Here are four updates relevant to the EEVL project.
Linda Kerr, EEVL
The Offshore Engineering Information Service  hosted by EEVL , provides details of meetings and conferences in petroleum and offshore engineering, and a bibliography of recent accessions in those areas to Heriot-Watt University Library. The Web pages were previously free only to UK academics, and are now free to all users. An article on engineering resources in Petroleum appears in this column, written by Arnold Myers, who runs the Offshore Engineering Information Service.
Roddy MacLeod here begins the first of his "Round the World" articles, focusing in this issue on quality engineering sites in Australia and South East Asia. This article is co-written by Gulcin Cribb, from The University of Queensland Library. Gulcin is involved in the recently-funded Australian Virtual Engineering Library (AVEL) , which aims to provide engineers with access to quality engineering Web-based materials in that region. There are close links between EEVL and AVEL, which may extend to include cross-searching facilities between the two services.
EEVL is already exploring the possibility of cross-searching Compendex and the EEVL catalogue, in collaboration with EDINA . Developing searching across different collections of resources is fast becoming the new brown (or grey) in the resource discovery world, and, by the time you read this, EEVL's All-in-one Search on the Internet for Engineering Resources (EASIER), should be fully operational. This allows users to search across the EEVL Catalogue, UK engineering Web sites and engineering newsgroups using one search box, giving quick and easy access to around 100,000 Web based items. Results are ranked, displaying the most appropriate results from each database. EASIER should make life...easier for users by combining searches which previously had to be carried out using different search pages. The EEVL Catalogue now includes over 4,000 records, and with increasing amounts of data, some queries require more advanced search options eg filtering results by resource type and location. For this reason, the individual search pages for the UK Engineering Search Engine, the EEVL Catalogue and the Newsgroup Archive will still be available.
In addition, the popular bibliographic database Recent Advances in Manufacturing (RAM) , hosted by EEVL, has undergone a number of improvements to the search and results interface. RAM is produced by the Library and Information Services Department at The Nottingham Trent University, and contains abstracts from over 500 leading journals in manufacturing.
Linda Kerr, EEVL Project Officer
Heriot-Watt University Library
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Phone: 0131 451 3572
Fax: 0131 451 3164
Linda Kerr is Services Officer for EEVL, with responsibility for service development and training.
The Internet includes a large number of electronic engineering resources. In some ways there is a problem with an excess of information. Compared to some disciplines, finding high quality, relevant resources can be very time consuming. A search using a popular search engine, for "electronic engineering" produced 30 million hits. If we assume that one can check each site to a reasonable depth in about half an hour then it would take over a thousand years to investigate them all. Any attempt to produce a list of the best electronic engineering Web sites is bound to be subjective, however, the following sites are all substantial, and have several useful features.
There are many sites which provide information on particular electronics topics. A few examples are:
A wide variety of papers and journals are available through universities, Institutions and commercial sites. Whilst abstracts are nearly always freely available, access to full text papers and journals may be restricted to subscribers, which is very frustrating.
The Technical Report Search Service  at Hensa can be searched for information on more than 4000 technical reports, masters theses, PhD theses, conference proceedings and books which are provided by 44 UK and worldwide institutions. The subject area is general, not specifically electronics, but it can be a convenient starting point for a search for papers.
Many electronics related magazines have online versions, with additional features such as glossaries. For example New Electronics Online  is an e-journal version of the magazine "New Electronics" includes a reference page from which a full text of technical articles from previous issues can be downloaded in pdf format. A Technology section at provides links to press releases on specified technical topics as well as another route to the full text articles. A dictionary of acronyms used in electronics is also provided. Only a table of contents (without abstracts) is given for the current issue of the magazine, but there is a lot of other information available on the site.
Technology News  is another e-journal. It provides articles on a variety of subjects with links between related ones. Articles are divided up by subject area. A Technical Encyclopaedia  allows a user to search for terms or ask for a random definition. At the end of each definition a list of the terms just before and just after it in the encyclopaedia are given, links to related topics may also be included. Definitions include text and often diagrams to illustrate them. Company information can be searched. There is a listing of events and also reviews of products. The site uses frames and also carries adverts which take up some of the screen space and mean that more scrolling is needed to read text and diagrams.
Circuit Cellar INK  is a magazine based in the USA. The online version includes articles relating to practical embedded systems problems and articles illustrating unique applications through complete projects, practical tutorials and design techniques. There are articles on technical problems and possible solutions to them. A suppliers directory and an index of back issues are available. Commercial company Web sites often include product specifications, data sheets and manuals. They may also incorporate directories and glossaries of technical information as a value added component of the site. A couple of good ones are:
University sites may include undergraduate course material, and often also give information on the types of research being undertaken, plus lists of publications from research groups.
The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Surrey  includes descriptions of the department, its courses and research projects. There are also some more detailed sets pages on particular project interests such as Worldwide TV Standards - A Web Guide . This substantial guide includes an explanation of how the different television standards evolved and describes the various technologies being used to convert between them. There is a map showing where the different standards apply and practical advice for people wishing to convert videos between different standards.
Nicola Harrison, EEVL Database Assistant
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Nicola Harrison has a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Brunel University. She worked as an editor and coder for patent information providers Derwent Information specialising in imaging and medical electronics from 1990. Since October 1997 she has been Project Assistant at Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library.
Roddy MacLeod, Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library, and Gulcin Cribb, The University of Queensland Library
Locating Australian engineering Internet resources is likely to become much easier once the Australian Virtual Engineering Library (AVEL)  develops into a fully-fledged service. Currently progressing beyond the planning stages, and with a Web site which already includes links to a number of engineering resources, AVEL is a partnership between The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC), the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, Monash University, the Institution of Engineers, Australia, and the Centre for Mining Technology and Equipment (CMTE). The aim of AVEL is to provide engineers of all kinds with efficient access to relevant, quality Australian Web-based materials through a searchable catalogue of resources. Better organised access to Australian engineering Internet resources is necessary for several reasons. The size of the engineering sector in that country makes it important in global terms, but other factors include the rapid uptake of new technology within the country (one of the highest in the world, with impressive growth of Internet use), and the importance that the Australian Government has placed on developing a national strategy for information and communications services.
At the present time, however, finding major Australian and South East Asian engineering sites is not particularly easy. The large Australian search engines and directories, such as Yahoo! Australia & NZ , Web Wombat Australian Search Engine, Sofcom's Web Directory , ANZWERS , and Excite Australia Channels  are only a little better for this purpose than their international equivalents.
There are occasional gems which partly make up for the present lack of a central access point, and one of these is undoubtedly the Asia Pacific Trade Publications site being developed by ASIA Pacific Energy Business Publications Pte. Ltd, who are based in Singapore . Their home page includes a dreaded 'under construction' warning, but is nevertheless worth investigation. At first glance, it looks as if there is little more here than some as yet undeveloped home pages for various print trade journals such as Hydrocarbon Asia, FDN Asia, and an online version of PetroMin, the upstream oil and gas magazine currently celebrating its twenty-fifth year of publication. With tables of contents, the editorial, and selected full text articles from the printed version of PetroMin freely available, plus an archive of past issues (only a few issues available at the present time), a calendar of forthcoming events, and an email mailing list offering industry news, promotions, and links, this is a useful site for a fairly specialised market (the printed version of PetroMin has a circulation of just over 7,000), but what makes the resource worth a return visit is the 'Petromin / Hydrocarbon Asia - OnLine Oil & Gas Directory' page with its selection of oil and gas Industry links. This is a version of the more detailed printed PetroMin Hydrocarbon Asia Oil & Gas Directory, which can be ordered from the Web site, and is a very useful tool for locating the Web sites of over 800 companies, government sites, products, services, associations, universities and research institutes. The searchable and browsable directory includes resources which are located both within the region and elsewhere, which is a little disappointing, as a more localised focus might perhaps be more useful, but many of the Australasion resources included are worth visiting, and the directory's descriptions are informative and well-crafted.
A typical example of a well designed engineering company Web site which can be found through the directory is that of BHP . BHP (Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited) is one of the oldest mining companies in Australia, having been incorporated in 1885 when it was formed to develop a mine in western New South Wales. By 1888, it was already supplying a significant proportion of the world's silver, and in the years following it expanded its operations to include copper, coal, petroleum, power, transport, ferrous minerals, steel products and information technology. The company now has interests and activities in 18 countries, and is Australia's largest listed public company. The site is full of interesting facts and figures and the occasional more in-depth analysis or helpful glossary, but much of the information is aimed at the interested lay-person, student, job prospector, or financier rather than researcher or practicing engineer. However, often the facts themselves are fascinating. Did you know that BHP Petroleum, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BHP, is the 18th largest oil and gas company in the world in terms of reserves? Or that BHP Coal-managed operations have proved reserves of 817 million tonnes of metallurgical coal, or that the company produces 40 per cent of the world's supply of copper concentrates?
Roderick MacLeod, Senior Faculty Librarian
Heriot-Watt University Library
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Phone: 0131 451 3576
Fax: 0131 451 3164
Roddy MacLeod is Senior Faculty Librarian for Engineering at Heriot-Wat University Library, and Services Manager for EEVL. He also edits the Internet Resources Newsletter.
Gulcin Cribb is Manager, Dorothy Hill Physical Sciences & Engineering Library Service, The University of Queensland
Arnold Myers, Heriot-Watt University
The oil industry is notoriously conservative, and the provision of web-based information resources has been slower than in some other fields. Nevertheless there is now much substantial information available. The emphasis on conference papers rather than journals is evident in electronic provision as it has been in paper publications. This article gives a few signposts to some of the better services.
The petroleum industry would appear to be well placed to exploit to the full the advantages of World-Wide Web publishing: its operations are truly world-wide, extending from the tropics to the arctic, the use of a single language (English) predominates, and developments in technical, commercial and political matters are rapid. However, the industry seems in many instances to prefer old-fashioned products which are reliable and familiar. For example, the technical standards used internationally are those of the American Petroleum Institute ; although new editions are produced fairly frequently, there is no web version and even the wealthiest oil company is forced to rely entirely on paper publications. The trade directory used by the upstream industry around the North Sea is Miller Freeman's Offshore Oil and Gas Directory - excellent in paper and on CD, but non-existant on the Web. Although the industry can act in unison in many ways, its information provision is largely left to free enterprise which continues to find print media profitable.
The material of most interest to academic engineers is, as in other fields, published in conference papers and journals. Substantial accounts of industry experience tend to be presented at conferences rather than written up for journals, and the resulting publications are not always picked up by indexing and abstracting services. Academic contributions appear in both the conference and the journal literature.
The coverage of the petroleum industry in electronic journals is still meagre - examples such as Proceedings - Institution of Civil Engineers : Water maritime and energy  include only a small fraction of the relevant literature. The situation may well improve, and it is always worth checking the current position in the Engineering E-journal Search Engine  for full-text electronic journals.
The most active organisation in publishing conference papers electronically is the Society of Petroleum Engineers . The SPE organises conferences all over the world, and controls the publication of the papers very systematically. The website has the SPE Technical Paper Index which allows searching by author, title, year, publication, or paper number of the 30,000 references in the SPE archive from 1951 to date. The full electronic text of recent papers is offered, but not free of charge. A service called SPE Masterdisk available (by modest subscription) online through the web gives abstracts in addition to indexing, but can be frustrating in practice since the licence is only for use at a single computer.
There are several useful news services on the Web, such as Financial Times Energy Publishing . The site contains about 20 full-text stories from current newsletters as well as information about the extensive range of energy publications from FT Energy Publishing. Although the full text of all publications is not available free of charge, sample issues of newsletters and executive summaries of many management reports can be downloaded.
The Offshore Engineering Information Service  maintained by the present author includes a regularly-updated (at least every three months, often more frequently) cumulative bibliography of petroleum and marine technology which supesedes the one in the Petroleum and Marine Technology Information Guide (Spon, 1993). Access to the service is free. The service also includes a bulletin of new publications and a calendar of forthcoming meetings in petroleum and marine technology which is more comprehensive (130-150 announcements) than other free services, and has a back file.
A further good service giving announcements of meetings is the Subtech Petroleum Events Calendar : a listing of forthcoming events (conferences, seminars, exhibitions etc) related to the petroleum industry with a bias towards North Sea related activities. The calender is a single page listing of events in chronological order.
One of the best-maintained and most user-friendly sites is that of the Institute of Petroleum  whose website includes news, publications lists, forthcoming meetings etc and an impressive array of links.
The The American Association of Petroleum Geologists whose website Geobyte  contains articles from recent bulletins as .pdf files, viewable using an Adobe Acrobat reader software. The website also contains abstracts from past and future conferences and a large publications list. An unusual feature is a searchable database of students who are readily available to help with petroleum and geological needs. AAPG is an international organization of more than 31,000 members in 115 countries
The International Association of Drilling Contractors  promotes commitment to safety, preservation of the environment and advances in drilling technology. Membership is open to any company involved in oil and gas exploration and production, well servicing, oil field manufacturing and other rig site services. The server contains information on membership, a publications catalogue, text of the newsletter - Drill Bits Online, accident statistics, a weekly rig count and news of meetings and conferences. The IADC document service offers a list of publications of interest to the drilling community. The site has some full text .pdf documents. The site give up-to-date statistics on worldwide drilling and accidents.
EEVL: Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library  is the British gateway to engineering Internet resources, especially UK-based resources. Web resources are carefully inspected and only included if they contain substantial material likely to be of use to engineers. There are 164 such sites described and linked at present.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate  server, with pages in English and Norwegian, gives information on production, safety legislation applicable to the petroleum industry and details of research projects. The legislation is available free of charge through the Web. One of the most substantial free databases, OIL , contains all of the references in Oljeindeks (Oil Index) from 1974 to date, approximately 50.000 references and covers both English-language and Norwegian language material of nordic origin.
The United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association  is the representative organisation for the British offshore oil and gas industry. Its members are the companies licensed by HM Government to explore for and produce oil and gas in UK waters.
This site offers information about the organisation and its publications, and includes a glossary, a history of North Sea oil, information about safety policy and organisation, statistics, and press releases from the organisation. There is a large amount of background information, case studies, and briefings about the industry.
The Oil Industry International Exploration and Production Forum  (E & P Forum) represents the interests of the upstream oil and gas industry with international regulatory bodies. At this site is information about the Forum, its mission, structure, members, and representatives. An on-line catalogue of Forum Reports is available, along with the full text of a Position Paper on decommissioning, plus links to pages about the work of the E&P Forum Standards subcommittee, and the E&P Forum Committee for Physical Oceanography and Meteorology.
There is one substantial freely-available industry directory, the Pegasus Oil & Gas Directory  which is searchable by company name, location and keyword.
Many company sites are more concerned with presenting an image and appearing to be at the cutting edge than in conveying information in an efficient way. These sites, which are probably most impressive when presented by their designers to company management on local equipment, merely tax the patience of remote users who have plough through successive pages full of graphics and frames but low on useful information. Too often the design tries to emulate the impact of turning over a magazine page to be struck by a striking and colourful layout, an experience which the web rarely delivers effectively, rather than exploiting the indexing and data organizing characteristics of hypertext which are the web's strong feature.
Schlumberger Oilfield Services  is one of the more informative company websites. Among other features there is a form one can complete for on-line assessment of chances in a job application. It also contains the remarkable sci.geo.petroleum  page of internet resource live links, maintained by William F. Quinlivan.
Dr Arnold J. Myers Information specialist: Petroleum and Offshore Engineering,
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Arnold Myers is Senior Faculty Librarian for Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University Library. He also runs the Offshore Engineering Information Service, which offers an information service to subscribers, and a current awareness service of bibliographic information and conference details, freely available to all.