Magazine article Information Today

Database Race to the Web

Magazine article Information Today

Database Race to the Web

Article excerpt

by the Information Today staff

The pace in the race to the World Wide Web does not seem to be slowing. New products as well as established products continue to step up to the starting line with announcements of plans to go Webward or of actual current availability.

As it should be, the winners in this race are the users, who gain convenience and portability in their access options for the information on which they rely to run their businesses and their lives. Most of this month's announcements are from established, traditional companies, yet they have embraced this new technology and recognize the value to their customers of Internet access to information. On one thing they all agree: Making access to their information available through the new Web-browser technology is the way to go right now.

UMI: ProQuest Direct

UMI, a Bell & Howell company, has announced the availability of its ProQuest Direct online system on the World Wide Web. ProQuest Direct is a professional information resource that combines search capability and information delivery in a single, easy-to-use, desktop package. End users can begin finding answers to their questions within minutes after they begin using the product, according to UMI. They can have the desired information delivered immediately and directly to their desktop computers, printed locally, or faxed to another location.

ProQuest Direct was designed for a wide range of end users: corporate executives, business managers, librarians, professional researchers, teachers, and students. Answers to search queries are provided in progressively detailed formats, beginning with a citation, followed by an abstract, then full text in ASCII format, then page image, and then, finally, Text+Graphics. Text+Graphics is ProQuest's compound-document format that enables users to retrieve photographs, charts, graphs, diagrams, and other images.

ProQuest Direct provides direct access to all of UMI's electronic databases, which are constantly updated and expanded daily, and to UMI's information treasury of 17,000 periodicals, 7,000 newspapers, and 1.4 million dissertations. End users who seek information from documents with specialized content or low utilization can order documents directly from ProQuest Direct and have them faxed or sent by overnight service.

Content from DataTimes' base of regional, national, and international newspapers; newswires; trade publications; newsletters; broadcast transcripts; financial statements; and company profiles are also available. Acquired by UMI this summer, DataTimes is now a fully owned subsidiary [see Internet Insights on page 44 in this issue and page I of the September 1996 issue of Information Today].

ProQuest Direct/Web takes advantage of several trends now shaping the information industry. UMI has embraced the new industry standards and open systems to extend access to its content, and it has utilized the popular browser technology to permit convenient use in corporate, academic, and school environments.

Source: UMI, Ann Arbor, MI, 800/521-0600, 313/761-4700.

CAB International: All CAB Products

CAB International (CABI), the Center for Agriculture and BioSciences, and SilverPlatter Information, Inc. have signed an agreement to create Internet access to all 13 CABI databases covering subject areas in agriculture, health, disease, and related disciplines. Searchers use the same SPIRS interface that is used on locally stored information and can choose from Windows, DOS, or Macintosh retrieval platforms. For more comprehensive searching, users can simultaneously search CABI along with locally held databases.

SilverPlatter's Internet delivery is based on its ERL (electronic reference library) technology, a client/server approach that enables wide-area access to databases. ERL technology offers multiple options for both searching and operating platforms, providing database access from any location. …

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