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Mechanical Engineers' Handbook Manufacturing and Management 3rd Edition Complete Document

3rd Edition, 2006

Complete Document

Detail Summary

Active, Most Current

Additional Comments:
ISBN: 9780471719878
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 3rd Edition, 2006
  • Published Date: January 2006
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: John Wiley and Sons (WILEY)
  • Page Count: 840
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


In the 1998 edition of this handbook I explained how the Internet was revolutionizing information access. In 1998, use of the Web outside of academia was largely recreational and few engineers accepted that it could be a valuable source of legitimate information. A great deal has changed in these few years. The development of electronic publications, Internet commerce, corporate Intranets, and the ubiquitous nature of the Web have had a profound impact on how we obtain information for all aspects of our work and leisure activities. Now, finding a wealth of resources on any topic, no matter how obscure, is only a few keystrokes away. By entering a term in Google, one can obtain hundreds or thousands of results. We have gone from a society of paper transactions to one comfortable with online banking, electronic stock brokerages, and shopping on the Internet.

In 1998 most engineers were familiar with using traditional information resources, although their use of the engineering literature was limited. It has been repeatedly observed by information scientists and librarians that engineers make less frequent use of the technical literature than do scientists or other similar professionals. Possible explanations for this include the esoteric nature of many technical publication series (technical papers, standards, government publications, etc.) and the difficulty many professional engineers have in gaining access to these publications. By making the less-available technical literature available to the desktop, the Internet has bypassed some of the obstacles to access and created an online option for engineers.

This explosion of information, complete with electronic books and journals, databases, Internet services, and digital archives has not necessarily made it easier to obtain the information you need. When confronted with the thousands of results from an Internet search, how do you respond? How do you pick the right options? Is the information you find trustworthy? And, what if the information you need is not among those results? In addition to the bewildering array of options, the once bucolic Internet has become somewhat perilous. Beyond the inconvenience of spam and pop-up windows are the very real hazards of email viruses and malware.

The Internet has matured since 1998, as have the options, risks, and opportunities open to you as an engineer. While the Internet can become your desktop information center, it can also be a source of frustration. Conducting Google searches of the Internet may be perfect for many inquiries, but you may find it an undependable strategy for obtaining technical information. However, there are a variety of services available that will provide you with rapid access to professional information. Your access to these collections and tools will depend on your work environment. Within universities and large corporations you should be able to use online tools and collections licensed for use in your organization. If you work independently or in a small company, you may need to privately contract to obtain access to these resources. Once connected, access to full-text versions of books, journals, standards, and patents will allow you to access the world's technical literature from your desktop.

In this chapter I provide an overview of how you can navigate the maze of professional information resources available through the Internet while minimizing the frustrations and pitfalls inherent with the Web. I discuss approaches for gaining access to suites of online services and content for mechanical engineers in variety of job environments. I also provide a listing of selected online resources for mechanical engineers.

Engineering information turned a corner in the late 1990s. As technical literature, standards, and engineering data blossomed on the Web, libraries and information service providers flocked to the new medium. Today, the speed of obtaining online information and the ease of embedding that information in proposals and reports has changed the way the profession works. If you have discovered online information you will know how much time and effort these new services save. If you have not, you may find that the opportunities involved are well worth changing the way you obtain information.