Open source information and the Military Intelligence Library.
--from Three Days of the Condor
Most movie buffs remember this thriller made during the Cold War era involving a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) researcher who reads books to find possible scenarios that could be used in intelligence work. This movie was about spies and espionage, but the spying involved no cloaks or daggers the CIA agent just read books! The lead character was that of an ordinary, literary type, more like a librarian than a James Bond.
As the movie illustrates, intelligence does not have to be secret to be valuable. Open source intelligence (OSINT) incorporates all types of accessible and unclassified information sources such as books, newspapers, magazines, academic journals, government documents, radio, television, and the Internet.
Emerging Army doctrine states that relevant, accurate, and timely OSINT be provided to commanders at all levels. This is to be accomplished by integrating OSINT into all disciplines and functions by exploiting the Information Age to make OSINT a vital intelligence resource. (1) The research library is a vital link in this effort. This article shows how a new vision and model of library services transformed an under-used and under-funded library into a dynamic intelligence research center focusing on open source (OS) information and value-added services. The U.S. Army Military Intelligence (MI) Library (2) at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, illustrates the application of this model, meeting the information needs of the OSINT user and aligning the mission of the research library to the mission of the MI professional. This model moves the MI Library beyond the traditional role of a "place" to house books and other resources to a research center with value-added intelligence services.
The Research Library Mission
Historically, the mission of a research library has been to acquire information (the collection), organize it, preserve it, and make it available. The mission of the Intelligence professional is also to acquire and organize information; however, this information is then analyzed and turned into intelligence. Without getting into a formal doctrine definition, the simplest definition of intelligence can be attributed to Sun Tsu in The Art of War. Know thine enemy." In order to win on the battlefield, intelligence about the enemy is necessary. For the MI Library to support the MI mission today, the library must focus on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
Providing access to public or OS information has been the focus of libraries for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Formats have evolved from the clay tablets found in ancient Mesopotamia five thousand years ago to the digital formats of today. (3) Unlike its classified counterparts (i.e., Human Intelligence, Signals Intelligence, Imagery Intelligence), OSINT draws from information found in the open, unclassified world of secondary sources. This is the world of the research library. Because of limited financial resources and the expense of information sources, the following guidelines were important considerations in implementing this new library model at the Army MI Library.
The model implemented at the MI Library called for a new library marketing and promotion strategy--a new vision of library services. Although one would think that this step should happen after developing the collection, it was important that the vision and marketing strategy happen early in the process. Many of the younger soldiers today do not appreciate libraries and actually want to avoid them. A wonderful OS collection can be built, but if no one uses the library or knows about the resources, then the effort has been in vain. If new soldiers beginning their career in Intelligence develop an enthusiasm and appreciation of the value of OS resources early on, they will utilize these resources even after leaving the schoolhouse.
This model calls for a new library "image" which better meets this generation's learning style. An article in College Student Journal describes this generation very well.
"The world of contemporary students is bombarded with noise, color, and action; even their entertainment is interactive and high tech. This new environment has impacted all levels of education." (4)
This statement is probably even more accurate when describing military students--they thrive on action or they would not have joined the military! The traditional library image is the opposite of what today's generation is accustomed to.
Utilizing this new vision of library services, the MI Library increased attendance by 850 percent by creating a new model of library service and pursuing a new marketing strategy. The vision for the MI Library is focused on a simple strategy: Get the customers to come to the library and create enthusiasm for using open source resources. Lure them in and then hook them! Change the image of the library. Make the library fun, comfortable, and relaxed. Create an environment that is extremely customer-focused.
"If you build it, they will come" does not always work. Some bookstore chains have transformed their image with great success--customers drink a cup of coffee and relax in a comfortable chair while reading books. Why would a profit based business allow customers to read the books without first buying them? Why would they risk having coffee spilled on the materials? The answer is simple: It is a marvelous marketing strategy which brings in the customers.
The marketing strategy of the MI Library includes briefings to all leaders, Open Houses, newsletters, class presentations, and library orientations.
Borrowing from the success of the chain bookstores, free coffee is always available to the customers. With comfortable chairs, music in the background, ice cream and soda machines, Internet access, cable news, and videos, the MI Library attracts around 9000 customers a month. Before implementing the new library model, the MI Library was fortunate to have 50 customers a month. The soldiers may initially come for the coffee and ambience, but judging from the circulation increase of over 500 percent, they soon start reading journals, perusing the military reading lists, and checking out books. Eating is allowed in the library and many customers, utilizing the microwave, eat breakfast and lunch while studying. This library is a place where the customers never hear "Shh!"
Tailor the Collection and Services
Tailor the collection to meet specific needs of the intelligence customer. Go for depth; not breadth. Consistent evaluation, feedback, and needs assessments from the OSINT user are necessary to meet the OS information needs created by such a rapidly changing world. (5) Research libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries are all similar because they do not attempt to collect everything; they do not try to be "all things to all people." The MI Library model proposes that the library focus on the present needs of the customers. What are the specific issues of the customer? What world events are taking place? How do these events impact the MI professional?
Continual needs assessments, surveys and evaluations of the existing services and resources are necessary to meet the needs of the customer. For example, before implementing this model, an evaluation of the present library collection at the MI Library found that 85 percent of the resources were over 25 years old with most focusing on the Cold War era. Based on an assessment of current world events and needs of the MI professional, an aggressive collection development plan was implemented in the areas of the Middle East and the GWOT. The customer surveys also indicated that longer hours were needed at the library since many of the MI customers could not use the library except at night. Library hours were increased by over 40 percent; the MI Library is now open 13 hours per day and on the weekend.
Provide Value-Added Services
Value-added services at the MI Library include an OS Lab with virtual private network (VPN) connectivity to the Open Source Information System (OSIS), instructional briefings in using OSIS, a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Digital Map Library, and a Computer Center. To have an OS Lab is not enough--the value of OSIS as one-stop shopping for intelligence resources has to be aggressively promoted. Enthusiasm for OSIS is generated through class briefings, instruction, and OSIS demonstrations to include MI Corps leaders.
Almost 50 computers with Internet access are available to the customers, as excellent intelligence related sources are available via the Internet. Many of the students use the computers to write papers, build PowerPoint[TM] presentations, use FormFlow[TM] to fill out paperwork, take distance learning classes, book travel arrangements and take online surveys. A keyboarding tutorial program was even initiated at the library to assist the MI students who were having difficulty in class because typing skills slowed down their ability to write reports. Another popular value-added service is the new multi-media instruction room, with customers reserving this room for meetings, classes, role-playing activities, etc. Value-added services are not just the domain of the physical library, but can also be provided by the digital library through pathfinders (6), portals, and a virtual reference service. The heart of the "brick and mortar" library is its collections. However, the soul of the library is its vision, value-added services and customer focus.
Leveraging sources is another guideline in implementing the new library model. Simply put, this means that the MI Library does not purchase anything that can be obtained for free. Commercial databases are very expensive and most small libraries cannot afford the license or access fee. As depicted in Table 1, Army Knowledge Online (AKO) and OSIS licenses commercial databases. The MI Library leverages these sources and does not duplicate effort and expense.
OS information also resides in many databases on the Internet. However, this information cannot be accessed using a search engine like Goggle. This information is considered "invisible" or "deep web" because it resides on a website designed around a database, there are no static pages to index (See Table 2 below). Some commercial vendors often create fee-based databases; with public information. For example, an 89 page thesis from the Naval Postgraduate School can be obtained for free by searching the Science and Technical Information Network (STINET) database. However, this same thesis is offered by several commercial vendors with a price tag of around $25.00.
Although a cliche, this is the Information Age. Information, whether it is classified or open source, wins battle and wars. The library of the 21st century has no walls, no set hours, and no geographical constraints. Access issues are as important as ownership issues. The MI Library is both a physical "brick and mortar" library and a virtual library with information available anytime from anyplace. The physical library and the virtual library both develop collections. Traditionally, collection development has been defined as the planned purchase of materials in various formats to match the instructional and research needs of the customers. However, today these collections can be owned, licensed, or just accessed.
The virtual collection is just as important as the physical collection, but has different considerations and constraints. In addition to the library catalog pointing the customer to what is owned by the library, the Internet can be viewed as a gigantic catalog of information sources available worldwide. However, this information has to be tailored to the information needs of the OSINT user. A value-added service to the customers is to sort and filter the myriad of online sources and create pathfinders and portals on the library website (See Table 3 below).
When possible, the collection should reflect both physical sources available in the library, as well as accessible digital sources. By exploiting technology, the library catalog of today not only reflects what is owned by the library, but also shows digital sources on the Internet. Even if a source is not owned by the library, it can be cataloged and accessed the same as an owned, physical source. With a click of the mouse, the online source or virtual reference is available.
The physical library collection is important if one lives or works near it. However, for most of us, a virtual library is necessary. The MI soldier transfers frequently to new locations and needs to consistently access sources regardless of geographic location. The MI Library provides a website with online access to the library catalog. A full time virtual model of library reference services is also available (Table 4 below). Collaboration and sharing of files via listserves and knowledge communities are important for the MI professional (Table 5 below).
In conclusion, Intelligence professionals are working in a different environment today. Stephen Mercado in an article in Studies in Intelligence says it best:
"Collecting intelligence these days is at times less a matter of stealing through dark alleys in a foreign land to meet some secret agent than one of surfing the Internet under the fluorescent lights of an office cubicle to find some open source. The world is changing with the advance of commerce and technology. Mouse clicks and online dictionaries today often prove more useful than stylish cloaks and shiny daggers in gathering intelligence required to help analysts and officials understand the world." (7)
This article presents a model that moved the MI Library beyond the traditional role of a place to house books to a dynamic research center with value-added intelligence services and sources, such as an OS Lab. This model includes a new marketing strategy and image for the library which better meets this generation's learning style. By leveraging sources and exploiting technology, the MI Library is an important link in the MI Corps' effort to make OSINT a vital intelligence resource.
Editor's Note: The MI Library has been chosen by the Library of the Congress as the Federal Information Center of the Year for 2005.
(1) INSCOM Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Operations Handbook, May 2003.
(2) U.S. Army Military Intelligence Library URL: http://www.universityofmiltaryintelligence.us/mi_library/default.asp.
(3) History of Libraries, at http://encarta.msn.com /encyclopedia_761564555_16/Library_(institution).html#s76.
(4) Gary W. Howard, Holly Howard Ellis, and Karen Rasmussen, "From the Arcade to the Classroom: Capitalizing on Students' Sensory Rich Media Preferences in Disciplined-based Learning," College Student Journal 38, 3 (2004): 431-440.
(5) Wyn Bowen, "Open-Source Intelligence: A Valuable National Security Resource," Janes intelligence Review 11, 11 (1999), 50-54.
(6) A pathfinder is a list of sources in a specific subject area.
(7) Stephen C. Mercado, "Sailing the Sea of OSINT in the Information Age," Studies in Intelligence 48, 3 (2004). At http://www.odci.gov/csi/studies/vol48no3/article05.html.
Dr. Vee Herrington is the Chief of the U.S. Army Military Library at Fort Huachuca. Arizona. Past recent positions include Business Intelligence Specialist and Corporate Librarian for Lucent Technologies. In addition to a Master's Degree in Information and Library Science from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Herrington holds a PhD in Education from Arizona State University and a Master's Degree in School Psychology from the University of Cincinnati. Her other published works include 'Way Beyond BI: A Look to the Future." Journal of Academic Librarianship, September: 1998 and "Toward a New Paradigm of Library Instruction in the Digital Library," 2nd European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, September 1998. Readers can reach Dr. Herrington at vee.herrington@us. army.mil or the MI Library homepage at http ://www.universityofmilitaryintelligence.us/mi_library/default.asp.
Table 1. Commercial Fee-Based Databases. Information Need Army Knowledge Open Source Information Online (1) System (2) http://us.army.mil http://www.osis.gov Index for full-text Academic Search Academic Search Premier journal, magazine Premier MasterFile and newspaper Premier articles Defense and Military Periscope Jane's Online Information Military & Government Collection Country Studies CountryWatch Oxford Analytica publications via China Vitae Military and Government Collection Terrorism Periscope Jane's Online Global Analysis and Oxford Analytica Events Jane's Online World Economic and The Economist Business Indicators Oxford Analytica The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU Data Services) http: //www.cosp.osis.gov/ Note: pages/eiu.htm (1.) Accessing Databases via AKO. Login to AKO. At bottom left, click on Reference tab then Army Libraries tab to reach the Library Reference Center. Select title from "Databases and Resources by Title" (right frame). (2.) OSIS Account and VPN Software. To access OSIS http://www.osis.gov a password and virtual private network (VPN) connectivity are needed. The OSIS link will not open until the customer has connected to the OSIS via VPN software. Passwords and VPN software can be obtained via AKO. Login to AKO. Do a search on "DA-IIS", which stands for the Department of Army Intelligence Information Services. This page guides the user to getting a password for OSIS and downloading the VPN connectivity software. Table 2. Deep Web or Invisible Web Databases. Information Need Location Scholarly documents Google Scholar: Public Internet at across disciplines http://scholar.google.com/ Google Scholar searches specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Lessons Learned: Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL): Intelligence Public Internet at http://call.army.mil/ or use AKO password for FOLIO. Intelligence Center Online Network (ICON): Observations, Insights, and Lessons Learned (OIL): Public Internet with AKO password at http://iconportal.hua.army.mil Scientific and Defense Technical Information Center Technical Information (DTIC): Public Internet with password at http://www.dtic.mil DTIC Research & Engineering Portal: Public Internet with password at https://rdte.osd.mil. Scientific and Technical Information Network (STINET): Public Internet with password at https://dtic-stinet.dtic.mii/. This site is more restricted than DTIC. Intelligence, Emerging World Basic Information Library (WBIL): Threats, Defense, and Research library located on OSIS and Military Information managed by the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). Worldwide Intelligent Road/Rail Information System Infrastructure (IRRIS): This is a web-based portal to worldwide infrastructure and real-time data. Public Internet with password at https://www.irris.tea.army.mil/irris/site/. Request account at https://www.irris.tea.army.mil/site/ default.htm. Intelligence: Field Reimer Digital Library Manuals and http://atiam.train.army.mil/soldierPortal/ Regulations appmanager/soldier/start? Nfp b=true&pageLabel=rdlservices page Intelligence: Army Doctrine and Training Publications: Doctrine and Training Use AKO password. https://akocomm.us.army.mil/usapa/doctrine/ 34SeriesCollection-l.html Note: Some database sites require registration or OSIS password. Table 3. Examples of Pathfinders and Portals. Name Location Air War College http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ awc-ntel.htm Army War College http://carlisle-www.army.mil/library/ Bibliographies bibliographies.htm Air University http://www.au.af.mil/au/aul/bibs/ Bibliographies bib97.htm Table 4. Virtual References. Name Location Army Libraries Reference Access through AKO "Reference" Center "Ask the Librarian" US Army MI Library Virtual http: Reference //www.universityofmilitaryintelligence. "Ask A Librarian" us/mi_library/default.asp Table 5. Communities and Listserves. Name Location Intelligence Community Access through AKO "Army Organizations" Military Intelligence firstname.lastname@example.org Information Sharing Intelligence Center Use AKO password Online Network http://iconportal.hua.army.mil Community Collaboration Blogging and web publishing. Access via Environment OSIS at http://www.osis.gov//cce/ Intelligence Community Access via OSIS at Library Consortium http://web.iclc.osis.gov Note: Some database sites require registration or OSIS password.
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|Publication:||Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2005|
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