Engineering Libraries: Building Collections and Delivering Services

Mark Shelton (Brown University)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 June 2003




Shelton, M. (2003), "Engineering Libraries: Building Collections and Delivering Services", Collection Building, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 94-94.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

There have been very few books written about engineering libraries. Typically, the subject is placed in the broader category of science and technology libraries. This is logical, since many of the issues that engineering libraries face are also faced by other sci/tech libraries. Therefore, one might be enthusiastic about a book called Engineering Libraries: Building Collections and Delivering Services. As it turns out, just half of the book is really dedicated to engineering only issues. For example, a paper on “Virtual engineering libraries” presents a very nice evaluation of how well several engineering Web search engines compare with some broadly‐based search engines in finding a number of specific engineering Web sites. “Industry expectations of the new engineer” is another excellent paper that looks at how library literacy can affect the quality of work done by the professional engineer.

Many of the other papers fall into really one of two areas. They are either broad topics that could be found anywhere in the literature, or they are papers that deal with a situation that happens to have occurred in an engineering library. A paper on the “Digital engineering library” really looks at the technology behind digital libraries. It does at times mention how this work is being done in a specific engineering library. Although not all of the papers have a pure engineering library focus, this does not detract from the overall quality of the papers.

The book itself consists of a series of papers that address four primary areas: resources, digital and virtual libraries, information competencies, and management. All of the papers are sound and can stand alone. This allows the reader to move about easily, reading the papers of interest. The reader will also realize that there is some repetition between some papers when they are all read, a result of some overlap in topics addressed by the various authors. One should definitely not feel that this is a book just for engineering librarians, but can easily be of use by other science librarians. Overall, the book provides a mix of specific and broadly‐based papers, covering both theory and practical information, with each being very well written.

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