Growth of CD-ROM Software: 1989-1994

Article excerpt

While the number of CD-ROM titles available is growing by leaps and bounds every year, the corresponding growth of CD-ROM retrieval software is not as widely appreciated. Librarians of all kinds have bemoaned the number of CD-ROM search systems they must learn in their library, but few probably realize how many retrieval packages are actually in use. Between 1989 and 1994, the number of CD-ROM retrieval software packages grew from sixty-nine to 542. This represents a 686 percent increase in just six years.

Over the past two years, the number of software packages grew by 31.9 percent. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of software has more than ten titles associated with it. In fact, an analysis of TFPL's 1994 CD-ROM Directory Software Retrieval Index reveals that only 10 percent of software had more than ten titles associated with it. (Mecklermedia's CD-ROMs in Print displays a similar pattern, although the TFPL source is used here to provide consistency with historical data). While this figure is up marginally from 8 percent in the 1993 CD-ROM Directory, it is still below the 13 percent level of 1990.

Based on the Retrieval Software Index in the TFPL directory for 1991-1994, the software packages accounting for the latest, number of published CD-ROM titles are CD Answer and SPIRS. KAware2 was in the top five in three of the four years and Dialog OnDisc for two of the last four years (see Figure one).

The rapid growth in the number of applied CD-ROM software packages is not expected to slow in the next year. As the cost of manufacturing large-volume replicated CD-ROMs falls, and the cost of desktop CD-recorders also falls, the number of organizations producing there own CD-ROM databases using their own software, whether inhouse, non-profit, or commercial, will probably rise. …