SDR Deposit of the Week: Geology research will stand the test of time

Rock fractures

Faculty retire, projects end, and the outputs of important research languish on forgotten hard drives and servers. It happens all the time. But retiring Professors Atilla Aydin and David Pollard wanted to be sure it didn't happen to them. For 25 years they co-directed the Stanford Rock Fracture Project (RFP) in the Geology and Environmental Sciences Department, but they were concerned about the long-term availability of the research outputs of that project once they retired. 

Until they found out about the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR).

The Stanford RFP was an industrial affiliates project and one of the largest and most active research groups in the world devoted to conducting state-of-the-art research on problems of rock fracture and related crustal deformation and fluid flow, with special attention to the needs of the petroleum industry. Funding for the project came from five member companies -- BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and JAPEX -- and agencies of the United States Government.

The Stanford RFP project content was available online through the project's web site, but only to program participants. Once the program ended, they could have opened the web site up so that anyone could access the reports. The problem was that once Professors Aydin and Pollard retired, someone else would need to be responsible for maintaining the web site and ensuring the content was always accessible.

The Stanford Digital Repository provided a ready solution to their problem. By depositing all of the reports from the Stanford Rock Fracture Project into the SDR, our retiring professors could make all of the content easily available to anyone. All content is assigned a persistent URL, or PURL, at which that content will always be accessible. Not only that, but anyone can now use the features of the SDR and the library catalog to search the over 400 reports in the collection; sort them based on year, author, or title; facet on multiple categories; and download content of interest directly from the records they identify.

And even better -- since our library catalog is crawled by Google, interested folks don't even have to know where to go to look for these reports. A Google search will bring them straight to the new collection. Reports from the Stanford Shale Smear Project, directed by Professor Aydin, are also now available online through the Stanford Digital Repository.

"Thanks to SDR, the material related to the Stanford Rock Fracture Project and Shale Smear Project will be available to the general public and to those interested in rock fracturing," said Professor Aydin. "The data repository team has been very helpful during the process. I think that it is the best way to communicate our results."

Stanford Libraries is excited to provide access to this rich collection of research. We are also pleased to be able to provide this essential service to retiring faculty so that products of their successful careers are made widely and freely available in a stable and sustainable way.