ATTENTION: We are currently in the process of moving to our new website located at
Please make note of this and update your bookmarks accordingly. We apologize for any inconvience.

Introduction to the Siegesmund Engineering Library

  • General
  • Information Desk
  • More Resources
  • Mezzanine
  • Basement
  • Computers
  • Other Services

Welcome to Purdue University and the Siegesmund Engineering Library!

Front of Library

The Siegesmund Engineering Library, located in Room 160 of the A.A. Potter Engineering Center, was furnished by a donation from John C. Siegesmund, retired Vice-President of Engineering with Eli Lilly and Company, and his wife, Lillian.The library opened in 1978, and was a consolidation of the individual Schools of Engineering libraries. More history can be found at the College of Engineering Website.

Types of materials:
The engineering library has both print and online resources. Print and online resources can be found through the catalog, which is located on this website in the tabbed box at the top of the screen on the homepage. You can also find online resources such as electronic standards, theses, ebooks, and electronic journals through the databases and ejournal tabs. You can find a specially selected group of links to resources under Research Help on the homepage.

Where to find help:
To contact a librarian, you can click on Ask A Librarian in the upper left hand side of the screen, click on Library Faculty and Staff under About the Engineering Library, or call, email or IM using the information in the contact box on the upper right hand side of the screen. The staff and librarians always welcome any questions you have. 



Information Desk

The desk where books and journals and other library materials are checked out to library users. This is also where members of the library staff who are trained to find information in a wide variety of engineering resources sit so that users can ask the staff questions.  The information desk also is the location of the reserves collection and the audiovisual collection.

Circulation Desk

Reserves - These are books that have been placed on reserve status by a professor's request.  Being placed on reserve allows the books to be seen by a maximum amount of people in a controlled amount of time.  To request to see a reserve book, simply provide the author's last name to the information desk.  Reserve books may be checked out for two hours, must stay inside the library and may be renewed except for day of a test.  Most books, with some exceptions, are also allowed to circulate overnight.  Overnight reserves may be checked out two hours before the library closes and are due back one hour after the library opens the next business day.  Reserves are checked out on a first come, first serve basis.

Materials on Hold - If a book is checked out and a patron wants to request it, there are three things the patron can do.  Two ways to request the book are found simply by looking the book up in the Purdue Library Catalog, and then scrolling over the link "Request from Interlibrary Loan".  By just moving the mouse over this link, you can see two options, consisting of requesting from Interlibrary Loan, or placing a recall.  If a patron does not want to follow the link and place a recall that way, they can come to the information desk, and a staff memeber can place a recall for the book there.  After placing a recall at the desk, the patron will receive an e-mail when the book is available for them.  The person who currently has the book is given ten days to return it.  Once the book is available, the e-mail will inform them to retrieve it at the circulation desk.  Please provide the e-mail when you come.

Recently Returned Items - If a patron looks up a book on the Library Catalog and it says "Recently Returned", this means that the book has been recently returned and is in the process of being reshelved.  The patron should first check to see if the book is already on the shelf, and if it is not, the patron should ask the staff about the book, saying that it is recently returned.


More Resources


Informed Learning Studio

The Informed Learning Studio (POTR 141) made its debut as a classroom space in Fall 2011. Able to accommodate 60 students, it features three projectors spread around the classroom, including a Smart Board, many white boards and tables arranged in a way to encourage active learning and small group work. With the projector arrangement, no one is in the back of the classroom, helping to keep everyone engaged.

Write BoardProjector table


Library of Congress Collection– As of January 1st, 2009, Purdue will classify all the new books under this system. These are currenly located in the reading room and can be issued out as regular items. Learn more about the Library of Congress classification system.

Library of Congress Collection


New Book Shelf - Located on the outside of the Reference Desk, these books may circulate. They will be added as they arrive and will be on the New Book Shelf at least one full week. New books will be changed every Monday on a two week rotation.

Reference Desk


Reference Collection - a group of books that are used mainly to look up specific facts such as chemical properties, math formulas and equations, materials properties, and cost data for construction.

Reference Collection


Journal Shelves


Journals - At the back of the room in the tall book stacks are the bound periodicals, which include scholarly journals, as well as trade publications. See locations of these publications on the library map.

You can identify a journal in the Engineering Library by the yellow dot that is placed on the spine.They are shelved in call number order. You will need to look up the call number in the libraries catalog to find them.

The bound periodicals are able to be checked out for a two day period. The ASME technical papers series are located at the end of this section.

Periodicals – Magazines, journals, trade publications that come to the library on a regular schedule. For example, if a journal comes to the library one time per month, it is a periodical. Periodicals can be bound or unbound.

Bound – Pages gathered together, sewn into hard book covers, and labeled as one volume. Intended to preserve the pages for a long time.

To find articles in periodicals you will need to use databases and indexes either in print or online. On the Library Home Page, click on the Articles tab. Click on the link Change Quickset, and select Engineering & Technology. Type your search term in the box and you will retrieve scholarly article citations, some with access to full text articles.

Unbound Journals

Magazines – Publications that are intended for the general public to read.  Their vocabulary is easier, and they contain many advertisements on a variety of products.

Scholarly Journals – Publications that are intended to communicate the latest in scholarly, scientific work to an audience of scholars.  These do not have advertisements.

Trade Publications – Publications that are intended to communicate and discuss what is important to a specific  industry, written by members of that industry, and read by members of that industry.  These have advertisements on products that are most likely to be interesting to that specific industry.



The mezzanine contains our Dewey monograph collection from 000 – 620. It also contains our historic thesis collection.Mezzanine is an Italian word for an extra floor.  The middle floor of our library, located one floor down from the entrance floor.

Monograph – Another name for a book .  It is a publication that comes out once, as opposed to periodicals which are updated on a regular basis.

Thesis – Document written by a degree candidate to display their contribution to the scholarly body of research. Required of PhD students to graduate.  Also called a dissertation.


Dewey – A type of classification system for libraries that is used to keep books about similar subjects in the same area of the library. 

A typical Dewey call number looks like this: 621.4 As54p 2007 . 

The 621 tells the main subject (engineering). 

The 4 tells the specific subject area (diesel engines/mechanical engineering).

The As54p is an alpha numeric code for the author, in this case American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 

The 2007 tells the date, and orders resources chronologically by date for each author.

To find a book in Dewey collections, start by locating the first three numbers (621).  Then look for the second part (.4).  Finally look in alphabetical order for the third part (As54p) and chronologically for the date if necessary.


Regular Books

The basement contains our Dewey monograph collection from 621 – 999. The basement also contains our technical report collection, our standards collection, and our government documents collections, in print and in microfiche. The basement also has group study rooms for 2 – 6 people, two of which can be reserved at the reference desk, as well as a mini ITaP Lab.

Technical reports - Reports created by members of societies or laboratories detailing the process and results of scientific or engineering experiments.  Also called technical papers.


Standards –  Agreed rules for the creation of a product or process.

Government Documents – Documents produced and printed by the government of a country.  The United States Government Printing Office produces a variety of technical reports and documents on a range of engineering topics.


Computer Islands - These eight computers can be used for web surfing, checking email, reading documents and printing. These also have access to your (H:) drive.

Computer Islands

Itap Lab

Itap Lab - Information Technology @ Purdue has over 60 computer labs equipped with workstations and computers around campus.  We have 8 computers and a printer in our basement with productivity software including word processing and spreadsheets. A list of programs can be found here.

Study Room Computers - There are 4 computers located in the group study rooms in the basement. These not only are equipped with various readers and a printer, but also offer Microsoft Office.

Catalog Search Only - There is currently one computer on each floor that may be only used for searching the librarys' catalog.

Plus, our entire library is wireless enabled.

Printing instructions for laptops


Other Services

This area of the library is located just to the left as you walk into the door. It houses the following services and conveniences.

Snack Zone

Mircrofiche Reader

Mircofiche Reader - This model, not only has the ability to display the pictures stored on the microfiche, but it also can have them saved as a .pdf file and either emailed or saved to a users flash drive. Instructions on how to use the reader are conveniently posted next to the reader itself. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any of our staff.

Microfiche - A piece of film approximately 4 inches x 6 inches that contains photos of the pages of government documents and technical reports.  This is a technology that predates online resources that was used to house large collections of reports without taking large amounts of room in the library.

new copiersPhotocopiers - We have 2 copiers and a kiosik. Both copiers have scanning and email options.






Vending Machines

Snacks - A very welcomed addition to our library, our vending machines are ready and waiting to make your study time more enjoyable.













  • Potter Center Room 160
    504 W. State St.
    West Lafayette, IN 47907-2084
  • Telephone: 765.494.2869
  • Reference: 765.494.2873
  • Email library
  • AIM: PurdueEngrLib

December 17th - Dec. 21st

M-F 8am to 5pm

December 26th - Dec. 28th

M-F 8am to 5pm

Jan 2nd - Jan 4th

W-F 8am to 5pm

Dates Closed
Dec. 22nd - 25th
Dec. 29th - 31st
Jan. 1st, 5th, 6th