TechXtra News Blog

Numerous improvements to TechXtra, the free technology search service

Posted in News by Roddy MacLeod on June 1, 2009

TechXtra has been very busy!

A number of improvements have been made to TechXtra, the free service provided by Heriot-Watt University.  Using TechXtra, anyone can find articles, books, the best websites, the latest industry news, job announcements, technical reports, technical data, full text eprints, the latest research, thesis & dissertations, teaching and learning resources and more, in engineering, mathematics and computing.

Firstly, we’ve added full text indicators to search results pages in an attempt to show the likely availability of full text.

TechXtra search results

Establishing exactly whether the full text of digital resources is available to particular users, who may be accessing from various locations and in various ways, is not always a straightforward task.  It can depend on the database being searched, institutional or personal subscriptions, and so on.  However, TechXtra search results now include indicators as shown above, incorporating a key which uses a traffic light metaphor to provide an indication of the likely availability of full text.

Next, we’ve improved the speed of some database searches.

Searching of the ARROW Discovery Service, where you can search for Australian research outputs, including theses; preprints; postprints; journal articles; book chapters; music recordings and pictures, is much faster and more up-to-date, as Santy Chumbe, our Technical Manager, has switched from OAI to SRU.  Full text of items is available.

Searching of the CISTI database, from the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, should now also be much faster, as Santy has completed a migration from Z39.50 to SRU.  Full text availability of results in CISTI is dependent on subscription or purchase.

Next, we’re now once more updating the RAM (Recent Advances in Manufacturing) database.  RAM is a database of bibliographic information for manufacturing and related areas. You can also cross-search RAM from the TechXtra home page.

Next, we’ve added a lot of new sources to the OneStep Jobs and OneStep Industry News services, and tidied up existing sources:

Graduates need all the help they can get at the moment to find jobs, so we’ve added several new sources giving details of the latest job announcements to TechXtra OneStep Jobs and tidied up some of the existing feeds.  OneStep Jobs now now contains details of thousands of the very latest job vacancies in engineering, maths and computing.  All job vacancies are searchable, from the OneStep Jobs home page. New sources include the latest job announcements from:

We’ve also tidied up OneStep Industry News, and added some new sources.  OneStep Industry News now contains thousands of the latest news items from well over 100 different sources, making it an excellent place to go to catch up with news.  The new sources include items from:

Next, we’ve done a little publicity: Some time ago, TechXtra was featured in my post Ten science search engines, on spineless? the Heriot-Watt University Library blog.  We’ve had a good response to this post.

Next, there’s now a TechXtra SRU service – this should be good for developers who want to embed or reuse techXtra search results.

As usual, there are some new free magazine subscriptions available via TechXtra.  These include HRW, which provides comprehensive coverage of the Hydroelectric Industry Worldwide, and Diesel Progress.

In the near future, we hope to add some more sources to the TechXtra cross-search.  It currently searches over 4 million items from 31 collections, and we have some exciting new collections lined up.  Keep an eye on this blog for news about the new collections.

Please note that TechXtra is run on a shoestring.  We don’t receive any external funding.   So please help us spread the word by telling others that TechXtra is where you can find all sorts of information in engineering, mathematics and computing.

Thank you!

Roddy MacLeod
TechXtra Manager
Heriot-Watt University Library