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This paper describes our initial efforts to deploy a digital library to support computer-aided collaborative design. At present, this experimental testbed, The Engineering Design Knowledge Repository, is an effort to collect and archive public domain engineering data for use by researchers and engineering professionals. We envision this effort expanding to facilitate collaboration and process archival for distributed design and manufacturing teams.
CAD knowledge-bases are vital to engineers, who search through vast amounts of corporate legacy data and navigate on-line catalogs to retrieve precisely the right components for assembly into new products. This research attempts to begin addressing the critical need for improved computational methods for reasoning about complex geometric and engineering information. In particular, we focus on archival and reuse of design and manufacturing data for mechatronic systems. This paper presents a description of the research problems, an overview of the initial architecture of the testbed and a description of some of our preliminary results on conceptual design and design retrieval.