n2kbod1 - need to know Body, chapter 1

last updated 15 oct 97 - mjh

1) engineering resources

We have a very valuable resource of engineering information in 457 Loomis Lab. It includes databooks, catalogs, CDROMs, and other vendor propaganda. We also maintain a number of (1.2) online databases that support our engineering tasks.

1.1) databooks and vendor files

1.1.1) our nonlending policy

We maintain our databooks, vendor files, etc., in order to support our engineering needs. We are not a lending library. If a book is loaned out, then it is not here for us. Yes, this is a hostile philosophy. But our responsibilities to the experiments that we support (and that support our existence) must takes precedence.

Having said the above, generally anyone is welcome to browse our resources. Moreover, we are generally quite willing to take a few moments to help people find what they are looking for. And if you really need to photocopy some of the material, just ask... However,


1.1.2) labels

As engineering information arrives, it is tagged with a "Return to 457 Loomis" label, and dated (unless the date is fairly obvious). current

White, dated labels typically indicate that the material is "recent" in the sense that there are no other documents that we have, and recognize, as being more up to date. Some of our databooks are rather old, but still hold their white labels, either because we have not replaced them (yet), or can not replace them (e.g. the books are no longer printed).

On the silicon shelves, new databooks occupy the top half of each bookcase. old

Orange/red labels typically indicate that a databook is "obsolete" in the sense that we have databooks that are more appropriate for use at this time. In some cases, the information in the newer resources is more current. In some cases the components are no longer commercially available so the "old" databook is no longer relevant to new design work.


As a general rule, when a current engineering resource is superseded by a newer version, we tag *one* copy of the older documents as "old" and save them, forever. We will thin the heap, but we avoid losing information if at all possible. This is a matter of very real survival for us! There are electronic designs in service at various experiments that contain no-longer-available components. We are responsible for what we make, FOREVER. And that means that we can not dispose of old databooks.

One the silicon shelves, the old databooks occupy the bottom half of each bookcase.

1.1.3) shelves

There are a number of shelving areas in 457, as outlined below. silicon

Because of our focus on electronics, we have a strong emphasis on silicon databooks. Roughly 7 bookcases are allocated for these, and we need more.

New books are kept in the top half of each bookcase and have white labels; use these for all new design work. Old books are kept in the bottom half of each bookcase and have orange/red labels; don't use these unless you are trying to understand some piece of history.

In some cases, additional silicon information is available in the (1.1.4) file cabinets and on (1.1.5) CD's. non silicon

Several bookshelves have been set aside to hold "everything but silicon" in vendor alphabetical order, *not* in product order. Thus, you need to know "who" you are looking for, as opposed to "what". An on-line (1.2.2) vendor index database is being created to help address this issue (what-to-who mapping). standards

One bookcase contains our collection of standards. They are organized into two heaps: bus-related (top half), and everything else (bottom half). Since our history includes a significant involvement in (2.4) bus standardization, we have quite a bit more than simply the "official document" for several bus standards. Some of this material is on these shelves, while the balance is "archived" on (2.2.6) the top shelves. conferences

One bookcase contains our collection of conference proceedings. This is basically defined by whomever goes, and what they bring back. publications

Two bookcases contain the publications to which we subscribe. In many cases, only one year of back issues are kept. books

A completely unorganized heap of technical books is kept in one bookcase. Some of the books are very valuable, some are just here. Someday when we have some time, these will get organized...

1.1.4) file cabinets

A hanging file system is provided for all vendor information that is not suitable for the bookshelves. In principle, every vendor should have a hanging folder, even if empty, as an indication that a databook exists. In practice...

1.1.5) CD's

A relatively new medium for us is CD-ROM. While many manufacturers are providing increasing amounts of information on CD, they each tend to use a completely incompatible encapsulation, which is often Windows/NT hostile (W'95 specific). At present the CD collection is maintained in a carousel, alphabetically sorted by vendor. If you want to use a CD,

  1. ask first, then
  2. you are on your own.

Mike Haney has played most of the CD's and can provide limited support...

1.2) online databases

Several Microsoft ACCESS databases are maintained to support engineering tasks. They are all located in \\NTSERVER\Engdb.

1.2.1) catalog

The catalog (Engin.mdb) contains two critical elements. The Dictionary defines our Illinois Part Numbers (IPNs), which is an indexing scheme whereby we can identify (equivalent) components according to their function. The basic naming scheme can be found in the docs\indexcat.htm file. The Catalog is a record of every component purchased since 1988 (?), indexed by IPN. The Catalog contains dates, quantities, prices, manufacturers, and distributors. There are a series of forms that will assist in using this database, and Todd has written some very good support documentation.

1.2.2) vendor index

The vendor index (sometimes called "index to files") lists all of the vendors that we have received literature from

1.2.3) hall cabinet list

The hall cabinet database is an attempt to keep track of some of the "stuff" that is hidden away in the hall cabinets, in the hope that maybe we might start using some of it rather than buying new parts simply because nobody remembered that we already had something like that lying around...