In research circles, folks speak with reverence and awe of the “dark web”, and those who can – and do – navigate it. “Dark web” here doesn’t refer to something from a superhero comic, nor does it refer to unused fiber-optic cables; rather, it refers to those parts of the internet which aren’t indexed, for whatever reason, by search engines. As good as Google is, and as much information as it contains, it only has access to a very small percentage of the web.

For a while, the mother of all resources for all things military has been the Army’s Reimer Digital Library, or RDL, which contains most current Army and joint-service doctrinal and training publications. It’s a good resource, don’t get me wrong, and a valuable illustration of the power of the “dark web”; it just turns out that for sheer size, scale, and overall awesomeness, the RDL is completely outclassed by a chunk of the dark web called CARL.

CARL is the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, and if you have any interest in history or the military (or, better yet, military history), I can pretty much guarantee it’s the coolest website you’ve never heard of. Their online collection is simply without equal, and they may have the best collection of World War One historical records anywhere online – a collection that surprisingly includes a huge amount of material on gas and chemical warfare. You can get lost browsing through their collections for literally hours; every time you turn around there’s something interesting, obscure, or merely awesome.

So, what are you waiting for? Get browsing, already. You never know what you’ll find. And, did I mention they make it ridiculously easy to find out when they add new material, by publishing an RSS feed?

To whet your appetite, here are a few interesting items I’ve stumbled across so far:

Human Factors: Considerations of Undergrounds in Insurgencies;

Draft as a Deterrent Influence on U.S. Military Interventions;

Preparing for Beslan: Anti-Terrorism Recommendations for an American School;

The North Korean Ballistic Missile Program (PDF!);

Blogs, Cyber-Literature, and Virtual Cultures in Iran (PDF!);

Field Service Manual for Balloon Companies;

Gas in Attack and Gas in Defense, 1919;

A History of Military Pyrotechnics in the World War;

Japanese Balloons and Attached Devices;

…and so many, many more. Get browsing, get reading, and be sure to share anything truly awesome you stumble across.

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on February 2nd, 2009| 1 Comment »

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  1. On 2/3/2009 at 8:54 am Ed Burgess Said:

    That’s a very kind review. Much appreciate the thought. We’re trying hard to increase the amount of stuff online, including bringing other Army libraries’ objects into the collection. Keep watching, it will only get better. Thanks again.

    Ed Burgess
    Director, CARL
    Federal Library of the Year (Large)