New York Times: Addressing the Unthinkable, U.S. Revives Study of Fallout
By WILLIAM J. BROAD 3/19/2004
"To cope with the possibility that terrorists might someday detonate a nuclear bomb on American soil, the federal government is reviving a scientific art that was lost after the cold war: fallout analysis.
The goal, officials and weapons experts both " -- you may ask, "why is this in a library blog?" Well, this is a great example of why knowledge management is needed, the value of tacit knowledge, the value of institutional memory (which you lose when you outsource everything to a new contractor every year), and the value of indexes and abstracts back at least to the 40s. For those libraries that tossed their old engineering, chemistry, and physics journals... how are their scientists going to find this information? Are the scientists going to have to reinvent the wheel? What if the original scientists die before they are able to convey their knowledge to the next generation? Is there anyone doing classified oral histories? Someone who knows what technical questions to ask? Are those histories being indexed? Saved digitally? Are librarians helping the young scientists find this information?