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Hosting Inspec on Engineering Village or Web of Science : A case study in comparing database platforms

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As library budgets continue to constrict, librarians will need to become more familiar with comparing database host platforms. This paper aims to compare Inspec on Elsevier’s Engineering Village (EV) and Clarivate’s Web of Science (WOS) from a novice user experience. The main objectives are to identify some R1 institutions that subscribe to Inspec and highlight some of the key differences between the two platforms.


Information on Inspec was gathered from various sources such as the home website, IET, and the host platform websites of Elsevier and Clarivate Analytics. Additional evidence was also collected from brochures and guides to help illustrate some of the main features and differences that novice users would be familiar with.


Most institutions subscribe to Inspec via the EV platform. Results from the study conclude that EV was the choice over WOS for hosting Inspec owing to a more user-friendly interface, potential lower cost and faster platform updates in response to meeting user needs.

Research limitations/implications

As database platforms change over time, feature areas such as content, interface and features remain important for information professionals and librarians to stay current with those changes. Also, this work can help librarians with understanding the planning and developing of a process for comparing identical or similar databases on different platforms.


Much of the literature focuses on the unfamiliar details and not so much on the novice user. This paper provides a unique perspective in how a novice user would prefer the attributes of one host platform over the other. Additionally, the same review criteria can be applied in other subjects and disciplines.
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Keywords: Database comparison; Engineering Village; Inspec; Institution of engineering and technology; Librarianship; Web of Science

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University Libraries, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Publication date: June 8, 2020

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