January 4, 2006

Punch List of Best Practices for Electronic Resources - Engineering Libraries Division of ASEE

.: For those attending ALA Midwinter in San Antonio later this month (this does not include me - how do people afford to go to multiple conferences each year?), please note the following, as posted on STS-L:

The Science & Technology Section (STS), Publishers/Vendors Relations Discussion Group will be hosting a discussion on "Best Practices for Electronic Resources". The focus will be the Punchlist of Best Practices for Electronic Resources prepared by Engineering Libraries Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. This is the first time that this document will feature in a public forum.
In a subsequent post on STS-L, Mel deSart stresses the importance of receiving feedback from as many interested parties as possible:
On behalf of ASEE's Engineering Libraries Division, and as one of the original group of seven ELDers who created the Punch List, please be assured that we want as many librarians, publishers, vendors, etc. as possible to review and comment on the PL (see the comment form on the Punch List web page...). We very much believe this document is, and will continue to be, a work in progress. As conditions in the electronic publishing industry change, the Punch List will be adapted to address those changes, encouraging and supporting what we collectively believe to be best practices in particular areas.

And to make sure that happens, in a decision at this past summer's ASEE conference, ELD elected to spin off what had been the ad hoc task force that created the Punch List into an ongoing Scholarly Communication Committee. That 15 person committee, which I was asked to initially chair, will be working, via subgroups, on a number of projects, with the ongoing refining and enhancing of the PL being one of them. More info about that committee and our activities, some of which we believe will be of interest to STS members, will be posted to STS-L and elsewhere sometime after the first of the year (and presumably before Midwinter).
I'm looking forward to the PL discussion in the session at San Antonio.

March 21, 2005

Jay Bhatt: Informing Library Users About Availability of Individual Online Books

:: Jay Bhatt at Drexel posted the following on a number of discussion groups this morning:

On a recent post in ELDNET-L, Kate Thomes posted an interesting question on ebooks. My question more deals with how do we inform our users about their online availability. More specifically single individual online reference works such as the Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering.

Issue 1:

Users normally go to their university's electronic resources web page and then access electronic books such as engnetbase, knovel, etc. Each ebook within these colllections is most likely linked in the online catalog. Since collections such Knovel and ENGnetBASE are also linked from eresources page, users may access them directly without going to the online catalog.

My question is: Do users take advantage of the online catalog to find ebooks? How do we increase their usage so that it is easier to make renewal decision? It is impractical to include a growing collection individual ebooks in eresources pages such as where we can try to have a separate page listing each individual encyclopedia, for example. It is time consuming and labor intensive on the other users have a tendency to go through alphabetical listing of long ejournal title lists and accessing the title they want.

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August 4, 2004

E-Books in Engineering Reference Work

:: Paul Teague, National Editor of Design News, writes in a 19 July 2004 column of how Knovel is changing the way engineers are using reference books. Teague notes:

Knovel's move is an extension of what other engineering websites have done. GlobalSpec (, for example, leads engineers to 10,000 catalogs, 40,000 material data sheets, and 50,000 application notes, while has 67,000 product categories on its website. Kellysearch (, with about 1.2 million visitors per month worldwide, includes listings from about 765,000 U.S. companies. But Knovel actually has the reference books' contents directly on its site. Among the titles: McGraw-Hill classics such as The Electromechanical Design Handbook, Dimensoning and Tolerancing Handbook, and Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain, as well as books from Elsevier and material from professional associations, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The company says the contents add up amount to about $142,000 worth of material—the amount of all the hard-copy books.
I agree with Teague - the Knovel package is a good one, and many engineers, researchers, scientists and students on our campus are still learning about the database.

Many of Knovel's titles include productivity tools, including features such as interactive tables, tables with equation plotters, graph digitizers, tables with graph plotter, chemical structure search, spectra viewer, phase diagram viewer, and excel spreadsheets. Teague notes this as well:

Knovel also points to the interactive nature of the content as a big plus. For example, all the graphs are interactive. View the content in HTML or PDF form, then put your mouse on a curve, and you get the data point. Tables are interactive too; click on them and they morph into a form you can merge into a spreadsheet. And equations solve themselves when you enter the variables. One reviewer compared the experience to a computer game, saying it was actually fun to do the calculations.

I would add that for high quality content, the CRCnetBASE databases such as ENGnetBASE, ENVIROnetBASE and CHEMnetBASE are of comparable importance. Libraries able to afford both Knovel and one or more CRCnetBASE dbs are providing their users with a large majority of the major handbooks in engineering and related disciplines.

One way to increase the use of important e-reference books is to embed them into resource guides. Examples of guides I've created, into which I've embedded selected e-reference books, include mechanical engineering, materials science & engineering, chemical engineering, and nanoscience & nanotechnology.

July 28, 2004

Classic Chemistry Book - Free Online Via U Cal Press

George Porter notes the following on CHMINF-L:

University of California Press, following the pioneering lead of the National Academy Press, has released 400+ books for public consumption. I've mentioned both of these excellent resources in the past. What sparked my interest today was a citation to an outstanding treatise on the evolution/revolution of scientific thought and understanding.

Rocke, Alan J. The Quiet Revolution: Hermann Kolbe and the Science of
Organic Chemistry
. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1993.

Some additional sources of online books to which one can link, without fees
or contracts:

University of California Press eScholarship Editions

Additionally, UC Press provides linking assistance, with MARC and MODS records that can be loaded into library catalogs, and an Excel spreadsheet with key bits of information for those who simply wish to add the URL to existing records.

E-Editions - University of Nebraska Press

Baen Books

Hoover Institution Books Online

National Academy Press Reading Room

- George S. Porter

July 22, 2004

Full Text of Proceedings - Summary of Responses

:: Thank you to the many colleagues who responded with information on what society, institution and association conference proceedings are available online. In addition to IEEE, SPIE and MRS (mentioned below), the following are also available online:

One respondent advised that SPIE hopes to have its proceedings online back to 1990 by the end of 2004.

July 21, 2004

Full-Text of Proceedings - What's Available?

:: At SLA in Nashville in June, I learned that Materials Research Society has made their proceedings available online, from their 2000 MRS Spring Meeting. SPIE offers the SPIE Digital Library, which includes all proceedings from 1998, #3245 to the present. IEEE offers their conferences online back to 1988 via the IEEE/IEE Electronic Library.

As far as I can determine, other associations such ASME or ASCE are not offering this service. Does anyone know of other associations or societies which are making their conferences or proceedings available online? I'll add your responses to this post, and I will post this message to ELDNET and SLA-ENG.

March 18, 2004

STM Publishing Giants Rally Behind EBL

:: This is flying around the Internet:

Top STM Publishers Join eBooks Corporation’s New Library Offering.
PERTH, Australia
Friday, 12 March 2004

Six of the world's principle Science, Technology & Medical publishers announced today that they are participating in the launch of eBooks Corporation's landmark new library service, EBL.

Cambridge University Press, Kluwer, Oxford University Press, Springer, Taylor & Francis and World Scientific will all provide titles for EBL. At launch in June 2004 EBL will carry titles across all disciplines, including the deepest, most comprehensive and most up to date range of STM ebooks currently available to the library community.

Aimed at academic and research libraries, the EBL model features enhanced functionality including multiple concurrent access, online and offline access, read aloud, chapters for reserve circulation, short term circulation and document delivery solutions.

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