Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues

Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues

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The Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues is a searchable collection of vetted annotations and bibliographic information for resources including books, articles, films, CD-ROMs , and websites pertaining to nuclear topics. Part of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

National Science Digital Library
National Science Digital Library
The United States' National Science Digital Library is an open-access online digital library and collaborative network of disciplinary and grade-level focused education providers...

 (NSDL) and located at Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, United States.The classical school from which Washington and Lee descended was established in 1749 as Augusta Academy, about north of its present location. In 1776 it was renamed Liberty Hall in a burst of...

, the digital library
Digital library
A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks...

 provides a balanced selection of high quality resources across many disciplines to a broad audience including students, scholars, professionals, and the general public. Originally focused on the history of the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

, the library has expanded to include the far-reaching consequences of the discovery of atomic energy, including topics such as nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

, and nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...



Publicly available since 2001, the Alsos library has been headed since its inception by chemist Dr. Frank Settle. The name Alsos honors the Allied Alsos Mission
Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

 during World War II to discover the extent to which Germany had progressed with its atomic bomb project. Funding has been provided by the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

  and H. F. Lenfest
H. F. Lenfest
-Early Life and Career:He was born in Jacksonville, Florida, then later grew up in Scarsdale, New York and Hunterdon County, New Jersey. After attending Flemington High School, and graduating from Mercersburg Academy, Lenfest went on to receive his BA from Washington and Lee University in 1953 and...

. Undergraduate students have built and provided the content for the library, supervised by a computer science professor and an editor.


The Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues contains over 2,700 annotations, which have been reviewed by members of its National Advisory Board of experts in many disciplines. Its entries are both searchable as full-text and hierarchically browsable in six major categories: issues, science, warfare, people, places, and disciplines. Bibliographic resources that are available on the Internet have links provided; library locations of non-electronic resources nearest to the user are also available via WorldCat
WorldCat is a union catalog which itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories which participate in the Online Computer Library Center global cooperative...



In order to integrate its extensive bibliographic information with web-based content on nuclear issues, the Alsos team has worked in partnership with other high quality websites to create a gateway to nuclear resources online, Nuclear Pathways. That website provides federated searches of the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues, Atomic Archive, Nuclear Files, and the nuclear chemistry component of ChemCases; resources include bibliographies, biographies, time lines, policy analyses, explanations of the history and science of nuclear weapons, nuclear chemistry lessons, study guides, syllabi, and extensive collections of historical primary source documents, photographs, audio, and film clips.

External links