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Chrimes Watch: Get online and get connected

Over the past month I have been reviewing use of the Library’s web pages

The Library is 12th overall in the number of hits – 3,152 last month – a little less than the number of email enquiries we received.  The publicly available history pages, and some individual images are very popular, and within the Members’ Only area the Ask Brunel enquiry service is getting over 600 hits a month.  However, I suspect that while people use MyICE to pay their subscription they rarely explore the other facilities available via the library.  Those that do are not necessarily using the material we would expect.  In the McGraw Hill Digital Library (http://www.accessengineeringlibrary.com/) material on ‘communities’ is as popular as ‘civil engineering’, and ‘nanotechnology’ is as popular as ‘construction’.  Other e-use suggests members are using our resources to strengthen their knowledge in related disciplines – e-journals in environmental sciences are being used as regularly as are civil engineering titles.  I am aware that when I wrote about the Taylor and Francis e-books in January there were some reported access problems.  My colleague Debra Francis (library@ice.org.uk) can help with passwords and any other problems you are having.

Somewhat to my surprise my web-blog on ICErecruit has been cited recently. Reflecting the growing acceptance of e-literature in refereed publications.  It will be interesting to see how this impacts bibliometric measures based on ‘Science Citation Index’, when so much material is now produced only as a web product.  For a paper on the history of dam design in India being publicised in the next two issues of ‘Dams and Reservoirs’, I made use of a report on Periyar Dam.  This has now been digitised by Harvard Library making an obscure publication publicly available through Google Books.  Unfortunately, the pull-out plates are not digitised, although much can be deduced by reference to other sources.  Nonetheless it is more accessible now than at any time for a century and the easy access to older material electronically may impact bibliometric research.

Returning to blogs, and the latest manifestation of web technology – twitter – it would appear that ICE has more followers on twitterthanfacebook.  Either way such media
are more likely to contain practical advice on problem-solving than many refereed articles, but how will the ‘traffic’ be referenced for future retrieval.  It has the currency
of the best newspapers, without the medium to guarantee long-term retrieval.  It will be interesting to see how much of the ‘tweets’ will be accessible in a year
(http://twitter.com/ice_engineers).

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