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I wanted to draw your attention to a relatively new service for searching multiple repositories that looks impressive and that is soliciting feedback. My lack of domain expertise in engineering limits my ability to use it properly, but some sample searches on popular subjects (e.g. “environmental and green” for sustainable building issues) yielded good results and gave a sense of how this sort of tool can bring real retrieval efficiencies.


The Perx Project are also responsible for the very useful 'Marketing' with Metadata - How Metadata Can Increase Exposure and Visibility of Online Content, a non-technical guide for content providers to demonstrate with case studies the value of harvestable metadata of the OAI variety: http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/perx/advocacy/exposingmetadata.htm.






Pilot subject-based cross-repository search tool now available.


A Pilot service http://www.engineering.ac.uk providing subject resource discovery across a variety of digital repositories of interest to the engineering learning and research communities has been released by the PerX Project. Although the target repositories included in the Pilot are relevant to engineering, the cross-searching methods and interface used, plus the range of repository types included, should be of interest to many as a demonstrator of one method of resource discovery across multiple digital repositories.


Twenty-eight repositories are currently cross-searched by the Pilot. These include: the Directory of Open Access Journals (engineering and technology sections), DSpace at MIT, the Energy Citations Database, the GROW Digital Library, NASA Technical Reports, Jorum, ePrints UK, Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), National Engineering Education Delivery System (NEEDS), Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW), CISTI - Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, Caltech Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory Technical Reports, and several more established repositories of interest to the engineering community. More repositories will be added to the Pilot as they are identified and configured.


The Pilot’s Basic Search interface http://www.engineering.ac.uk/index.html?action=basic and Advanced Search interface http://www.engineering.ac.uk/index.html?action=advanced enable cross-searching of the repositories, and allow filtering by resource type: articles, theses and dissertations, technical reports, books, learning and teaching resources, key websites, industry news and new job announcements. Overall, more than 1.5 million resources are cross-searched by the Pilot.


Access to the full text of items found is available from many of the repositories. In a few cases, the full items consist of details of books, articles, learning objects or websites, and in some others the full text may be available to subscribing institutions or by pay-per-view.

An important purpose of the PerX pilot is to help scope a possible future cross-search service. With this in mind, feedback on the Pilot would be much appreciated. A 60 second survey is available at: http://www.engineering.ac.uk/index.html?action=quest and those providing feedback will be entered into a draw to win 100 of Amazon vouchers.

Other documents available from PerX include:


Listing of Engineering repository sources http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/perx/sourceslisting.htm This document identifies the most significant repository sources of relevance to the UK Higher Education (HE) Engineering community.


Engineering Digital Repositories Landscape Analysis, and Implications for PerX http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/perx/analysis.htm

This document analyses the digital repository landscape identified in the Listing, and discusses various issues concerning repository provision in engineering.


'Marketing' with Metadata - How Metadata Can Increase Exposure and Visibility of Online Content http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/perx/advocacy/exposingmetadata.htm.

This document gives a non-technical introduction to the means by which content providers can share, or embed, their descriptive data (metadata) with other websites, in standard and reusable ways.

PerX (Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch) is part of the JISC Digital Repositories Programme (DRP) http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=programme_digital_repositories, and is based at the Institute for Computer Based Learning, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. Project partners are Cranfield University; the Institution of Civil Engineers/Thomas Telford Ltd; Geotechnical, Rock and Water Resources Library; and the Regional Support Centre East Midlands.

For further details, please go to PerX http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/perx/


Roddy MacLeod MA, DipLib, MCILIP

Senior Subject Librarian

Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS

Tel (0131) 451 3576 Fax: (0131) 451 3164


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