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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Fall 2001

Conference Reports

Tour of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Library
STS 2001 Program
ALA Annual Conference, June 19, 2001

James E. Crooks
Health Sciences Librarian
University of California, Irvine

On Tuesday, June 19, the bus left the Moscone Convention Center at 9:00 a.m. on its way to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) located three miles west of the main campus of Stanford University. For most passengers, the tours of the accelerator and library would be their last activity of the 120th annual meeting of the American Library Association in San Francisco.

Doug Dupan, unofficial SLAC historian, opened the program with a brief history of SLAC which was established in 1962 as a national facility for scientific research. SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Dept. of Energy. There are 1300 employees, which includes about 150 physicists. In addition, physicists from around the world are active users in SLAC research programs in the study of both the basic constituents of matter and the forces acting between them.

Dr.Paul Kunz, SLAC physicist, described his role in the intriguing tale of "Bringing the Web to America." SLAC had the first web site on the North American continent; the content of the site was based on library resources.

The Virtual Visitor Center features a cosmic rays detector exhibit, which counts the muons passing through the scintillation counters or sensors as well as passing through visitors. Muons are produced when a proton hits the air in the earth's upper atmosphere and lives long enough to reach the earth's surface.

The highlight of the day was walking tour of linac, the two-mile-long linear electron accelerator. Completed in 1966, linac has the ability to produce an electron beam of 20 billion volts. Additional construction has included the Stanford Positron Electron Asymmetric Ring (SPEAR) and the Positron Electron Project (PEP). A Brief History of SLAC describes SPEAR as the "most cost-effective machine ever built in the field of high energy physics." Our tour guides touted an impressive list of Nobel Prize winners who did their research at SLAC. The most recent was Dr. Frederick Reines, University of California, Irvine, who won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for his work in detecting neutrinos.

The visit to the library provided an in-depth look at collections and services. During standard working hours, the SLAC Library is open for onsite use to the Stanford campus community and the general public. Some services and equipment may be restricted. The reference staff can assist readers in the use of materials and of various on-line search services. SLAC Library staff will answer reference questions from any user by sending e-mail to or visit the web site.

Preprints are available on the web in the SPIRES-HEP database. You may search the catalog by multiple authors, title words, report numbers, date of posting, etc You can print your own postscript copies of these preprints in Particles and Fields on the web.

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