Magazine article Online

An Open Letter to Gale Research

Magazine article Online

An Open Letter to Gale Research

Article excerpt

A year ago you announced the purchase of an important online industry publication, the Cuadra/Elsevier Directory of Databases, and its sister publication, the Directory of Portable Databases. Since you already bought the Directory of Computer-Readable Databases from Martha Williams several years ago, you now have all the marbles in the game. (Well, almost all the marbles, since Knowledge Industry Publications' DataBase Directory hasn't been updated since 1989--they are still, at the time of this writing promising a new edition in a few weeks, as they have promised for a year.)

Searchers have watched and waited to see what would happen to the Cuadra directory. Would it become Gale-icized? Would Gale maintain the quality and currency of this industry "bible?" Reva Basch raised these questions and others in her August 1991 DATABASE article in which she reviewed all the print and the online database directories. Gale publishes some well-respected directories, but since its acquisition by International Thomson, the number of first editions of new directories have proliferated, yet second editions of these trial balloons are often not forthcoming. Obviously the company has calculated the break-even points for directory publishing and maximized its expertise and resources to churn out dozens of new titles each year.

The first issue of the Gale/Cuadra directory has recently arrived in searchers' offices, and the inevitable comparisons have begun. This letter is not intended to be a review; that will be done in due course. Instead this is an appeal to Gale to recognize how critical the directory is to the online industry, and to ask you to maintain the quality we've come to expect in it. The first signs are mixed, yet we understand the transition from Cuadra's Star software to your computers was a difficult one.

For example, the January 1992 issue of the Gale/Cuadra Directory of Databases would have us believe that CA SEARCH is accessible only in Canada, and that searching INSPEC requires a subscription to COSTI (the Israel National Center of Scientific and Technological Information)! Furthermore, your own Encyclopedia of Associations is no longer online, and PROMT is not on DIALOG ... all according to this issue. Also, the labels and file numbers have been dropped from the system listings for each database, deleting one of the valuable quick reference aspects of the directory. …

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