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The following section contains subjective comments about the system that represent our editor's opinions, and should not be viewed as fact. Editor's opinions include positive and negative judgments about the product written in consideration of wider context, including related products and the industry at large. Further subjective information is presented in clearly labeled "Editor's Notes" throughout the report.
Knovel is an online resource for providing technical information to scientists and engineers. With an extensive collection of technical reference material, Knovel aims to be the leading provider of technical resources to help users quickly and accurately find information, thereby increasing overall productivity.
Knovel provides access to almost 2000 references from over 40 sources through a subscription-based online interface. In addition, Knovel has created a number of “Productivity Tools” to help users quickly extract information contained in tables, graphs, and databases into a format that can easily be applied to their work or studies. Content is indexed based upon the subject matter and users can tailor their subscription to the material that is most relevant to their needs.
The interface consists of three different search forms. Users can browse through the collection, search using basic keywords, or perform an advanced search using specific fields in science and engineering. Knovel displays records in order of relevancy, though there is flexibility on how the results are sorted. In general, the searching and browsing functions are intuitive and easy to use. However the lack of a save function for search queries and search strings may make accessing a document numerous times tedious and time consuming. Further the automatic logoff is a relatively short ten minutes, making it difficult to leave Knovel to work on something else without having to login again to re-access the full text content. Knovel’s “Productivity Tools,” some of which are free, provide the real value to users working daily with complex equations and systems. The tools save time when compared with finding a physical copy of a reference book and then performing a manual calculation off of the data in the book.
Overall, Knovel is a useful resource for scientists and engineers looking for access to detailed technical reference material. Knovel is also helpful for prior art searchers looking to understand basic concepts in engineering and technology, but its helpfulness as a prior art source is debatable. Further those looking for a broad swath of the most up to date publications and journal articles in a particular technical area will probably not find Knovel useful. However for its intended purpose, Knovel is a competent system.