About The Energy LibraryThis entry was compiled, edited and written by: Cutler Cleveland
The Energy Library is a web-based information resource about energy in all of its multifaceted aspects. It is motivated by a simple observation: knowledge of energy is essential to understanding the formation of the universe, the structure of ecosystems, the geopolitics of the Middle East, how to design an office building, the rate of inflation, the human role in climate change, the evolution of human culture, and how to make informed decisions as consumers. Thus, the study of energy is the study of human existence itself, and of our relationship to the natural world.
The Energy Library is neutral in regards to energy systems. It does not favor one type of energy source or energy policy over another, one country over another, or one political ideology over another. The Energy Library provides objective and up-to-date information that is written and reviewed by experts.
The Energy Library was conceived by Dr. Cutler J. Cleveland, the founding Editor-in-Chief, who is a Professor of Geography and Environment at Boston University. It was designed and implemented in collaboration Dr. Ida Kubiszewski, at the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont. The Energy Library was launched with the help of a number of students at Boston University, notably Mallory Nomack, the Library's Editorial Assistant. The development of The Energy Library was informed by the experience of Drs. Cleveland and Kubiszewski as co-founders of the Encyclopedia of Earth.
Components of The Energy Library
The four elements of The Energy Library are (1) a thematic taxonomy of energy topics; (2) a large, unique, interdisciplinary collection of content related to energy; (3) multiple modes of user discovery, and (4) a flexible, scalable easy-to-use content management system. Each element is described in detail below.
The heart of The Energy Library is a thematic taxonomy that provides a rigorous conceptual roadmap of the topic of energy. Every piece of content in The Energy Library is “tagged” to one or more “nodes” of the taxonomy, enabling complex interconnections of people, places, and ideas to be easily revealed to the user. The current taxonomy has 200+ nodes organized in four broad areas:
- Energy science: chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, economics, ecology, engineering, etc
- Energy sources, conversion, and storage: fossil, nuclear, solar, electricity, etc.
- Energy and Society: consumption, policy, lifestyle, attitudes and behaviors, etc.
- Environment: climate change, acid deposition, air pollution, etc.
Core Content in The Energy Library
- Articles. 700+ articles covering core content in the four main content areas.
- Biographies: 400+ biographies of notable energy people from every segment of society.
- Events: 2,000+ entries in a database that organizes events by time, place, event, and subject area.
- Defintions: 8,000+ definitions of key terms related to energy that are tagged to subject areas, articles, people and places.
- Quotes: 200+ historically significant, interesting, or entertaining quotes by famous individuals about energy, organized by person, time, place, event, and subject area.
- Places: 100+ georeferenced articles about locations that have energy significance (e.g., Three Mile Island, PA; Strait of Hormuz).
- Images: 1000+ images that are tagged to subject area(s).
Special Features in The Energy Library
- On This Day: Pulled from the timeline database, this database contains short descriptions of important energy-related events that occurred on a specific day in recorded history. The database contains multiple entries for all 365 days.
- Energy Wonders of the World: An energy wonder of the human world is a stock, flow or use of energy, or an energy that is unique in terms of its type, size, rate, or impact on the physical, biological and social processes of the planet. 22 wonders identified and described.
- Energy 101: Ten fundamental principles of energy that demonstrate its central role in science, technology, the evolution of culture, environmental change, economic growth and violent conflict.
- Energy Myth Busters: Common myths and perceptions about energy are brought under the microscope of scientific scrutiny.
- Energy Related Accidents and Disasters: Descriptions of the causes, magnitude, and costs--in human, economic, social and environmental terms—of history’s greatest disasters related to energy.
Modes of Discovery
Users explore content in multiple ways:
- Search: This tool employs a powerful search function that enables users to filter search criteria by topic (solar, nuclear, etc.) and content type (article, quote, place, image, etc.).
- Browse: The Browse tool enables users browse through content via TEL's thematic taxonomy, as well as through a catalog of specific types of content (article, quote, place, image, etc.).
- Timeline: The timeline tool uses an interface developed with MIT’s open-source SIMILE software that enables users to explore chronologically-based content in a beautiful designed, interactive interface.
- Map. The Map uses the Google Maps widget to display and navigate place-based content throughout TEL.
TEL uses Drupal (http://drupal.org), the popular open source content management platform that has a powerful ability to thematically connect content, in addition to state-of-the-art capacity for blogging, user authentication, administration and analysis, and community networking.
Wherever possible The Energy Library uses images from the federal government of the United States because such content is in the public domain. Images from other sources are used with attribution to the source or creator of the image. Users of the Energy Library are responsible for determining their legal and ethical obligation associated with their use of images drawn from The Energy Library.
The text of this article is original work done by the author(s) and editor(s) listed on the article. The text of this article is freely available for non-profit educational purposes. Complete attribution must accompany any reproduction or derivative use, and such attribution must include a link to the original Energy Library source material. Commercial and non-educational use of material from The Energy Library is prohibited without prior approval from the owners of The Energy Library.