It is probably no surprise that university libraries refer a great deal of traffic to OSTI. While many academic researchers are familiar with OSTI resources, countless others are either directed to an OSTI search tool by librarians or find an OSTI product on a library’s online database finder or subject guide.
One of OSTI’s outreach goals is to help more librarians to understand the wide breadth of scientific and technical resources available through OSTI.
DOE-sponsored research falls within every scientific discipline. A library that lists research databases by subject area should have the Information Bridge or Energy Citations Database under physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental sciences, engineering, geology, computer and information science, and medicine. Libraries that list OSTI products under multiple subject areas experience heavier use.
In the last few years, a number of academic research libraries have taken an additional route to make DOE R&D results more readily available to library users. These libraries have loaded records into their online catalogs for the full-text research reports available through the DOE Information Bridge. The records are in the MARC format used by libraries and are available at no cost. Usage statistics at OSTI show a tremendous increase in page retrievals from libraries that have loaded the Information Bridge MARC records. In fact, researchers at universities that have loaded the OSTI records are using DOE research reports at a rate higher than most other universities in the country (see Statistically Speaking). Even libraries that had not previously shown high usage of the Information Bridge, Energy Citations Database or other OSTI products experienced significant increases in the usage of DOE reports after loading the records. These huge increases in retrievals of DOE research show that there was demand for this type of information that was not being met previously.
A MARC record is a MAchine-Readable Cataloging record that contains bibliographic information in a format that libraries can load in their online catalogs. Library online catalogs need a means of interpreting the information found in a cataloging record. The MARC record contains a guide to its data, or little "signposts," before each piece of bibliographic information. These “signposts” or tags allow the computer to identify such parts of a record as author, title, subject, publisher, place of publication, or publication date. MARC records also facilitate the sharing of bibliographic records among libraries.