Atomic Energy Commission Depository Collection Public

Shining a Light on a Hidden Resource

Most librarians are familiar with the U.S. federal depository library program as a mechanism to provide free access to U.S. government publications. Similar programs to distribute publications exist at other levels of government (e.g., state or local), other countries (e.g., Canada), and other organizations (e.g., United Nations) as well as individual agencies (e.g., U.S. Patent and Trademark Office). Many of the resources distributed via these programs have been widely collected and organized by libraries. The AEC depository materials are much less well described and owned by libraries. From 1946-1974, the Atomic Energy Commission operated a depository program among a select group of approximately 40 to 70 university libraries in the United States. AEC depository libraries received publications on microfiche related to atomic energy and were tasked with making these publications freely available to the public. Topics range from medical effects of radiation to evaluation of uranium deposits. The total number of reports issued to AEC depository libraries is unclear but easily numbers in the tens of thousands, representing a formidable collection of information that is largely hidden. Efforts are currently underway to rectify the situation, with activities ranging from comparing holdings to gathering titles and other bibliographic information. A number of libraries in the Big Ten Academic Alliance are working together to bring the materials in the AEC depository collection to light. This poster will describe the AEC collection and how these libraries are collaborating to describe and catalog the AEC depository publications.

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