The Standard Periodical Directory on Compact Disc (SPDCD) is a CD-ROM version of the senenteenth edition of the Standard Periodical Directory, which is a directory of periodicals, indexed by title and subject: According to the "Preface" (2nd item on the CD-ROM's Main Menu): "This demonstration version of the SPDCD infobase utilizes Folio Views 3.0, a recognized state-of-the-art tool for electronic publishing." The publisher offers: "more than 85,000 periodicals accessible by subject category, type of publication, title of publication, geographic location, personnel, circulation, etc., or by keyword searching the full-text."
This product is available in both DOS and Windows versions. We examined the Windows version, which requires Windows 3.0 or higher, MS DOS 3.0 or higher, at least 2MB RAM, but preferably 4MB RAM for optimal performance (we used a 486DX with 8MB RAM), one hard drive with at least 2MB free, a graphics monitor with an EGA or VGA card, a Microsoft compatible mouse "(strongly recommended, but not required)," and a compact disc reader.
Installing SPDCD couldn't be easier; all software is provided on the CD-ROM. In the Run dialog box, type [CD-ROM drive Letter]: setup. Follow simple directions, and Voila! According to the manual, SPDCD can be run without installation directly from the CD-ROM, though with significantly slower performance.
The user's manual is spiral bound with 200 leaves (yes, printed one side). It begins with some highly technical information for DOS users before the Table of Contents, then features a 22 leaf Quick Start Guide, followed by a user's guide which features 108 leaves of tutorials (with tests, yet). On leaf 99, the following note appears: "All examples and exercises in this tutorial assume you are working in the HAMLET.SDW infobase." Yes, the tutorial is for the "Hamlet" infobase--not the SPDCD infobase.
The tutorials are followed by 48 leaves of Appendices and Glossary, and an index. The four appendices (A: Required Files; B: SPDCD Menus; C: Error Messages; D: Quick Keys) are not differentiated in the Table of Contents and, in the absence of running heads, cannot be located without a lot of flipping back and forth. Furthermore, these vital appendices are not indexed! "new york" (sic), which is used as an example, is indexed, but not Error Messages. The text and Required Files appendix mentions Network usage, but the term "Network" is absent from the index. The index has few subheadings; under the term "infobase" are 30 undifferentiated page references. This program claims to have a "Mailing List" feature. The two page references in the index merely mention this feature, without describing it or its use.
In a word, because of the defects in the index and possible binding error in the tutorials, the manual is well nigh useless; a fatal flaw because of its arrangement as an extended tutorial. …