IET announces launch of Inspec Direct

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has announced that Inspec Direct, a new web-based version of the Inspec database, will be available directly from the IET in January 2008. Inspec provides an index to literature in physics, electrical and electronic engineering, computer science, information technology, manufacturing, production and mechanical engineering as well as interdisciplinary areas such as materials science, oceanography, nuclear engineering, geophysics, biomedical engineering and biophysics.

The IET press release says that the new Inspec Direct platform will feature a “user focused design” that will support all levels of scientific and technical research in the corporate, industrial, government and academic sectors. The Inspec Direct platform will be commercially available on January 1, 2008, but researchers and information professionals are invited to trial the new platform for free. For a free trial or further information about Inspec Direct, go to

Telegraph Business Club

The Daily Telegraph Business Club aims to help SMEs through weekly case studies, information, free seminars and membership discounts. Registration is free and the club has a page every Tuesday in the Business Section of the Daily Telegraph. There is quite a lot to work your way through on the home page but the main tabs and headings are Strategy, Money, People, Sales, Technology and Operations. The Advanced Search is probably the best way to track down information in the archives as it enables you to search by category, for example legislation, and type of resource. The only really negative aspect of this site for me is the irritating news ticker scrolling across the screen near the top of the page. Luckily I use Firefox as my browser so I was able to ‘Remove it Permanently’ with the RIP add-on. The ticker really does not add much in the way of content to the site and becomes extremely annoying after a few minutes.

WordPress introduces tags

At long last WordPress supports tags. It has always had categories, but you have to set these up beforehand and they are only really useful as broad subject headings. They are usually displayed in a side bar on your WordPress blog, and the list becomes far too long and unusable if you treat categories as index terms or very specific, one-off tags. One of the problems I had when converting my Blogger blog plus tags to a WordPress blog with categories was the huge number of categories the conversion generated. I spent about half a day pruning the category list. Now, as well as assigning categories to a posting, WordPress lets you assign tags on the fly. I am not sure how this will affect the Blogger to WordPress conversion programs, so would be interested to hear from anyone who tries it with the new system in place. link commands are back‘s link and link domain commands have been back for a quite a while. Microsoft did not not announce their re- appearance and I have forgotten who told me that they were back online, but Paul in Arizona reminded me in a comment to my original posting regarding their departure that I had not posted about their re-emergence.

There is one important change to the command. You have to precede both the link: and the linkdomain: commands with a plus sign. For example, to find pages that link to the UKeiG’s training and meetings page you would type in:

To find pages that link to anywhere on the UKeiG web site you would type in:

Google has a link command which is virtually useless as it lists a small fraction of the pages that link to your starting page. Yahoo has both a link and linkdomain command but my experience is that they do not list as many pages as This suggests to me that Live’s database of web pages is larger than Yahoo’s.

The link commands are extremely useful in tracking down pages or sites that are similar to one that you already have, the principle being that pages of similar content and type generally link to one another. It is also a great way of identifying links and networks between companies and organisations.

ILI 2007 presentation

My ILI 2007 presentation will be going up on the ILI site soon, but meanwhile you can download a copy of the PowerPoint from my own web site at

I have added a slide , or rather re-instated a slide that I had deleted because of time constraints, as a result of a comment from Patrick Danowski after the presentation. It is the one showing Exalead’s Wikpedia search interface and tag cloud. The interesting feature of the tag cloud is that the tags/keywords are colour coded depending on whether they are people’s names, companies/organisations, geographical locations etc.

The slides are mostly screen shots so will not make much sense to those of you who were not at the presentation. I am planning to do some brief notes over the next couple of days and then possibly a full article based on the session.

P.S. Patrick Danowski experimented with ‘Twittering’ ILI 2007. Go to to see the results. Interesting approach and a good way to capture all the keywords/phrases as they are being uttered rather than trying to to do a full blog posting that may not be published for several hours. Speakers beware! 🙂