Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1997

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1997

Article excerpt

On that score, I can now say the same about Compton's. In the April 1996 review, I criticized the encyclopedia's SmarTrieve software for its "father knows best" attitude and for not allowing the user to specify the relationship between two or more words entered. In such cases, the relevance-ranking algorithm often retrieved irrelevant records and ranked them high. As I illustrated through some examples, this too often turned into "father knows least" scenarios.

One of the developers involved subsequently responded that the new edition would have Boolean features. Indeed, beyond its simple search, the current version has a clearly implemented advanced search feature that allows Boolean, truncation, proximity, and a somewhat limited positional operator. The template for the advanced search formulation is excellent (Figure 3). The interface got a facelift through the rearrangement of some of the function buttons and graphics. The main menu is also more legible and visually accessible thanks to changes in the background/foreground color combination. …

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