By Malea Walker
There is more military information freely available online than you could possibly imagine, and even more held in the archives and collections of the many military and government libraries in the DMV area. Over the course of the day we heard from 27 speakers from various institutions that work with military information. This whirlwind of speakers only allowed for a brief glimpse into the treasure troves of each library, but gave us a massive amount of information to refer to later.
The day began with a generous continental breakfast and a chance for networking. As we settled into the program we heard brief introductions from Sharon Lenius and Wendy Hill before Lillian Gassie’s welcome address. Lillian, who is now working with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), gave us a look back at the progress of military information online, including the deep impact that 9/11 had on the type of information that could be disseminated. Over the past few years, she noted, there has been a slow and cautious reopening of information.
We continued the day by hearing from six panels. The first was the Academic Panel, which began with a presentation by Lily McGovern of the National Defense University (NDU), and then presentations from Faith Kanno of the Marine Corps University and Trish Bachman, also from NDU, who is working on the redesign of the MERLIN website. Trish explained that after MERLIN’s website was taken down, they have been working to put all of their material into different formats such as LibGuides. The new MERLIN homepage will be up soon! We also learned the difference between some of the military universities, and were cautioned by Lily that some have .mil addresses, but other have .edu websites.
Next, the Science and Technology Panel brought us brief overviews of DTIC (Wendy Hill), the Naval Research Labs (Carol Lucke), and the Naval Observatory (Sally Boskens). Wendy discussed the public resources (also available through NTIS, Science.gov, etc.) and reminded us of the benefits of being a DTIC customer including digitization on demand. Carol showed us that while most of NRL’s materials are behind a firewall, there are some items in their publications section that are freely available. Sally showed us some of the incredible items available at the Naval Observatory library including receipts that she just found for purchases in the 1800s.
After a break we continued the morning by hearing from the History & Archives Panel and Medical Resources Panel. We heard about the wealth of historical information available at history.army.mil (Carrie Sullivan), the Veterans History Project (Bob Patrick), and the the great collections of the US Naval Academy Archives (Jennifer Bryan), Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress (Patrick Miller), and the US Air Force Historical Studies (Terry Kiss).
The Medical Resources Panel revealed some different ways of searching for medical intelligence information (Matt Bachtell) with different languages and foreign websites, and the information available from various other medical and academic military institutions (Ann Holman, WRNMMC; Linda Spitzer, USUHS; and Debra Yourick, WRAIR).
After lunch we were able to hear from a panel on DoD Resources (Connie Wiley, US Army Corps of Engineers; Paulette Haiser, NGA GEOINT; Kristen Svendsen, Pentagon Library; Mary Hickey, DINFOS; Mary “Tuke” Klemmet, DAU) and a panel on Think Tanks (Gail Kouril, RAND; Lisa Pogue, Homeland Security Institute; Cy Behroozi, Brookings; Rebecca Morgan, National Academy of Sciences). These were very quick but showed how much could be found that I hadn’t seen before online. One thing that stood out for this particular recapper was that the Pentagon Library has digitized older Army Regulations available through their catalog.
Marie Kaddell then gave a wonderful presentation on non-governmental websites that provide military information of all types including military news, history, social media, veterans resources and more. Marie will be putting up her slides onto her website at http://www.governmentinfopro.com/
Finally, Wendy wrapped up this wonderful and informative day with thanks to the speakers, and a big thank you to the generous sponsors: Elsevier, Gale/Cengage Learning, Morningstar, Peterson’s, and Fedlink.