A comment ASFPM often receives is that while members appreciate all of the information available on the ASFPM website, finding information can be a challenge. A comment recently made at the ASFPM Board of Directors meeting is that we really need to improve the ability to search for documents, publications, etc. to better serve both members and Chapters.
Since 2010, ASFPM has been investing in its library and it has grown significantly in the past six years. In addition to curating a physical collection, ASFPM has also invested into R&D for creating an online library using the cutting edge of library science. To this end, in 2012 ASFPM signed a MOU to collaborate with the University of Colorado, Natural Hazards Center. The intent of this collaboration is to partner on electronic storage, physical collection storage, consistency in cataloging, access to our respective collections.
From our initial investment, ASFPM has learned many things. First, it became clear that the basic organizational element for a website like ASFPM’s is a functional library where all sorts of documents and publications can be stored. From there, specific webpages can be programmed to serve up specific documents behind the scenes; however, those documents are still stored in a library system. Second, ASFPM has developed a cataloging schema, worked with DSpace and Koha – open source library cataloging environments, and has developed the necessary processes and procedures to round out an online library that would not only serve detailed references to a wide array of flood publications (historical and otherwise), but also serve up .PDF’s of those publications when available and where there are no copyright issues. Thus, ASFPM has the basic elements in place to house a robust library, but what we did not have is a web interface to put on the website.
At the same time we have been getting requests from longtime ASFPM members and leaders to donate their library collections to ASFPM. ASFPM did not have a procedure for accepting these donations and integrating them into the ASPFM library. To not have the ability to accept such collections could result in important literary contributions to the field of floodplain management to be lost forever. For example, one recently donated item to the ASFPM is one of the only known bound editions of Gilbert White’s original dissertation.
Finally, in FY2016, the ASFPM Executive Office is going to begin a total overhaul of the ASFPM website. This is made possible by cobbling together funds from several projects that ASFPM has ongoing which include resources for website development. It makes sense to have an operational library interface in conjunction with the new website. We anticipate that the library function of the website will be one of the most used features as it will also store .PDF files that currently sit statically on our website.
So thanks to a generous grant from the ASFPM Foundation, we have built this site to provide access to the special collections donated to ASFPM by members and friends of ASFPM.