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Australasian Virtual Engineering Library: Collaborative Development Of Global Resource

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.118.1 - 5.118.11



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Paper Authors

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Claire Hill

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Gulcin Cribb

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David Radcliffe

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3232

Australasian Virtual Engineering Library: Collaborative Development of a Global Resource

David Radcliffe, Gulcin Cribb and Claire Hill The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


The Australasian Virtual Engineering Library (AVEL) is a gateway to quality WWW resources in the fields of engineering and information technology from sources from the Australasian region. AVEL complements similar gateways in engineering around the world, in particular EEVL in the UK and EELS in Sweden. It is a unique partnership between the library community and the engineering academic and professional communities scattered across Australia. The main lesson learnt in this virtual collaboration was the value of open and transparent communication and sharing of information. We established and articulated a clear set of policies on such things as a metadata schema and resource selection criteria. We maintained dynamic communication network to resolve issues as they arose. Some face-to-face meetings were essential. Equally important was the need to keep the library-based developers of the gateway in touch with the real information gathering needs and expectation of the engineering user community. AVEL is at

I. Introduction

For many engineers, the Internet is becoming an increasingly significant source of information. However, most tend to use it only to browse and often waste much valuable time trying to locate the needed resources as most useful engineering resources are cleverly hidden and difficult to locate efficiently.

In his article on the information seeking habits of engineers, Pinelli 1 reports that engineers have defined information seeking behaviour. In selecting an information source, the decision is based on minimizing loss in terms of “effort (either physical or psychological, which must be expended in order to gain access to an information channel”. Further, the accessibility of information is the most important factor influencing an engineer's decision to process that information. Particularly for engineers working in industry, colleagues and informal networks are popular starting points for producing or designing a product, process or system.

Ellis and Haugan 2 conducted a study on information seeking patterns of engineers and research scientists in an industrial environment. One of their conclusions is similar to Pinelli's findings regarding use of colleagues as first point of call for information:

Hill, C., & Cribb, G., & Radcliffe, D. (2000, June), Australasian Virtual Engineering Library: Collaborative Development Of Global Resource Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8175

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