Magazine article Information Today

Inside, the British Library Online Service, Opens

Magazine article Information Today

Inside, the British Library Online Service, Opens

Article excerpt

The British Library (BL) has announced a new online service called Inside. It opens up the BL's journal and conference collection to researchers, librarians, and information professionals in education, business, and government worldwide.

Inside is a completely integrated service that allows users to search, order, and receive delivery of articles from a single low-cost service. Inside is available now on CD-ROM; the Web service is scheduled for release later this year.

According to the BL, Inside will suit all researchers, from the novice to the information specialist and from the sole searcher to the largest library. Because of the comprehensive nature of Inside, the service complements more specialized databases and gives users the ability to discover key research material from a variety of disciplines. Orders can be placed instantly and material received in as little as 2 hours. All the information on Inside is held at the BL and is immediately available.

During a search, users can identify requests and can hold these in a pending tray with both the Web and CD-ROM service. At the end of searching, the pending tray can be opened up and an order placed directly with the BL. The costs of the order are displayed on screen. Alternatively, searches can be conducted on behalf of third parties and the results downloaded and distributed to the interested party for further consideration.

For delivery options, users may select from a 2-hour fax, a 12-hour fax (overnight), mail, or courier services. Orders can be tracked and customers informed of their progress at any stage.

An account manager deals directly with the BL, and it is the account manager who decides for a specific organization who has access to the Inside service, who has ordering facilities, or who just has access to searching the database. The account manager has complete local control over budgets for ordering documents from Inside and access to the database. Billing can be specified by individual or department within an organization.

The costs of Inside are made clear. There are no hidden charges. The document-delivery costs are made up of two elements: a service charge and a publication-specific copyright fee (fixed at the discretion of the publisher). Subscription pricing (in British currency) can be found on the BL Web site ( online/inside/overview.html).

The Inside CD-ROM Service

The CD-ROM service is split into two CD-ROMs: Inside Science PLUS and Inside Social Science and Humanities PLUS. Each CD-ROM is published monthly and contains the previous 6 months of data. The Inside CD-ROMs are derived from a database of 20,000 journals. Science PLUS provides access to 1.3 million articles each year from 13,000 business, scientific, technical, and medical journals. Social Sciences and Humanities PLUS provides access to 700,000 articles each year from 7,000 business, arts, and social science journals.

Updated at regular monthly intervals, the service has an international spread across all subjects. The subscription runs for one year and the monthly CD-ROMs will contain details down to article level.

The database can be searched in a variety of innovative ways. It can be networked around your organization allowing individuals to order articles within agreed budgets.

The following equipment is needed to use the Inside CD-ROM service: a 386 IBM or compatible PC with 512 KB of available RAM, approximately 5 MB of hard disk space, a CD-ROM player and controller card with Microsoft Extensions-compatible device driver, DOS version 3. …

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