Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

Case Study – Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

The Need:

In 1992, EPRI recognized the need to catalog the thousands of research reports accumulated since its founding in 1973, as well as a stream of new reports and related documents. With the development of Internet technologies and dissemination opportunities, the Institute also saw increased revenue potential. They needed report titles, descriptions, and publication information to present to users.


EPRI is an independent, nonprofit center for public interest energy and environmental research. The organization brings together members, participants, the Institute’s scientists and engineers, and other leading experts to work collaboratively on solutions to the challenges of electric power. These solutions span nearly every area of electricity generation, delivery, and use, including health, safety, and environment.

The Solution:

Starting in 1992, Access Innovations prepared the records for and performed the maintenance of the EPRI publications database, doing abstracting and indexing of various types of documents. Editors used in-house machine aided indexing software (M.A.I.) to suggest controlled vocabulary terms suitable to each document, and from them, manually selected the best, for extremely high indexing accuracy and completeness. This enables website users to obtain exceptionally precise search results. The detailed data entry also allows searchers to view complete bibliographic data in a standardized format.

Working first from an office in Los Altos, CA (near EPRI in Palo Alto, CA) and then remotely from Albuquerque, NM, Access Innovations’ editorial staff maintained the database by abstracting and indexing journals and technical reports directly online. Staff also maintained all the authority files and data tables, including the addition of new terms, deletion or changing of terms, updating relationships, cross-references, and codes, all consistent with authority files developed by EPRI. The Access Innovations editorial staff also processed document delivery requests for the EPRI membership.

Access Innovations ability to provide online document analysis proved to be a great help in discovering what types of data were located within these database subsets and in determining what kind of data manipulation was required to allow most efficient use of it.

Within less than a month of activation of the contract, Access Innovations located and moved into offices in Los Altos, California, hired a start-up staff, established online access to EPRI’s main databases, and began work. Working within EPRI’s direct locale for the first year of the contract ensured that both EPRI’s and Access Innovations’ proprietary procedures were properly implemented and guarded and that quality assurance standards were maintained. It also guaranteed a smooth transition during the crucial first phase. All activities connected to the EPRI database maintenance project were subsequently performed online from the Access Innovations headquarters in Albuquerque.

The Result:

The research database provides the foundation for multi-pronged uses of this valuable data – by utilities, government agencies, and environmental organizations. EPRI continues to be a leader in energy research and technology innovation.