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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 II

Item #d98sep37


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; tel: 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 pri-mary gateways providing access to the multidisciplinary global-change resources is detailed.

In the August issue of the Global Climate Change Digest, we listed the library resources of U.S. Govern-ment and intergovernmental institutions of particular interest to the readers of the Digest. Here, we present the resources of national, nongovernmental, and academic institutions. Of particular interest with the academic institutions are their online public-access catalogs (OPACs). Access to library resources via OPACs has become a tool 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.

National Laboratories, Institutes, and Libraries

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress (LC), America’s oldest national cultural institution and the nation’s central library resource, will be 200 years old in the year 2000. Congressional support allows the LC to be the largest repository of recorded knowledge in the world and the world leader in librarianship and collections. The LC serves as a pivotal resource for libraries, information professionals, and researchers. These library services include acquisitions, cataloging, preservation, research, standards, and access to the catalogs of the LC and other libraries. The LC provides research and reference services to the U.S. Congress, the broader government, and the public, including the Science Reading Room The Science and Tech-nology Division, which supports the Science Reading Room, produces The Library of Congress Science Tracers Bullet series of topical bibliographic guides, including Halocarbons and the Stratospheric Ozone Layer, and Environmental Science Projects. (Search these titles from SCTB Online at It is also possible to search various LC catalogs directly from their Web sites at Science Reference Guides are brief bibliographies on various subjects. The content of each guide assists users to locate information resources on that topic. Weather and Climate Data gopher:// is one such guide. The Earth Decade Reading List is a list of books and magazines about current environmental issues. The Cold Regions Bibliography Project (CRBP) maintains and updates the Cold Regions Bibliography at LC. The Bibliography is an accumulation of more than 40 years of citations to published materials on the science and technology of the world’s cold regions. COLDBACK is the web-based version of this bibliography. “Cold regions” here are defined as both polar regions, their surrounding cold oceans, and alpine regions worldwide.

National Agricultural Library

With a home page at, the National Agricultural Library (NAL), part of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is one of four national libraries in the United States. NAL is a major international source for agriculture and related information. This Website provides access to NAL’s many resources and is a gateway to its associated institutions. Point of contact: National Agricultural Library, 10301 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2351; tel: 301-504-5755. The major service that it operates is the bibliographic database, AGRICOLA (AGRICultural OnLine Access) AGRICOLA is a machine-readable database of bibliographic records created by the NAL and its cooperators. Production of these records in electronic form began in 1970, but the database covers materials dating from the 16th century to the present.

The National Library of Medicine

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world’s largest research library in a single scientific and professional field. The Library collects materials exhaustively in all major areas of the health sciences. The collections today stand at 5 million items (books, journals, technical reports, manuscripts, microfilms, and pictorial materials). Its home page is found at While the NLM does not have a specific program or service directed to the issue of global climate change, it does allow you to search their bibliographic database MEDLINE via GratefulMed.

IGBP Regional Information Centers

Part 1 of this series introduced the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) Regional Information Centers (RICs), which can be accessed on the Web at These centers are specialized scientific libraries that have agreed to be repositories for full collections of IGBP publications. The IGBP RICs in the U.S. are

Each of these libraries can be contacted for access to IGBP technical reports and other reference and referral services.

Other Academic Libraries

Below are listed some additional academic libraries of specific interest to global-change researchers, policy makers, and educators. Their subject specialties are listed with their URLs.

Public Libraries

A number of public libraries also have significant collections in the Earth, atmospheric, marine, or environmental sciences.

Internet Connections

A large inventory of Websites provide access to library resources. Among the better of them are:



Professional Library Associations

Several professional societies maintain websites of interest to global-change researchers.

Of special note is LFF’s Environmental Information Access Project:

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