Magazine article Information Today

AGELINE Reflects Oldsters' Agenda

Magazine article Information Today

AGELINE Reflects Oldsters' Agenda

Article excerpt

AGELINE Reflects Oldsters' Agenda

AGELINE seemed like a good subject for a database review, what with elder abuse, intergenerational warfare, and other cheery subjects being so timely. I picked up the phone to call BRS, the database host, for a password, but then hesitated. BRS has been sold, I recalled. Wasn't it being merged? (These online industry acquisitions and mergers are terribly confusing.) Isn't it now part of those other two services that merged a while ago?...ORBITLINE? PergamInfo? (I really can't keep them straight.) And wasn't ORBinfo--or whatever--purchased last summer by Night-Ridder, the TV company? No, not Night-Ridder, it was Maxwell House, the food corporation. Night-Ridder bought that other online company, Dial-a-Something.

I called PergamonLine--or whatever--they now answer as Maxwell Online. They referred me back to BRS, where I got a password from their ever courteous and efficient staff. (Fortunately, some things haven't changed.) They reassured me that, for the moment, BRS is still BRS, and that AGELINE is still there.

Elders' Concerns Examined

AGELINE is an abstract database produced by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). AARP is an interest group rather than a professional association or information company, and in its role as a database producer, it reflects this organizational character. AGELINE is not a comprehensive record of the literature of gerontology or aging, but rather is an information resource that represents the concerns of AARP's membership. AGELINE is thus an eclectic file that scans many subjects and focuses in depth on a few.

AGELINE covers demographics, economics, politics, medicine, and the social sciences, or more specifically: retirement population characteristics; retirement finances; social security and medicare; health and health care issues; and the effects of aging on the person and the family. These topics can be narrowed even more to give a sharper feel for the database's content. Above all else, AGELINE deals with our elders' biggest concern, "How will we be cared for?," including long-term care institutions and their financing, catastrophic and long term care insurance, and the role of the caregiver. If you spend much time with AGELINE, you conclude that it should be entitled `Long Term Elder Care Abstracts.' Personal health matters are thoroughly covered, as are social security developments, tax issues, housing options, and retirement financial planning. The database concentrates on the grimmer aspects of aging and has little on aging as a stage of growth, retirement opportunities, or what elders can give to themselves or their community. Overall, AGELINE reflects the priorities of AARP, a powerful and effective lobby where the protection and advancement of its members' interests is the bottom line.

Death Studies Online

AGELINE draws upon several kinds of publications to obtain the approximately 2,500 records which are added annually:

Journals. The majority of AGELINE's records are article abstracts from over 200 journals. Close to half of these are geronotological periodicals, from general titles like Aging, Fifty Plus, and Modern Maturity, to a large number of geriatric medical and nursing journals. There is even (gulp...) Death Studies and Omega: Journal of Death and Dying. The rest are mainstream journals in sociology, psychology, medicine, business, and current affairs.

Reports. Studies from a variety of governmental and private think tanks, including AARP itself, are cited. …

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