The board of directors for the largest science and technology library in the Army met March 11 at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, or AMRDEC.
Redstone Scientific Information Center, or RSIC, is a unique, national asset containing a collection of specialized materials including technical reports, contractor reports, technical memorandums, informational briefs, special reports, and conference papers open to all government employees and contractors at Redstone Arsenal.
In addition to being the largest technical library, it is also the only joint Army/ NASA library.
The RSIC board of directors is composed of various Redstone organizations to include AMRDEC, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, or MSFC, Missile and Space Intelligence Center, Space and Missile Defense Command and most recently, Missile Defense Agency as an emergent funding partner.
“RSIC is extremely important to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center as a resource for technical data on a wide variety of topics ranging from rocket propulsion to space physics, from systems design to vehicle operations,” said MSFC Center Chief Technologist and board member, Dr. Andrew Keys. “Marshall is committed to working with the ‘Team Redstone’ members to ensure RSIC has a future within our community.”
RSIC Board Chair and AMDREC Director James Lackey shared insight on future development for the center.
“One of the key challenges for RSIC is making a secure transition into a more digital future. The entire definition of what a library means is fundamentally changing,” Lackey said. “Just look at how eBooks are proliferating over traditional hardback products in your very own home. Brave new world concepts of ‘knowledge management’, ‘data mining’, and ‘cloud analytics’ prevail over traditional dusty phrases of ‘card catalog’, ‘bound periodicals’, and ‘microfiche’.”
Library customers can provide information on their topics of interest and the staff will set up a profile in several databases. Customers will then receive journal articles, conference papers, and report citations by email when something new is published on their subject. This service saves researchers time and keeps them informed about the latest publications in their field.
All registered users at RSIC also have desktop accessibility to the library’s online resources, which include access to the library’s online catalog, 20 electronic databases, the electronic books and journals, RSIC’s digital collection containing electronic documents produced by AMRDEC, MSFC, Redstone Test Center, and the Comanche Project Office.
Lackey said, “RSIC must keep pace with information technologies to remain viable and relevant for today’s and tomorrow’s technical workforce. This entails a variety of activities including converting existing collections into digital format, exploring use of information technology tool sets, and social media as well as potentially expanding partnerships of RSIC beyond the arsenal gates to include local academic institutions. All of this future greatness comes with a literal cost.”
The objective of RSIC board of directors, or BoD, was to review the current operational status of the RSIC and make decisions on near-term actions as well as far-term strategic plans, including how to secure a more stable funding future.
“While the answer to this question is complex and obviously depends on a variety of factors, BoD members remain committed to support the RSIC charter going forward in the best supportive manner under our current and projected budget constrained environment,” Lackey said.