Online reference works – expanded range

Dr. Jochen Bihn & Dr. Lothar Nunnenmacher

The printed edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica is still on our shelves – all 32 leather-bound, gold-embossed volumes. Judging by the dust layer, these have not been used in years. Thus, after 244 years of printing its volumes, it comes as no surprise that Encyclopædia Britannica recently announced to publish exclusively online in the future. Of course, we now also offer the electronic version of the encyclopaedia in addition to the printed edition.

From Print to Online
Information in printed reference works is often already outdated at the time of publication. Internet-based solutions allow for timely updates. In addition, in terms of the accuracy of its entries, the free Wikipedia with the «wisdom of the crowds» comes close to traditional encyclopaedias («wisdom of the experts»), as found in an investigation carried out by Nature. You can test this with the extended Lib4RI-Searchbox. In the category «Reference», we now offer a search function for Wikipedia (English and German), Encyclopædia Britannica and Oxford Reference Online. We also include the well-known dictionaries from LEO (English-German & French-German) as well as numerous technical reference works.

Online access to subject-specific reference works
Many subject-specific reference books have already made the transition from print to online. We have massively expanded our range of online reference works since the beginning of this year. For example, reference works licensed for the scientists at Eawag, Empa, PSI and WSL include the following:
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (CRC Press, 2011)
Encyclopedia of Ecology (Elsevier, 2008)
Handbook of Nuclear Engineering (Springer, 2010)
Treatise on Water Science (Elsevier, 2011)
Ullmann‘s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry (Wiley-Blackwell, 2003-2012)
… and numerous other reference works – there is certainly also something to match your interests.

Three ways to access online reference works
There are basically three options to access and search in these and many other reference works:

  1. The Lib4RI-Searchbox: In the new category «References» you can search the reference works of the major suppliers. A few clicks will get you from Wikipedia to the information in technical reference works.
  2. Compilation on the Lib4RI website: On our website we have put together a selection of reference works on various subjects. Links to online dictionaries Dictonaries and resources for finding physical and chemical properties Chemical & Physical Properties are presented on additional pages. We welcome your suggestions (@email), if you think that an important reference work is missing here.
  3. NEBIS catalogue: NEBIS does not only hold records for all printed books but also for books and reference works that have been licensed in an electronic version. The availability of the electronic version can be checked-out in the tab «Online Resource». If we have licensed an electronic version, then you will – usually – find a link to the E-Book here.

Are you missing an important reference work?
We will preferably acquire electronic versions of reference works in the future. This way, we avoid dust catchers on our shelves and are able to cover the needs of our members at the many locations of the research institutes. Is there something missing in our collection of reference works? We welcome your purchase suggestions via the online form, e-mail (@email) or call us at 058 765 5700.