In previous Ariadne columns I have introduced EEVL as "the UK guide to quality engineering information on the Internet". From the background information above, you will see that it is now referred to as the Hub for engineering, mathematics and computing. Why the change, and, for those who may have heard of it, what has happened to 'EMC'?
In Ariadne 23, Linda Kerr wrote "The EMC Hub can be viewed as a collection of gateways (which may eventually become portals) with technical facilities and some co-ordination provided by Heriot-Watt University." That was the situation earlier this year, when it was the intention to develop separate gateways for each of the subjects covered (engineering, mathematics and computing). For a number of reasons, related mostly to levels of funding, economies of effort and unity of service management, it has been decided to revise that structure and move towards a simplified organisational model, broadly similar to that of SOSIG, the Social Science Information Gateway. The new model will see the formation of one service with a strong identity, but one which also allows for the delivery of integrated services for each of the subject communities concerned.
The 'EMC Hub' is therefore no more. Instead, a new service, known as the EEVL Hub for engineering, mathematics and computing, is being developed. It will build upon the brand recognition of the current EEVL service, and will be available from the same Web address ( http://www.eevl.ac.uk/ ), but it will in future include three main subject sections: engineering, mathematics and computing. Once the service is developed, users will have the option of searching the entire EEVL Hub covering all three subjects, or searching any of the constituent subject sections.
Engineering will continue to include an aerospace and defence engineering section provided by AERADE at Cranfield University. The mathematics section will be known as MathGate, and a Computing section will be created. The lead site for EEVL is Heriot-Watt University, with partners at the University of Birmingham, the University of Ulster, and Cranfield University. A number of other institutions and organisations will contribute to the development of EEVL, including Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, The Nottingham Trent University, the University of Sheffield, the LTSN (Learning and Teaching Support Network) Centre for Information and Computer Sciences and the LTSN Maths, Stats & OR Network. It is hoped that the increase in the range of subjects will also increase commercialisation opportunities, though EEVL will continue to be a free service.
Whilst the new service is being developed, the existing EEVL Web site will continue to house a catalogue of engineering resources and other services such as the Recent Advances in Manufacturing (RAM) bibliographic database, the Engineering E-journal Search Engine (which is being expanded to index over two hundred free full-text engineering e-journals), the Offshore Engineering Information Service, the University Science and Technology Librarians Group Directory, plus various Hot Links such as Current Awareness Services, from which the European mirror of the Sci-Tech Library Newsletter is available. The work-in-progress on the mathematics section will also continue to be available from the existing MathGate Web site. Sometime in the late spring of 2001, the new EEVL web site will be released, and at this time all sections will be integrated at the one site.
The above developments are keeping everyone involved very busy, but existing services are being maintained, and as well as the FAILTE (Facilitating Access to Information on Learning Technology for Engineers) Project which I reported on in the last issue of Ariadne, EEVL is also participating in the Subject Portal Development Project (SPDP). This one-year project, which some may know as "SAD I - A subject -based approach to DNER: portal development 1", is one of a number of projects which will help to develop the Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER). The Subject Portal Development Project is based within the Resource Discovery Network (RDN), and will be investigating and proto-typing various cross-searching and community services. The three subject areas to be covered by SPDP are engineering, medicine and social sciences, business and law, and the software and design solutions developed in this project will feed into work being carried out as part of further DNER initiatives due to start August 2001. Amongst these, fully-fledged portals in engineering and mathematics will be developed.
In addition, MathGate has been promoting the Secondary Homepages concept. The secondary homepage is a template that contains standard fields based on the types of information that is found on departmental websites. Currently there are pages at The University of Birmingham, University of Ulster, Keele University, University of Manchester, and Sheffield Hallam University. There has been a surge of interest in secondary homepages due to the support given to them by the Heads of Departments of Mathematical Sciences (HoDoMS).
Seven RDN Virtual Training Suite tutorials of interest to the subjects covered by the EEVL Hub are currently in preparation. These are: Internet Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineer, Internet Occupational Health and Safety Engineer, Internet Materials Engineer, Internet Mathematician, Internet Mechanical Engineer, Internet Civil Engineer and the Internet for Petroleum and Offshore Engineering. Having had a look at the work in progress, I am confident that these tutorials, along with the existing Internet Aviator, will be of immense benefit to those seeking information in the subject areas concerned, and many thanks go to all of the authors, and to Linda Kerr, who is coordinating the effort.
On 20th November, the EEVL Information staff based at Heriot-Watt moved into a new office in the lower-ground floor of the Library. Contact details remain the same as before.
Heriot-Watt University Library