What's Ahead?

Article excerpt

The beginning of every new year brings with it the potential for change and 1995 is no exception. If 1994 is any indication of things to come, 1995 should be an exciting and productive year for the information industry. There is more focus on the information industry than ever before, will this interest continue, subside, or expand?

Each year Information Today contacts a group of information professionals and asks them to look into their crystal balls and tell us what they see happening in the industry during the coming year. This year's respondents were unanimous in their predictions of change and the challenges that go along with these changes. Will 1995 be smooth sailing or rough seas? Take a peek at the next few pages and find out.

Rodney L. Everhart

President and Chief Operating Officer LEXIS-NEXIS

In 1993, people seemed to miss the point of Apple's Newton. Many industry analysts were so critical of what it didn't do perfectly, they didn't see the door it opened into the next era of the information age. The manufacturers of personal digital assistants (PDAs) did not give up on a good idea, however. In 1994, the Newton was improved, Sony introduced Magic Link, which it called a Personal Intelligent Communicator, and Motorola is working on Envoy, a personal wireless communicator.

I believe in 1995, these products and others will come out of their infancies. Incorporating e-mail, a pager, a telephone, a modem, and a computer all into one little box makes your office portable, allowing you to access information any time and any place. These types of products emanating from the General Magic alliance and Apple will demonstrate the value of freedom of communication.

Not being bound by place and time, people will now have the means to access and utilize information that will help them make better decisions. Every day. No matter where they are. These tools help professionals organize their work and their lives. As the idea of portability of information access catches on, I believe we will evolve to the "market Beta" stage for these products in 1995.

What holds our evolution back is the time it takes us to accept and adopt new technology. We create things much faster than the world can consume them. Take for example, despite the hype, only about two to four percent of the U.S. population subscribes to a consumer online service. Plus, we are the limiting factor of our own technology. As William Marovitz, one of the keynote speakers at this year's ONLINE/CD-ROM conference, said, the component size of today's devices are limited by our human scale. The keyboard is linked to our hand size, etc.

Regardless of human limitations, we intend to be part of this Beta test for the portability of information access. LEXIS-NEXIS will continue to partner with members of the General Magic alliance and others to provide content for information products that run on personal communication devices. In 1994, we teamed with AT&T to introduce the Daily News Summary, which is delivered each morning to AT&T PersonaLink subscribers, and coming soon will be the iMMEDIATE! ANSWERS Store, available through AT&T PersonaLink Market Square.

At LEXIS-NEXIS during 1995 we will be continuing to pursue our vision, which happens to fit nicely with the PDA concept: Connecting customers to the information they want and providing the tools to use it ... any from ... any place ... any time.

Jim Roemer

President & CEO UMI

Integrating technologies, comparing document delivery options, and scrutinizing database content--in 1995, those will be three issues important to information professionals and the organizations that serve them.

UMI's annual technology survey found that libraries are increasingly integrating tape leasing and networked CD-ROM technologies to create the sophisticated information systems their patrons need. This is true not only for large libraries but also for small ones, such as those at secondary schools. …