Monday, 12 October 2009
The Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES), founded in 1848, is the oldest engineering society in the U.S. It became a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 1974. Between 1914 and 1985, it published the Journal of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, available in print in the Tisch Library Bound Periodicals shelves (since then, the BSCES publication has been entitled Civil Engineering Practice).
As part of a project to scan and digitize older issues of notable journals (a good protection against the trend of libraries going all digital), Tisch Library (under the sponsorship of the Boston
Library Consortium (BLC)) has digitized nine volumes of the Journal, those published between 1914 and 1922 and which are in the public domain. These are hosted online in the Internet Archive’s American Libraries website and are a treasure trove of civil engineering data, not only for historical analysis, but for engineers, landscape architects, urban planners, and others who are trying to understand the landscape and structures they’ve inherited in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts (although many articles cover other regions of the U.S. as well as abroad). Sample article titles focusing on topics close to home include Subway Construction at Old South Church, The South End Sewer System of Boston, and New England Power Transmission Lines.
The American Libraries collection contains other items of interest to engineers, including Robert Henry Thurston’s multi-volume Materials of Engineering (originally published c. 1888-92), The San Francisco earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906, and their effects on structures and structural materials, and Standard specifications for structural steel – timber – concrete and reinforced concrete (1911) as well as pamphlets, catalogs, handbooks, and various other forms of engineering “gray literature.”