March 26, 2011

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Marcellus Shale Initiative (MSI) has launched a web-based publications database to reference and summarize publications on natural gas extraction topics.

Directed by Carl Kirby, professor of geology, MSI was created in 2010 to support Marcellus Shale-related research in the physical and social sciences and humanities at Bucknell.

"The database covers primarily print-based publications as these are the most reputable sources of information to date," said Kirby. "The database contains links to publications as well as short summaries of each publication."

Accessing and retrieving
He said that the database will also explain the differences among publication types and how to access and retrieve copyrighted publications.

"As the database grows, it will also include more references to publications that are not directly related to the Marcellus Shale," Kirby added. "Such publications might feature other unconventional gas extraction such as the Barnett Shale, hydraulic fracturing, potential health issues, or address socioeconomic changes in energy boom towns."

The database is intended to serve the public as well as regulators, industry, citizens' groups and academics who want to know more about the background and potential impact of the development of this resource.

Database partners
The MSI is dedicated to updating the database as rapidly as resources allow, said Kirby. The database does not provide coverage of websites, blogs, news articles, newsletters or other media. Database partners include the Forum for Pennsylvania's Heartland, the Degenstein Foundation and the Geisinger Center for Health Research.

The fourth and latest initiative of the Bucknell University Environmental Center, MSI will also facilitate teaching and additional public outreach efforts.

"Because an avalanche of information is reaching the public through the web and other media, the MSI also has a long-term plan to critically evaluate this information. This effort is currently in development," said Kirby.

The Marcellus Shale, a large geologic formation containing natural gas spanning New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia is undergoing rapid development as a major U.S. energy source. The use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to release the gas has led to the extraction being termed by some as "unconventional."

Contact: Division of Communications

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