Production of a Periodical Index by a Special Library

Article excerpt

Publishing a periodical index is an unusual activity for a library. But the Air University Library at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL does just that--it publishes the Air University Library Index to Military Periodicals (hereinafter called the Index). This index is distributed throughout the world to over 1,500 libraries and institutions. Except for printing and binding, it is created entirely at the library.

Air Force Professional Military Education

Air University Library is part of Air University which is the education center for the United States Air Force. Air University conducts professional military education (PME) and continuing educational programs at the Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officer School, and the USAF Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Degree-granting and specialized educational programs are conducted at the Air Force Institute of Technology, a satellite campus of Air University, at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. The Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development conducts courses for military personnel who are wing commanders, comptrollers chaplains, etc. The Air University Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education develops, analyzes, and tests Air Force concepts, doctrine, and strategy and the Air Force Wargaming Center conducts computer war games for the USAF and other Department of Defense (DOD) organizations.

Air University Library (AUL) is the largest library in the Department of Defense and the largest federal library outside Washington, DC. The library's mission is to provide professionally directed academic research and information services to Air University and the Air Force. AUL's collection emphasizes military science, aeronautics, international relations, leadership, management, and particularly, Air Force and DOD operations. The library's collection includes 380,000 monographs and bound periodical volumes, 500,000 military documents, 870,000 map and charts, 150,000 regulations and manuals, and over 700,000 microforms. The library's Integrated Library System offers electronic access to AUL's collections and those of its branches--the Maxwell Community Library, the Gunter Community Library, and the library at the USAF Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy located at nearby Gunter Air Force Base.

The Index is part of this mission. Its primary purpose is to serve the educational and research requirements of Air University students. An index to 81 English language military and aeronautical periodicals, it is published quarterly with an annual cumulation. The Index was created in 1949 to provide access to periodical information about military science to students and faculty at Air University schools; it continues in that vein today. There is no other index quite like it to provide this information to Air Force PME students.

Producing the Index

Four people produce the Index: an editor, assistant editor, and two library technicians. This staff is called the Editing Section and is part of Systems Division, the library's technical services unit. The editor and assistant editor are professional librarians. The indexing is done by librarians in the library's Reader Services Division. These librarians work directly with the students and faculty of the schools and are in touch with their research needs. They are subject experts who publish bibliographies and provide references services. There are also several indexers (called cooperastive indexers) at other Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy libraries who index assigned periodicals and mail their work to Air University Library.

The editing staff selects "significant articles, news items, and editorials" to be indexed. Subject headings used in the Index are from a controlled list. They are neither Library of Congress nor Sears subjects, but were developed at the Library and are geared toward military material. …