Customer Support Developments: Customer Service for Database Industry Continue to Move to Internet

Article excerpt

In September, the Internet celebrated its 25th anniversary. More and more database industry firms have found homes on its waves. Besides search service connections to Internet communication access, many database producers and search services have begun to build customer services on the 'Net. Searchers can find online documentation, order forms, training schedules, and searcher forums for many commercial database providers.

LEXIS/NEXIS has opened a LEXIS/ NEXIS Communication Center mailing list as a World Wide Web site. Initially they placed announcements from their Fax Deliver service onto the site. The Fax Deliver service provides system news, search tips, customer service news, documentation discussions, etc. for NEXIS (1-800-34-NEXIS) and LEXIS (1-800-25-LEXIS). Users can find answers about the service and leave questions, get the LEXIS/NEXIS Commands Guide, check FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), read Library Contents or Alphabetical List of LEXIS/ NEXIS Sources, check out searcher newsletters, etc. To reach the site, users enter http://www.meaddata.com/. LEXIS/NEXIS also offers a direct Bulletin Board System (1-800-453-5382) operating at 8 data bits, one stop bit, no party, ANSI emulation, and any speed from 1200- to 57,600-bps. Users can set their own password when they join. Menus walk through options which include documentation, tutorials, complete LEXIS/NEXIS Session Software along with updates and patches.

Cambridge Scientific Abstracts has a new gopher leading users to descriptions of products, online search guides, document delivery, tape licensing and loading, downloadable special "Hot Topics" bibliographies, sample records, user tools, lists of journals indexed and abstracted, and communication with company staff. To access, enter gopher.-csa.com or ftp.csa.com, then logon as anonymous and enter the e-mail address as a password.

Disclosure supports three access routes on the Internet. The Disclosure Forum is an open discussion group for exchanges of customers and staff. To join, enter listserv@disclosure.com, followed by subscribe forum firstname lastname. The Disclosure Information Gopher (DIG) provides company and product information, archives of Forum discussions, upcoming events, sample records, and free trial product offers. Use gopher di.disclosure.com. For electronic mail, try talk@disclosure.com. To request Disclosure literature enter contact information and specifics on material needed and sent to lit@disclosure.com. For any questions about SEC EDGAR, try edgar@-disclosure.com.

Congressional Quarterly, with its Washington Alert Service, has opened the CQ Gopher offering access to lead stories from the current CQ Weekly Report and archives of past lead stories, a cumulative index to the Weekly Report, current and archived news briefs from CQ Researcher, status of federal appropriation bills and other major legislation, results of key 1993 and 1994 roll call votes, late news on congressional and gubernatorial elections, background on members of Congress, catalogs of publications from CQ Press, and schedules of CQ Professional Education Seminars. Access is free. Just enter gopher.-cqalert.com.

OCLC now offers FirstSearch documentation over a listserv. Subscribers to the library patron or FirstSearch side of OCLC EPIC can access a listserv called FirstSearch-L. To subscribe, send the message, subscribe firstsearch-l yourname, to listproc@oclc.org. [OCLC has also opened a World Wide Web server. See the Database Industry Scene column for the story.

University Microfilms International (UMI) has opened an Internet server with a limited subset of the UMI Dissertation Abstracts. …