CORIS: A Better Online Mousetrap

By O'Leary, Mick | Information Today, September 1991 | Go to article overview

CORIS: A Better Online Mousetrap


O'Leary, Mick, Information Today


CORIS: A Better Online Mousetrap

CORIS is the latest online mousetrap - that is, a device that will make the information using world beat a profitable path to the doors of the online industry. So far, of course, this hasn't happened. Despite steady growth, potential online information users still vastly out-number actual ones, and the pathways to the online database of the world are still relatively untrodden.

It is not for lack of demand. Business people, in particular, clamor for ever more information in today's frenzied, complex business environment. Nor is it for lack of information. The accumulated data on every aspect of business is startling. The problem remains that it is too difficult and time consuming for the former to get to the latter. We still need ways for untrained people, quickly and easily, to extract specific information from large, complex database - in other words, better online mousetraps.

CORIS (for Company Research Information Service) was developed by Thomson Financial Networks, producer of the popular Investext database. It is a new chapter in the illustrious history of online mousetraps. The first and most audacious mousetrap is EasyNet, with its common interface to hundreds of database and its innovative pricing. The Dialog Business Connection pioneered a coherent, source-oriented interface to a handful of key database and inspired the heroic effort of Dialog Menus. Dow Jones News/Retrieval introduced single-command, multifile searching with QuickSearch, and moved beyond traditional Boolean searching with the remarkable DowQuest. These landmark products define the principle of the successful online mousetrap: it masks complexity with simplicity ... without sacrificing power.

CORIS merits a place in this noble peerage. It combines easily learned searching of major business database with fastidious attention to precise recall. It adopts innovations from its predecessors and adds some of its own whistles and bells. It is an advance in the evolution of the better online mousetrap.

CORIS Sources

CORIS recognizes that business people want a little bit of information about everything, and a lot of it about companies. Like the Business Connection, CORIS has assembled a small, diverse, and very select group of general and company databases that includes venerable old favorites and some fresh faces.

For coverage of industries, products, markets, trends, analysis, and business generally, CORIS has PROMT and the Newsletter Database from Predicasts, ABI/Inform and Business Dateline from UMI/Data Courier, and Thomson's own Investext. CORIS now has about three years' worth of each, but plans eventually to keep the current five years worth of records. These databases, especially Investext are also good for information on company operations. CORIS has another group of company-oriented files to provide organizational, financial, and stock market data. SEC Online carries full text of significant SEC filings, including 10Ks, 10Qs, and annual reports. SEC Resume contains directory-type data for SEC-registered companies. Media General's Common Stock Database and the Market Guide from Market Guide Inc. provide financial and stock performance data on more than 6,000 larger public corporations. To balance these public company files, Dun's Market Identifies provides product, financial, and size data on two million U.S. businesses, most of which are privately held.

For stock market watchers, CORIS has Media General's Market Barometer Reports, which supply current trading and performance statistics, and Estimate Watch, from Thomson subsidiary First Call, that reports company earnings forecasts. CORIS, however, is not the system of choice for the serious investor. It doesn't have securities quotes, online brokerage accounts, or portfolio management.

Another significant CORIS lack is real time news. Eventually this will be alleviated by the addition of Business Wire and PR Newswire, which will be updated continuously.

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