U.S. Geological Survey Library: Access & Outreach

Slide image of USGS Library Outreach Webinar presented by Emily Wild, USGS Librarian and Physical Scientist in the Denver Library branch.The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Libraries Program provides access to geoscience print and online information sources, as well as instruction on finding and using the geoscience information. Learn how to find and use USGS publication and data sources available from USGS Mission areas, programs, and projects. Highlights include: maps, reports, imagery, datasets, and applications.  Go to the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Public Discussion Board website for the web conference recording.

Recorded: 5/21/2014
Duration: 56 minutes

Emily Wild
USGS Librarian (Physical Scientist)

Posted in Denver Library, Flagstaff Library, Menlo Park Library, Reston Library | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Collaborative Digitization in the USGS Libraries

The USGS Libraries have joined the collaboration between USGS Human Resources and Chantilly High School‘s Secondary Transition to Employment Program (STEP), which transitions special needs students to workplace environments and teaches them professional skills.  In the Libraries, three student interns have joined the digitization team to scan some of the Libraries’ unique and valuable collections.

Graph capturing USGS Libraries Collection's OCLC statistics, April 2, 2014

Graph capturing USGS Libraries Collection’s OCLC statistics, April 2, 2014

The Libraries collection comprises 383,830 WorldCat holdings, which represent over 1.5 million items.  Of those holdings, 7.9% are unique in libraries around the world, and an additional 36.5% are held by ten libraries or less (OCLC statistics, accessed 4/2/14).

Many of these items are in the public domain, meaning that there are no copyright restrictions on them.  This is either because they are published by the USGS and therefore fall under 17 U.S.C. § 105 of U.S. copyright law, or because the copyright has expired.  The Libraries work to provide digital access to these items, but with limited resources it has become necessary to find creative solutions.

The Libraries’ three STEP interns are onsite in basement of  the Reston Library scanning five days a week.  Some of the materials being scanned are USGS publications to be uploaded to the Pubs Warehouse, and others are pre-copyright publications to be uploaded to the Biodiversity Heritage Library, of which the USGS is a member institution.  In either case, all of the publications will be freely accessible to the public.

All scanning through the Libraries program is currently handled in-house, and all digitization scanning conforms to archival standards and formats.  Equipment includes:

PS7000C MKII Book Scanner: Scans bound books, flat images, and 3-D objects up to 24″-18″.
Contex HD Ultra: Scan maps and flat images up to 42″ wide.
ProScan2000: Scans microfiche and microfilm formats.
OpticFilm 8200i Ai: Scans slides and 35 mm film.
Canon DR-9080C:Scans unbound sheets at high speeds.

The student interns are learning to operate the digitization equipment, as well as how to process archival files with Adobe Creative Suite and other software.

Image of USGS Librarians Helen Tong and Jenna Nolt with students

USGS Librarians Helen Tong and Jenna Nolt with students

The digitization team is working to support both diversity in the workforce, and free global access to authoritative scientific information, and hopes to continue this collaboration in the future.

For more information regarding the STEP collaboration or the Libraries’ digitization program, please contact Jenna Nolt, jnolt@usgs.gov.

Posted in Denver Library, Flagstaff Library, Menlo Park Library, Reston Library | Tagged , , , , , , , |

Research Services at the USGS Denver Library

By Emily C. Wild and Keith J. Van Cleave

Picture of Emily Wild at the USGS Denver Library reference desk

Emily Wild at the USGS Denver Library reference desk. For more information about our library instruction and outreach program, please email Emily atecwild@usgs.gov.
Photo credit: Jenny Stevens, USGS Denver Library

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was established March 3, 1879, by the Organic Act (20 Stat. 394; 43 U.S.C. 31), which included creation of a USGS Library. In 1946, the USGS Denver Library was established in Denver, Colo. (U.S. Geological Survey, 2013a). Although the Denver Library has an intriguing history, as discussed by Stevens and Wild (2011), perhaps its most compelling aspects are the current demand and trends of research services provided by the staff in support of the USGS Mission Areas and Regions (U.S. Geological Survey, 2013c).

The USGS Denver Library collection contains print and online materials relevant to earth science, mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, hydrology, oil, gas, and coal, as well as U.S. Atomic Energy Commission publications, and U.S. Bureau of Mines publications. The Library also maintains the USGS Geology Field Records and USGS Photographic collections. In addition to USGS staff using the Library, many private industry scientists use the Denver Library in-person because of the comprehensive geoscience materials, easy access to unique publications that are difficult to find elsewhere, and free access to print and online content. Librarians also offer instruction on finding and using citation and raw data sources from the USGS, as well as scientific materials from other government agencies, geoscience organizations, and subscription citation and geospatial databases.

USGS Earthquake Information Bulletins.

USGS Earthquake Information Bulletins. The library call number is 240(200) Un3eib; print copies available from 1970 through 1985; no full-text copies available online.
Photo credit: Emily Wild, USGS Denver Library

The Denver Library has enthusiastically progressed into the digital age. Reference librarians, resource-sharing librarians, circulation librarians, technical-services librarians, and archivists provide assistance and instruction to Library users that can include finding, requesting from other libraries, and helping to use digital library materials and information sources. But our librarians also frequently utilize print materials during library user transactions. Often, we use local “props,” such as the Rocky Mountains, as examples in reference inquiries about biology, geography, geology, and hydrology topics. While all of the sections of the Denver Library are dependent upon each other to function as a unit, this article will focus on the Reference Services and Resources Sharing aspects of the research services the library provides.

Reference Services

library stacks full of original print versions of USGS publications.

For USGS Publications, the library call number is (200); although many USGS publications are online, many USGS researchers and non-USGS researchers prefer to read the original print publications. At the USGS Denver Library, public, academic, and government libraries borrow these USGS publications through our resource sharing program.
Photo credit: Emily Wild, USGS Denver Library

Access to and availability of library materials has increased as a result of digital indexing and publishing; interestingly, Denver Library reference inquiries have also increased. USGS Denver Library users are categorized for our statistics as “USGS” and “non-USGS.” USGS is a USGS employee, contractor, or volunteer. Non-USGS includes—but is not limited to—other Federal employees, undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs, scientists and researchers in private industry (petroleum, natural gas, uranium, mineral resources, and water resources industries), lawyers, and State and local natural resource managers. In FY 2008, we had about 1,460 reference inquiries; about 66 percent were inquiries from non-USGS users. Just 4 years later, in FY 2012, we had about 3,380 reference inquiries; about 46 percent were from non-USGS users. Both USGS and non-USGS users access Denver Library print and digital materials in-person and remotely. Although many Library users visit from Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, we have many visitors from across the country and around the world who use our collection.

Finding and using USGS products is usually part of every reference inquiry. To compare how access and availability of USGS products has changed in about 10 years, I refer library users to two publications, Wild and Havener (2001) and Wild (2012). USGS employees and non-USGS users planning to visit the Denver Library are encouraged to preview the on-site access to bibliographic information by using the USGS Library’s “Public Access to Electronic Resources” Web site at http://library.usgs.gov/publiceresources.html (U.S. Geological Survey, 2013b).
shelves full of print copies of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.

To find a Geological Society of America Bulletin, use the library call number G(200) G29; print available from 1890 through 2008, and online full-text available from 1945 through the present at
Photo credit: Emily Wild, USGS Denver Library.

With the support of library managers, the Denver Library provides presentations, handouts, and one-on-one or group assistance and instruction on finding and using print and digital materials to Library users. USGS, and all Department of the Interior employees, are encouraged to take the course “Finding and Using Scientific Literature and Data from the USGS Library,” which is available in DOI Learn. Librarians help non-USGS users with items similar to the nine “Finding USGS Data and Publications” handouts, which are available online at http://library.usgs.gov/libhandouts.html and provide Library outreach presentations to the public. Examples of outreach presentations from the past year include “USGS Information Sources for Students, Teachers, and Librarians”; “Using the U.S. Geological Survey Denver Library for Petroleum Research”; “USGS Information Sources: Natural Hazards”; “A Maps Workshop”; and “What? I thought all the publications I needed were available online: Library research in the geosciences.” Additional Library research examples are summarized in Wild (2012) and the bibliography section in Caine and others (2011).

Resource Sharing

print copies of Alcheringa, an Australasian journal of paleontologyby.

Alcheringa, an Australasian journal of paleontologyby the Geological Society of Australia is available at the call number G(800) Al16; print copies are available from 1975 through 2001.
Photo credit: Emily Wild, USGS Denver Library.

When USGS scientists identify materials they need for USGS research projects and for responding to current Earth events, resource-sharing librarians work with colleagues in other libraries to obtain materials not available in the USGS Libraries Program; likewise, USGS Denver librarians assist other institutions by providing USGS Library materials to them through the interlibrary loan program. In many instances, we are also able to provide USGS staff with materials from a local university, typically because we provide the local university with our library materials. This interlibrary loan program is a cost-saving measure that is built upon the networking of librarians. For example, in FY 2012 for the USGS Denver Library, 36 percent of the library materials for USGS research were from non-USGS libraries, which included borrowed print materials and digital articles processed through the interlibrary loan program. Likewise, in FY 2012, non-USGS libraries borrowed about 43 percent of the total items processed by the Denver Library.

We are proud of our ability to serve the Library community, whose feedback is always welcome:

  • From a USGS user, “The Denver librarians rock. All a scientist has to do is to want an article and then, within hours, it’s in the scientist’s email.”
  • From a non-USGS user, “Thank goodness the Denver library allows access on-site to anyone. This is a great resource, and there are librarians here when I need help.”


The Denver Library works in collaboration with the Community for Data Integration in an effort to ensure information and data are accessible for re-use and sharing by providing exceptional and timely research services to USGS and non-USGS users alike. Please feel free to contact us for additional information (seehttp://library.usgs.gov/denlib.html/).

Selected References

Caine, J.S., Johnson, R.H., and Wild, E.C., 2011, Review and interpretation of previous work and new data on the hydrogeology of the Schwartzwalder Uranium Mine and vicinity, Jefferson County, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1092, 55 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1092/

Stevens, J.M., and Wild, E.C., 2011, The U.S. Geological Survey Central Region Library: Earth Science Information at Your Fingertips and in Your Own Backyard: Colorado Libraries, vol. 35, no. 2, at: http://coloradolibrariesjournal.org/ejournal/show/1/_/2

U.S. Geological Survey, 2013a, History of the U.S. Geological Survey Library System, accessed on April 19, 2013, at: http://library.usgs.gov/libhistory.html/.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2013b, Public Access to Electronic Resources, accessed on April 19, 2013, at: http://library.usgs.gov/publiceresources.html

U.S. Geological Survey, 2013c, Start with Science, accessed on April 19, 2013, at: http://www.usgs.gov/start_with_science/

U.S. Geological Survey, 2013d, Visiting the Library, accessed on April 19, 2013, at: http://library.usgs.gov/visitlib.html/.

Wild, E.C., 2012, On-line access to geoscience bibliographic citations: EXPLORE: Newsletter for the Association of Applied Geochemists, no. 155, p. 1, 4-5.http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70037963

Wild, E.C., and Havener, M.W., 2001Online bibliographic sources in hydrology: Science and Technology Libraries, v. 21, issue 3-4, p. 63-86.

Posted in Denver Library, Uncategorized |

Researching the Russian Crown Jewels

Image a the book titled Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones (1925)

Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones (1925) is the first official inventory of the Russian Crown Jewels.

The USGS Libraries are proud to present the official press release of the discovery of previously unknown images of the Russian Crown Jewels. You can also listen to the podcast and view the media gallery. Any new information related to the Crown Jewels will be posted on the library blog (see links below).

If you would like to see our unique album in person, Russian Diamond Fund is scheduled to be on display as part of an upcoming exhibit at the Hillwood Museum in Washington, DC in February, 2013. The Hillwood Museum also houses the Nuptial Crown an important piece of the Crown Jewels which was sold by the Soviet government in 1927.

We welcome inquiries and contributions from scholars and researchers that can provide any further insight into the album we possess or its importance to the history of the Jewels. The Libraries are not actively pursuing any further line of inquiry related to the Jewels at this time. Gemstones in their finished state are not the focus of research at the USGS; both Russian Diamond Fund and Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones came into the care of the Libraries as part of the estate of George Frederick Kunz.

The research behind this discovery was a collaborative effort. The Libraries would like to thank the Gemological Institute of America, the American Museum of Natural History, the Hillwood Institute (particularly Kristen Regina), the Smithsonian, and the Corcoran Gallery for their interest and support. We would also like to thank Christel McCanless and Annemiek Wintraecken for their research and Irena Kavalek and Kent Southworth for their translations.

See also:
The USGS Libraries homepage
Official Press Release: Tracking the Story of the Russian Crown Jewels
USGS Youtube Video: Diamonds and Dusty Pages
USGS Media Gallery: Images of Gems




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Book Containing Images of the Tavernier Blue (Hope Diamond) Available Online

A sketch of the Tavernier Blue Diamond from three angles (1678)

A sketch of the Tavernier Blue Diamond from three angles (1678)

A book containing the earliest known images of the Tavernier Blue diamond later called the French Blue and now known as the Hope Diamond is now available online. The USGS Libraries have recently digitized a first English edition of “The Six Voyages of John Baptista Tavernier” (1678) which describes the adventures of the French merchant and explorer Jean-Baptist Tavernier (1605-1689) across Persia and India.

A sketch from three angles of the Tavernier Blue is accompanied by a short description of the stone as “a Diamond cleane of a faire violet” and as one “of the 14 fairest Diamonds chosen out among all those which Monsieur Tavernier sold to the King at his last return from the Indies, upon which consideration, and for severall services done the Kingdome His Majesty honored him with the title of Noble.” After it was sold to the king this diamond was renamed the “French Blue” or the “Blue Diamond of the Crown” and it remained in the possession of the French Royal Family until it was stolen in 1792. Its whereabouts were unknown until 1812, where it made its appearance in the Francillon memo with the new cut of the Hope Diamond we know today.

Tavernier includes numerous other descriptions of remarkable jewels and gemstones that he saw or purchased in the course of his travels including the Great Mogul Diamond, French royal rubies, and the “perfect” pearl of Persia.

The full text of “The Six Voyages of John Baptista Tavernier” and the sketch of the Tavernier Blue.

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Panoramic Photography of the Alaskan Frontier 1910-1932

Photo of horses on pilgrimageThe USGS houses many stunning photographs depicting early American landscapes and researchers at work in the field. Unlike today’s world, filled with images from smart phones, photography in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s photography was a much more difficult pursuit.

Richard Schneider, from the National Archives Preservation Program, gave a fascinating presentation to the USGS Denver Library staff and members of the Colorado archive community on August 7, 2012 about the photographs of Major James Warren Bagley.  Bagley took panoramic photos of Alaska while preparing topographical maps for the Survey from 1910 – 1932.  Mr. Schneider explained the process involved in capturing these shots, including Bagley’s specialized camera adaptations and the need to process and store film in the field. Being early twentieth century Alaska,  there were no paved roads,  railroads, or any type of motor vehicle that could be used to transport USGS personnel and their photographic equipment over the rough terrain.  Pack trains of horses were used to carry the surveyors, their equipment, processing chemicals, nitrate film, and supplies across Alaska during the short summer season.  Bagley wrote USGS Bulletin 657 in 1917 entitled “The use of the panoramic camera in topographic surveying with notes on the application of photogrammetry to aerial surveys” that discusses his technique for capturing these historic and functional photographs.  It is significant to remember that the photographs were only meant to serve as resource material for the topographic maps Bagley and his group were making.

The National Archives acquired the nitrate negatives of Bagley’s expedition from the USGS Denver Library Photographic Collection in 2007.  Archivists at NARA made copy negatives from the nitrate originals for preservation purposes since the original nitrate negatives were deteriorating and presented a potential fire hazard.  During this process, Mr. Schneider discovered thousands of Alaskan panoramas. The cooperative effort of USGS and NARA ensures that these photographs will be preserved and available to the public for generations to come.

For more information about the historical photography of the USGS, visit: http://libraryphoto.cr.usgs.gov

Pictured: photographer James Bagley, far right.

Pictured: photographer James Bagley, far right.

By 1917, James Bagley (pictured with hand on hip) would have more of an interest in developing aerial photography for USGS needs.  The program of using panoramas however, would continue until 1932.  J. W. Bagley, Port Valdez District, Station 71, Frames 3 and 4.  “College Fjord”. South-central Alaska. 1916.

Posted in Denver Library, Treasures | Tagged , , |

USGS Libraries Contribute to the Biodiversity Heritage Library

"Nature's Gems"- American wild flowers in their native haunts. Photo by G.S. Appleton.

“Nature’s Gems”- American wild flowers in their native haunts. Photo by G.S. Appleton.

The USGS Libraries Program has joined the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections. USGS Libraries have collections that can support research in biodiversity, specifically with literature from paleobotany and paleoclimatology as well as some surprising gems from early biological research both in the United States and across the world.

The first 6 books from the USGS Libraries have been added to the collections of the Biodiversity Heritage Library and you can see that list at: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/RecentRss/100/ALL/USGS

On of the first books contributed by the USGS was an 1845 book titled “American wild flowers in their native haunts.” The book contains lovely hand-colored images. Those images are now available on Flickr.

The USGS is looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the members of the Biodiversity Heritage Library to bring the valuable resources of the world’s scientific libraries to a broader group of users.

Posted in Denver Library, Flagstaff Library, Menlo Park Library, Reston Library |

The Francillon Memo

Image of a page from the Francillon memo with a drawing of what appears to be the Hope Diamond.

Image of a page from the Francillon memo with a drawing of what appears to be the Hope Diamond.

One of the most unique and important articles in the USGS Libraries collections is a document called the Francillon Memo. This simple memo was written in September of 1812 by John Francillon, a jeweler practicing in London, England. The Francillon Memo includes a hand-colored trace outline of what we know today as the Hope Diamond.

The Francillon Memorandum says: “The above drawing is the exact size and shape of a very curious superfine deep blue Diamond. Brilliant cut, and equal to a fine deep blue Sapphire. It is beauty full and all perfection without specks or flaws, and the color even and perfect all over the Diamond. I traced it round the diamond with a pencil by leave of Mr. Daniel Eliason and it is as finely cut as I have ever seen in a Diamond. The color of the Drawing is as near the color of the Diamond as possible. Dated: 19th September, 1812. John Francillon, No. 29 Norfolk Street, Strand, London.”

The Francillon Memo was discovered by George Frederick Kunz in a 1768 book by Pouget cataloging the French Royal jewelry. Also included in the book is other evidence placing the stone that would become the Hope Diamond in England in 1812. The memo and other drawings remain in the Pouget book today, kept in the Rare Book Collection of the USGS Libraries Program in Reston, Virginia.

Posted in Uncategorized |

USGS Publishes Afghanistan Research

Aerial photo of Khandahar

Aerial photo of Khandahar

USGS projects in Afghanistan have produced a substantial number of publications, maps, and other documents.

Extensive research by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Afghan Geological Survey, and the Department of Defense has yielded volumes of information about areas of high mineral potential in Afghanistan, including rare earth elements, gold, iron, and copper.

You can peruse pages of search results to see the range of USGS research on Afghanistan in the USGS Publications Warehouse.

Posted in Denver Library, Flagstaff Library, Menlo Park Library, Publications Warehouse, Reston Library | Tagged , |

USGS Field Records Collection in Denver, Colorado

Field notes and annotated map from the Herbert E. Gregory Collection. Photo by Clay Martin

Field notes and annotated map from the Herbert E. Gregory Collection. Photo by Clay Martin

The USGS Field Records Collection in Denver, Colorado is an archive of unpublished field notes, annotated maps, sketches, correspondence, analysis reports, and other data created or collected by more than 1200 USGS scientists during field studies and exploration of the continental United States, Hawaii, and other locations around the world. Materials in the collection represent almost 130 years of scientific investigations by the USGS, from the earliest days of the agency to recently completed projects. The collection includes 3,500 linear feet of document containers, 20,000 maps, more than 80,000 aerial photographs. Materials in the collection are managed as Federal records to ensure ongoing access for future researchers.  Field Records Collection staff provides reference and research assistance to USGS scientists, researchers from other Federal and State agencies, and the general public.  Detailed collection inventories with references to associated USGS publications are available for search, browse, and download from the Field Records Collection website at: http://www.cr.usgs.gov/fieldrecords; however, this site is not available at this time.  For more information, please contact the USGS Library in Denver: http://library.usgs.gov/denlib.html.

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