Monday, August 29, 2016

Engineering readings and resources

Engineering. In The Canadian Encyclopedia.

*Hurt, C.D. Information Sources in Science and Technology, 3rd ed. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. pp. 171-12. 

*Malinowsky, H.R. Reference Sources in Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Agriculture. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1994. pp. 118-119. 

Online resources and guides BUBL LINK: Engineering Links 

Canada’s SchoolNet Learning Resources: Engineering 

Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame

Cornell Theory Center Math and Science Gateway: Engineering

EEVL: The Internet Guide to Engineering, Mathematics & Computing

Engineering Resources by Subject

Engineering Societies in Canada 

A list of some of the societies related to engineering in Canada. 

Professional Societies of Engineers and Engineering Technologists in Canada
This list also includes some advocacy, trade and non-scholarly organizations. 

Engineering K12 Center 
From the American Society for Engineering Education. Whether you are creative and imaginative or you excel in math and science, the field of engineering may be for you. Check this site to learn more about engineering, famous engineers, engineering colleges and more. You can take a self-assessment test or just get some help with homework. 

Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century 
List of the top 20 achievements. The goal of the Greatest Achievements project is to celebrate a remarkable century of technological achievement. Initiated by the National Academy of Engineering, this project is a collaboration with the American Association of Engineering Societies, National Engineers Week, and 27 other professional engineering societies. 

Internet Public Library: Engineering 

Selected Internet Resources – Engineering 
Compiled by Science Reference Services, Library of Congress. 

Technical Dictionary 
A searchable dictionary of technical terms and acronyms from Integrated Publishing.

Vision Engineer 
Vision Engineer, a UK company responsible for site. Aimed at helping students who wish to discover more about the profession. Targeted primarily at university and sixth form students, Vision Engineer contains a diverse database of engineering related articles. Topics covered by the website range from mechanical systems to environmental issues.

Indexes and abstracts
Applied Science and Technology Index 
From H. W. Wilson. Provides access to journal citations in areas such as aeronautics, atmospheric sciences, computer science, electronics, energy resources, engineering, food industry, geology, textile industry, and transportation. Indexes over 300 English language journals. Also available in fulltext and abstract versions. Suitable for undergraduates.

Ei Compendex 
The machine-readable version of Engineering Index. The most comprehensive interdisciplinary database of engineering literature. Provides bibliographic citations and abstracts to engineering and technical literature from over 2,600 journals, conference proceedings, conference papers, technical reports and monographs published worldwide. 

Information Bridge 
The Information Bridge provides an open source to full-text and bibliographic records of Department of Energy (DOE) research and development reports in physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental science, energy technologies, engineering, computer and information science, renewable energy, and other topics. The Information Bridge consists of full-text documents produced and made available by the Department of Energy National Laboratories and grantees from 1995 forward. 

NTIS (National Technical Information Service) is a multidisciplinary bibliographic database. The sources are publications, especially unrestricted reports on research, development, and engineering projects, sponsored by U.S. and non-U.S. governments. Citations with abstracts are in English. NTIS is the major database for technical report literature. 

NTIS Product Search 
This abbreviated version of the NTIS database can be searched for free by title or topic. Includes more than 600,000 NTIS products and publications issued since 1990.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Engineering: definition 
1a. The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems. b. The profession of or the work performed by an engineer. 
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000. 
The application of scientific or physical knowledge to the development of a product. 
Malinowsky, H. R. Reference Sources in Science, Engineering, Medicine and Agriculture. Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1994. pp. 118. 

What is engineering? 
Engineering is the use of the principles of math and science, plus experience, common sense and judgement to develop practical solutions to everyday problems. Engineers strive to meet the challenges of society by applying the forces and materials of nature to provide quicker, better and less expensive solutions. 
(University of Manitoba Faculty of Engineering) 

Four traditional areas 
  • Chemical 
  • Civil 
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical 
Chemical engineering 
Chemical engineering involves the processing and treating of liquids and gases. For example, some chemical engineers are studying ways to desalinate seawater—stripping it of salt to make the water safe to drink. Many chemical engineers work with petroleum and plastics, although both of these are the subject of independent disciplines. The term “environmental engineering” also applies to certain areas of chemical engineering, such as pollution control. 

Civil engineering 
Civil engineers are involved with infrastructure and environmental projects. They plan, design, supervise construction, manage, and maintain facilities using computer-based analysis and design. Many of their projects are familiar to most people: bridges, dams, highways, water and wastewater treatment plants, airports, flood control systems, etc. Civil engineers increasingly use new technologies such as Geographical Information/Positioning Systems, advanced materials, remote sensing and monitoring in their projects. 

Electrical engineering 
Electrical engineers deal with everything related to electrical devices and systems, and the use of electricity. They work in many diverse areas, including power systems, computers, and communications. Electrical engineers work in the design and manufacture of electronics and electrical devices for a wide spectrum of applications. Many are also involved in consulting, the planning and operation of power systems and telecommunication networks, satellite communications, and biomedical engineering. 

Mechanical engineering 
Mechanical engineers use the principles of mechanics and energy to design machines and processes. Many mechanical engineers work in energy and environmental specialities such as building systems, engine design, oil refining, mining, and air quality control, and pollution control processes. Others are involved in the automotive, manufacturing, materials science and biomechanics areas. Mechanical engineers can specialize in the aerospace area, and work in the design and development of technology for aviation and space exploration. 

Selected additional fields 
  • Aerospace Engineering 
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
  • Ceramic Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering 
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Fire Protection Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgy and Minerals Engineering
  • Mineral and Mining Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Transportation 

Engineering Engineers versus scientists 
Engineers Scientists
Use and exploit nature Discover and explore nature
Seek to develop and make things Searching for theories and principles
Solve problem for practical operating results Seek a result for its own ends
Invent things and solve problems Create new unities of thoughts

Engineering societies 
  • 5 major Founder Societies in U.S. 
    • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 
    • American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME)
    • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 
    • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 
  • Many additional societies including 
    • American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) 
    • American Society of Heating Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
    • Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 
Information seeking habits 
  • Engineering students seek information from books, lectures, internet before consulting their “colleagues” i.e. other students (Majid & Tan, 2002) 
  • Professional engineers rely primarily on face-to-face communication 
    • Most frequently mentioned communication technique (78%) informal discussion with project team members in cubicles, open spaces, over lunch in cafeteria (Hirsh, 2000)
  • 66% of engineer’s time spent on communications
    • 31% reading/listening 
    • 35% writing/presenting 
    • (Pinelli, T. E. Knowledge Diffusion in the U.S. Aerospace Industry, 1997)
  • Engineers sometimes use libraries 
    • Relatively infrequently for information for recent projects 
    • Between 28 and 64 times/year 
  • Librarians used frequently (Hertzum & Pejtersen, 2000)
  • Engineers need information to solve an immediate problem or make a decision (Pinelli, 2001) 
  • Engineers are often required to keep their findings within their organization for business and/or security reasons
    • Often reluctant or prohibited from seeking or sharing sensitive information with peers external to own organization 
Engineering information 
  • Engineers more likely to use handbooks, standards, specifications and technical reports
  • Questions usually of short answer type with answer found in handbooks
  • Engineers read fewer journal articles per year on average than scientists, but spend more time reading each article they deem relevant (Tenopir and King, 2003) 
  • Unlike scientists the goal of the engineer is to produce or design a product, process or system; not to publish and make original contributions to the literature. Engineers unlike scientists, work within time constraints; they are not interested in theory, source data, and guides to the literature nearly as much as they are in reliable answers to specific questions. (H.R. Brinberg. The Contributions of Information to Economic Growth and Development. 1980) 
Technical reports 
  • Prominent in field of engineering
    • Often required to obtain grant money 
  • Common publication format for practicing engineers or those in the for profit sector
  • NTIS (National Technical Information Services) from U.S. Department of Commerce 

Monday, August 15, 2016


Hurt, C.D. Informational sources in science and technology, 3rd ed. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. pp. 91-92. 

Fascination with the sky and its elements was a characteristic of prehistoric peoples. This fascination continues in the form of the science called astronomy. Determining our place in a celestial system and the place of that system in the universe is a goal of those who practice astronomy. 
Astronomy has undergone significant transformations. Once the province of optical methodologies, astronomy is now employing techniques ranging from radio waves to high-level mathematics. Physics and mathematics are playing a much larger role in astronomy. The ability of an astronomer to see with the eye is less important now than at any time in astronomy’s history. Proof comes from formulas and algorithms, and less from observation. This is not to say observation in astronomy is dead. The methodologies to push the frontiers of astronomy are more numerous than ever before but observation will continue to be a major part of astronomy. 
The new techniques in astronomy carry with them a literature that needs to be merged with astronomy’s traditional literature. The use of physics, mathematics, computer science, and other disciplines means that sections of literature from these disciplines will find their way into the literature of astronomy. The difficulty is in determining when and how this literature will be used. Bibliographic control of the traditional astronomy literature was reasonable. As astronomy has broadened its techniques for obtaining data and information, control of the literature has become less reliable. 
Astronomy is the recipient of a great deal of information from space probes and new observations. These new data sets are being incorporated into the literature as quickly as possible. The new knowledge they generate will change and replace current thought in astronomy. Astronomers and those in the information professions should be wary of the considerable amount of literature in astronomy. This may be especially true for the secondary literature such as dictionaries and encyclopedias. 
As is in the case with most of the literature of science and technology, the monographic literature of astronomy is not a tool of the researcher, but the archival description of the field. Much of the new data and theoretical advances are published in journal literature and in research notes within the journal literature. Conferences are especially important in some fields of astronomy because of the currentness of information to be obtained there and the informal information flow. There is a high reliance on star catalogs and data sources in printed form, which are indispensable to working astronomers at all levels. 
The future for astronomy and its literature is rich and full. Significant data will be generated from sources such as the Hubble Telescope and missions to other planets. Data from these sources will move the discipline of astronomy in new and unforeseen ways. As long as government funding continues to be used for space exploration, astronomy will be able to mine a continuing and rich influx of data. These data will require the use of tools already in astronomy, in other disciplines, or yet to be developed. This will make bibliographic control of astronomy even more difficult.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Astronomy readings

Astronomy Readings 
Astronomy. In Columbia encyclopedia [Internet]. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002 [cited 2013-11-04] [15 paragraphs]. Available from 

Claspy, William P. Information use in astronomy. In: Grothkopf, U.; Andernach, H.; Stevens-Rayburn, S.; Gomez, M; editors. Library and information services in astronomy III [Internet]. Proceedings; 1998 Apr 21-24; Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain: Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference series; [cited 2013-11-04]. 153: 177-84. Available from: 

Hurt, C.D. Information Sources in Science and Technology, 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1998. pp. 91-92. 

Kraus J, Banholzer, P. Astronomical resources on the Internet. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. [Internet]. 2002 Spring [cited 2013-11-04]; (34): [about 26 p.]. Available from 

Web sites 
Astronomical Society of the Pacific 
The ASP is the largest general astronomy society in the world. Publishes the free teacher’s newsletter Universe in the Classroom 

From IPL 

From IPL Kidspace 

Sites selected by Winnipeg Public Library. 

Astronomy & Astrophysics Web Sites: Educational Resources 
Compiled by Sciences and Technology Library, The University of Manitoba Libraries. 
Website from the publishers of Astronomy magazine. Includes news, feature stories, observing, an image gallery, parent and teacher resources, Astro for Kids, and a beginner’s section. 

Astronomy Resources on the Web 

Canadian Astronomical Society

Canadian Space Agency
Check out especially Youth/Educator’s section; Resources section 

Frequently Asked Questions about Astronomy 
The U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. 

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators: Space & Astronomy 
Suitable for grades 4-8. Favourably reviewed in Library Media Connection, Nov/Dec 2004. 

Manitoba Museum Planetarium 


Observer’s Handbook List of Recommended Books 

Observer’s Handbook Websites

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 

Winnipeg Centre located at: 

SEDS—Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Students for the Exploration and Development of Space was founded in 1980 at MIT and Princeton and consists of an international group of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from a diverse range of educational backgrounds who are working together to promote space as a whole. 

University of Toronto. Astronomy and Astrophysics Library. 
Maintains a database of citations to reviews of books and software: Astronomy Books and Software Reviews at

Monday, August 1, 2016

Astronomy, astrology and astrophysics

Astronomy: definition
1. The scientific study of matter in outer space, especially the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial bodies and phenomena. 2. A system of knowledge or beliefs about celestial phenomena: the various astronomies of ancient civilizations. 
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. © 2000. 

Astrology: definition 
1. The study of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs. 2. Obsolete 
Astronomy. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. © 2000. 

So what is the difference? 
  • Astrology is the ancient practice of using the locations of the planets to look into a person’s personality or predict the future. This is a totally non-scientific field that does not involve and use science. By contrast, astronomy is the scientific study of the universe. Astronomers observe the night sky to determine their origins and learn more about the origin and structure of the universe. 
  • Ancient astronomers practiced astrology.
Astrophysics: definition 
Application of the theories and methods of physics to the study of stellar structure, stellar evolution, the origin of the solar system, and related problems of cosmology. The distinction between astrophysics and modern astronomy is disappearing in scientific usage.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. © 2002 Columbia University Press 

What is astrophysics?
  • The same as astronomy but refers to the addition of the laws of physics by Isaac Newton 
  • Astrophysics assume that the terrestrial laws of physics hold throughout the universe
  • Astrophysics, therefore, is the application of the fundamental laws of nature to gain an understanding of the stars, galaxies, and the origin and fate of the cosmos
  • Astronomy is synonymous with astrophysics, they both refer to the same discipline 
  • Astronomy is the science in which the entire universe is studied. It requires knowledge of several sciences, including physics, chemistry, geology, mathematics, engineering, computer science 
  • Professional astronomers today are more properly called astrophysicists, because they apply the laws of physics to celestial phenomenon in order to better understand them
  • Most professional astronomers work at colleges or universities, at government sponsored research centres or observatories or in private industry related to aerospace 
  • Much of the research work of modern astronomers done on computers
  • Professional astronomers encouraged to collaborate so can share observing time and resulting data
  • Astronomy an international science, often many nationalities on same team
  • With more complex instrumentation need to include technologists on teams 
  • Often regarded as the oldest science o Humans were making astronomical observations and keeping records as far back as recorded history
  • Provided basis for the calendar o Months and year determined by astronomical observations
  • Served in navigation, surveying and timekeeping 
Origins of astronomy – Time
  • The Sun, Moon and stars served humanity for thousands of years as a clock and a calendar. Their motions were predictable. 
  • Today we have other means of measuring time but long ago an accurate understanding of the skies could mean life or death 
  • Studying the skies told people when to plant and harvest, when to go out to sea, when to expect good or bad weather, etc.
Ancient astronomical site
  • Stonehenge, built in England c. 2100 BC
  • Alignment of some of the stones with the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset suggest Stonehenge used for seasonal astrological festivals 
Astronomy: a unique science
  • Cannot experiment directly
  • Must observe passively 
  • Must combine known facts with imagined possibilities
  • Astronomy is unique among the sciences in that we cannot walk to a nearby star and inspect it close up, take a sample of it, or probe its interior 
  • All astronomical observations are necessarily remote – far removed from the object of study
  • The only thing that astronomers can study is the light emitted by the object
  • Astrophysics, therefore, is really about the subject of radiation and how radiation interacts with matter
  • With the exception of experiments carried out in space by spacecraft, our knowledge of the universe comes from light reaching us from outer space
  • Because of the speed of light, we observe objects not the way they are, but the way they were when the light left them
Problems in identifying of celestial objects
  • Relative positions of objects in the universe are not fixed 
  • Sky looks different if observed in different wavelength ranges
    • Infrared
    • Visible
    • Radio 
  • What you “see” depends on the type and sensitivity of tool used
    • The more sensitive the tool, the more crowded the sky 
  • Draws on sciences such as 
    • Mathematics 
    • Physics 
    • Chemistry
    • Geology
    • Atmospheric sciences 
    • Biology
  • Draws on technical disciplines such as 
    • Optics 
    • Mechanics 
    • Electronics 
    • Remote sensing 
    • Data analysis
  • Astronomy is a visual science 
  • Hubble Space Telescope Public Pictures
  • The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of the Earth 
  • Able to attract the interest of a wide spectrum of people, especially the young 
  • Popular literature readily available 
  • Planetaria offer shows for public 
Many aspects
  • Ability to see into the future sets astronomy apart 
    • Eclipses
    • Meteor showers 
    • Comets 
  • Religious aspects
  • Pseudoscience aspects
  • Space related science fiction
    • Print and AV (movies, cartoons, tv series) 
Public interest 
  • Public interest in astronomy high 
    • Hobbyists 
    • “Hollywood”
    • Popular press
      • Hubble telescope
      • Comets
      • Meteors
      • Planets
      • Space travel
      • UFOs 
  • Compulsory in some provincial school curricula 
  • Level of scientific literacy low 
Amateur astronomers 
  • Armchair amateur 
    • Generally a passive interest, e.g. reading magazines, attending lectures, viewing programmes, etc. 
  • Active amateur 
    • Observe, often with own instruments (can contribute to professional astronomy) 
  • Worldwide, amateur astronomers greatly outnumber professionals 
Astronomy in schools 
  • Compulsory units in many science curricula
  • Manitoba Grade 6: The Solar System 
    • Students develop an understanding of the Earth in space, the solar system, and the role of space research programs in increasing scientific knowledge
  • Manitoba Senior 1: Exploration of the Universe 
    • Leads students through an exploration of the universe starting with some basic hands-on astronomy and ending with a critical look at issues surrounding space science and technology. Students observe and locate visible celestial objects. 
Popular topics 
Public/media interest themes 
  • Extrasolar planets
    • Are we alone in the universe? 
  • Near-Earth objects? 
    • Could Earth be annihilated? 
  • Spectacular visible events 
    • Solar eclipses; bright comets 
  • Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (1903) 
    • Amateurs and professionals 
      • >4,500 members 
  • Canadian Astronomical Society (1970) 
    • Professional astronomers 
    • 452 members in August 2004 
Heck, A. “Information Handling in Astronomy.” High Energy Physics Libraries Webzine. Issue 3. March 2001.
Literature of astronomy 
  • Astronomy literature in forefront of using computer-based tools and systems
  • Conferences especially important in some fields
  • High reliance on star catalogues
  • Research published in refereed journals makes up almost 80% of cited material
  • Nearly 56% of all references to materials published in last seven years (1998-2005)