Magazine article Information Today

LaserDisclosure Replaces Microfiche

Magazine article Information Today

LaserDisclosure Replaces Microfiche

Article excerpt

LaserDisclosure Replaces Microfiche

CD-ROM advocates often go out of their way to explain all the ways their technology can be used for new applications rather than simply as a replacement for existing technologies. The optical disc medium, they say, can add new and exciting dimensions to information storage and retrieval systems--graphics, sound, and digital information all wrapped together in creative harmony. All well and good.

It's somehow refreshing, however, to find an information company which has announced a CD-ROM product which was unashamedely designed to replace an older technology--microfiche. With great fanfare and staff enthusiasm, Disclosure, Inc. announced its new LaserDisclosure service at the Special Libraries Association Meeting in Denver this June. "What we are offering is a system with all the benefits of microfiche but in a more efficient, compact, and user-friendly package," said Steve Goldspiel, president of Disclosure.

If you are getting an attack of deja vu, do not be frightened. Yes, LaserDisclosure was announced once before. In fact, Information Today had a frontpage story in the July/August issue of 1984 about the design and testing of the new LaserDisclosure service. The difference between that LaserDisclosure service, which was abandoned in 1986, and this new version is the mode of information distribution.

"Our plan with the old design," explained Owen Mitz, vice president of information systems and technology, "was not to give the discs to our clients but rather to give them online access to a central storage facility at our offices in Bethesda via a high-speed, high-quality fiber optic network. The trouble was, we found out we couldn't deliver such a service at a price our clients wanted to pay."

With the new LaserDisclosure system, users will receive CD-ROM discs on a weekly basis and access the information on the discs using an in-house microcomputer-based retrieval system provided by Disclosure as part of the subscription package.

An image-based system, LaserDisclosure provides users with full-text reproductions of original SEC filings, including graphs and photos, on a high-resolution monochrome monitor. Menus and random-access retrieval allow users to call up the disc index, view a document, jump to a specific page, enlarge sections, and print all or part of a document.

The information is stored on the discs as images rather than as digital data, however, which means that searching the discs for a specific word or concept is not possible. …

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