The Technical Information Office serves as the public inquiry center for conservation and general scientific information in the Smithsonian. Staff members conduct data base searches, maintain an up-to-date reprint file, answer questions on conservation-related issues or refer the inquiries to someone who can, and distribute MCI publications.
Data bases used in the searches include the Bibliographic Conservation Information Network (BCIN), the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA) Online, Internet, Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS), and MCI Archives.
Requests on availability and location of reprints come to MCI from throughout the United States and around the world. The MCI Technical Information Office is one of the few places where copies of many conservation and conservation-related publications can be found. If the item is not in the MCI reprint file, the Technical Information Office tries to locate a copy.
The Technical Information Office has been producing a series of "guideline" brochures, providing information relevant to the most-asked public inquiries. MCI scientists and conservators review the portions of the guidelines related to their area of expertise for technical accuracy.