Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Library of EnergyBeta (NLEBeta)?
The NLEBeta search tool enables users to find and access information about the Department from across the DOE complex nationwide, without knowing DOE's organization structure. The NLEBeta offers one-stop, easy access to DOE information in four broad topic areas:

  • science and R&D
  • energy and technology for industry and homeowners
  • energy market information and analysis; and
  • nuclear security and environmental management

An open government resource, the NLEBeta was highlighted in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 DOE Open Government Plans as a transparency and collaboration initiative.

Why was the NLEBeta created?
The NLEBeta is a virtual library created to make it easier to find and access information from across the DOE complex nationwide, without knowing DOE's organizational structure. It serves 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 NLEBeta search?
The NLEBeta virtually integrates information from (the DOE website) and all DOE program offices, national laboratories and other facilities (see a list of all NLEBeta information sources).

The content of the NLEBeta reflects the depth and breadth of what DOE does and how it contributes to the nation in many vital ways. The NLEBeta makes it possible to search all this information - and more to come - via a single query, thus integrating DOE databases, collections, and website information.

What DOE program offices and national laboratories are included in the NLEBeta
Through the NLEBeta, a user can search websites and extensive databases hosted by:

  • DOE (;
  • DOE program offices (ARPA-E, Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Environmental Management, Fossil Energy, Indian Energy Policy and Programs, Legacy Management, Loan Programs, Nuclear Energy, and Science);
  • the National Nuclear Security Administration;
  • the Energy Information Administration;
  • all DOE staff offices;
  • all DOE field/site offices; and
  • all DOE National Laboratories and technology centers.

Does the NLEBeta include any classified information?
No, the public version of the NLEBeta includes only publicly available, unclassified, unlimited information.

Does the NLEBeta host, edit, or revise any of the content on the NLEBeta?
No. 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, NLEBeta users can continue to explore related web content via the originating DOE program office and national laboratory sites.

How is the NLEBeta search related to the DOE search?
The NLEBeta 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 NLEBeta 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 NLEBeta be updated?
Searches are kept current by immediately updating the deep web database search and re-indexing the NLEBeta websites weekly. Additional databases and searchable website content will be added on a periodic basis.

How does the NLEBeta work?
The NLEBeta 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 While the NLEBeta concept is inspired by and seeks to emulate other national libraries in certain ways (e.g., National Library of Medicine (, National Agricultural Library (, its key point of differentiation is its electronic, decentralized structure and federated search technology.

While a user's query and NLEBeta'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 NLEBeta 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 NLEBeta uses a variety of features and abilities independent of content management system to provide DOE-wide information. These include:

  • Accessing hundreds of websites and 18 databases -- 25 million searchable pages of energy information via one query
  • Clustering of results by subtopics, authors, or dates to help you target your search;
  • A mark and send option for emailing results to friends and colleagues;
  • Download capabilities in RIS format, allowing the exporting of citations to a number of reference managers;
  • Alerts service;
  • Wikipedia results related to a user's search terms; and
  • EurekaAlerts results related to a user's search terms

How long will it take to download a document?? and how much will it cost?
The download time depends on the size of the document and the technical capabilities of a user's equipment. All documents hosted on DOE websites and databases can be downloaded for free. Some documents on commercial sites may require a subscription or fee.

Where can I find more information about the NLEBeta?
You can find more information about the NLEBeta on these pages: About; Communications which includes announcements, articles and blogs, and a NLEBeta Fact Card and Fact Sheet; and Help.

How do I get help with the NLEBeta?
You can send additional questions or comments using our Feedback/Contact Us page or by email at

The NLEBeta is hosted and maintained by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.