Veridian, an engineering research corporation, has donated several decades' worth of research materials - including technical reports, books and journals - to UB, as part of the university's $250 million fund-raising campaign.
"Overall, it's a major addition to the collection," said Nancy Schiller, associate librarian of the Science and Engineering Library, where the materials will be housed. "It's very specific and it's significant in terms of volume and in terms of the quality of research."
The extensive collection of donated materials includes studies in the fields of computer science, engineering, aeronautics and aerodynamics. The Alexandria, Va.-based company, best known for performing crash tests on automobiles such as the PT Cruiser, also donated a wide range of transportation safety reports and research in hypersonics, turbulence and combustion.
The hard copies of the documents became available for donation once Veridian converted its collections into online resources.
"It's a win-win situation," stated Sue Doughtie, head librarian at Veridian, in a press release. "As our library converts to a more virtual resource, this ensures future access to irreplaceable research material and allows us to share Veridian's rich technological heritage."
According to Schiller, a large portion of the donation is on microfiche, including approximately half a million reports from government clearing houses, 25,000 publications from major engineering professional societies and several thousand volumes of journals and books.
The addition has nearly doubled the size of the library's technical report collection, making it the most extensive in Western New York and one of largest in the state. Once housed in the library, the materials will be made available to the public for the first time.
"When [the collection] was housed at Veridian, the public had no access to it," said Schiller. "Our doors are open to anyone in Western New York and private corporations can now have access to it."
Mark Karwan, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said Veridian selected UB to receive the gift because of close ties the two shared when the company was based in Buffalo on Genesee Street, under the name Calspan Corporation, until 1978.
"[UB] has a long relationship with Veridian and its predecessor that goes back almost 50 years," said Karwan. "We're a large engineering and research university and they are a research and development company and have ties with research in the area."
In addition, the company currently employs 90 UB graduates, according to Karwan.
Karwan believes the collection will be of greatest interest to faculty who are "strong in aerospace, industrial and mechanical engineering with respect to safety research," and said that graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are more likely to utilize the materials than undergraduates.
"They're very valuable," Karwan said. "I think they'll be used as much as the other research materials in the library."
Schiller agreed, adding that while the materials might not be actively sought by undergraduates, many students could stumble upon them unexpectedly and find valuable information within the collection.
"You would be surprised what undergraduates will uncover in a keyword search," Schiller said.
As of yet, the value of the donation has not been determined and Michael D. Fellows, assistant vice president for gift planning, could not be reached for comment regarding when or if the gift would be appraised.
Schiller said the library staff hopes to have the collection organized and catalogued by the end of 2002, but some materials should be available by October.
"It takes a while to catalogue and integrate it into the system," said Schiller.