NOTE: New resources listed below are not yet in the Directory of CDL-Licensed Content; they will be added within the next two weeks.  You can access them directly from the URL provided.

a. INSPEC Backfile

By Karen Andrews (Resource Liaison), UC Davis

INSPEC, a comprehensive index to literature in physics/astronomy, computer science, electronic engineering, and information technology, has added records covering 1898-1968.  The INSPEC backfile was a one-time purchase by CDL, endorsed by the Joint Steering Committee on Shared Collections (JSC).  The license provides perpetual access to INSPEC articles for future generations of UC researchers.

All campuses now have access. The current INSPEC file is mounted on Ovid, but the backfile is only available at the Institution of Electrical Engineers site
(  An Ovid representative indicated they plan to finish mounting the INSPEC backfile by April 2005.

The INSPEC Backfile corresponds to three print resources: Science Abstracts (1898-1902) and its successors Physics (Section A), Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Section B), and Computer Science (Section C).  The backfile covers original and translated articles, dissertations, conferences, papers and proceedings, books, book chapters, reports and patents published in Europe and America.  Figures and tables are included. Articles contain cross-references to other related articles, but are not linked to full text via UC e-links yet.

The basic search is easily navigated, and allows standard searching of basic index, author, title, abstract, indexing, journal title, publication title, and corporate source.  Limits for date range and document type are clearly visible.  The advanced search features additional search choices such as conference title.  More complex numeric and chemical searches can only be done in command mode, which few researchers or librarians will take time to learn.  When the backfile is mounted at Ovid, we will have full search and update capabilities matching the current file, as well as article links.

Important searching notes:

  • Be sure to search using both British and American spellings for complete retrieval!
  • Old and new indexing terms: Each unique term found in the original Science Abstracts indexes has been mapped to the nearest existing Inspec thesaurus term.  Even if terms have gone out of use or technologies have been replaced, a modern alternative description is provided.  You can choose to search only new terms, or across the original terms.  New and old terms are displayed alongside each other in the full record display.
  • Language: Care should be taken when searching the language field prior to 1946, because language of original article was not consistently recorded until then.  Many English language articles prior to 1955 are excluded if searches are restricted to English language because of lack of indexing.
  • Author searching: Marie Curie was referred to in the literature as M Curie but also as Mme Curie or Mme Sklodowska-Curie.  Try various combinations when you search, and replace initials with any known prefixes or suffixes, or add these after the initial. Other examples of names appearing in a different format are: Lord Kelvin, Lord Rutherford, E Witschi, Jr.