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The Concrete Vault is a search tool for identifying and locating the published documentation of the world’s knowledge of concrete technology, its constituents, design and construction. Its great value is as a single point of reference to the international literature. It consists of bibliographic references - descriptions of source material, most of which is held in the Concrete Society’s extensive library.
… and what is it for
  • For establishing what has already been written - literature reviews prior to research
  • For identifying a key source when seeking answers to queries
  • For additional depth of indexing to journals or conferences held in your own collection
  • For tracing patterns of evolving research or commercial interests over time
  • For gauging market or technical developments
  • For outlining the published output of a particular author or institution
  • For locating a known document (perhaps with a view to borrowing or requesting a copy)
  • For checking accuracy of references when preparing a publication or bibliography
There are many ways in which the database can help - even without ordering a copy of the documents listed. The following notes aim to provide some context to its use; there is a separate Help screen to guide on the practicalities of searching.

The Concrete Vault is the latest evolution in a series of databases reflecting the enormous output of published material on concrete collected over many years by the library and information services of The Concrete Society and its predecessors.

The library on which it is based was established in 1937 by the Cement & Concrete Society and expanded over the years to form the largest specialist collection on concrete and its constituents in the English-speaking world. Its acquisitions have been subject-indexed since 1976 and this ongoing indexing, together with the long-established catalogue of documents held in the library, has been available in computerised form since 1984.

Originally accessible as a dial-up resource on subscription, known as LIONS, the database has moved ahead periodically with developments in information technology. The Concrete Information Disc was launched in 1996 and an online version - www.concreteinfo.org - in 2002. Since acquiring the collection and database in 2006, the Concrete Society has developed its own software and the Concrete Vault was introduced in 2009.

Based on the comprehensive coverage of specialist concrete literature for much of its 75 years - as well as the acquisition of earlier material - the Concrete Vault can claim to have the largest database of references of any concrete industry source in the English-speaking world.

It is international in scope, with documents from in many countries, but it should be recognised that the emphasis is on English-language material. There are numerous translations, however, often specially commissioned, and many foreign-language sources now have English summaries.
Subject matter

The database covers all aspects of concrete. There is considerable coverage of constituent materials, manufacture of components and products, architectural and engineering design, construction practices and equipment, architecture and finishes. There is an increasing body of material reflecting the history of the industry. There is also some material on competitive materials and market data, but less on engineering principles - for which the Institutes of Civil and Structural Engineers would be the more appropriate source - and ephemeral news and marketing material.

The source collection comprises a range of media: books and monographs, journal and magazine articles, conference proceedings and papers, reports, pamphlets and non-print formats (photographs, film and video). Many of the journals indexed by the database are listed separately and descriptions of many classes of document are available from infoservices@concrete.org.uk

A particular speciality is the extensive range of documents produced by the Society’s counterparts around the world, along with those of specialist research institutes and trade associations, and uniquely, the research project reports submitted for the award of Diploma in Advanced Concrete Technology.

Records are continually being added to the database as new literature is published. These documents are listed in a monthly digest of new titles - entitled Concrete Current Awareness - which usually contains a couple of hundred references per issue. Concrete Current Awareness and its bespoke variant, Concrete Update, can be made available on annual subscription.
Access to full-text

While there is much to gain from using the database alone, its value is greatly enhanced when combined with the physical resources of the Society’s library and the services of its staff. Most of the records on Concrete Vault refer directly to documents held in library which in turn can quickly be made available to users. Larger documents can be lent - subject to condition and the requester’s status - and the vast majority can be supplied as a photocopy or scanned image. The latter are generally provided within short turnaround times on payment of a copying fee and any copyright licensing charges. Please see copy request form for details.
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