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Numeric search enables deep investigations across Ei Compendex & Inspec on Engineering Village

on Thu, 02/09/2017 - 14:49

New functionality allows searches by meters, temperature, data bits and more than 60 other measurement units

By Marilynn Larkin

Summary: Engineers will no longer be stymied by the many ways numerical data appears in the literature. Forget about searching on qualitative terms such as “big,” “short,” “heavy” or “shallow.” Numeric search—new functionality for Compendex and Inspec on Engineering Village—lets you search directly on the specific terms that matter to you, and receive standardized results in the format of your choice.

Streamline your searches

Numerical data is often used by authors of scientific literature to describe the most important aspect of their research – for example, the size of the components within a microchip, the thermal properties of a material, or the bit rate of a data transfer.

Yet, the ability to search using numerical, physical and chemical data to locate research information is complicated by the many different ways such information is expressed – in particular, different formats and special symbols, Matt McGarva, Engineering Village Product Manager, explained in a recent webinar.

He gave the example of a length, 63 feet. “Feet is commonly written as feet or foot or abbreviated as F T. It is can also be expressed in a different unit — 21 yards — which also has its own set of variations. To search for a length shorter than 63 feet, you would have to consider inches, and for longer measurements, miles.

Further, length can be expressed in metric measurements. But meters, for example, may also be spelled with “re” at the end, or abbreviated with the letter m. And, of course, length may also be expressed in millimeters, centimeters or kilometers, all with their own set of abbreviations.

Until now, to ensure you retrieve a complete set of results, with maximum recall, you would need to search for all the different ways you could think of for expressing 63 feet - and you would be guaranteed to miss many variants you have not considered.

Numeric data search changes all that. Driven by a complex numerical data indexing algorithm, the system finds, converts and standardizes numerical data using the international system of units — more commonly known as SI units (see Figure 1). 

Find previously undiscovered data

The system also enables searches by special notations, as well as range searching. The entire Compendex database from 1970 to the present has been run through this newly developed tool.

Figure 1: example of numerical data Compendex record.

The numeric search filter has a clean, easy-to-use interface that also provides step-by-step guidance through the search refinement process:

Figure 2: The numeric search filter 

Currently, numeric search provides:

• 62 different physical and chemical properties indexed for Compendex.

• Over 6.5 million records available for cross searching within the Compendex and Inspec databases.

• 460,000 different ways of writing numerical data — matched, converted and standardized.

• One easy-to-use search filter that allows you to search using the unit of your choice and also to conduct range searching.

During the webinar, Matt takes viewers through a compelling and detailed tour of the new tool, using specific examples that will resonate with engineers in various disciplines, from aerospace to chemical, mechanical and more – all in about half an hour!

More new features and content

Sally Fell, also an Engineering Village Product Manager, followed Matt with an equally compelling presentation on a number of  new features on Engineering Village. Highlights include:

-Custom name searches and alerts. This is a useful feature if the saved search query is long or a user wants to track searches and alerts by a project name, date, department name or simply have an easy to remember description.

-Improved record sharing. Researchers can see all their sharing choices — email link, email record, embed link — within one menu.

-Search form on results page. Refine searches quickly and easily after an initial query.

-Getting started guide (see figure 3): New users and those who need a refresher can now make the most of Engineering Village’s advanced features.

-Knovel abstracts. Customers who subscribe to both EV and Knovel can now search Knovel book and conference records from within Engineering Village.

-Grant funding data. Users who want to identify grant funding resources or track project sponsored by funding agencies can use three new grant funding fields  — sponsor, number, acronym — in Compendex, GEOBASE, EnCompassLit, Chemica and PaperChem databases.

-Dissertations. Compendex dissertation records extend back to 1997, and more than 4,000 dissertation records have been added to Inspec.

Sally also offered a sneak peek at enhancements scheduled for 2017. These include new ways to search for authors and affiliations, enabling researchers to easily locate experts within a field of research and target research by specific authors; IEEE standards records; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference papers from 1984 onward; and World Intellectual Property Organization records, which will enable Engineering Village researchers to cross-search US and European patents with the WIPO records.

Figure 3: Getting Started guide on Engineering Village home page:

In addition, based on user feedback, Engineering Village will undergo a design refresh, with features and content accessible in clean, easy-to-navigate web pages.

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