I recently completed a project that had been on my to-do list for about 10 years: create and annotate digital versions (PDFs) of the entire catalog of Park Science articles and make them available online. Working from an index produced by National Park Service (NPS) library staff, I had begun the project years earlier, only to realize the goal was out of reach without a major time commitment. I was reinvigorated by a request to incorporate the index and PDFs into IRMA, the Integration of Resource Management Applications, which facilitates searching multiple NPS databases from a single Web portal. After nearly three months of work the project is done. The PDFs—3,608 of them—have been described with metadata, and the data records are being logged in IRMA. The collection will soon be available through the Data Store at http://irma.nps.gov/App/Portal. Later this year I plan to revamp the Park Science Web site search feature for use with this new collection.
Poring over the digital “stacks of paper” to create the collection was an exacting but enriching experience. I rediscovered many fine examples of exposition, analysis, wit, and wisdom that trace three decades of change and growth in the National Park Service with respect to research and resource management capabilities. The needs to professionalize resource management, communicate science findings effectively, and awaken NPS leaders to the full value of science for park understanding and management are argued persuasively and earnestly. Further strides are evident in the increase in resource management staffing levels, expertise sharing as a model for the inventory and monitoring networks, better access to scientific information, and broadening of park management approaches to ecosystems and consideration of landscape-level influences. Many of the changes were to the NPS organization, which has helped with consistency and integration of resource management programs. Individuals also stand out as articulate spokespersons for shaping the culture in which NPS staff can best understand, protect, and share park resources and their values.
In integrating research findings into park management, resource management strives to ensure the future of park resources. In publishing articles about this process Park Science aims to enhance this relationship. The recent development of the article catalog will give readers better access to this important source of knowledge and a historical look at our progress.
—Jeff Selleck, Editor
Selleck, J. 2013. Rummaging through the attic. Park Science 29(2):2.
Available at http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience/archive/PDF/Article_PDFs/ParkScience29(2)FallWinter2012-2013_2_Editorial_3630.pdf.