IEEE Xplore Marks 15-Year Anniversary

A look at the digital library through the years

14 May 2015

Photo: IEEE Xplore Digital Library

Since its launch in May 2000, the IEEE Xplore Digital Library has grown from a database of 500,000 PDF documents to more than 3.5 million documents today. The library includes articles from IEEE journals, magazines, conferences, standards, e-books, and educational resources plus content from other organizations, including IET. The society partnered with IEEE to launch IEEE Xplore as a way to bring its content to IEEE’s global audience.

Fifteen years ago, IEEE Xplore started with an archive that went back only to 1988 but now its reaches as far back as 1872. Users have downloaded or viewed more than 1 billion documents since 2000. Each month, more than 3 million unique users visit the digital library and more than 8 million documents are viewed and downloaded. (Take a look at the timeline highlighting Xplore’s 15 years.)

My staff and I are among its most loyal users. We’ve downloaded research as the basis for our articles on technical topics. For example, we’ve written about augmented reality automotive applications, a smartphone app that detects sleep apnea, using Twitter as an early warning system for impending natural disasters, and a way to purify water with nanotechnology.

IEEE Xplore is also a gold mine for finding members who work at renowned technical universities, high-tech companies, and government research institutions. We’ve profiled IEEE Fellow Yen-Kuang “Y.K.” Chen, an Internet of Things expert; Member Joachim Taiber, a pioneer in electric vehicles; and Member Alexandra Boltasseva, a rising star in the field of nanophotonics.


This year we began a partnership with IEEE Xplore to write blog posts that summarize interesting research published in the library. “How Green Are Your Gadgets” looked at the environmental cost of consumer electronics, and “Want to Combat Cyberattacks? Take a Lesson from Nature” is about how insects and animals can help us determine strategies for fighting security breaches.

Over the years, organizations have also partnered with IEEE to make their content available in the digital library. IBM added thousands of articles in 2010 from its journals, including its well-regarded Journal of Research and Development and Systems Journal. In 2012, Beijing Institute of Aerospace Information and Tsinghua University of Beijing added 3,600 documents. More than 400 e-books from MIT Press were added in 2013.  Alcatel-Lucent added 6,000 articles from Bell Lab’s Technical Journal in 2014. Also last year nearly 600 e-books on computer science, engineering, and the life sciences published by Morgan & Claypool were added.

The Institute has also written about the library’s many enhancements. These include making it easier to hone in on the right author, the Mobile Xplore version that lets users easily search from their mobile devices, and converting journal articles, conference proceedings, and standards from PDF into an XML format as interactive HTML files.

Congratulations, IEEE Xplore! We look forward to continuing to feature the rich research it contains in the years to come.

How has the IEEE Xplore Digital Library helped you? Tell us in the comments section below.

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