USGS library puts data reserves on tap

Information requests at the Geological Survey's National Energy Research Seismic Library in Denver used to generate a tale of the tape.

'We spent a lot of time physically packing and shipping the tapes to users,' said Frederick N. Zihlman, a physical scientist with the USGS energy team.

Now the library has the data ready online, stored on DVD jukeboxes. It's fairly typical of DVD use by agencies, among them the Army National Guard, Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation, NASA, Social Security Administration, and the departments of Commerce, Energy and Labor.

With a system that started with CD-ROMs, the Geological Survey library uses DVDs to hold geophysical data on the National Petroleum Reserves.

Tape collection

The information came from more than 12,000 magnetic tapes from the 1970s and 1980s, Zihlman said.

The library has transferred the field data from nearly 4,000 tapes and 15,000 pages of documentation to 265 disks that reside in jukeboxes from JVC Co. of America. The information is Web-accessible and available for free download by the public, though mostly oil companies and academic geologists use the information. A third jukebox is used in the lab for ongoing transfer activities.

'Now that the data is online in the jukeboxes, access is far simpler for users and we can spend our time more productively,' Zihlman said.

It's also far easier, he said, for users to search through the digital information in the jukeboxes than through pages of documentation and boxes of magnetic tapes.

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