Historical Highlights - Ellen Walker Rienstra

If you feel the world of information is going faster and faster these days, you're absolutely correct. There is no doubt that knowledge is increasing at breakneck speed.

Many of you may recall that neo-futuristic thinker Buckminster Fuller created the "Knowledge Doubling Curve" in the early 1980s, which basically states that until 1900 human knowledge doubled every century - but by the end of World War II it was doubling every 25 years.

Today, information increase is on an exponential curve and it is thought to be doubling every 13 months.

And if you think that's fast, consider this: According to IBM, if you factor in faster computing and storage, combined with the Internet, human knowledge will soon double every 12 hours.

Granted, not all avenues of knowledge are growing at the same rate, and geology may be a bit slower than say, nanotechnology. And geological literature has archival value - its great staying power is much greater than in some other sciences.

In fact, it is not usual for a request to come to our library for articles from the 1920s, '30s, '40s and so on.

The point is, there is no way the AAPG library can store physically on its shelves all the potential literature that a petroleum geologist might need - we have to be selective about actual materials.

And yet that helps prove the point: the AAPG Foundation Energy Resource Library, even in an age of accelerating knowledge and limited square footage, remains a treasure trove of geoscience data and information.

Data to Share

Don't think that we undervalue our hardcopy collection. This is truly of great use and backup to the digital realm; but one of the fastest growing areas of the library is its media cabinet, which houses CD-ROMs and DVDs. Some of these have no hardcopy equivalent.

Indeed, digital databases and journal archives are the saving grace of today's libraries.

Many of you certainly are acquainted with and are using AAPG Datapages Archives, which we routinely search to handle many requests.

But beyond the AAPG Archives are many databases of related societies and trade publishers - many geologists simply do not have the time or desire to search out these databases, and this is where the AAPG library can help.

Just give us an idea of what you need and let us do the rest.

Be aware: Most databases offer free searching, but once documents are located you may need to use a pay-per-view option to purchase the document. Some fees may be involved.

For other requests we may direct you to a different, perhaps more appropriate place - or send them links to documents.

In short, don't hesitate to call when you need some hard-to-find data or other information. We have the resources, and we're ready to help.

The library is open from 12:30-5 p.m. Monday -Thursday, and 12:30-4:30 p.m. on Friday (CST).

For more information, take a moment to explore the library's website at http://foundation.aapg.org/library/.

Feel free to fill out Ask the Librarian with your request.

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