The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) advises the federal government on scientific and technical matters by Congressional mandate. Chartered in 1863, NAS includes the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the National Research Council (NRC). All four organizations share a common entry portal.
Hyperlinks are provided to topical groupings representing the primary areas of research of NAS: transportation, education, agriculture, computer science, engineering, physical sciences and mathematics, science and technology policy, life sciences, medicine and health, environment and earth sciences, and behavioral and social sciences. Opportunities for graduate research and postdoctoral appointments and a career planning section are highlighted from the main page. The Career Planning Center for Beginning Scientists and Engineers is underwritten by the Sloan Foundation.
Over 900 National Academy Press books from the 1980's and 1990's have been mounted for free viewing <http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/>. The publications are available in a variety of formats: html, pdf, PostScript, ascii, and DocuWeb. DocuWeb seems to be the most prevalent. DocuWeb embeds scanned page images in GIF format between top and bottom tables with navigation links. A graphical browser is necessary to view these books, but the format requires no additional software acquisition by the user. The abundance of current scholarly monographs provided is, to the best of my knowledge, without equal on the Internet.
Information about the membership is provided. Access points include an alphabetical listing, discipline grouped subsets, and an institutional list. Entries identify the member's section. year of appointment to the academy, and cite some of the member's scientific achievements. Random sampling indicated citations are only available for individuals appointed since the early 1980's. A separate searchable directory of NAS staff email addresses is available.
NAE has only a skeletal presence. IOM is more fleshed out. Many of the boards within IOM have mounted html versions of abstracts and/or press releases of reports released since 1995. Few complete IOM reports are published on the web. Navigation of NRC webspace is accomplished primarily through their program units. The Transportation Research Board has its own press, bookstore, and online ordering information.
The site is best viewed with a browser that supports tables, forms, and frames. Care has obviously been taken to reproduce all the navigation options in click maps, navigation buttons, and text links. The overall site is searchable.
George S. Porter
North Carolina State University Libraries
Sept 27, 1996