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Library Transformation

The Library as Space

The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Research Library has supported the INL and its users in the INL's mission of excellence in the field of nuclear energy since its beginnings over 60 years ago. Today, in a continuing effort to exceed the status quo in the study and research of nuclear energy and all related fields upon which the INL Site has embarked, the INL Research Library is also in a transformation process. The INL Research Library is creating a world-class library that supports the missions and initiatives of the INL by building upon and expanding the current collections and maintaining its excellent service philosophy. In the future, the library's role will be similar to its present one: create a learning and research environment, anticipate and respond to customer learning and research needs, contribute to positive publishing outcomes, and provide the information infrastructure necessary for leading-edge research activities. The library links researchers with information enabling the INL to achieve excellence.

While some expected the Internet to reduce the importance of library buildings, the reverse is true. A simultaneous trend has led to the use of library buildings as the focal point of revitalization. A library building with shared collaboration areas; advanced technological support, alongside the traditional research tools whether hardcopy or electronic; and experienced library staff will contribute to a connected community of researchers, capable of propelling the INL and its partnerships to world-class status.

The library is in the planning stages of optimizing its space and technology requirements, balancing the concept of a centralized research and collaboration space with the strategy of highly focused collections in close proximity to scientists and researchers.

The Library as Technology

Proactively serving current and future library customers is and will be an ongoing challenge. The library customer of the future exists in a world of continual information input and has to reconcile the duality of the physical and digital worlds. The library of the future needs to transform from a collection space (either physically or electronically) to an exploration space. Customers increasingly expect information to be delivered rather than searched, preferably on the hand-held or wearable wireless device of their choosing, to the location of their choosing. The library's goal is to provide reputable, cost-effective access to a variety of informational resources for INL scientists, engineers, management, and support staff. Through the internet and other computer information tools, the library is committed to providing as much of this information as possible to the employee's computer desktop and/or mobile device.

Technologies and the Internet are continually evolving; the only certainty is that today's technology will be obsolete or unrecognizable tomorrow. The library and its staff will continually monitor technological evolution and retain the flexibility to experiment and implement new strategies. From a web portal that proactively identifies customer information needs to collaborative work spaces that contain the best technologies to facilitate INL intellectual output, the library will provide the support both its customers and staff need to succeed in the competitive arena of today's market place.

By understanding and exploiting the virtual value chain - gathering, organizing, selecting, synthesizing, and distributing information - the library continues to adapt and support the research needs of the customer of the future. The library strives to become an environment where the customer can come for contemplation and inspiration, collaboration with peers, and knowledge access.

The Library Initiatives

The library is partnering with Information Management staff to explore the concepts of findability, discovery search, navigation, federation, natural language processing, and text mining to enable information access and knowledge retrieval for INL and partner scientific and research communities.

The Library and the Knowledge Management group is also developing the concept of the National Nuclear Archives (NNA), a digital library of nuclear documents that will include the INL's over 50 years of research and technical reports in the areas of reactor design, development, and testing.

Publicly available NNA documents and reports can be searched on the web with the KEROS Platform.



Carla Drake
Manager, Knowledge Management, MS-3103

Idaho National Laboratory
Box 1625
Idaho Falls, ID 83415

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Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office