Focus On: Global Change 2.0

Article excerpt

Focus On: Global Change 2.0

Focus On: Global Change is a new floppy diskette, current awareness product from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). It was introduced in March and upgraded in August with the introduction of version 2.0 which includes author abstracts. Reasonably priced at $395/year for a biweekly subscription, it is a great bibliographic tool. It is timely, efficient, and easy to use while providing many customized options. It also has a well written tutorial and reference guide.

The only negative feature of the product lies within the name itself. Unless you know the product, or have been privy to the term "Global Change," you may not know what its subject coverage is - the "effects of human activity on the environment." Then why not include the word "environment" or "environmental" in the title? Eugene Garfield discussed the term "global change" in his "Current Comments" article in the April 2, 1990 issue (No 14) of Current Contents. He describes the term global change as "a broad and evolving term referring to the myriad ways in which human activity is affecting our planet." The American Association for the Advancement of Science may use the term; however, if ISI had added "environment" or "environmental," the product name would have more meaning. Also, putting a colon in the middle of the title or name is confusing. It makes you stop and hesitate when reading or typing Focus On: Global Change. ISI is planning other Focus On: products, focusing on other key subject areas. Is the colon necessary in these titles? Couldn't it be eliminated?

Focus On: Global Change is multi-disciplinary in its coverage, a very strong point. Two hundred publications are fully indexed. In addition, the entire ISI database, consisting of more than 7,200 journals and 6,000 books and conference proceedings, is selectively scanned for pertinent items for each issue. These include research journals, popular magazines and newsletters. Coverage is primarily based on the environmental, sociopolitical and economic aspects of global change. By selecting the "browse by discipline" option in an issue, you can examine approximately 23 different discipline categories including agriculture, aquatic sciences, business, earth sciences, ecology, economics, energy, environmental health, environmental science, forestry, geography, innovation and technical change, law, meteorology, multidisciplinary sciences, natural resources, planning/development, and politics.

Of the 23 different disciplines, by far the greatest coverage is in the discipline of environmental sciences, which contained 83 journal titles in one issue. Next in coverage was the multi-disciplinary sciences category with 50 titles, then environmental health with 36. The categories of law, natural resources, innovation, and technical change each had 2 titles. The broad range of coverage is most obvious in the multi-disciplinary sciences category where the journal Nature is included along with Poetry Review.

In August, ISI produced a new 2.0 version of Focus On: Global Change which now includes author abstracts taken from the source publications. Approximately 70 percent of the journal items and books are to include English author abstracts. When scanning the September 17, 1990 issue (Issue 15), a majority of the journal issues had abstracts. In addition, version 2.0 includes some software enhancements such as browsing by discipline and ISI's KeyWords Plus feature. KeyWords Plus enhances the indexing of articles by adding terms to an article record from significant words in the title of cited references.

When using Focus On: Global Change you can browse the contents pages of the entire issue, a specific discipline category, or a specific source publication.

Searching is done by using a menu screen. There are many searchable fields. The basic index field includes words from the title of the article and the KeyWords Plus field. …