Colorado Plateau Natural Resources Bibliography in Final Stages
Written for Colorado Plateau: Quarterly Newsletter for the Colorado Plateau. 7:1. Spring, 1997.



The Natural Resource Bibliography for Colorado Plateau national parks (COPL: NRBIB) is heading into its final stage of completion! The project, begun in 1994, will allow park resource managers and researchers to access natural resources information right from their own personal computers. The primary focus of the bibliography is on unpublished and published, park-specific, natural resource documents that exist in each of the Colorado Plateau national parks. Data housed in park libraries, natural resource offices, and other storage areas contain a wealth of information that can be of great use to park staff and other researchers -- if they have access to it.

The types of material now available through this project include: books, agency reports, audiovisual materials, mapped information, and species checklists created by park staff, just to name a few. All of this information has been recorded as a citation in a searchable bibliographic database, including an annotation and the location of the item within the park. The database will soon be available to assist in research and management issues pertaining to Colorado Plateau National Park Service areas.

The use of a searchable bibliographic database that is uncomplicated to master and allows easy access to valuable information is an important aspect of this project. Recently, park contact personnel were trained in the use of their natural resource database. During the Summer and Fall of 1996, NRBIB staff arranged and conducted training sessions for park staff on the Colorado Plateau and Arizona. This training course introduced the software to park employees and educated them on using their NRBIB database to locate natural resource information. Training was provided in two formats: a two-hour presentation on searching and locating NRBIB files and a full day and a hands-on training to furnish designated park contacts with in-depth coaching in the use of their database. The participants got to see their parks resource information, as they became familiar with both bibliographic searching and the ProCite bibliographic software. In addition to these training sessions, the CPRS office continues to provide assistance and technical support for the Colorado Plateau national parks.

One of the first phases of the project was collecting and assessing the amount of published research pertaining to Colorado Plateau NPS units, that is currently available through online, bibliographic sources. Prior to the actual fieldwork that was completed, literature searches were conducted using Colorado Plateau park names; for simplicity, no geographic names or other terms were used. The University of North Carolina completed most of these searches, and the ProCite conversions of the data were done in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The bibliographic databases searched included: Agricola, CAB Abstracts (Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International), Current Contents -- part of the University of California's library system (MELVYL), Dissertation Abstracts, Fish & Fisheries Worldwide, GeoRef, Oceanographic & Marine Resources, TreeCD, Water Resources, and Wildlife Worldwide. Of the 1,836 pertinent citations uncovered from these searches, field technicians found roughly half of these documents in Colorado Plateau and Arizona NPS units.

Communication with park staff was an extremely important aspect during the fieldwork phase. Before the technicians even arrived at the parks to begin cataloging information, inventories were created per discussion with park resource managers and other staff. These inventories identified key areas that the CPRS staff would be examining and searching for information to be included in the bibliography. The NRBIB staff worked closely with park contacts to set up dates for fieldwork, park housing, and other details regarding possible locations of data located at the parks. Information that might be located outside of park boundaries was also discussed.

The CPRS field staff arrived at each park equipped with a laptop computer, ProCite Bibliographic Software, reference manuals, a list of park contacts, and several maps. On their journeys and travels they encountered late-night interludes with large wildlife, the week of never-ending Christmas parties at Zion National Park, and much incredible, breath-taking scenery. Each technician left a registered copy of the ProCite software with park staff so that the finalized electronic database could be installed at each park.

Fieldwork began by searching various physical park locations that were named in the inventories, including but not limited to: resource management offices, park libraries, map collections, herbaria, and natural history/ artifact/specimen collections. Data entry citations include author, title, date, publisher, an original annotation, the location of the document in the park, and keywords. Once this was completed at a park, the whole process began again at the next park, until all field work for the Colorado Plateau was completed -- in October, 1996.

The collected data has been returned to the CPRS and is being edited, indexed, and standardized for inclusion in the NRBIB database, which is scheduled for completion in May 1997. At that time, the database will distributed to parks and be available for searches, inquiries, and use by National Park Service staff and other interested parties. In addition to the finalized copy distributed to Colorado Plateau parks and the copy maintained at the CPRS, there will be a searchable database accessible via the Web. The Web database allows for remote and online access to this comprehensive bibliography of natural resource information.

In an effort to acquaint researchers and resource managers with the NRBIB project, a Web demonstration prepared by Elena Deshler and James Abendschan, was presented at the Third Biennial Conference of Research on the Colorado Plateau, in October 1995. In April 1996, Elena Deshler presented a poster at the Pacific Basin Resource Stewardship Conference in San Francisco, California and then headed to Tucson, Arizona with NRBIB staff members, Michelle Biehl and Dana Christian, for a poster presentation at the First Conference on Research and Resource Management in Southern Arizona Park Areas.

When completed, this bibliographic database will allow park staff, researchers, scientists, and students the opportunity to access valuable natural resource information that previously was either unavailable or unknown to park staff. With the accessibility of this information, useful scientific data are available for research, inventory and monitoring, and planning activities, to better ensure the sustainability and management of natural resources on the Colorado Plateau and elsewhere.

Parks on the Colorado Plateau included in this Bibliography:
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