Homeland Security Digital Library

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The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) is a collection of documents related to homeland security policy, strategy, and organizational management of the United States. Library access is offered to U.S. citizens who are federal, state, tribal, and local U.S. government officials; members of the U.S. military; homeland security researchers and academics; or security staff protecting organizations vital to U.S. infrastructure.

The mission of the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) is to strengthen the 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 Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), with the sponsorship of the Department of Justice, launched a graduate degree program in 2002. The program’s initial requirements called for development of the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL), an online resource designed to support NPS’ new homeland security master’s students, and to capture and archive the current homeland security debate. Since then, the HSDL has become the major digital library for homeland security scholars and professionals; it serves almost 26,000 individual account holders and gives general access to over 600 different government agencies and educational or research institutions. The library is currently in partnership with the Government Printing Office and the I3P Institute. The HSDL can be easily summed up by its tagline, “Securing the Homeland Through the Power of Information.”


General Collection The HSDL’s General Collection contains over 100,000 documents covering a range of historical and contemporary issues in homeland security and its related fields. All HSDL resources are carefully selected and evaluated by a team of librarians and subject-matter specialists. The collection includes open source material from a wide variety of sources including federal, state, tribal and local government; international governments, governing bodies and institutions; nonprofit organizations; think tanks, academic institutions, and private entities. Special collections include a large number of homeland security related Congressional Research Reports (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO) hearings and testimony, national strategy and policy documents, and state and local government plans and policies. In addition to text-based material, the digital collection contains other media formats such as maps, images, video, audio and websites. Within the General Collection, HSDL content team members have designated special smaller collections of key documents that provide easy, direct access to major legislation, significant policy, presidential directives, executive orders Homeland Security theses and the latest documents of topical interest or potential importance. Featured Topics are curated collections of resources associated with primary topics in homeland security or topics particularly relevant to current issues in policy, strategy and organizational management.

Restricted Collection The Restricted Collection contains sensitive materials collected from national, state and local fusion centers, threat analysis centers, and law enforcement organizations. (Access to this section is restricted to U.S. government officials and requires prior approval by HSDL staff.)

News Digest Collection The News Digest Collection includes documents, both current and archival, covering intelligence, infrastructure, terrorism and other homeland security concerns.

I3P Cyber Infrastructure Collection The cyber infrastructure collection is a partnership of the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P)[1] and the HSDL. It is focused on identification of information assets in the broad area of information infrastructure protection and cyber security. The I3P's effort in this partnership was sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)[2].

Public resources[edit]

HSDL Blog: On the Homefront – The HSDL blog is an open listing of homeland security related documents that are rapidly posted as they become available to the public. Each blog entry includes a link and a short summary plus any additional helpful information. Homeland security professionals can also find listings of current homeland security events (e.g., conferences and workshops). Blog posts are available via RSS and on Twitter. Other public resources on the HSDL site include a customized search of selected homeland security blogs, and resource pages for grants, homeland security books and journal sources.


The HSDL technical infrastructure relies on a number of open-source web applications. The library’s interface to its patrons is custom-developed web code built upon the SOLR search engine. The library content team currently uses Scout Portal Toolkit (SPT)[3] to input and manage the collections’ metadata. On the Homefront, the library’s blog and the events and conferences calendar use the Drupal [4] CMS). These three applications, in addition to the custom code developed around them, are all open-source LAMP environments (linux, apache, mysql and php). The Homeland Security Blog search is maintained with a Google Custom Search [5] appliance.

External links[edit]

NPS.edu [6] CHDS.us [7] HSDL.org [8]