The world of online data has exploded with new sources. Many of them may escape the notice of professional searchers who rely only on traditional information services. In particular, books and monographs have begun to burgeon. Consumer-oriented CD-ROMs now provide multimedia access to everything from Sherlock Holmes sagas to sports history. No matter how cheap, CD-ROMs still require a purchase commitment to a new technology, particularly with all the multimedia add-ons (sound boards, superior graphics, etc.), and limit circulation of the new material to owners of the new devices.
The Internet, however, just needs a modem to connect you to text for books, monographs, and many new online-only magazines and journals. The price is certainly right, in most cases free. Many sources appear simply as downloadable files and expect you to have the necessary software for sophisticated manipulation. However, text database management software continues to drop in price and increase in powerful features, warranting the investment. The text you receive may not have the dancing feet of multimedia CD-ROMs, but it can offer solid informational value. As Internet connections increase their power and more clients add multi-media devices, 'Netters will find more elaborate products delivered.
To locate sources and directions for reaching them, you can try the Internet itself. There are many sources floating out there. For example, Scott Yanoff (email@example.com) produces a widely disseminated list of Special Internet Connections. You can find it on many gophers. The TitleBank Internet Catalog gopher provides details on book catalogs from several publishers (gopher gopher.infor.com). For a review of key works on the Internet itself, most of which will include advice on key sources, try the review article by Joan Tuss Online ["Roadmaps to the Internet: Finding the Best Guidebook for Your Needs," January 1994, pp. 14-16, 18-20, 22, 25-6; also available online full-text in IAC's Trade and Industry ASAP and UMI's ABI/Inform on DIALOG, Data-Star, Mead NEXIS, and Dow Jones News/Retrieval].
For online-only journals and others, try Online Access' January/February 1994 issue for its special section on electronic journals ["Editor's Choice: E-Journals," pp. 72-4, 76-8, 80, 82, 84-6]. Fortunately, more traditional publication directories have begun integrating Internet sources. …