The Library


Beginning with the Manhattan Project, the massive scientific and technological effort that produced the first atomic bombs, nuclear issues have had a profound effect on every aspect of society. Those issues have influenced the evolution of science and technology, domestic politics and international relations in many countries, as well as the arts and humanities.

The Collection

The Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues is a web-based collection of annotated references to resources that offer a broad, balanced perspective on current and historical nuclear issues. The references trace the development of nuclear science, the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bombs, the Cold War arms race, and the post-Cold War world of proliferation and terrorism, as well as nuclear power. The materials referenced include books, articles, videos, and websites. Each annotation is vetted to assure accuracy and indexed to facilitate access.

Purpose and Distinctive Features

The goal of the library is to provide references for the study of the Manhattan Project and its consequences to a broad audience. The library strengthens the quality of education by connecting different disciplines, issues, and ideas involving nuclear issues as well as providing resources for specific disciplines. It integrates the indexed references into a structured collection that allows users to examine nuclear issues from many perspectives. The indexing system and searching tools facilitate the exploration of these materials for general readers, educators, and specialists alike. A clear, intuitive user interface facilitates navigation of the library. Users can assemble a personal bibliography for output to a file or printer.

Unique Bibliographic Features

Although nuclear issues are the subject of many excellent websites, many of them provide limited references for people wishing to pursue the subject in depth or from different points of view. In general, those resources have not focused on annotating and organizing the references they cite. They have also provided little guidance on the suitability of references for specific requirements. The Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues provides those features. The scope of its references is also broader than current print bibliographies, which tend to focus on a single issue or discipline.


The library is useful in organizing classes, seminars, and projects, as well as providing objective assistance to individuals seeking to increase their knowledge. It is suitable for use with introductory high school and college courses in many disciplines, more focused upper level college and graduate courses, courses and seminars that focus specifically on nuclear issues, as well as in informal, continuing education. The library is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association and is referenced by over 100 complementary websites.

Editorial Process

Materials to be annotated are selected by Dr. Frank Settle and members of the National Advisory Board. The annotations are then carefully prepared by trained college students, edited by Ms. Judy Strang and reviewed by appropriate members of the National Advisory Board. That procedure assures high quality, informative annotations. Each annotation is also indexed by Dr. Settle to facilitate access. Those processes assure that the library fulfills its primary objectives of providing reliable, accessible annotations.

Inclusion of References

The selection of references for the library by Dr. Settle and the National Advisory Board reflects their philosophies and experiences. The collection contains some references whose content has become dated by progress in science and technology or by disclosures of previously inaccessible documents. Those references are included because they provide historical continuity, representing the state of knowledge and thought of their time. For those references, the editorial team has made an effort to indicate in the annotations that material is dated. An effort has been made to include references that represent different, substantiated points of view on nuclear issues.

Permission to Use Materials from the Library

The Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues is registered with Creative Commons.

Affiliated Sites

The Alsos library is a component of the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library which supports education and research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Alsos library is a member of Nuclear Pathways, a group of related sites which provide information on a broad range of nuclear issues.
Washington & Lee University The library is located at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.

Funding Sources

The library has been funded by the National Science Digital Library program of the National Science Foundation, grants #0434253, 026152, and 0085657.

It has also received support from The Lenfest Foundation and Mr. Gerry Lenfest.

Washington and Lee University hosts the library and has provided support through the R. E. Lee Summer Scholars Program.