More Information, Easier to Access
Libraries Changing With the Times
Old school tradition: A “library” is a physical place where you can find information on a specific topic, by a particular author or fictional literature.
New world reality: Who needs a physical place?
The fact is, for now anyone may still need the physical place, depending on what’s being sought.
But with the advent of multi-media, digital data, the Internet, online access, etc., libraries are redefining and going far beyond the traditional definition. This, understandably, has caused some confusion as to what “library” has, physically available, what kind of data is available and how these resources are accessed.
Utilizing Geoscience Information
Geoscience data can be grouped by media (paper/film, digital or the physical objects); the physical material on which the data is housed; or by context, relating to how and why the data was created (Geoscience Data Categories).
Today’s geologists can utilize the resources of three basic types of libraries -- traditional libraries, libraries housing derived data and libraries housing the physical data.
Traditional libraries consisting primarily of published data are the libraries many of us grew up with. Examples are public, university, governmental (including the U.S. and state geological surveys) and corporate libraries.
Corporate libraries house much of a company’s propriety data as well as published data collected for the use of employees. Including corporate produced reports and derived data resulting from exploration and production efforts, a huge volume of subsurface data belongs to major oil and gas companies.
Unfortunately, periodic shake-ups plus company mergers and demises have put much of this information in jeopardy. Even if a company is willing to donate its accumulated geoscience repository, the recipient institution may not have the financial or physical resources to house the material.
(In 1994 Shell Oil donated its core facility to the University of Texas at Austin -- along with a cash sum to help house the material. Perhaps this can serve as a template for future donations of privately held data to public institutions.)
Derived data libraries are sometimes referred to as well log libraries, or energy libraries, but they can come with a variety of names. Energy libraries are open to the geologists regardless of corporate affiliation but require membership fees to use. These libraries are geographic specific in the extent of materials they house. (See December 2006 EXPLORER, page 40-41).
With all these resources it is easy to see why petroleum geologists could get confused.
The AAPG Foundation Energy Resources Library was established in 1978 to help geologists find the information and materials they need. Within our books, journals and digital archives are petroleum geology articles with worldwide coverage.
The core of our collection are the AAPG publications, both digital and hardcopy. Branching from here are publications of our sections, affiliated societies and associated societies.
(See October 2006 EXPLORER, page 53; or visit our Web page at http://foundation.aapg.org/library.)
AAPG Datapages, which digitizies all of AAPG’s publications and many other sources from other publishers, is in the process of digitizing the publications of many of AAPG’s affiliated societies.
(Note we are still a long way from the “Star Trek” accessibility of all data.
A popular misconception is that all information on the shelves of libraries is available at no cost via the computer. But until everything is digitized in a stable format and can be freely accessed, hard copy equivalents need to be protected and preserved.)
At times Datapages products have been referred to as a library -- but to lessen the confusion it should be thought of as a collection or a digital archive. This collection has advantages over print publications in that terms or phrases occurring in titles or text can be searched.
Once found, articles can be downloaded instantly.
Active and Associate AAPG members can access at no charge the entire collection of the AAPG BULLETIN, from 1917 to present. Corporations can purchase a subscription to access all or part of the digital archives consisting of the BULLETIN, AAPG Special Publications and publications from other publishers.
Anyone with an interest, can access the entire AAPG Digital archive on a pay as you go method. To check this out visit the pay-per-view Web page at http://payperview.datapages.com.
AAPG’s electronic journal, Search and Discovery, is available through AAPG’s Web site and is an example of a digital source with no print equivalent. With no cost attached, it is a gold mine of geological information. Articles are worldwide in geographic coverage and available to anyone with Internet access.
Log on to Search and Discovery at http://www.searchand discovery.com.
Once articles are gathered and background information is at hand, the geologist may need to find more specific data. This would be the “derived data.”
Some geologists may work for companies that have licenses to access collections from online vendors for well logs and production information, but others may need to rely on energy libraries – particularly for the older material, since much of this data have never been digitized.
Efforts are being undertaken by many energy libraries to digitized their collections and make them available on the Internet by password. Unfortunately, until this daunting task comes to fruition this data must be accessed by personal visits.
To find an energy library nearest you go to the National Directory of Geoscience Data Repositories at www.agiweb.org/ngdrs/overview/datadirectory.html.