DOT NTL Launches Digital Library for Transportation Research ROSA P

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Transportation Library (NTL) in the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has launched ROSA P (Repository and Open Science Access Portal), a new public repository for NTL’s collection of over 30,000 items.

Members of the transportation community and the general public can use ROSA P for all the open data and publications NTL acquires, manages and preserves for their benefit.

ROSA P offers NTL users a better, more useful and more reliable experience.

  • First, ROSA P features improved search and discovery by using revised metadata.
  • Second, ROSA P offers the promise of reliable, long-term access to this content, as it is built on the Stacks open source platform developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Third, NTL is assigning persistent, unique Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) to each object in the repository to ensure that each item in the repository will always have a distinct and unchanging means of finding it.

Background Information on the National Transportation Library and ROSA-P

Established in 1998 by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ National Transportation Library (NTL):

  • Provides national and international access to transportation information
  • Coordinates information creation and dissemination
  • Offers reference services for the transportation community

Its authorized role was expanded in 2012’s Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) which mandated NTL:

  • Acquire, preserve and manage transportation information and information products and services for use by US Department of Transportation (US DOT), other Federal agencies, and the public
  • Provide reference and research services
  • Serve as a central repository for DOT research results and technical publications
  • Serve as a central clearinghouse for transportation data and information of the Federal Government
  • Serve as coordinator and policy lead for transportation information access
  • Coordinate among and cooperate with multiple external parties to develop a “comprehensive transportation information and knowledge network” to support the I-XI list [information required of BTS at 49 USC 6302((b)(3)(B)(vi)]
  • Publicize, facilitate and promote access to information products and services

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NTL has been the home for publications and statistical data about transportation for nearly 20 years.

In that time, NTL has worked to build a body of knowledge which will enable the transportation community, whether that is USDOT, state transportation agencies, the transportation industry or the general public, to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about transportation.

This effort has led to the current collection of over 30,000 items in the NTL’s digital, open access repository.

However, in order to make this collection as useful a resource for the transportation community as possible, NTL has launched a new and improved repository platform for its collection: ROSA P.

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ROSA P offers NTL users a better, more useful and more reliable experience.  For search, it is miles ahead of previous interfaces.

NTL is using revised metadata which can handle both publicly available documents and linked open data, thereby ensuring users can find what they are looking for more quickly and more comprehensively.

For users with some knowledge of DOT publications, searching within specific collections is now possible using basic search on the main page.

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For example, choosing NHTSA – Behavioral Safety Research from the drop-down menu in collections box and typing “teenager” in the keyword or phrase search box returns a smaller number of results (72) compared to searching for ‘teenager’ in All Collections.

Another option is Advanced Search which allows users to limit the search to a collection and select up to 3 search criteria.

When a user selects and views a search result, related documents and supporting files are all available from the same landing page.

In addition, the content in ROSA P will be indexed by Google Scholar, which offers another means of search and access.

Beyond better discovery of the content in the NTL repository, ROSA P offers a reliable experience each and every time users return.

NTL has developed ROSA P with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), using their open source platform, Stacks, as the base for the NTL public repository.

CDC’s Stacks platform uses established Islandora technology in order to provide ROSA P with a stable and responsive cloud storage environment, adhering to the best current standards in disaster recovery and limiting the chances of technology glitches which can provide incomplete or incorrect search results and mislead users when they access NTL’s transportation information.

Finally, NTL’s move to ROSA P furthers the efforts of NTL to ensure the permanence of its collection.

With the move to ROSA P, NTL will begin to assign persistent, unique Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) to each object in the repository.


These DOIs ensure that, however content might move on the servers or URLS change, each item in the repository will always have a distinct and permanent means of finding it.

Beyond that, with ROSA P, NTL is committed to an ongoing process of self-auditing and peer review, based on ISO Standard 16363:2012 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories, of its new repository, to ensure this great resource will continue to provide value for all users of information about transportation for many years to come.