Archive for February, 2007

Logging into Library Workstations

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

This month we are making some changes to our Library PC workstations. On most of our workstations you will need to log in using your UTORid.

The UTORid system, which is in place at several other UofT libraries such as Robarts and Gerstein, helps to ensure priority access to terminals and licensed online resources for UofT students, staff and faculty.

Should you need them, you’ll still find some open access workstations (no login necessary) across from the Reference Desk and also across from the Book Return area.

Google Patents

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Google recently launched the new service Google Patent Search. Google Patents covers the entire collection of issued patents published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This includes patents issued in the 1790s through to mid-2006. Currently excluded are patent applications, recently issued patents and of course all non-USA patents.

Google Patent search capabilities

You can search the full text of U.S. patents from the Google Patent Search homepage using standard Google search operators. Here are some examples, summarized from Google’s About Google Patent Search page:

  • flying -airplane: the “-” operator before a search term excludes all results that include that search term
  • “over the shoulder”: surrounding a phrase with ” ” returns only results that include this exact phrase
  • rayon OR nylon: the “OR” operator returns results that include either search term

Patent database reviews, comparisons

Other patent databases

  • Canada Patent Database
    Canadian patent documents from 1920 to the present time
  • Derwent Innovations Index
    patents from 40 different countries
  • ESP@CENET which includes various databases:
    European Patent Office: most recent 24 months of applications from the European Patent Office
    World Intellectual Property Organization: most recent 24 months of Patent Cooperation Treat (PCT or WO) patents
    Worldwide Patents: the full collection of the EPO plus patent information from approximately 50 countries including Japan
    Japanese Patents: Japanese patents from 1976 to the current year. Patent “front page” images from 1980 on
    U.S. patents since 1790

Additional resources

    A free service that, given a patent number, outputs a patent image as single PDF file
  • how to read a patent by Michael White, Queen’s University Library

Intellectual property: form vs function

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

“While patents describe new inventions or processes that offer innovative and useful functions, other forms of intellectual property documents focus on form rather than function.” Here is a brief overview of various types of intellectual property, summarized from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office site.

Industrial design
“…is the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament (or any combination of these features) applied to a finished article made by hand, tool or machine. It may be, for example, the shape of a table or the shape and ornamentation of a spoon. To be eligible for registration with Canada’s Industrial Design Office, the design must be original. Obtaining Canadian registration for an industrial design gives the designer exclusive rights for a period of ten years from the date of registration, provided that a maintenance fee is paid.”

Some industrial design databases:

“…distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of another. The shape of a product or its packaging can be an aspect that distinguishes it from someone else’s product. You can register such a feature as an industrial design and later, in a separate process, as a trademark.”

Some trademark databases:

“…is legal protection for an artistic endeavour. Often an industrial design is first created as a work of art, and as such, is originally protected by the Copyright Act. An artistic work is protected under the Copyright Act automatically, but a design is protected under the Industrial Design Act only if it is registered. Therefore, it may be a good idea to register your design, even if you have copyright protection for the original art.”

Canadian copyright database:

Upcoming workshops

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Advanced Engineering Research
Tuesday January 9, 10:10am – 11:30am
Thursday January 11, 10:10am – 11:30am
Monday January 15, 10:10am – 11:30am
Gerstein training lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre
Details & Registration

RefWorks for Engineers
Monday January 22, 10:10am – 11:30am
Gerstein training lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre
Details & Registration

EndNote, Basic
Monday January 22, 2:30pm – 4:30pm
Gerstein training lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre
Details & Registration

EndNote, Advanced
Monday February 5, 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Gerstein training lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre
Details & Registration

Reference Manager, Basic
Monday January 24, 2:30pm – 4:30pm
Gerstein training lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre
Details & Registration

Reference Manager, Advanced
Tuesday February 6, 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Gerstein training lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre
Details & Registration

ACI Draft Standards are available for public discussion

Monday, February 12th, 2007

American Concrete Institute (ACI) advises members that ACI 423.6 and ACI 355.2 are being processed through ACI’s ANSI-approved standardization procedures and are currently open for public discussion.

Click on a title to review its draft:

Qualification of Post-Installed Mechanical Anchors in Concrete (ACI 355.2-XX)
Material Specification for Unbonded Single-Strand Tendons and Commentary (ACI 423.6-XX)

Discussion should be emailed to All public discussion and committee responses will be made available at a later time. These draft standards will become official ACI standard after the discussion period closes and the committee responds to the discussion received.

A summary of all ACI draft standards in process or recently completed is available.

Focus: Human Engineering

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Engineering & Computer Science Library has an excellent range of materials on all aspects of ergonomics, human engineering and human-computer interaction. Come in and browse our book display!

Take advantage of our Ergonomics Research Sources guide to discover relevant journal databases, books, handbooks and dictionaries.

Also available through our APS112 Research Sources site is a sampling of reference books on human factors and ergonomics.

You will find many more books in the Book Stacks, upstairs area of Engineering Library by browsing the book shelves in the following call number areas:

QA76.9 .H85….[books on human-computer interaction]
TA166….[books on human engineering]
TS171….[industrial design aspects]

Rollerbladers photo courtesy of

Wireless printing

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Wireless printing from Windows laptop computers is now available at Engineering & Computer Science Library and other libraries including Gerstein, Robarts.

For instructions on how to set up your laptop, go to You will need to download some required software.

Printing from Mac laptops is not available yet.

It was 30 years ago today: The Sandford Fleming Fire

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

This month marks the thirty-year anniversary of the Sandford Fleming Sandford Fleming BuildingBuilding Fire. On Friday February 11 1977 at 2:30am, a devastating fire began in a lecture hall in the northeast wing of the building.

The fire burned for eight hours before being brought under control. This was the largest fire in Toronto that year. Approximately 100 firemen and 1/3 of Toronto’s fire engines were needed to control the blaze, and flooding extended all the way to Queen’s Park Subway station.

After it was finished, 49,000 square feet of space were lost. Approximately 30% of the library’s collection was lost, and a number of professors and graduate students lost years’ worth of research when their offices were destroyed.

During the month of February we have a display of photos of the fire and the library’s book recovery efforts as well as copies of some newspaper articles. Drop by Engineering & Computer Science Library and take a look!

Celebrate National Engineering Week with IEEE

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

On February 28 from noon to 1pm please join IEEE and the Engineering & Computer Science Library staff in the Gerstein Instruction Lab for IEEE Xplore tips & tricks, questions, food and prizes.

To help you get the most out of Xplore, IEEE staff will be showing users advanced tips and new features of IEEE Xplore. This session will last no more than 60 minutes and will include:

  • Discover places to interview limited by your geographic and research preferences
  • How to make an impact during an interview
  • Setting up email alerts for your favorite journals
  • Wildcards, field codes, and advanced Boolean
  • Searching for keywords that are within 2-8 words of each other (superb for technical searches on Full Text)
  • How to find pre-published IEEE journal articles
  • Refining your search