What's the number one source of technical information for design engineers? DING DING DING — it's other design engineers!
There's even an academic study to prove it. "We have known for many years that engineers are a great information source for other engineers," Raya Fidel, a professor in the School of Library Science at the University of Washington, told Design News in an interview. Read our article on Fidel's study at http://rbi.ims.ca/4913-504.
For as long as I've been with Design News, readers have been telling me they want to hear from other engineers who have "been there and done that." So it's no surprise that the real-world case studies we publish are so popular. It's also why our "Ask the Search Engineer," column (a Q&A format in which readers ask their most pressing technical questions and other readers answer them) and MAIL page are among the top-read sections of the magazine.
We've always encouraged questions, feedback and commentary from our readers. But something like Ask the Search Engineer was a complicated process of receiving a question from a reader in an e-mail, publishing it in an e-newsletter, receiving the answer from another reader in another e-mail, and then combining the question with the answer(s) together into the print magazine.
So many months ago we started thinking about how we could simplify the process by taking it directly to the Web.
Now, I am incredibly pleased to announce that starting this month, we are launching a series of online E2E forums and blogs on www.designnews.com. Five forums and blogs correspond with the major technology beats we cover in Design News: Automotive, Electronics/Test, Hardware/Software, Materials/Fastening, Joining & Assembly and Motion Control/Automation. Plus, we've launched a forum on Careers. Through these new interactive tools, you will be able to easily pose your own technical questions to a highly-educated community, read commentary from our editors and engineer-readers about articles in Design News and a host of hot topics, and add your own two cents to the conversation.
To jump-start our forums, you'll find three articles in this issue where the online discussion has already begun:
In an editorial in this issue (pg 10), Senior Technical Editor Charles Murray responds to the unprecedented amount of reader feedback he received on his story on China's aim to become the next big engineering superpower (http://rbi.ims.ca/4913-505). We published some of the letters he received in the MAIL section of this issue (pg 14). And you can find many more reader responses and join the conversation online at our E2E Careers Forum at http://rbi.ims.ca/4913-506.
Our lead news story on CAD interoperability issues includes insight from design engineers who have developed their own coping strategies. Read the article on pg 31, then find more tips and tricks posted at our E2E Software/Hardware Forum at http://rbi.ims.ca/4913-507.
Finally, a new column debuting in this issue, "Tips from Titus," written by Jon Titus, former editor-in-chief of EDN and Test & Measurement World magazines, includes highly insightful information on how to select converters. Read the article on pg 28, and find additional information at our electronics forum at http://rbi.ims.ca/4913-508.
My request for ideas on how to kill a mouse also solicited more than 100 responses from readers. But you will have to wait until next month, when we announce the winners in the Special Golden Mousetrap Edition of Design News and publish the responses in print and online. The topic just may be hot enough to justify a forum all its own!