Archive for September, 2009

Database of the Week: CSA / ASCE Civil Engineering Abstracts

CSA / ASCE Civil Engineering Abstracts provides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the serials literature in civil engineering and its complementary fields, including forensic engineering, management and marketing of engineering services, engineering education, theoretical mechanics and dynamics, and mathematics and computation.  This database provides comprehensive international coverage as well as numerous non-serial publications.  Sources covered include over 3,000 periodicals, conference proceedings, technical reports, trade journal/newsletter items, patents, books, and press releases.  You can learn more about this database from its Factsheet or begin searching the database at CSA Illumina.

The CSA / ASCE Civil Engineering Abstracts Database is one of many information resources brought to you by the Brown Science and Engineering Library!  Ask for a demonstration of this database or about other resources that can help you work faster, smarter and better!

(Use of this database from this address restricted to University of Virginia users only.  Please contact a librarian for assistance, if you are having trouble connecting.)

Info Tool of the Week: RefWorks and RefShare

RefWorks and RefShare are software applications that enable you to…

  • Download citations from databases and put them into a personal RefWorks research database
  • Format bibliographies and citations automatically in over 400 styles including APA, MLA, etc.
  • Use in conjunction with WORD to write papers, dissertations, etc.
  • Access your RefWorks account from any computer, anywhere
  • Create a database and share it with colleagues around the world

To use RefWorks, you must sign up for a free account that will identify you as a University of Virginia student, faculty or staff member.  You can do this at https://www.refworks.com/Refworks/login.asp?WNCLang=false and the process takes only a minute.  You can learn more about RefWorks at http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/tools/refworks.html or stop by any UVa library for more information.  RefWorks also offers free online webinars; the October schedule is at http://www.refworks.com/content/webinars/default.asp

Georeferencing an Image

The Alderman Library Scholars’ Lab continues its series of workshops on geographic information systems (GIS) this Thursday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. in the Brown Science & Engineering Library electronic classroom (Room 133).  GIS Specialists Chris Gist and Kelly Johnston will guide participants through the process of georeferencing, or aligning a digital image–such as a scanned historic map–with its spatial location.  While there are no prerequisites for attending the workshop, a basic knowledge of Windows computers is helpful.  The session will build on skills from previous sessions but those unable to attend earlier workshops should feel welcome to attend later sessions.  No RSVP is required, though we encourage you to arrive early as space is limited.

 For a full listing of events in the Scholars’ Lab this semester, please visit http://lib.virginia.edu/scholarslab/about/events.html

Helping Hands

Technology Review (9/28, Grifantini) reports, “Researchers from Harvard and Yale Universities have developed a simple, soft robotic hand that can grab a range of objects delicately, and which automatically adjusts its fingers to get a good grip. The new hand could also potentially be useful as a prosthetic arm.” Unlike other soft robotic hands, this one “has just a few sensors and a single motor, but can pick up a variety of objects with the flexibility of a human hand.” The researchers noted that “people do not normally use a rigid grasp, but keep their fingers relaxed” when reaching for an object in order “to avoid knocking the object over.” Similarly, “making the robotic hand flexible allows it to pick up objects even with minor calculation errors” while “embedded sensors…allow the new hand to feel an object and adjust its grip.”

 

From ASEE First Bell, September 28, 2009.  All rights reserved.

Aircraft Structures

The Knovel Library contains hundreds of full-text online resources in a wide variety of science and engineering disciplines, as well as innovative research and analysis tools for using them. Here is one of the latest items to appear in the Knovel Library:

Composite Materials for Aircraft Structures (2nd Edition)
Publisher: AIAA
Description: The 2nd edition of this best-selling book provides an introduction to virtually all aspects of the technology of composite materials as used in aeronautical design and structure.  Since the first edition of this textbook in 1986, the use of high-performance polymer-matrix fiber composites in aircraft structures has grown steadily, although not as dramatically as predicted at that time.  The text discusses important differences in the technology of composites from that of metals–intrinsic substantive differences and their implications for manufacturing processes, structural design procedures, and in-service performance of the materials, particularly regarding the cause and nature of damage that may be sustained.

Canadian Scientific and Technical Data

 The National Research Council of Canada recently launched a new Gateway to Scientific Data which provides access to Canadian scientific, technical and medical data sets as well as information for scientists on best practices for managing data.  The Scientific Data Sets cover a wide range of subjects including Aerospace, Biochemistry, Environment, Geosciences, Physics, and Thermodynamics among others.  To learn more or search the data sets visit http://cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/services/cisti/gateway-scientific-data.html

Database of the Week: Biotechnology and Bioengineering Abstracts

The Biotechnology and Bioengineering Abstracts Database — part of the CSA Illumina suite of databases — provides biomedical engineering students and faculty a window into the journal, conference and other technical literature central to their fields.  This database provides bibliographic coverage of ground-breaking research, applications, regulatory developments and new patents across all areas of biotechnology and bioengineering, including medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, environmental and marine biology.   This database provides comprehensive international coverage as well as numerous non-serial publications.  You can learn more about this database from its Factsheet or begin searching the database at CSA Illumina.

The Biotechnology and Bioengineering Abstracts Database is one of many information resources brought to you by the Brown Science and Engineering Library!  Ask for a demonstration of this database or about other resources that can help you work faster, smarter and better!

(Use of this database from this address restricted to University of Virginia users only.  Please contact a librarian for assistance, if you are having trouble connecting.)

Off the Charts

Note:  The following post is excerpted from the 9/15/2009 “ResearchBuzz” witten by Tara Calishain.  The Brown Science and Engineering Library provides no endorsements or guarantees regarding the software discussed below.  While the software appears useful and legitimate, you use it at your own risk.

A Couple of Online Chart Applications

Posted: 15 Sep 2009 04:38 AM PDT

I love flowcharts. I make formal ones and informal ones. I find it helps me think.

The first tool, which I’ve been watching for a while, is called Lovely Charts, and it is.  Available at http://www.lovelycharts.com/, it not only lets you create regular flow charts but also site maps, network diagrams, people charts, BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) and more.  The site is nicely designed but the building tool is basic; symbols on the left and then a large area of the screen to play with.  A couple of times I had to look at the help but for the most part it was pretty intuitive.  To get a sense of what Lovely Charts can do, check out the Gallery.  There’s also a blog.

Lovely Charts is free but there is a pro version available; you can see the premium options at http://www.lovelycharts.com/index.php?page=faq.  (Among the premium options: collaboration, export to JPG or PNG, and import your own symbols.)  The premium version is 29 Euros a year, which is a little over $42 USD.  Not bad at all!

The other tool I found out about earlier this week via PRNewswire.  It’s called Creately, and it’s available at http://creately.com/.  It’s similar to Lovely Charts but it appears to be more template-oriented; when you first log in Creately will offer you literally dozens of templates to get started; from flowcharts to SWOT diagrams to Venn diagrams to UML diagrams to electronics templates.  Creately starts with a selection of more generic symbols but you can choose to add more symbols to your toolbox; those you can specify as narrowly as “Miscellaneous Cisco Objects.”

Creately has lots and lots of examples of what it can do, divided into categories with some commentary. There’s also a blog.

Creately has a free version but it has some pretty strict limits. You can create three private diagrams but the rest of them are published publicly.  The pro version, which offers additional perks like unlimited private diagrams, collaboration, and backup, is “name your own price” until September 17th.  I’m a little uncomfortable about that.  They give NO guidelines at all for subscription costs except payment must be at least a dollar.  If you’re better at that kind of thing than I am, check it out.  You could get a year’s worth of charting tool for a bargain… 

On a Roll

The Knovel Library contains hundreds of full-text online resources in a wide variety of science and engineering disciplines, as well as innovative research and analysis tools for using them. Here is one of the latest items to appear in the Knovel Library:

Handbook of Transportation Engineering
Edited by: Kutz, Myer
McGraw – Hill

Description:  Covering all varieties of transportation systems, including freight, passenger, mass transit air, rail, road and water systems, this handbook provides problem-solving engineering tools, planning and design techniques with examples of successful applications and strategems.  This title has been recently updated with 52 digitized graphs covering many aspects of transportation.

Sustainable Energy Future – Speaker Series

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the first lecture in the SAIC- Sustainable Energy Future – Speaker Series, Friday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Mechanical Engineering building, rm. 205: 

Visions for a Sustainable Energy Future – Mark Gabriel, SAIC senior VP and principal

These are exciting—and challenging—times for society and the energy industry as demand grows, expectation of reduced carbon increases and critical infrastructure is revamped to serve the digital 21st century.  Based on Visions for a Sustainable Energy Future (Fairmont Press) the winner of the 2009 Indie Excellence Award for Environmental Publishing, author Mark Gabriel explains the five megatrends, or “destinies,” and their impact on society, industry and planning.

 Subsequent energy lectures on Oct 9, Oct. 23 and Nov. 6 will also be held at 3 p.m. in the Mechanical Engineering building, rm. 205.  The final lecture will be held Dec. 4 in Rm. 50 at the Darden School of Business.  For more information contact: 924-3310

This event is free and refreshments will be provided.


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