Find articles, key websites, books, the latest industry news,
job announcements, ejournals, eprints, technical reports,
the latest research, thesis & dissertations and more!
In Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing

      About TechXtra

Graphic In a nutshell

TechXtra is a free service which can help you find articles, books, the best websites, the latest industry news, job announcements, technical reports, technical data, full text eprints, the latest research, thesis & dissertations, teaching and learning resources and more, in engineering, mathematics and computing.

Graphic Doesn’t Google do that? Don't library portals do that? What about Google Scholar?

TechXtra searches parts of the Web that Google doesn’t, and TechXtra helps you find subject-based information, which Google doesn’t do very well. Many of the things you’ll find through TechXtra come from the ‘Hidden Web’, and are not indexed by Google.

If you’re looking for engineering, mathematics and computing information then TechXtra is for you!

If, however, your institution or library has a cross-searching service available within an institutional or library or intranet portal, you should almost certainly use that service as your first port of call.  Through it, you may be able to search subscription-based services for which your institution has already paid to access. Some of the information available through TechXtra will probably not be available through your institutional or library or intranet portal, so you may want to use TechXtra as well.

Google Scholar is often good for finding articles and papers.  You may also want to try it.  Google Scholar doesn't cover many of the collections covered by TechXtra, and because Google Scholar covers all subjects, you may find material on irrelevant subjects that match your search terms, in it.

Graphic More than just a directory, then?

TechXtra cross-searches (hence the ‘X' in Xtra) 31 different collections relevant to engineering, mathematics and computing, including content from over 50 publishers and providers. It doesn't just point you to these databases, but ‘deep mines' them, so you can search them direct from TechXtra.   TechXtra searches these databases remotely, and therefore results may at times vary from searches made in the native interfaces.  In many cases, TechXtra searches only content in these databases relevant to engineering, mathematics and computing, so you are less likely to get 'false hits'. 

There are also links straight through to the collections, where you can search them separately.

Graphic It must be really complicated!

It’s not complicated. Searching TechXtra is easy.

Enter your search term, and select either ‘Articles’ or ‘Key Websites’ or ‘Books’ or ‘Industry News’ or ‘New Job Announcements’ or ‘Technical Reports’ or ‘ePrint Archives’ or ‘Learning & Teaching Resources’ or ‘Latest Research’ from the drop-down menu, and click Search.

You’ll then see a Results Summary showing the number of results. Choose which results you want to view, and click on go to results. Records will be listed, ten at a time.

There’s also an Advanced Search, where you can choose individual or groups of collections and do more complex searches.

We’ve tried to keep everything as simple as possible, so that you can scan a range of collections and find relevant material.

Graphic How to get the full text

In many cases, the full text of items should be freely available. This is the case with the following databases/collections:

  • Australian Digital Thesis (ADT)
  • Aeronautical Research Council (ARC) Technical Reports
  • Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW)
  • arXiv
  • Caltech Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory Technical Reports
  • Citeseer
  • CSA Discovery Guides
  • DIVA
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • DSpace MIT
  • Higher Education Academy Joint Engineering/Materials Subject Centre Resource Database
  • NASA Technical Reports
  • NACA Technical Reports
  • Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD)
  • National Engineering Education Delivery System (NEEDS)
  • OneStep News
  • OneStep Jobs
  • Open Video Project

In some cases, the full items are just details of books or websites (e.g. from the following databases/collections: COPAC, GROW, Intute, Pearson Education, SearchLT Engineering) and to get the full text you will need to click through to the website, or find a library which holds the book, or buy a copy of the book.

In some cases, the full text of items may be available to you if your institution subscribes OR via pay per view (If your institution has something called an OpenURL Resolver, you may be able to click straight through to the full text without necessarily being aware you are accessing a subscription based service). This is the case with the following databases/collections:

  • Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI)
  • Euclid
  • Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Virtual Library
  • Inderscience Journals
  • Institute of Physics (IoP) Electronic Journals
  • Recent Advances in Manufacturing (RAM)

Some indication about full text availability is available from the techxtra collection descriptions listing.

Graphic What are the Xtra Extras?

There are several ‘Xtra Extras’ featured on the home page which link your straight through to:

Discovery Guides – Free indepth reports on topical issues, from CSA.

Design Data – Validated Engineering Design Data information, from ESDU.

Newsletters – 11 free newsletters from Pro-Talk.

Magazine Subscriptions - Trade Publications Free to Qualified Professionals, via TradePub.

Ejournal Search - Search the content of over 250 freely available full-text ejournals.

Jobs – The latest job vacancies from over 30 sources.

Industry News – The latest engineering, mathematics and computing news from over 60 sources.

Bookstore – Discounts on new technical books, from Pearson.

Offshore Engineering – A free service providing information on publications and meetings in offshore engineering.

Internet Tutorials – 14 free Internet information skills tutorials, from the Virtual Training Suite.

Manufacturing – A free Recent Advances in Manufacturing bibliographic database, containing details of over 40,000 articles from more than 500 leading journals.

Gateways – The Pinakes subject launchpad, linking to more than 50 major subject gateways.

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter - A free newsletter from Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources;

Highlights - a free newsletter from Inderscience Publishers.

Internet News – A free monthly newsletter.

Repository cross-search - the Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch (PerX) Project.

Patents & Standards - A free Patents & Standards search provided in association with GlobalSpec

Graphic Who is TechXtra for?

TechXtra is for anyone who’s looking for information in engineering, mathematics and computing.

Academics, researchers, students, lecturers, practicing engineers, and anyone else should find it useful. There is a slight bias towards information from UK sources, but many of the collections are international in coverage.

Your own library may have access to many more databases and collections. Always check there as well!

Graphic Who’s paying for TechXtra?

TechXtra is an initiative of Heriot Watt University.

TechXtra is a service created using the PerX data and software outputs.

TechXtra is funded by voluntary sponsorships, inter-linking partnerships, related JISC projects and institutional contributions.

We would like to acknowledge the support of our initial seven sponsors, without whom this service would not be possible. They are:

If you are interested in sponsoring TechXtra, please get in touch. Email:

Graphic Meet the Team

The TechXtra service was developed at Heriot Watt University by Malcolm Moffat, Roddy MacLeod and myself, with assistance from Geir Granum, Linda Kerr, and Colin Gruber. Roddy MacLeod was the founder and driving force behind TechXtra.

We developed TechXtra because we wanted to make it easier for people to find engineering, mathematics and computing information. There are other projects in other subject areas, but no-one seems to be doing the same for our subjects.

We think the TechXtra service is pretty nifty, but we're also aware of its limitations. We could add more databases, add more types of materials (e.g. patents, or components, to name but two), add more features and so on.

However, our existing funding is limited. We invite your encouragement and support to take it further. Tell us what you think of the service we've put together, whether you find it useful, how you think it could be developed further, and just as importantly, what problems you find. We will take your comments into account when planning developments to the service.

You can get in touch with us at:

Santy Chumbe
TechXtra Manager
Institute for Computer Based Learning (ICBL)
Heriot Watt University
EH14 4AS
phone: 0131 451 3762
fax: 0131 451 3327

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