Digital Library Achieves Milestone in Homeland Security Research

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Recently, the NPS Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) achieved a milestone when the 50,000th document was added to the library’s collection. “This is a significant milestone for the HSDL,” said CHDS Director, Glen Woodbury. “Every document in the collection is vetted by content specialists for relevancy and quality; this assures that our users are receiving valuable, meaningful information.”

The library boasts an impressive compilation of U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents. It is also maintains specialized resources such as theses and reports drafted by some of the nation’s most senior homeland security officials. “The HSDL is an interesting niche, it offers full text, unclassified, and open-source documents as well as multi-media tools such as the On the Homefront Blog,” said HSDL Program Manager, Tom Mastre.

Created in 2002, the HSDL is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA and is part of the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security ( It was developed to support local, state, tribal and federal analysis and decision-making needs and assists academics of all disciplines in homeland defense and security. The library has since become the nation’s premier repository of policy and strategy-related documents.

The digital library has played a vital role in assisting hundreds of universities promote the development of homeland security education. Librarians work with various college programs to collect, categorize, and disseminate information and curriculum. Currently, 245 universities across the nation are active HSDL users. John Rollins of the Congressional Research Service says the HSDL has been especially useful in his professional duties. “The HSDL is one of the few sites I check every morning. It helps keep me focused and learn about issues that are forthcoming and timely before I answer emails or calls from congress.” Many of his colleagues also use the HSDL to stay in-tune with Homeland Security issues so they can prepare for briefings, reports, and research for members of congress.

On average, 10,000 users per month visit the digital library, mostly from government agencies, making the HSDL a critical resource for homeland security professionals across the nation. “The HSDL has been instrumental in assisting me personally to remain current with respect to the continuing evolution of homeland security,” says David Landguth, Manager of Oakridge National Laboratory. “They continue to provide value in educating and notifying professionals regarding policy and guidance changes being considered and executed across the spectrum of communities, regions and the nation. Additionally, they provide pertinent examples of best practices and continuously accrue and catalog the most recent academic literature relating to homeland security.”

As the discipline of homeland security continues to evolve so will the HSDL. “We will maintain our flexibility so we can maneuver as needed,” said Content Manager, Greta Marlatt. “The future will be a more substantial, comprehensive, and balanced view.”

It is the hope of many, that one day the HSDL will become completely synonymous with homeland security research. However, one cannot let this long term goal overshadow the recent notable achievement of the HSDL. Six years after 9/11, 50,000 of the most significant documents spotlighting homeland security have been collected.

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