Information Access Company recently released figures on user activity for its InfoTrac SearchBank online library reference service. IAC offers general-reference, business, academic, legal, and health-reference products in a variety of formats. IAC's InfoTrac databases provide a multisource approach to research, incorporating seamless access to information in reports, reviews, and directories alongside traditional source materials.
In comments about SearchBank's usage growth, the company noted that since September 1, when statistics on system-wide Web access first became available, the number of Web log-ins to SearchBank had grown dramatically. On December 2, usage was deemed particularly remarkable in that 14,161 researchers across the country logged in to InfoTrac SearchBank via the World Wide Web and viewed a total of 779,746 pages of reference material.
"As these figures reveal, system usage is going through the roof," said Dan Woods, vice president of marketing at Information Access Company's library division. "To keep pace with demand and improve performance times, we have doubled the capacity of our Web server and installed two additional servers to help manage traffic from both Web and ASCII users. We have also migrated from a 1.5-MB link to a 210-MB link to our Internet provider."
Nearly two-thirds of the nation's public and academic libraries subscribe to IAC's InfoTrac SearchBank, a leading Web-accessible reference service. Three libraries in particular have reported recent improvements in patron service that they attribute to InfoTrac SearchBank.
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has provided Web access to Searchbank for about seven months. The Carnegie Library serves as the information hub of 41 public libraries in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, that together make up the Electronic Information Network. According to Sheila Jackson, department head for Social Sciences at Carnegie, the library has canceled its CD-ROM products because Web-accessible SearchBank has the advantage of up-to-the-minute currency and the popular InfoTrac search interface. By pooling resources, the consortium finds that it can offer a wider range of electronic journals, magazines, and newspapers to patrons, and offer them simultaneously to every user via the Web connection.
Web access to InfoTrac SearchBank is available on 75 public computer workstations at the Carnegie library alone. According to Jackson, the most popular SearchBank databases include Health Reference Center, Magazine Index, National Newspaper Index, General Business File ASAP (especially popular with job seekers), and Investext Reports. …