Help General FAQs

How often is the library updated?

The HSDL content team reviews, evaluates and adds new items to the collections almost every business day.

Are there historic as well as current materials in the library?

We are primarily focused on “capturing the current debate” and have been collecting towards that goal since 2002. However, we are also collecting anything relevant regardless of the timeframe. We retrospectively scan and add older documents if they are pertinent. Examples of older documents include the Federalists papers which date back to the 1700s and well as old legislation and Executive Orders etc.

Is this a completely full-text database?

Yes. We try to hold a “local” copy of all documents but due to copyright restrictions, in some cases, we can only provide a link to the material on an external website.

Which types of materials are available without logging in to the website (i.e., the “public” HSDL Collection)?

Materials published by U.S. Federal Government agencies can be searched and accessed without authorization to search the full HSDL Collection. The majority of the information comes from entities under the following organizations: Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of State (DOS), Congress, and the White House. Specific types of information include: Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports Congressional hearings, reports, documents, resolutions and public laws, Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, Inspector General reports [various organizations], Presidential directives, executive orders and reports, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports, theses and research reports from federal/defense schools [e.g. CHDS/NPS, US Fire Academy etc], and major federal commissions [e.g. WMD, 9/11 Commission, National Commission on Terrorism, etc.]

What software is needed to access materials in the library?

The Homeland Security Digital Library is available through any web browser. The majority of the collection consists of .pdf and .doc files and some multimedia files. Adobe Acrobat reader, Microsoft Word software and a multimedia player such as Quicktime or Windows Media Player are required to access these documents.

Who are the bloggers for the “On the Homefront” blog?

For the most part, the bloggers are HSDL content specialists, research librarians and subject specialists.

Why is the Homeland Security Digital Library using the .org domain?

The library is sponsored by and supports both government and military agencies. However, the .org domain allows us to be more widely accessible to students, educators, researchers, and members of government at the local level.

What user information is collected and how is it used?

When you visit the HSDL website, the server automatically records some information provided by your browser. This information is collected in aggregate and is not identified by or related to individual account names. Data collected is used to improve technologies and services. What information is collected, how it is used, and are available.

Is there a fee associated with the use of the library?

There is no fee associated with library use. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is providing the Homeland Security Digital Library to homeland security officials, researchers, educators and students in an effort to further advance national research and policy development.

Do academic and research institutions need to sign licensing agreements to have access?

No, there are no licensing agreements associated with the HSDL.

Is the Homeland Security Digital Library available to public libraries or special libraries?

We are more than happy to give depository librarians at public or special libraries individual access to the full collection. Be sure to indicate that you are a depository librarian.

How do I get access to more than just the Public resources?

See information on the HSDL Access page for options.