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About NPS Focus

The NPS Focus Digital Library and Research Station is:

  1. a one-stop searching gateway for NPS and related non-NPS databases
  2. a Service-wide digital image/resource management solution

The One-stop Search Gateway (Research Station) Component

By selecting the Advanced Search option, the user can search across approximately 40 million records in one step. A variety of standards and technologies have been employed to promote sharing and interoperability between systems. These include:

  • Web Crawler tool or Harvester for indexing Web pages
  • ANSI Z39.50 - a protocol used by both the Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and Library communities to integrate systems
  • Web Services/SOAP Messaging - a suite of standards developed by the World-wide Web Consortium (W3C) to promote interoperability of Web-enabled database systems
  • XML mapping for record sharing

The Digital Library / Image Management Component

NPS Focus Digital Library is the Service-wide digital image/resource management solution sponsored by the NPS Office of the Chief Information Officer. Structurally the system is a composite of many image collections separately maintained by parks/programs but offers one-stop searching and browsing across all of them.

Unlike other digital library projects in the United States, the NPS Digital Library is completely decentralized with separate centers being set up in virtually every State and U.S territory. The NPS Focus project provides the technology infrastructure, guidance and training for the NPS. In general it does not create the digital content being added to NPS Focus.

Which new resources are added to the NPS Focus Digital Library is up to the discretion of each park or program. This decision is often based upon available financial and human resources.


  • NPS Focus consists of an integration of the Blue Angel MetaStar 8 software, a java based platform based on open standards and Oracle 9i, and the LizardTech image management suite including the ExpressServer 4.6 for serving images.

  • Parks/programs are able to create their own collections on the system independently by creating metadata records and then uploading images. They "own" the records in their collections.

  • Delivers high quality images over the Web using server-generated image viewers; users can zoom and pan images and change the size and format on the fly; bandwidth efficient for fast-loading

  • Provides the user with a variety of image download options including the original size, format and resolution

  • Supports all image types: pictorial, drawings, maps, texts, and GIS DOQ/DRG images

  • Pictorial images can be uploaded in TIF or JPG format; texts and drawings can be uploaded as MS Word, Excel, AutoCad, DjVu, TIF or PDF format

  • Has record-level lockdown so records for sensitive information can be restricted to the NPS Intranet only

  • Simple and advanced searching enabling users to limit searches by date and format type."

  • "Browse by subject" and "browse by park" functionality

  • All images and records are permanently archived in separate professional archiving system

  • Data Entry record creation simplified through custom templates and integration with Subject Thesaurus

  • Images, search boxes for Digital Library, and/or "browse park's digital collection" buttons can be integrated into NPS Web pages

  • Extensive security and auditing functions in place to protect integrity of system and digital resources