Manufacturer’s Technical Literature Available Online

Shannon Rhodes

September 1, 2005

The Manufacturers Technical Literature (MTL) program has come a long way since its earlier incarnation as the iiFile. In the past five years, it has evolved from a bulky three-ring binder to a completely digitized publication distributed via the Internet and CD-ROM, to its latest upgrade as an entirely Web-based information tool. Each year the program has improved, but this year’s introduction to the new MTL Online marks the culmination of feedback from both end users and advertisers.

MTL users will find that the search feature is greatly improved. In the past, a category search returned a list of participating companies from the Buyer’s Guide, regardless of whether the PDF files the company submitted actually fit the category searched. This company-based approach has been replaced by a more accurate file-based search. MTL participants now can choose up to three categories for each file they submit, so that when an MTL search is run you will actually get a list of files that meet your search criteria. This makes the search more intuitive as well as more efficient, enabling you to download the file immediately without clicking once more to the company detail page (unless you want to).

Users will also notice that the company detail page was redesigned. MTL advertisers now have the option of adding a brief company description to appear beneath their logo. PDF files are listed to the right under a prominent heading so users can quickly find and download them. As in the past, links to the company’s website and membership directory page appear with the listing, and the MTL files remain accessible on the membership directory page.

For the first time, non-member companies are welcome to advertise in the MTL, at a 25-percent premium, so end users may notice that these additional companies have a Web address but no membership directory link.

The most significant change this year is the introduction of MTL Deluxe accounts, which allow advertisers to add, replace, remove and otherwise alter their PDF listings throughout the year. Not only does this benefit the advertiser, but the end user will have access to the latest information at all times. A special “new” icon highlights the updated information throughout the MTL.

The CD-ROM version of the MTL was phased out this year to meet the demand for up-to-the-minute company information. CD usage was down and users indicated a preference for the Web version. Without the CD, we are now able to encourage MTL advertisers to sign up for accounts whenever they are ready—with no deadlines. The combination of all improvements has matured the MTL into a truly dynamic program.

Although end users will certainly benefit from all of these changes, MTL advertisers will benefit even more significantly. Not only is the MTL entirely online, so is the advertising process. When advertisers are ready to create an MTL account, they do so completely online?eliminating the need to burn files to a CD and mail them to NIA. The easy and convenient process begins with the creation of a user name and password, which the advertiser uses later to login and make changes to the account. Next, information is gathered about the account holder, account details are entered, an opportunity to upload a company logo is presented, and then PDF information is gathered and uploaded. Finally, the advertiser is presented with the option to pay immediately online or request an invoice. Once NIA approves the listing, the advertiser receives an e-mail notifying him/her of the published listing with a reminder about the link to the “manage my account” feature.

When advertisers wish to make changes to their account, they log in using the company name, e-mail address, and password entered when the account was created. A forgotten password can be e-mailed to the advertiser. Once logged in, the main menu displays a summary of information about the account, such as the account type (basic or deluxe), the page range chosen, the expiration date for the account, etc. Both basic and deluxe accounts contain links from this page to change contact information, password, replace a logo, or change the company description. Deluxe accounts also offer the option to delete or replace an existing PDF, add a new PDF, or change PDF listing information, such as the title displayed or the search terms for the PDF.

The NIA hopes that a variety of Web-based ads will help spread the word about the MTL and continue to expand its usage. We hope that both advertisers and users are pleased with the new MTL online as it fulfills its mission to connect people to the most up-to-date product information available in real time.

To subscribe to the new MTL and MTL Deluxe go to or contact our advertising sales manager, Brendan Campbell at 571.261.2377 or To search the MTL by category, go to