Inspec coverage is extensive in the fields of physics and computer, control, and mechanical engineering. Its coverage in applied mathematics includes many practically oriented mathematical articles that are excluded from MathSciNet and Zentralblatt MATH, which limit themselves to mathematics and some of computer science.
Inspec was started in 1967 as an outgrowth of the Science Abstracts service. The electronic records were distributed on magnetic tape. In the 1980s, it was available in the U.S. through the Knowledge Index, a low-priced dial-up version of the Dialog service for individual users, which made it popular. Access to Inspec is currently by the Internet through various resellers. Because Inspec is not as expensive as some other online databases such as Web of Science, it has become a standard online resource at universities and libraries.
Inspec Direct is the web-based version of the Inspec Database, available directly from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) The new Inspec Direct platform features a user-focused design that supports all levels of scientific and technical research in the corporate, industrial, government and academic sectors. Inspec Direct provides online access to abstracts and citations to millions of high quality, relevant peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings and technical reports, via a secure and intuitive interface featuring state-of-the-art indexing, search features and analytical functionality.