Magazine article Online

Microsoft's Bookshelf

Magazine article Online

Microsoft's Bookshelf

Article excerpt

Product: Bookshelf, version 1.0, from Microsoft; a word processing support package which includes full text access to: The American Heritage Dictionary, The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1987 Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, The Chicago Manual of Style, Rogets II: Electronic Thesaurus, U.S. ZIP Code Directory, Business Information Sources, Houghton-Mifflin Spelling Verifier and Corrector, Forms and Letters, and the Houghton-Mifflin Usage Alert. Search Software: Proprietary software from Microsoft.

System Requirements: IBM PC/XT/AT or compatibles; a mouse is advised; MS-DOS or PC-DOS of 3.1 or higher; CD-ROM drive with MS-DOS CD-ROM extensions; a compatible word processor program. [Drives supported include Hitachi 1502S, or 1503S, Sony CDU100, Philips CM-100 or LaserDrive-1.]

Price: $295 for disk alone; $1295 for disk bundled with Amdek CD-ROM drive, MSDOS CD-ROM extensions and controller, For more information: Contact Microsoft Corp., 16011 Northeast 36th Way, P.O. Box 97017, Redmond, WA 98073; 206/882-8080. The Bookshelf is also sold through Sears Business Centers.

Comments: The Bookshelf provides extensive support for the professional writer using preferred word processing software. The disk is less useful in reference situations. The manual is very brief and is not indexed. The use of extensive on-disk tutorials, help screens and windows makes the disk a useful example of the future, 'second generation' of CD-ROM products.

In September 1987, Microsoft formally unveiled its first CD-ROM disk product, Bookshelf. The product is an important example of the 'second generation' CD-ROM products geared for a mass, consumer audience. The product complies with the High Sierra Group file format standards, currently under consideration by the International Standards Organization, and uses Microsoft's own Extension s, which allows microcomputers using MSDOS to access the CD-ROM drive just as it would a hard drive or floppy drive.

The High Sierra Group file format is the de facto industry standard. It allows data to be interchanged or sent back-and-forth between operating systems. This permits disks to be read by the Apple Macintosh, IBM PCs and compatibles, DEC VAX machines and IBM's new PS/2s. Product developers can streamline the development cycle, since they won't have to reconfigure the product for each type of computer system.

The Microsoft Extensions, also completed last fall, allows the DOS to overcome its normal limitation of 32 megabytes per file needed to access the entire 550+ megabytes on a CD-ROM. With an estimated nine million MSDOS-based microcomputers worldwide, this is a significant advancement for the industry. Extensions is available from CD-ROM drive manufacturers, or for $50 from Microsoft; also Online Computer Systems, Inc. (Germantown, MD); 'Reference Technology, Inc. (Boulder, CO); Meridian Data (Capitola, CA); or Discovery Systems (Dublin, OH). INSTALLATION AND OPERATION

A setup program on a floppy diskette helps the user install the Extensions--which must be done in order to use Bookshelf. This procedure has to be done only once. The Bookshelf setup program, also on a floppy diskette, can be installed on a floppy. However, a hard drive is strongly recommended. While there were no problems in installation, there is a serious lack of printed documentation to help users. The manual lacks an index, and calls to Microsoft for user support produced uneven responses.

The system can be worked with either a keyboard or a mouse. …

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