IT SEEMS that I shall shortly be celebrating 30 years at ICE.
Surprising perhaps, given that I originally intended to stay just 12 months while I completed a Masters degree.
That I have stayed is due in large part to three things: the interest of the job, the challenge it presents and the people I have worked with, both members and colleagues.
I have been fortunate to have enjoyed the support of some fantastic colleagues over the years. Together we have transformed an undervalued service to one that has taken the lead among engineering libraries for computerising its catalogues (1980s), digitising publications (1990s) and last but not least, creating modern accommodation in a Victorian building.
Years of neglect have been remedied and electronic communication has meant members all around the world can now receive a service that before the 1970s was largely a reference service enjoyed by London members only.
Of course, the work has also been made rewarding by helping members involved in interesting and often major projects. When I first started work, regular users included members who had worked on the second heightening of the Aswan Dam; Argentinian railways and Waterloo Bridge, all of which provided tremendous historical context.
And now we are ready to enter the next phase of development. As part of an ongoing integration and digitisation strategy, we have successfully implemented a new library management system. This new best of breed package will be fully supportable and maintainable in-house. It will be fully integrated with our website and ICE's membership database to allow us to offer a more personalised service.
A signifi cant improvement is the creation of a new online catalogue. This facility allows users to browse the ICE's full library and archives catalogue and also the catalogues of other engineering libraries as well as useful websites and resources.
The integration with ICE professional interest categories allows users to drill down into specifi subjects and interest areas while the advanced search facility allows for decidedly more complex searches.
Members of all grades will now be able to log on to their own 'my library' account using their MyICE pin number to renew their loans and to reserve books.
As they start to interact with the site, logged-in members will be able to store favourites and be notified when new materials by particular authors or on certain topics are available.
In the future, we hope to further integrate the 'my library' pages with MyICE, the members' secure extranet area, and to be able to provide a more personalised service for members of all grades.
Exciting future developments will include the creation of an online digital media archive containing downloadable civil engineering documents, publications and images.
This should be available later this year.
Take a look at our new online catalogue at http: //library. ice.org. uk. Members can register with MyICE and obtain a personalised my library account at www. ice. org. uk/myice (Note: it will take 24 hours to gain access to the my library area after you have registered with MyICE).