13 Engineering Databases To Consider (Plus Definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Having access to the correct resources can save you time when you're writing a research article. If you're an engineering professional or student, conducting desk research can be a common occurrence in your field. Learning about the different engineering databases available can help you save time and effort the next time you're preparing a paper for publication.

In this article, we define what an engineering database is and provide a list of 13 engineering databases available.

What is an engineering database?

An engineering database is a computerized, organized collection of scholarly and peer-reviewed articles written by credible authors, such as journalists, researchers and experts in engineering. Since engineering databases provide powerful search tools for narrowing results, you can find the information you need quickly. Engineering databases allow the integration of data from multiple sources, such as periodicals, conference proceedings and more.

Engineering databases are important to consult because they allow you to analyze the information in new ways, often across engineering disciplines—such as mechanical, civil, chemical, computer and electrical engineering and engineering management—making new types of research possible. Often, databases require you or your academic or research institution to pay a subscription fee to access the information, but there are some that were built specifically to provide unrestricted access to information to promote scholarship and innovation.

Related: Computer Engineering vs. Electronic Engineering: Key Differences

13 examples of engineering databases

Here are some examples of engineering databases you might consider using:

1. Civil Engineering Database

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Library hosts a Civil Engineering Database. This database allows you to search through periodicals in fields such as aerospace engineering, energy engineering, hydrologic engineering and others. Once you search for your term, you can click on one of the results to see an abstract of the publication. If you'd like access to the full text, you can do so by purchasing a single article or an ASCE Library card. You can also log in through your institution if it has paid for access.

2. Ei Compendex

Ei Compendex features more than 25 million records of peer-reviewed and indexed publications from 85 countries across 190 engineering disciplines. It's the most important product on Engineering Village, a search and discovery platform developed by Elsevier for engineering professionals. You can access the database through your organization, which can contact the Engineering Village sales unit and purchase an enterprise-level subscription for Ei Compendex and 13 other engineering literature and patent databases. Pricing varies depending on which databases your organization decides to subscribe to on the platform and your organization's size, research output and location.

3. Engineering Source

Engineering Source is a database for researchers and engineering professionals across biomedical, civil, electrical, mechanical, environmental and software engineering. It includes hundreds of full-text engineering books, conference papers and proceedings, journals, magazines and trade publications. The database is offered by EBSCO, a content and resources provider for corporations, health care and medical institutions, government agencies and libraries.

Related: Hardware Engineering vs. Software Engineering

4. Department of Energy Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) developed the Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science (DOE PAGES). DOE PAGES gives you free public access to read, download and analyze the best available full-text version of DOE-funded scholarly publications. This means you can have access to either the peer-reviewed, accepted manuscript or the published scientific journal article after 12 months have passed. The tool gives you access to more than 65,000 full-text journal articles and accepted manuscripts, and this number continues to grow by about 20 to 30 thousand articles and manuscripts a year.

5. International Concrete Abstracts Portal

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) collaborates with leading technical organizations from the international concrete industry to offer a comprehensive collection of published concrete abstracts through the International Concrete Abstracts Portal. You can search through nine ACI publications and 18 international partner publications. After you search for your chosen keyword or keywords, you can click on a result to access an abstract of the publication. If you'd like to access the full-text or resource, some are free, and you can purchase others through the ACI store or through the partner websites.

Related: 14 Types of Engineering Careers To Explore

6. The Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL)

The University of Arizona collaborates with the Center for Research Libraries and other organizations to offer the Technical Report Archive & Image Library, also called TRAIL. TRAIL developed partnerships with institutions based on their individual priorities and strengths, including the University of Michigan, University of North Texas and University of Washington. TRAIL partners developed processes for scanning and digitally archiving documents to ensure their durability. TRAIL gathers more than 48 member institutions that pay annual membership fees and offer volunteer staff time to further the efforts of the project.

One interesting aspect of this project is that—given its mission to ensure preservation, discoverability and persistent open access to government technical publications regardless of form or format—TRIAL provides users with unrestricted access to federal technical reports, even documents issued prior to 1975. The consortium of TRIAL members collaborates through five working groups. For example, the Collections Working Group identifies, selects and acquires resources, while the Processing Working Group digitizes, catalogs and archives the resources.

7. PatFT

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) houses a database called the PatFT, which offers the full-text content of United States patents issued from Jan. 1, 1976, to the most recent weekly issue date. This allows for search using keywords of patents issued from 1976 and later. To search patents issued between 1790 and 1975, you can use the patent classification system or patent numbers. On the USPTO PatFT site, you can also find the Published Applications (AppFT) database, which helps you search for full-text and full-page images of patent applications published since Mar. 15, 2011, in the United States.

8. Transportation Research Information Services (TRID)

In 2011, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) combined resources from its Transportation Research Information Services Database and the International Transport Research Documentation Database by the International Transport Forum. The resulting database is called Transportation Research Information Services or TRID. TRID gives you access to over 1.3 million records of transportation research around the world. TRB is a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that champions research and information exchange to lead in transportation innovation and progress.

9. Aerospace Research Center (ARC)

You can access American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) journals, e-books and conference papers using Aerospace Research Center (ARC). ARC also gives you access to journals published by the American Rocket Society (ARS) and the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences (IAS), which merged in 1963 to form AIAA, so you can have access to more than 40 years of technical aerospace information and documents in one database.

Both individuals and institutions can register and purchase subscriptions to the ARC database. The difference is that individuals have 12-month access from the date of purchase, whereas institutions have access during a given calendar year. This means you could start your subscription mid-year and always have access to the content you purchased during that time, though your access to the archive is only active while you're paying your subscription. An institution will have perpetual access to the content it purchased during the year it was paying a subscription to ARC.

Related: Aerospace Engineer vs. Mechanical Engineer: What's the Difference?

10. National Technical Reports Library

If your organization is a subscriber, you can have access to search and retrieve information on United States federally funded science and technology research from 1964 to the present day through the National Technical Reports Library. It searches over 3 million reports with links to over 800,000 full-text reports. Subjects include biological, agricultural, chemical, civil and environmental engineering

11. NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

NASA Technical Report Server, or NTRS, displays citation information from conference and meeting papers, journal articles, mission-related operational documents, preliminary reports, research reports and technical videos from NASA's Scientific and Technical Information Program. The database provides links to online full-text documents when they are available.

12. MCEER Publications Catalog

Find research on earthquake engineering and natural hazard mitigation on the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) Publications Catalog. MCEER is located at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. It was established in 1986 as the first National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (NCEER) and later became MCEER in 1998.

13. International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

Through the International Nuclear Information System, or INIS, you can find more than 280,000 documents that are not available through commercial channels. This database, produced by the International Atomic Energy Agency, provides access to a unique set of unconventional literature—such as conference proceedings, patents, theses and scientific and technical reports—through more than 3.3 million bibliographic records.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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