A Geological Library, At Your Fingertips

Today we take for granted that the knowledge of the world is just a few clicks away on our computer. But it used to be that you needed to go to a library to find information that you didn’t have on your own bookshelves or personal files.

I’ve always been drawn to libraries. The quiet as you walk through the stacks; the smell as you open an old book; the feeling of being surrounded by all this knowledge right at your fingertips is special.

Preparing to move to Washington, D.C. and begin working for AAPG back in 2007, I recall the moment I realized that this would be first time in nearly 20 years that I would not have access to a university research library. The feeling of loss was real. It’s not that I was spending all my time in the library, because I wasn’t, and my kids hearing this would roll their eyes at me. But geologists like ready access to data and information – some of you are probably old enough to understand.

I still like libraries. But I am thankful that now I can access information from across the globe from my home office. And thanks to the vision and foresight of AAPG members decades ago, so can you.

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Today we take for granted that the knowledge of the world is just a few clicks away on our computer. But it used to be that you needed to go to a library to find information that you didn’t have on your own bookshelves or personal files.

I’ve always been drawn to libraries. The quiet as you walk through the stacks; the smell as you open an old book; the feeling of being surrounded by all this knowledge right at your fingertips is special.

Preparing to move to Washington, D.C. and begin working for AAPG back in 2007, I recall the moment I realized that this would be first time in nearly 20 years that I would not have access to a university research library. The feeling of loss was real. It’s not that I was spending all my time in the library, because I wasn’t, and my kids hearing this would roll their eyes at me. But geologists like ready access to data and information – some of you are probably old enough to understand.

I still like libraries. But I am thankful that now I can access information from across the globe from my home office. And thanks to the vision and foresight of AAPG members decades ago, so can you.

The Birth of Datapages

It was in 1990 that the idea of what would become AAPG’s Datapages, Inc. crystallized. It grew from a partnership of AAPG with Masera Corporation that began the process of digitizing AAPG’s geoscience collections and making them available electronically.

Its mission and scope have expanded since then, and today Datapages, Inc. is an aggregator of geoscience information from more than 60 publishing partners worldwide. These partners are typically independent geological organizations from the Abilene Geological Society to the Indonesian Petroleum Association, from the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists to the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia.

What many of our members do not know is that Datapages, Inc. is a for-profit corporation with its own board of directors, bylaws, financial records, and it has one shareholder – AAPG. And Datapages, Inc. is a business-to-business company. Its principal customers are companies and universities worldwide.

Another fact that many of our members do not know is that our publishing partners receive royalties from Datapages for being a part of the collection. In fact, cumulatively, these partners have received nearly $4.3 million since we began the program – this is direct financial assistance to support these organizations’ missions.

The Datapages product suite includes:

  • Archives, which provides desktop access to documents, typically journal articles, including exploration analogs and data from across the globe. These resources are available by corporate subscription or pay-per-view.
  • Datapages Exploration Objects (DEO) is a GIS platform that offers maps from across the globe, cross-sections and seismic lines that are geo-referenced and GIS-ready. DEO offers and easy-to-use website that allows you to conduct spatial searches, which you can filter to identify the specific information that you are looking for. The DEO corporate subscription bundle includes access to all the underlying databases that Datapages, Inc. offers.
  • GIS Open Files are a spatial library of maps from various sources that are available for download free of charge, no subscription required.
  • Search & Discovery is a web-based journal offering more than 90,000 technical documents with new articles and meeting abstracts added regularly. There is no subscription required for this popular service.

Throughout the pandemic we continued faithfully serving our Datapages, Inc. customers. We also carefully reduced expenses to preserve financial reserves and position the company for growth as industry activity resumes.

New Board Members, New Innovations

As I mentioned earlier, Datapages is led by a Board of Directors appointed by the AAPG Executive Committee on behalf of the shareholder. In June we recruited several new members to the board, including Jeff Aldrich of Sproule International, who was also appointed chair, Phoebe McMellon of GeoscienceWorld, Linda Kinney of IHS Markit, and Patrick Rutty of Enverus. They join existing directors Nic Brissette, Peter Wigley, Heather LaReau, Bill Dickson, Alan Wegener and me.

This is the group of volunteers that is bringing its expertise to bear to help Datapages, Inc. navigate a dynamic marketplace. Some of the strategic issues that we are working on include assessing the platform, both current and potential, opportunities for collaboration and new publishing partners.

When Datapages, Inc. began, its innovation was in taking geoscience publications in paper form and delivering them electronically. We’ve done that successfully now for 30 years with the Archives. A second innovation was developing an open-source online journal – Search & Discovery – before “open-source” was even a topic of discussion. A third innovation was geo-referencing the information contained in our databases and making it available on a GIS platform, now delivered through DEO.

Datapages, Inc. is looking to the future – to its next innovation – and how we can make it easier for practicing geoscientists to use Datapages products in their workflows. We want to help you use this valuable geoscience information from across the globe as you seek to find the oil and natural gas needed to fuel the modern world. If you have an idea, please reach out to me and let’s discuss it.

One more thing before I go.

While Datapages, Inc. principally serves corporate and institutional customers, as an AAPG member, you can subscribe to the Datapages Archives at a special rate, lower than the lowest corporate rate. Contact AAPG Customer Experience Center at +1-918-584-2555 or toll-free (U.S. and Canada) at +1-800-364-2274 or email [email protected] for details.