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Knovel Content Now Indexed on GlobalSpec

.: From a press release emailed on 29 Sept 2004 from Knovel:

New York, NY - September 29, 2005 - Knovel Corporation (www.knovel.com), a leading provider of revolutionary Web-based information services that increase productivity for millions of engineers, scientists and librarians worldwide, announced today its partnership with GlobalSpec, the specialized search engine and online community for engineers. Knovel's collection of interactive reference books from over 30 publishers is now indexed within The Engineering WebSM, GlobalSpec's vertical search engine.

This collaboration will bring Knovel to the desktops of the millions of engineers and technical professionals who visit GlobalSpec each month. People who have relied on GlobalSpec for technical content including products, services, standards, patents, application notes and proprietary content now have access to Knovel's comprehensive library that culminates the world's best published references into one platform. "It's a logical partnership," says Christopher M. Forbes, CEO of Knovel Corporation. "We're both dedicated to bringing reliable resources to the engineering and technical community."

GlobalSpec's search engine, The Engineering WebSM, will peer deep into Knovel's database to yield relevant, detailed results to technical queries. When a search is performed, Knovel subscribers will be taken directly to the page of the book yielding their results. Other GlobalSpec users will receive bibliographic data from Knovel to direct them towards a solution. This new partnership will greatly improve research in the engineering community.

This is another example of a proprietary database allowing its content to be indexed by a search engine available freely to the public. For example, IEEE has allowed Google to index its IEEE Xplore database. As mentioned, access to Knovel content will be available when searching GlobalSpec on a computer at a location that also subscribes to Knovel; users at companies and institutions without a subscription will be more than a little frustrated when they discover they can't view the results.

Of interest is that Engineering Village subscribers can search GlobalSpec within the EV platform. I connected to GlobalSpec through Engineering Village, and searched "obsolete SAE steels", restricting the search to "The Engineering Web" within GlobalSpec. Sure enough, the first result listed was to the Knovel title from which I'd extracted the search phrase, Electromechanical Design Handbook, 3rd ed. Clicking on that result opened a page that includes the Knovel logo, a hotlnked thumbnail of the book cover, a description of the content, and a link at the bottom to the search results within the book. The disclaimer underneath the links reads: "Note: By clicking the above link, you will be leaving the GlobalSpec website to go to our content partner, Knovel. If you have a subscription to this title on Knovel, you will be able to see its content without logging in. If you do not have a subscription, you will be able to subscribe online." Clicking on the link (or the thumbnail) takes you to a list of the sections or chapters within the book that include the search phrase, a nice feature that also works within a Knovel search itself..

Indexing of Knovel content within GlobalSpec may be inconsistent with regards to the results that appear in a GlobalSpec search. In other words, one can search for a word or phrase that in Knovel would return many hits, but in GlobalSpec, the user may have considerably difficult determining where the Knovel hits are within the GlobalSpec search results, if at all. For example, I search "pressure vessel" in Knovel, with no restrictions; the search returns 217 titles. The same search run in GlobalSpec, restricted to "the engineering web", returns 119,096 hits. Where amongst these results might the Knovel content be found? Perhaps the solution would be to move the Knovel content to the front of the results, or to allow the user to restrict the search to Knovel content.

GlobalSpec allows the user to "Refine Your Results" when searching, but only by related subject terms and phrases. The search, "pressure vessel" and knovel, returns 133 hits in GlobalSpec, with 10 sites listed per page. Oddly enough, when I clicked through to the third page, it reads, "Engineering Web Sites: 31 - 40 of 133 "; when I click through to the fourth page, it changes to "Engineering Web Sites: 41 - 42 of 42 ", and the results stop there. So it appears that there remain some glitches that need to be addressed. One change worth consideration would be to include the option to restrict a GlobalSpec search to Knovel content. This would benefit both parties: GlobalSpec would increase its use, Knovel would increase its profile and potentially its customer base as well.

Related to this is a nano-bone I need to pick with Knovel. The press releases sent by e-mail are very much appreciated, but check the Knovel News: Press Releases, and the most current press release is nowhere to be found. It would be useful for a press release to be uploaded to the Knovel website at the same time it is e-mailed the Knovel's customers.

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