A survey was done in 1988 by CODATA FRANCE and the Ministry of Education on Materials Data Banks Production in France. Forty data banks were analyzed in relation to producers, subject coverage, type of data, mode of access, and method of use.
Given the major effort required to build a data bank, a large number of these data banks are the result of national or international cooperation. An analysis of the fields covered shows the importance of metals, polymers, and building materials. The properties covered are mechanical properties and a description of the materials. This information is expressed in terms of textual-numerical data and inventories.
Calculation software provides an important plus for the use of numerical data. Two thirds of data banks are accessible from a distance, and access by videotex is common. The various types of materials data banks belong to two main categories: 1. Scientific data produced by higher education covering fundamental properties expressed in the form of numerical data, associated with calculation programs, and accessible locally or at a distance in ASCII mode. 2. Technological data produced by other public sector bodies, nonprofit making organizations, and industrial companies. These data describe the characteristics of the materials and their mechanical properties in the form of textual-numerical data and inventories. They are often accessed at a distance and by minitel.
The results of this study are being analyzed by different ministries involved in Materials Data Banks production, for example, Education nationale, Recherche et Technologie, Industrie. Proposals are being discussed for an easier access and search method adapted to end users in different activity sectors.