EEVL: the Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library, is the UK-based, free gateway to engineering information on the Internet. It is part of the EMC Hub, which in turn is part of the Resource Discovery Network (RDN), a national initiative to provide effective access to high quality Internet resources for the UK learning and research communities.. EEVL is a JISC funded service.
There seems to be quite a lot of news to report from the EEVL camp.
EEVL recently became the WWW Virtual Library for Engineering. The WWWVL is one of the oldest catalogues of the Web, and this means that EEVL has become the top level guide in what is a highly respected confederation of Internet guides. The WWWVL consists of hundreds of individual indexes on hundreds of different servers around the world. A set of catalogue pages linking all of the indexes is maintained at the WWWVL with mirrors at Penn State University (USA), East Anglia (UK), Geneva (Switzerland) and Argentina. A link on the EEVL home page leads to a page which provides links to all of the twenty-five or so more specific engineering subject-area WWWVLs, from Acoustics and Vibration, to Welding Engineering, and at the bottom of this page there is also a facility for searching the contents of all of the constituent sites in the WWW Virtual Library.
EEVL has been awarded accreditation from Enterprise Zone, the DTI and Business Link supported portal site, in recognition of its provision of accurate, relevant and up-to-date information. The Enterprise Zone is a gateway to business information for SMEs. There are many awards services on the Internet, and EEVL has never actively pursued such accolades, but we are very happy when one comes our way. A list of awards gained by EEVL is available.
A recent landmark passed by the service was the addition of the 5,000th site in the EEVL searchable and browsable directory of quality engineering Web sites. This directory is the lynchpin around which EEVL's other services hang, and it is very important for the EEVL that it is constantly maintained. The EEVL portfolio of services now includes a UK Engineering Search Engine which mines over 100,000 Web pages focused entirely on engineering, a searchable engineering newsgroup archive, an Engineering E-journal Search Engine which searches the full text of over 150 engineering e-journals, a Manufacturing bibliographical database, an Offshore Engineering Information Service, two small bibliographic databases (Liquid Crystal Database and JET Impingement Database), a searchable University Science and Technology Librarians Group (USTLG) Directory, an Engineering Resources on the Internet bibliography, and various lists of top engineering sites. All of these services are regularly updated. Three of the services (the EEVL Catalogue, the Engineering newsgroup archive, and the UK Engineering Search Engine) are nested so that it is possible to cross-search them from one search box.
EEVL was recently strengthened through the addition of an Aerospace and Defence Engineering section, provided by AERADE at Cranfield University. This section is currently being populated with records of resources according to a classification scheme devised jointly between EEVL and AERADE, and this section should eventually contain details of over 1,000 resources.
Another new section is Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). OSH is a very important growth area for engineers, and we expect that this section will become popular with users from a number of disciplines. A number of other sections of EEVL have been reclassified and sub-divided, including Product and Process Design and Development, Manufacturing Operations and Systems, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, and Construction and Building Engineering. Although a time-consuming exercise, as a result of the growth of the EEVL Catalogue, reclassification of EEVL sections and subsections is periodically necessary in order to ensure that, when browsing for resources, users are not faced with over-long lists of resources.
EEVL recently recorded its 3 millionth page view.
In the light of EEVL's growth in popularity and use, the entire site was recently substantially redesigned to make it easier to use and better reflect its purpose. A new EEVL eye logo was produced, and a designer was employed to create what is hoped is an attractive and simple to use site. There are now handy Hot Links from the EEVL home page to a number of helpful topics, such as Other Engineering Guides, other subject portals via PINAKES, Jobs & Recruitment sites, Events, Teaching & Learning sites, Literature Searching, Industry News sources for engineering, and Cross-searching via the RDN. Several more Hot Links are being planned, including one providing links to current awareness services, and these should be available in the near future.
As mentioned above, maintenance of the EEVL Catalogue is given a high priority. It is important that few, if any, links to resources are broken, and also that the descriptions of resources are up-to-date. Over the last few months, EEVL has employed an assistant who has been reviewing records on a systematic basis. The result, we hope, is an accurate and current Catalogue.
From October up to the end of January, EEVL ran a Challenge competition for which there were a number of attractive prizes. I hope to report in more detail on this competition, which attracted nearly one thousand entrants, in the next issue of Ariadne.
The Recent Advances in Manufacturing (RAM) bibliographic database, which covers items from over 500 journals and magazines, recently underwent a slight redesign to make it easier to use. Updated monthly, this free database now contains details of over 25,000 articles.
On the personnel side, Nancy Sprague is now employed on a part-time basis by EEVL to act as an independent Service Review Consultant for the EDINA service.
One or two adverts are now featured on the EEVL home page. The companies advertising in this way are respected for their services to the engineering industry, and the income generated from them will allow us to maintain the EEVL site.
A service such as EEVL is constantly developing and evolving. In the not too distant future, a cross-search service with Compendex, which will be available to subscribers of that service, should become available. Minor changes will continue to be made to the EEVL Catalogue, and in the longer term, and in conjunction with the RDN, we hope to develop various portal services. We also hope to form further alliances and partnerships with relevant organisations involved in the area of engineering information. I will keep you posted.
For more information, contact
Roddy MacLeod, EEVL Manager, Heriot-Watt University: R.A.MacLeod@hw.ac.uk 0131 451 3576
Heriot-Watt University Library