National and Consortia Licences to Electronic Resources and Taking Advantage of Them - Part II

Session Chair: Svatopluk Rieger, Silesian University, Opava and Information Centre Palacky University Olomouc, Faculty of Science, Olomouc


8:30 - 12:20

New Auditorium

INSPEC Consortia - How easy is an easy interface?

Eva Dimmock, INSPEC - IEE, Stevenage; United Kingdom

INSPEC is the world’s leading bibliographic database providing access to the world’s scientific and technical papers in physics, electrical engineering, electronics, communications, control engineering, computing and information technology.
Since the year 2000 when the CVUT/Dialog consortium was established, all Czech academic organisations can gain unlimited access to INSPEC at greatly reduced National Academic Site Licence rates. This enables many users to take the full advantage of this major information resource for their research as well as market intelligence needs.

Simple vs Advanced Interfaces
Over 80 search fields available on INSPEC enable effective searching of many subject and bibliographic data. Particularly useful are added-value subject fields, which provide you with powerful search capabilities. These include extensive Thesaurus, powerful classification scheme, specialised fields for 'difficult data' (chemical, numerical, astronomical), and research-type oriented treatment codes (theoretical, experimental..). However, not all fields can be searched with the same effectiveness on all systems that INSPEC can be accessed on. Additionally, many Vendors that offer access to INSPEC give the users the choice of at least two and often more Interface options, from most simple to very advanced. However, by choosing the simple interfaces the users are often not able to take the full advantage of the search facilities provided by INSPEC and/or by the Vendor’s software.
Searching the topic of smart sensors on Dialog will demonstrate how the use of some of the more advanced features can make the searching both easier and more effective. The search problems that the examples will illustrate are:

  • How can INSPEC help me to find other searh terms for this topic?

  • Which Journals should I read to keep abreast of developments in this field?

  • Which Conference meetings have been held on this topic within last two years?

INSPEC – YOUR key to Science and Engineering

INSPEC is the world’s leading bibliographic database providing access to the world’s scientific and technical papers in physics, electrical engineering, electronics, communications, control engineering, computing and information technology. In addition to these major subject areas, INSPEC also has significant coverage in interdisciplinary areas such as materials science, oceanography, nuclear engineering, geophysics, biomedical engineering and biophysics.

The INSPEC Database dates back to 1969 and is produced in the UK by the IEE – one of the largest not-for-profit Engineering Societies in the world. The Database now contains over 7 million records, to which well over 350,000 records are added every year.

What are the most special features of INSPEC?

INSPEC coverage of all the key subjects is global, and it thus enables you to reach documents published throughout the world in a wide range of languages. Other features include the following:

  • Up-to date information is achieved by weekly updates
  • High quality of bibliographic and scientific data is maintained throughout
  • DOI and other unique codes continuously increase the number of links to Full Text
  • Over 80 search fields enable you to search for many subject and bibliographic data
  • Added-value subject fields provide you with powerful search capabilities. These include:
  • Extensive Thesaurus – a key to comprehensive and accurate searching
  • Powerful Classification scheme – a navigational tool and a key to targeted searching
  • Specialised fields for ‘difficult data’ (chemical, numerical, astronomical)
  • Research type-oriented Treatment Codes – enable you to limit your search by the type of research that is reported in the literature (theoretical, experimental, review…)

What benefits can INSPEC bring to YOUR organisation?

INSPEC provides you with up-to-date information in major areas of physics, electronics, communications, computing, control and information technology, as well as many other interdisciplinary subjects. You can search INSPEC in your office or laboratory using a personal computer or other terminal and you can choose from a wide range of simple or more advanced interfaces that cater for experienced librarians and information specialists as well as for end users.

In addition to searching INSPEC for information for your research projects, you can also use the database for current awareness, literature reviews, state-of-the-art reviews, product reviews, prior art searches, technological forecasting, patent-related searching and competitive intelligence research.

How can YOU access INSPEC?

The INSPEC Database is available from a large number of Vendors with a variety of pricing options to cater for both frequent and occasional users. In addition to INSPEC, most of these organisations offer a wide range of other databases covering other subject areas.

Subscriptions/Site Licence Pricing

Unlimited access to the Database is available either by local loading or remote access through a number of commercial and other Vendors. Customers have a choice of site licence: data only (tapes/FTP) or data bundled with software for local loading and online/remote access. Separate pricing applies to corporate/government and academic organisations.

For academic sites it is possible to set up a national consortium for access to the INSPEC Database at a greatly reduced rate. In the Czech Republic, the CVUT/Dialog Consortium has been set up in the year 2000 and this enables all Czech academic organisations to gain access to the INSPEC Database at this greatly reduced rate.

Simple vs. Advanced Interfaces

When searching INSPEC on your selected Vendor software, your choice of interface can have a substantial effect on the effectiveness of your searches. Although most of the software systems provide you with an opportunity to select a ‘quick’ or ‘easy’ interface, it is important to remember that most of these simple interfaces do not allow you to make use of some of the very important Search Aids on INSPEC such as the INSPEC Thesaurus and the INSPEC Classification. The Thesaurus enables you to explore all the relevant terminology so that you can achieve a comprehensive search; the Classification enables you to navigate your search to a relevant part of the INSPEC database and thus helps you to make your search much more accurate.

In addition, on many of the simple interfaces, you cannot use Search History, save searches for future use, or customise the interface. When searching a large database such as INSPEC, your resulting sets can be often very large. That is another reason why you need to gradually modify your search into a manageable set. Interfaces that enable you to do this can thus be much ‘friendlier’ than those that look very simple at the start of your search, but then do not allow you to easily continue or to modify your result.


INSPEC is an excellent source of information in science and engineering. Its thorough indexing enables you to satisfy your research needs quickly and accurately. However, in order to get the full benefit from the Database, you need to make full use of the search tools, and these are much more effective on the more advanced interfaces.

Free training is available for INSPEC consortia and other users to enable you to become familiar with all the INSPEC value-added search fields and the search tools available on YOUR system. These can be tailored for your needs and requirements.

Author information:

I was born in Czechoslovakia and studied in Prague at the Institute of Chemical Technology where I received Degree with Honours. I have continued my education in the UK where I obtained Postgraduate Diploma in Information Science at The City University, London. Since 1985 I have been a Member of the Institute of Information Scientists.
I have worked for the INSPEC Division of The Institution of Electrical Engineers for many years in various positions, including Senior Information Scientist and Technical Administrator to MD Publishing. In my present position of Training and Sales Executive I am responsible for training and support of our customers in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.


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