By Stewart, J. Andrew
Information Today , Vol. 8, No. 9
Business Periodicals Ondisc: ABI/Inform on CD-ROM
Business Periodicals Ondisc is the CD-ROM version of ABI/Inform, covering more than 800 business and management titles for the most recent five year period (for example, from February 1986 to January 1991). In addition, the full text of 340 titles can be displayed, and complete articles can be laser-printed by users at the Business Periodicals Ondisc Workstation.
Searching Business Periodicals Ondisc is similar to searching any other electronic bibliographic index. Searches can be conducted by keyword, author, personal name, descriptor, publication year, or ABI/Inform classification code. Novice users find the system inviting and approachable.
Experienced searchers will find few problems in becoming familiar with the more powerful features offered by the system. However, use of some of the advanced search commands is not immediately obvious. For example, users will not initially realize that w/seg means within the same segment of the record. Similarly, the designation pre/2 may be puzzling until they discover that it means preceding, within two words.
The Boolean operators, AND, OR, and NOT are available as is truncation. Search terms can be selected from the Business Periodicals Ondisc word index, or from a particular abstract. Choosing terms from abstracts allow sideways searching from one abstract to another. If desired, search terms can simply be typed into the keyboard.
Searches can be reused, and up to 12 previous searches can be accessed in this way. During a search, the user presses function keys to exercise various search options. Menu-driven help screens explain both basic and advanced search features.
The effect of using the Page Down key can be a bit confusing, since the last three lines of text are repeated on the subsequent display.
At the point in a search when a citation and abstract are displayed on the screen, the user is not informed whether or not the corresponding article is available in full text through the system. Nevertheless, the screen instructs the user to "Press Enter to display the complete article for this item."
If full text is available, the display then indicates which CD-ROM to mount. Once the disc is mounted, desired pages, or the full article, can be printed on the laser printer.
If full text is not available on CD-ROM, the user can print the citation and, if desired, the abstract, on the system's bubble jet printer.
To browse through specific issues of a journal, the user goes to an on-screen Periodical Directory to locate the needed CD-ROM disc for those issues. When a disc is mounted, the cover, table of contents, and any article can be viewed on the screen. The large, high resolution monitor allows pages to be enlarged or reduced for easiest reading.
Pages being viewed can also be printed. All page prints are on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper.
Delays on Titles
Even though an updated index disc and added full-text discs are sent each month, this material is not timely enough to replace conventional subscriptions. For example, in the discs received for February 1991, the latest full text material on Barron's (a weekly) was October 29, 1990. A University Microfilms, Inc. representative reported "60 to 90 day delay on some titles."
Even for those titles that are promptly included in Business Periodicals Ondisc, a library that leases this system would be unwise to discontinue paper subscriptions, there is always a chance that a future library Ondisc subscription be cancelled.
Furthermore, while sitting at the workstation, only the current user has access to any of the titles and issues that are recorded on CD-ROM. To give service to multiple users simultaneously, a library would have to install many Business Periodicals Ondisc systems. …