughout the nation and provides information to other organizations and individuals in the areas of geology, hydrology, cartography, biology, and related fields.

USGS Library Online Catalog

Access to the USGS Library online catalog is now available over the Internet. In the coming months, the library will be enhancing the method of access with a graphical interface so that users will be able to search for information using any Web browser. Currently, access to the catalog is through telnet with a character-based interface.

Environmental Protection Agency National Library Network

The EPA provides access to its national network of libraries through the home page at The stated mission of the EPA Library Network is “to improve access to information for EPA decision making and environmental awareness.” The EPA Library Network, established in 1971, is composed of libraries in the agency’s headquarters, regional and field offices, research centers, and specialized laboratories located throughout the country. The combined network collection contains a wide range of general and specific information on environmental protection and management, including global climate change. The EPA libraries maintain collections focused on special topics to support specific regional or program office projects. Two major portions of the EPA’s information activities are


INFOTERRA is an international environmental referral and research network operated by about 175 countries coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. The U.S. National Focal Point for INFOTERRA is located at the EPA Headquarters Library and is managed by the Office of Information Resources Management.

National Catalog on the Online Library System (OLS)

The OLS is the Online Library System for the Library Network of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It consists of several related databases that can be used to locate books, reports, and articles on a variety of topics. The material on OLS is updated every two weeks and may be searched in many ways, such as by title, author, and keyword. The National Catalog contains the holdings (lists of books, documents, and magazine titles) for most of the 28 EPA regional libraries and laboratories. The National Catalog also has holdings for the EPA documents in NTIS, the National Technical Information Service (whether or not they are held by any libraries).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program

From its home page at, the NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program provides ready access to more than 3 million aerospace and related citations. Powerful search capabilities offer access to both the latest and most important historical information about aerospace, aeronautics, and related topics, including weather, climate, ecological, geographic, and other remote-sensing data gathered by NASA’s satellite-based programs and projects. This service is run by the NASA Center for Aerospace Information (CASI) for the NASA STI Program Lead Center, Langley Research Center. For information about NASA STI Program services, products, and policies, contact the NASA STI Help Desk at or 301-621-0390.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Central Library

From its home page at, the NOAA Central Library maintains a collection of more than one million books, journals, technical reports, microfiche, microfilm, compact discs, and databases that support research in the atmospheric sciences, fisheries, marine biology, meteorology, oceanography, and related disciplines. Significant global-change subcollections include the C Collection, which contains climate and weather observations from foreign countries dating from the late 1830s to the mid-1970s; the Coast and Geodetic Survey Collection, begun in 1807, which is the original historic library of the Survey; the M Collection, which contains proceedings of international meetings on meteorology and navigation and weather records of foreign countries from the 1850s to the mid-1970s; the Special Collections Room, which preserves under climate control the historic materials, dating as far back as 1482, from the U.S. Weather Bureau, U.S. Fisheries Commission, and Environmental Data Service; and the Photo Collection, which consists of approximately 1000 color 35-mm slides and 500 black and white 8” x 10” prints of weather phenomena, underwater research, marine mammals, cloud formations, and other generic topics relating to the atmosphere and ocean. Major elements of the agency’s information services are

NOAA Library Catalog

NOAA Environmental Services Data Directory

NOAA Library and Information Network (NLIN)

NOAA Digital Library

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), Regional Information Centers

Accessible at a home page at, the IGBP regional information centers are specialized scientific libraries that have agreed to be repositories for full collections of IGBP publications. The IGBP publications, principally the reports, are catalogued, indexed, announced in acquisitions lists that are distributed regionally, and made available to readers. What constitutes a region depends upon the structure of the library itself; generally, they cover a specified national territory. The IGBP strives to establish regional information centers in as many countries as possible, and in larger countries several outstanding institutions have agreed to collaborate.

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