Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers (DSL)

For three decades, the Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers (DSL) has identified and described special libraries, resource centers, special collections, and documentation centers located in the United States, Canada, and throughout the world. DSL provides comprehensive and updated and revised information on subject-specific resource collections maintained by government agencies, business, industry, newspapers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and societies in the fields of science and engineering, medicine, law, art, religion, the social sciences, and humanities.

The remainder of this page is divided into the following sections:

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Section 1: Scope

As defined for purposes of this directory, special libraries are libraries built around a collection limited by subject matter or form. Functionally, these libraries (which may also have collections of a general nature) operate in support of a special mission or activity chosen by their sponsoring organizations.

The libraries and information centers profiled in DSL contain topics spanning a wide range of interests, including: African Americans, Biotechnology, Climate Change, Environmental Design, Gun Control, International Law, Islam, Military Intelligence, Nuclear Medicine, Psychology, Terrorism, United Nations, Wildlife Conservation, Zoology and many more.

The libraries and information centers in this directory fall within five major categories:

  1. Subject branches, departmental collections, and professional libraries maintained by colleges and universities.
  2. Branches, divisions, departments, and special collections in large public libraries that focus on one particular subject or group of subjects (such as a local history collection).
  3. Company libraries that operate within a framework of a business or industry producing goods, services, or information for profit.
  4. Governmental libraries, including:
    • those serving city departments and state or provincial government;
    • libraries within federal departments and military establishments; and
    • divisions of national libraries.
  5. Libraries supported by nonprofit organizations, including those of:
    • scientific societies;
    • civic, social, and religious organizations;
    • trade associations;
    • historical societies; museums; hospitals; and
    • private collections available for research.

Certain categories of libraries, occasionally found in other listings of special libraries, were omitted. Among these are collections of purely recreational material found in hospitals and prisons. Inclusion in DSL should not be construed as an endorsement of any organization, nor does omission imply a lack of importance.

Section 2: Method of Compilation

The editorial objective for each edition of DSL is complete verification/revision/updating of existing entries and an intensive effort to identify new or previously unlisted facilities. This effort includes not only special surveys, but also email correspondence with nonresponding organizations. The Internet has become a useful updating tool, as many universities and governmental organizations keep extensive and useful websites for their library. As a result, this edition of DSL incorporates thousands of changes in library names, addresses, contact numbers, personal names, and other details.

Section 3: What You'll Find in a DSL Entry and Searchable Fields

Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers (DSL) contains profiles of libraries. The main method used to store entries is by library name; however, there many ways to find entries, including by Keyword, or by some other specific field of data using Advanced Search (refer to the Corresponding Advanced Search Index(es) column in the table below).

When you search for entries, your search results will show the main fields of data, enough to give you a brief view of the library profiled. The full entry can be viewed on the entry display page by selecting the entry name from your results list.

Tip: The table below lists the kinds of information you will find in the entries in this eDirectory. Note that not all fields are present in every entry.

The Corresponding Advanced Search Index(es) column lists which Advanced Search index to use to search that field.

Field of Information Description Corresponding Advanced Search Index(es)
(State or Country) Name of Organization - Name of Library or Information Center The name of the organization is made up of at least one of the following elements:
  • In parentheses you may find the country, state or province, especially for foreign libraries or libraries that have facilities in multiple region
  • Name of parent organization, society, or agency that sponsors or is served by the library or information center, if one exists.
  • Name of the library or information center. Independent libraries and centers and those commonly known by a distinctive name are entered directly under the library’s name. Descriptive and memorial names are given as reported. Otherwise, the appropriate generic term is used, e.g., library, archives, collection, information center. In many cases, the generic term has been supplied by the editors and the inclusion of the term library may not indicate the existence of a formal library.

Cross-references are included in the body of the work for those libraries which may be known by two or more distinct names.

Name (ti)
Keyword (ke)

Address The permanent mailing address of the library or center. In some instances this will differ from the headquarters address of the parent organization and the physical location of the library. When there is a separate location address, it is given under Remarks.

City (cc)
State (sc)
Zip (zc)
Country (cn)

Phone Area code and telephone number. Extensions are not provided, since they are subject to frequent change.

Area Code (ar)

Alt Phone(s) Lists any alternate telephone numbers for the library or information center.

Area Code (ar)

Fax The list of facsimile numbers for the library or information center.  
Free Any toll-free (usually U.S. or Canada only) telephone numbers, along with a brief description of usage restrictions if necessary.  
Telex Telex number and any restrictions listed.  
Email Complete electronic mail addresses along with any identifying information provided, such as the department or specific service that the email address is used to contact.  
Website Specifies all Internet sites which may be used to access information on the special library or its parent organization. Multiple Internet addresses are organized by type (e.g., FTP, Gopher, Telnet, and World Wide Web).  
Contact Name and title of the person directly in charge of the library or information center. Where no librarian has been identified or where there is no position as such, the name of the administrative officer may be given. When the directorship is shared by two persons, the names of both individuals are provided in the Professional Staff field.

Officers (na)
Keyword (ke)

Founded Year when library or information center was established, either formally or informally.

Year Founded (fd)

Formerly / Merger / Also Known As Former name and/or location of a special library or its parent organization when there is a recent change of name and/or location under which they were formerly listed.

When the special library has been created by the merger of two or more units previously listed as separate entries, the names of the components are identified here. Mergers of parent organizations that affect the special library are also noted.

Variant names of a special library or its parent organization, including translations of non-English titles.
Name (ti)
Keyword (ke)
Staff Number of individuals directly engaged in the operation of the library or center on a regular basis. Part-time employees are included but student assistants and other occasional help generally are not. Professional staff includes librarians, bibliographers, subject specialists, information specialists, and other related specialists. Semiprofessionals and clerical assistants are grouped in the second category. Distinction between professional and nonprofessional staff is made by the respondents. Where the differentiation is not made, the total number of staff is listed.  
Subjects Describes the content of the collection. Subject Category (sy)
Keyword (ke)
Description (de)
Special Collections Separately grouped collections of unusual or notable interest that are identifiable by subject, form, name of donor, or distinctive name. Description (de)
Holdings Quantitative data concerning collections. Numbers of books, bound periodical volumes, pamphlets, and technical reports are given separately when supplied by respondents. When the term "volumes" is used, it generally indicates bound units or collections of bound and unbound items that have been accessioned and cataloged. Unbound material is indicated either by unit count, number of vertical file (VF) drawers, linear shelf feet, or cubic storage space. Estimates rather than the exact statistics have frequently been given. Holdings of non-book materials are also indicated whenever of significant size and importance. Description (de)
Subscriptions Figures generally represent the number of journal and serial titles, not separate copies, received by paid subscription, gift, and exchange. Newspaper subscriptions are given separately. Description (de)
Services Most special libraries provide bibliographic or reference services primarily for their own organizations. For these, an appropriate statement of service limitations is given. When the library or center provides some form of access to outside clientele, it is so indicated. When services offered are of an unusual nature they are noted and indication is given whether such services are for internal or external use. Entries for libraries that honor interlibrary loan requests include the appropriate information, as do those for libraries with copying or reproducing facilities. Normally, copying services to outside users are on a fee basis. Some libraries now charge for interlibrary loans and this information is included when supplied by respondent. Description (de)
Automated Operations Computerized library management functions such as public access catalog, cataloging, circulation, acquisitions, and serials, are identified here. Description (de)
OPAC Via Specific details on how to access the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) are indicated, such as any direct-dial, Internet, and Local Area Network information. Description (de)
Electronic Resources Indicates a special library’s access to online information systems, such as MEDLINE, DIALOG Information Services, LEXIS, etc. CD-ROMs, and any internally produced databases are also listed. Also included here are fee policies for online searches the library may perform for the public, and name and telephone number of contact person. Description (de)
Special Catalogs Unique and unusual catalogs that are locally prepared and maintained, including card, book, computer printout, and other formats.  
Professional Staff Names and titles of professional and supervisory personnel in the special library or information center. Only principal members of the professional staff are listed for operations with large staffs.  
Special Indexes Unique and unusual indexes that are locally prepared and maintained.  
Networks/Consortia Lists the special library’s memberships in formal or informal groups involved in cooperative sharing of library resources on the local, regional, or national level. Acronyms are used for networks and consortia that are familiar to the library profession (e.g., NYSILL, ILLINET). Appendix A lists geographically the names and addresses of the networks and consortia reported by the special libraries in this directory. An alphabetical index follows.  
Publications Periodical, serial, and other publications issued or prepared by the library or information center are included. Title, frequency, and basis of distribution are indicated when provided. Product/Publication Title (pt)
Remarks Additional information not adaptable to the standard entry format, including historical data, explanatory notes, and descriptions of unusual activities. Corporate affiliations are often noted here. Also included is the address of a special library’s location when it differs from the mailing address.  
Library Type Will be one of the following: Academic, Corporate, Government, Nonprofit, Public, or Uncategorized. Library Type (lt)
Subject Categories The major subject or type of material represented by the collection as a whole:
  • Agriculture
  • Area-Ethnic
  • Art
  • Audio-Visual
  • Biological Sciences
  • Business-Finance
  • Computer Science
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment-Conservation
  • Food-Beverage
  • Geography-Map
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Information Science
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Military
  • Music
  • Planning
  • Publishing
  • Rare Books
  • Recreation
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Science and Engineering
  • Social Science
  • Theater
  • Transportation
  • Military
Subject Category (sy)
Subject(s) Lists subject matter terms associated with the type of library and its collection as a whole. Keyword (ke)
Source Citation Bibliographic information, along with a How to Cite link.  
Gale Document Number Displays the document's unique identifying number.  

Section 4: Comments and Suggestions Welcome

Please contact us if you are interested in additional information about DSL or other Gale business products. Additionally, if your library is listed in DSL and you have a question pertaining to your profile, or if you feel that your library should be listed, refer to the contact information listed below.

Matthew Miskelly
Content Project Editor
Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers
Gale, Cengage Learning
27500 Drake Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

Phone: (248) 699-GALE
Toll-free: 800-877-GALE
Fax: (248) 699-8075

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