Archive for the 'Information Tools' Category

P2 Resources You Can Use

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 by

In the not-to-distant past, it was difficult to locate pollution prevention and sustainability information. Those days are gone. Now, we go to Google and we’re inundated. In this post, I’ll point you toward some resources that you may have forgotten about when you’re trying to locate information to solve a problem. Whether you’re an organization that wants to start a sustainability program or a seasoned pollution prevention technical assistance provider, there’s something on this list that will help you do your job better.

Topic Hubs and LibGuides

Topic hubs and LibGuides are similar. Both are curated collections of resources on specific topics that also include explanatory information. The only difference is the delivery platform. GLRPPR converted its Topic Hubs to LibGuides several years ago. Guides of particular interest to the P2 community include:

The Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide is particularly useful to those new to the P2 field. It includes links to essential resources and training that will help get you up to speed quickly.

GLRPPR Sector Resources

GLRPPR’s sector resources are curated collections of documents organized by sector or topic. Each resource includes a link and a brief description. Sector resources includes links to fact sheets, manuals, videos, journal articles, case studies, and software tools. Browse by sector/topic or search by keyword using Google site search.

GLRPPR Webinar Archive

GLRPPR hosts two to three webinars per year. Recordings of these webinars are archived on our web site and on our YouTube channel.

GLRPPR Help Desk

If you have a sustainability question or problem you’re trying to solve, the GLRPPR Help Desk is the place to visit. You get one free hour of literature/web searching and will receive a response within a week. Note that we won’t often give absolute answers. Instead, we’ll give you references and let your draw your own conclusions based on the available information. We also won’t answer homework questions.

E-Mail Discussion Lists and GLRPPR E-mail Newsletter

E-mail discussion lists are a great way to tap the hive mind of your pollution prevention colleagues. GLRPPR members are automatically subscribed to the Roundtable regional e-mail discussion list. P2Tech is an international discussion list for pollution prevention and sustainability professionals. To subscribe to either list, contact Laura Barnes.

GLRPPR’s e-mail newsletter keeps you up-to-date on sustainability news, resources, events, and funding opportunities. Subscribe here.

P2 Impact

P2 Impact is a collaboration between GreenBiz and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. Each month, P2 practitioners write about topics related to pollution prevention and sustainability. The goal of the column is to tell the P2 story to GreenBiz’s business audience. The archives of the column are available here. If you would like to write a column, contact Laura Barnes.

P2 InfoHouse

P2 InfoHouse, maintained by the Pollution Prevention Information Center (P2RIC), is a searchable online collection of more than 50,000 pollution prevention (P2) related publications, fact sheets, case studies and technical reports. It includes a vast number of legacy pollution prevention documents that were originally released in hard copy. The collection is searchable by keyword.

Zero Waste Network Success Story Database

The Zero Waste Network’s Success Story Database contains case studies that are examples of how real facilities saved money, reduced waste, and/or lowered their regulatory burden through innovative P2 practices. The studies are often written in a companies own words, with minimal editing.

U.S. EPA Pollution Prevention Tools and Calculators

U.S. EPA has links to general P2 information; P2 tools for chemical processes and purchasing; and calculators to measure the environmental and economic outcomes of P2 activities.

Using public data to identify pollution prevention opportunities

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 by

Government agencies produce a tremendous number of publicly available data sets. In this P2 Week blog post, I’ll highlight some resources that will help you get started with a data driven approach to identifying P2 opportunities.

Webinar: Utilizing Public Data to Identify Technical Assistance Targets

The U.S. government has a wealth of data available about the environmental and economic impact of manufacturers. This webinar, hosted by ESRC,  demonstrates how to use the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, Greenhouse Gas, and Enforcement and Compliance Online (ECHO) databases and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database to identify industrial sectors and facilities that can benefit from pollution prevention technical assistance.

Information that can be easily obtained and utilized from these data sources is key for any technical assistance provider when developing a strategy to target technical assistance. Real-world examples located in regions 3 and 4 are provided.

Presentation slides, resources mentioned during the webinar, and a time-coded index for the video below are available on the ESRC web site.

How a competitor’s data can help your company cut pollution

This P2 Impact column by U.S. EPA’s Kara Koehrn explains how manufacturers can reduce pollution by using public data, chiefly Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) pollution prevention data, to learn from others in their industry.

Module 4: Identify and Target Facilities to Perform Hazardous Substances P2 Assessments

In 2013, U.S. EPA Region 5 (in collaboration with EPA headquarters) developed a 4-part training module to assist technical assistance programs (TAPs) in finding hazardous material reduction opportunities. This module demonstrates how the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program used TRI data to target their P2 technical assistance efforts. It also provides an overview of what types of information are included in TRI emissions and P2 data.

Report: Strategy for using the US EPA Toxics Release Inventory to Identify Opportunities for Diffusion of Innovative Methods for Hazardous Waste and Toxic Emission Reduction

This report shows how P2 technical assistance providers can use TRI P2 data to identify manufacturing facilities that have implemented toxics source reduction methods and facilitate the diffusion of those methods to other facilities that may be facing barriers that block adoption of P2 practices.

Report: The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data

The manufacturing sector is an important economic engine within the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While complying with applicable laws and regulations, these facilities also have an environmental impact on the region. In this study, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) used publicly available environmental data to establish a regional baseline for industrial chemical use and emissions; pollution prevention (P2) techniques; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and economic impact data for selected industry sectors in U.S. EPA Region 5. The report includes analyses of data from U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions database on Envirofacts, and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database on American FactFinder. See also GLRPPR’s paper Spotlight on U.S. EPA Region 5’s Food Manufacturing and Processing Industry for a more focused sector-based analysis.

P2 Resources You Can Use

Friday, September 25th, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015In the not-to-distant past, it was difficult to locate pollution prevention and sustainability information. Those days are gone. Now, we go to Google and we’re inundated. In this post, I’ll point you toward some resources that you may have forgotten about when you’re trying to locate information to solve a problem. Whether you’re an organization that wants to start a sustainability program or a seasoned pollution prevention technical assistance provider, there’s something on this list that will help you do your job better.

Topic Hubs and LibGuides

Topic hubs and LibGuides are similar. Both are curated collections of resources on specific topics that also include explanatory information. The only difference is the delivery platform. GLRPPR converted its Topic Hubs to LibGuides several years ago. Guides of particular interest to the P2 community include:

The Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide will be particularly useful to those new to the P2 field. It includes links to essential resources and training that will help get you up to speed quickly.

GLRPPR Sector Resources

GLRPPR’s sector resources are curated collections of documents organized by sector or topic. Each resource includes a link and a brief description. Sector resources includes links to fact sheets, manuals, videos, journal articles, case studies, and software tools. Browse by sector/topic or search by keyword using Google site search.

GLRPPR Webinar Archive

GLRPPR hosts two to three webinars per year. Recordings of these webinars are archived on our web site. The recording of our most recent webinar is embedded below.

GLRPPR Help Desk

If you have a sustainability question or problem you’re trying to solve, the GLRPPR Help Desk is the place to visit. You get one free hour of literature/web searching and will receive a response within a week. Note that we won’t often give absolute answers. Instead, we’ll give you references and let your draw your own conclusions based on the available information. We also won’t answer homework questions.

E-Mail Discussion Lists and GLRPPR E-mail Newsletter

E-mail discussion lists are a great way to tap the hive mind of your pollution prevention colleagues. GLRPPR members are automatically subscribed to the Roundtable regional e-mail discussion list. P2Tech is an international discussion list for pollution prevention and sustainability professionals. To subscribe to either list, contact Laura Barnes.

GLRPPR’s e-mail newsletter keeps you up-to-date on sustainability news, resources, events, and funding opportunities. Subscribe here.

P2 Impact

P2 Impact is a collaboration between GreenBiz and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. Each month, P2 practitioners write about topics related to pollution prevention and sustainability. The goal of the column is to tell the P2 story to GreenBiz’s business audience. The archives of the column are available here. If you would like to write a column, contact Laura Barnes.

P2 InfoHouse

P2 InfoHouse, maintained by the Pollution Prevention Information Center (P2RIC), is a searchable online collection of more than 50,000 pollution prevention (P2) related publications, fact sheets, case studies and technical reports. It includes a vast number of legacy pollution prevention documents that were originally released in hard copy. The collection is searchable by keyword.

Zero Waste Network Success Story Database

The Zero Waste Network’s Success Story Database contains case studies that are examples of how real facilities saved money, reduced waste, and/or lowered their regulatory burden through innovative P2 practices. The studies are often written in a companies own words, with minimal editing.

 

 

A Brief Guide to LibGuides (and how this relates to P2 Week)

Friday, September 19th, 2014 by

Pollution Prevention 101 LibguideLibGuides is a web 2.0 platform that libraries use to create topical guides to help their users find information. It combines the best features of social networks, wikis, and blogs into one package. Librarians can incorporate RSS feeds, video, web links, bibliographic citations, search boxes, and other finding aids.

LibGuides also allows librarians to create polls and allows users to comment on specific resources and tools within each guide. Users can also sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new content is published, either for particular topics/keywords or for a specific librarian.

Nine of GLRPPR’s topic hubs have been repackaged as LibGuides. They are:

In addition to the repackaged topic hubs, I have developed a number of other guides on various sustainability topics, including the Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide (pictured to the right), which is a compilation of tools and resources useful for P2 technical assistance providers, particularly those who are new to the field.

Other sustainability LibGuides include:

GLRPPR continues to develop new guides on sustainability topics to support the work of the region’s pollution prevention practitioners. If there is a particular topic that you’d like to see us cover, please let us know in the comments.

New LibGuides available: Focus on resilient cities, environmental law

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 by

GLRPPR staff have recently converted the Printing — Flexography and Printing — Lithography topic hubs to LibGuides. GLRPPR staff have been working for several years to migrate the topic hub content into LibGuides to integrate social features and multimedia, as well as improve the ability to update links and other information. We will have the Sustainable Schools and P2 in Art Education topic hubs converted by the end of August, which will complete the process.

Jessica Tieman, a graduate student at the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science, has developed a guide to Illinois environmental law, with a focus on pollution prevention and sustainability. The guide was originally a class project for LIS 525 — Government Information. She graciously allowed us to republish it in the University of Illinois’ LibGuides community so that it can be continuously updated. The serves as a reference aid for Illinois statutory law relating to environmental and pollution regulations, sustainability initiatives, and energy efficiency standards. Commercial groups are encouraged to use the guide to meet state requirements. Although the guide focuses on Illinois environmental law, it also includes more general compliance assistance and federal law resources.

The librarians at the Prairie Research Institute Library have developed a new guide to assist communities with becoming more resilient in the face of a changing climate and other threats. The guide includes information on:

  • strategies for identifying and responding to many barriers to resilient communities, including climate change, natural disasters, landscape and ecosystem, and infrastructure;
  • funding sources;
  • agencies and organizations that can assist;
  • current research at the University of Illinois; and
  • case studies.

For a more general discussion of LibGuides, see my 2013 P2 Week post on the topic. For a complete list of LibGuides that I’ve developed, see http://uiuc.libguides.com/profile/laura-l-barnes.

 

 

A Brief Guide to LibGuides (and how this relates to P2 Week)

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by

p2 libguideLibGuides is a web 2.0 platform that libraries use to create topical guides to help their users find information. It combines the best features of social networks, wikis, and blogs into one package. Librarians can incorporate RSS feeds, video, web links, bibliographic citations, search boxes, and other finding aids.

LibGuides also allows librarians to create polls and allows users to comment on specific resources and tools within each guide. Users can also sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new content is published, either for particular topics/keywords or for a specific librarian.

Five of GLRPPR’s topic hubs have been repackaged as LibGuides. They are:

In addition to the repackaged topic hubs, I have developed a number of other guides on various sustainability topics, including the Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide (pictured at the end of the post), which is a compilation of tools and resources useful for P2 technical assistance providers, particularly those who are new to the field.

Other sustainability LibGuides include:

 

DOE’s OSTI Launches SciTech Connect, Consolidates Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 by

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has launched SciTech Connect, a new portal to free, publicly available DOE research and development (R&D) results. SciTech Connect incorporates the contents of two of the most popular core DOE collections and employs an innovative semantic search tool enabling scientists, researchers and the scientifically- attentive public to retrieve more relevant information. OSTI plans to gradually phase out its current DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations products and replace them with the improved search interface of SciTech Connect.

OSTI developed the new resource to help increase access to science, technology and engineering research information from DOE and its predecessor agencies. SciTech Connect represents one of the largest deployments of semantic search by a federal agency to date.

“OSTI historically has been a leader in pioneering the use of new technologies to make more DOE and federal science accessible to more people more conveniently than ever before,” said OSTI Director Walter Warnick. “Now, with SciTech Connect, we are expanding deployment of innovative semantic search technology to make DOE R&D results easier to retrieve and thereby better serve our dual core mission – getting DOE results out to the scientific community and beyond, and getting the community’s results into DOE.”

Consolidated in SciTech Connect, DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations accounted for approximately half of the 298 million transactions OSTI handled in 2012. OSTI will work to ensure a smooth transition for patrons as it consolidates these two web-based services into SciTech Connect.

Product Scope

SciTech Connect contains all the full-text documents and citations previously found in Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database. Thus, SciTech Connect contains over sixty-five years of energy-related citations created and/or collected by OSTI. There are over 2.5 million citations, including citations to 1.4 million journal articles, 364,000 of which have digital object identifiers (DOIs) linking to full-text articles on publishers’ websites. SciTech Connect also has over 313,000 full-text DOE sponsored STI reports; most of these are post-1991, but close to 85,000 of the reports were published prior to 1990.

SciTech Connect includes technical reports, bibliographic citations, journal articles, conference papers, books, multimedia, and data information sponsored by DOE through a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or similar type of funding mechanism from the 1940s to today. This collection continues to grow as new scientific and technical information resulting from DOE research becomes available.

The records for the early years represent a comprehensive worldwide collection of nuclear science literature. In addition to reports from the Atomic Energy Commission and other U.S. Government agencies, this collection includes numerous non-governmental publications, as well as foreign and foreign language material. In the mid-1970s, the scope of the database expanded to cover all forms of energy-related scientific and technical information.

Semantic Search

With the release of SciTech Connect, OSTI is expanding its deployment of semantic search, an innovative technology to radically improve the quality and relevance of search results across the majority of its DOE content. Semantic search is a way to enhance search accuracy contextually. Rather than relying on search algorithms that identify a specific query term, semantic search uses more complex contextual relationships among people, places and things. It is an especially effective search approach when a person truly is researching a topic (rather than trying to navigate to a particular destination).

SciTech Connect employs a semantic search technique known as keyword-to-concept mapping. It accepts keyword-based queries and returns concept-mapped queries as in a taxonomy; a search term is mapped to other associated terms, including narrower and related concepts.

In this way, semantic search enables the new SciTech Connect search engine to recognize and make use of the logical relations among concepts in different scientific documents, regardless of whether those documents use standard descriptors to express those concepts. As a consequence, even the casual user easily recognizes the superiority of semantic search results over traditional word/phrase search results in a side-by-side comparison.

SciTech Connect also includes a number of other features, including basic and advanced search; faceting; in-document search; word clouds; and personalization which allows users to save searches, define alerts based on saved searches and create and manage document libraries.

Transition Details

While SciTech Connect will eventually replace DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database, the transition will be gradual and seamless. The transition period should be completed in July 2013. Because SciTech Connect provides improved access to all the information previously available via DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database, OSTI recommends that users bookmark this new product and start using it as their primary access point to OSTI’s collection of DOE research and development results.

Using RSS Feeds to Stay Current

Thursday, January 10th, 2013 by

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a way for content publishers to make news, blogs, and other content available to subscribers. For a more detailed explanation of RSS and how it works, check out RSS Made Simple from Common Craft.

You can discover new RSS feeds in several ways. On Web sites that offer this feature, you might see the Button image, RSS button or, XML button. In most common Web browsers, when you click these buttons, you can subscribe to the associated feed. You can also enter a feed’s web address (URL) directly into your reader’s Subscribe area. Most literature databases allow you to subscribe to topical or table of contents alerts via RSS.

RSS feeds can be read using software called a feed reader, which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. Google Reader is a good web-based reader with excellent Help files. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds using Outlook.

If you’d rather receive updates via e-mail, BlogTrottr is a free service that allows you to have RSS feeds sent as e-mail.

For more information, see also the University of Illinois Library’s excellent Current Awareness LibGuide for assistance with using RSS feeds to keep you up to date. See also the News & Current Awareness section of the Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance LibGuide for a list of useful RSS feeds for pollution prevention professionals.

Archive of Pollution Prevention Information: What’s Out There and Where to Find It

Friday, December 14th, 2012 by

The webinar is archived at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/877931279.

If you participated yesterday or viewed the webinar online, please also take a moment to complete the post-webinar evaluation at https://illinois.edu/sb/sec/692437. Your feedback helps GLRPPR make these webinars more useful for you.

The presentation slides are available at http://hdl.handle.net/2142/35294. There is also an associated resource guide, which you can access at http://uiuc.libguides.com/p2. If you have suggestions for additions to the resource guide, please send them to me at l-barnes at illinois.edu. I’m always interested in learning about new P2 information sources.

Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance LibGuide

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 by

This guide is designed to help pollution prevention technical assistance providers find information quickly and efficiently. It includes a brief guide to effective web searching, located on the Where To Start page under the Sector/Subject Specific tab. Lists of information organization and current awareness tools are included under the News & Current Awareness tab.