Homeland Security Digital Library – Priceless resource

The Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Security and Defense (CHSD) is a world-standard institution in information assurance (IA) and homeland security (HS) education. Established in 2003 as a response to the horrific events of 9/11, the CHSD is also the home of a valuable resource for all IA and HS professionals: the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).

The HSDL overview crisply defines the library's mission as follows: "Our mission is to strengthen national security of the United States by supporting federal, state, local, and tribal analysis, debate, and decision-making needs and to assist academics of all disciplines in homeland defense and security related research."

The complete HSDL has over 92,000 documents "offering users a range of materials in contemporary and historical issues in homeland security and its related fields. The collection includes material from a wide range variety of sources including federal, state and local governments; international governments and institutions; nonprofit organizations and private entities."

Access to the complete library requires registration (more on that in a moment). However, anyone can access the following treasure-troves (quoting directly from the overview):

Limited HSDL Collection: contains over 49,500 U.S. Federal Government documents as well as academic theses from federal government institutions.Policy & Strategy Section: direct access to key U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, national strategy documents, major legislation, and executive orders.HSDL Blog: On the Homefront: a synopsis of the most recent reports and issues in homeland security. The blog also includes a calendar of upcoming conferences and events.Blog Search: a single search across the best homeland security-related blogs and bloggers.Homeland Security Grants: where to find homeland security grants and grant-writing assistance.Books and Journals: pointers to commercial sources of homeland security-related research.

Becoming a registered account holder of the HSDL, for full access to the complete collection and all services, is not difficult: "Access to the Homeland Security Digital Library is granted to local, tribal, state and federal U.S. government officials; members of the U.S. military; homeland security researchers; and corporate homeland security managers or contractors." The request for a Website Account asks a few simple identifying questions and usually generates a positive response for anyone associated with a credible organization that works with or depends on security knowledge.

The Resources page for the CHDS lists a range of fascinating resources such as educational videos, simulation software, research methods guides, lectures, databases and even an annual essay contest with stimulating, imaginative topics.

I urge all readers of this column to apply for access to the full HSDL. And it's free!

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