Magazine article Information Today

West Publishing's PREMISE Publisher; with West's PREMISE, Anyone Can Create an Electronic Book

Magazine article Information Today

West Publishing's PREMISE Publisher; with West's PREMISE, Anyone Can Create an Electronic Book

Article excerpt

What is an electronic book? For starters, it's something everyone should expect to see in increasing numbers. Electronic books have many similarities to full-text databases. They automate the text of a single work or a variety of works and present them in a format that has many of the same features as a book--with a few special touches thrown in.

There are several similarities between a hard-cover book and the electronic book that can be easily produced using PREMISE Publisher, electronic publishing software available from West Publishing. PREMISE Publisher enables users to create books with a detailed table of contents. The user can also page through or open to a specific chapter, just as with printed publications. But the real merit of an electronic book is that it can be used in a variety of value-added ways unavailable in its non-automated counterpart.

Using PREMISE Publisher, subscribers can increase the value of their information in five distinct ways:

* PREMISE Publisher books can be less costly to produce, use, and manage than comparable print publications.

* They can be easily and cost-effectively distributed.

* They are easily updated.

* They have numerous search capabilities.

* They make environmental sense.

Creating a book using PREMISE Publisher involves "packaging" machine-readable information (word processing versions of journal articles, legal documents, or anything else) in a format that has all of the above-mentioned benefits. To grasp the concept more easily, think of an electronic book as a full-text database that can consist of whatever information the end user deems worthy of the effort.

In the legal profession, good candidates for electronic books include work-product databases, conflict-of-interest databases, and such commonplace items as automated client address and information databases. Of course, legal publishers can now also use PREMISE Publisher to produce their own CD-ROM products. In the same way many publishers use third-party search engines (e.g., Folio Views), PREMISE Publisher can be used to create a powerful, sophisticated full-text database--with several features specifically tailored to the legal profession.

PREMISE Publisher lets you create books with an ease that belies the complexity and usefulness of the end product. The four-step process is defined in West's documentation as follows:

1. Create a New Book--Define the title and author of the book plus any applicable copyright messages.

2. Add Documents to the Book--Add your word processing or ASCII documents to the book.

3. Assemble the Book--Create the index, resolve links, and assign the document orders.

4. Release the Book--This step enables you to move an assembled book from one physical location to another or to create a CD-ROM master file.

Intuitive Simplicity

Part of the beauty of this application is the intuitive simplicity of using it. The first four icons along the left side of the toolbar tell the tale: New Book, Add Docs, Assemble Book, and Release. Follow the process from left to right and you've created your book.

Here's an example. Assume your law office has a variety of legal research and memoranda you would like to capture and make available to anyone in the office. You not only want to be able to use your existing documents to create a full-text database, but you also want to be able to add new documents to that database periodically.

We'll use six documents to create a book entitled Research & Memoranda. All of these documents were written in Word for Windows 6.0 format and and are about 6-8 pages long. One of PREMISE Publisher's strengths is that it recognizes machine-readable documents written in a variety of word processing formats (e. …

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