What is the National Library of Energy (NLE)?
The Department of Energy (DOE) National Library of Energy (NLE) beta is a virtual library and open government resource to advance energy literacy, innovation and security. The NLE is a new search tool designed to make it easier for American citizens to find and access information from across the DOE complex nationwide, without knowing DOE’s organizational structure.
Why was the NLE created?
Highlighted as a DOE transparency initiative in the 2010 and 2012 DOE Open Government Plans, the NLE (beta) was created to serve the American people; all sectors of the energy industry; researchers, scientists and engineers; students, parents and teachers from kindergarten through graduate school; federal, state and local government; the news media; and past, present and future employees of DOE and its national laboratories.
What does the NLE search?
The NLE virtually integrates information from Energy.gov (the DOE website) and all DOE program offices, national laboratories and other facilities (see a list of all NLE information sources). The NLE search feature provides one-stop, easy access to information in DOE’s broad mission areas:
The content of the NLE reflects the depth and breadth of what DOE does and how it contributes to the nation in many vital ways. The NLE makes it possible to search all this information - and more to come - via a single query, thus virtually integrating DOE databases, collections, and website information.
Does the NLE host, edit, or revise any of the content on the NLE?
Individual search results are presented as brief citations/snippets, retrieved verbatim from relevant, originating DOE databases and web pages, with hyperlinks back to those same databases/pages, where the full record and full text as available can be viewed. In this way, NLE users can continue to explore related web content via the originating DOE program office and national laboratory sites.
How is the NLE search related to the DOE Energy.gov search?
The NLE serves to complement the well-established information mechanisms and tools DOE organizations already have in place to reach and serve their customers and to raise public and stakeholder awareness and use of DOE organizations’ valuable information products. As noted, the NLE attributes all search results to the originating information source and provides links directly to those sources, thereby preserving individual organizations’ identity, ownership, and information integrity.
How often will the NLE be updated?
The NLE’s resources will be kept current, with each component updated regularly. On a periodic basis, additional databases and searchable website content will be added. The deep web database search updates immediately so that each search is current, and the NLE websites are reindexed weekly.
How does the NLE work?
The NLE is operated as a virtual library, combining federated search and indexing technology to retrieve decentralized information that DOE and its program offices, national laboratories, and other facilities have done, currently are doing, and plan to do to advance the Department’s mission on behalf of the American people.
Federated search is the simultaneous search of multiple databases in real time via a single search query, and relevancy ranking allows search results to be returned in a ranked order relevant to the search query. While this functionality may sound similar to what a user of Google or Bing experiences, the “under the hood” operations are quite different because much of DOE’s decentralized database contents (located in the “deep web”) aren’t accessible by these commercial search engines (see http://www.osti.gov/fedsearch). While the NLE concept is inspired by and seeks to emulate other national libraries in certain ways (e.g., National Library of Medicine (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/), National Agricultural Library (http://www.nal.usda.gov/), its key point of differentiation is its electronic, decentralized structure and federated search technology.
While a user’s query and NLE’s relevancy ranking algorithm generally “weed out” irrelevant search results, it remains possible that the diverse range of DOE’s information could result in information overload for users. To address this and to deliver precise results targeted to key DOE constituencies, the NLE offers front- and back-end user interface tools, where the user has an opportunity, on the front end, to identify his/her interests in broad categories and, on the back end of the search experience, to select results from sub-topical “clusters” or to refine search results within the current results.
In addition to federated search and relevancy ranking, the NLE uses a variety of features and abilities independent of content management system to provide DOE-wide information such as:
How do I download a document? how long will it take? and how much will it cost?
If the document is available electronically, download by right clicking on the icon and selecting "Save Link As" or "Save Target As." The download time depends on the size of the document and the technical capabilities of your equipment. Downloading a document is free.
The NLE Website search and "deepweb" search are maintained by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which also hosts the NLE website.