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Dow Jones Publications Library on the Web-Save It for the End-User Desktop

Magazine article Online

Dow Jones Publications Library on the Web-Save It for the End-User Desktop

Article excerpt

Dow Jones has made its entire News/Retrieval Publications Library available directly on the World Wide Web. Account holders may search through a rich array of sources (over 3,600 at last count), using only a web browser. For end-users accustomed primarily to the clunky search engines and dubious content of the Internet, this represents a great leap forward. Professional searchers, however, will have a few reservations.

The Publications Library site was initially rolled out to subscribers of the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, and was expected to be available on a standalone basis early in the second quarter of 1997. It is configured to work with either Netscape 3.0 or Microsoft Explorer 3.0, and it performed equally well with both browsers. The site offers two search interfaces, one simple and one advanced; information professionals will wish to proceed straight to the advanced interface.

Examples of search phrases are available in both simple and advanced mode, and the examples page has the nifty ability to paste sample syntax directly into the search box. Professional searchers will note the sudden appearance of LEXIS/NEXIS-flavored syntax, such as W/2 and ATLEAST. Searches run in either mode may be viewed with or without the use of frames. The no-frames view is the default, which may be a good thing, as the frames view reserves only a minuscule quadrant of the screen for scanning results. The simple search mode (which Dow Jones calls the Home Page) limits searches to the full text of documents from the last two years; it sorts results only by relevance. The selection of sources in this mode is also limited. ADVANCED SEARCHING

The Advanced Search Page provides many more choices, such as the ability to define search segments (full text, headline, lead paragraph, or headline and lead paragraph), sort results by date or by relevance, and display results in full text, lead paragraph, or citation formats. (At the time of this review, KWIC output was not available due to technical considerations. This was expected to be rectified during the spring of 1997, but searchers will want to verify that KWIC is indeed available.)

The advanced search mode also provides access to the entire Dow Jones Publications Library, with sources arranged in the same topical and regional categories as in the 5.0 interface. Unfortunately, only six major publications may be selected individually-all other source selection must be done en masse, in large groupings, such as all publications relating to the construction industry or published in the Midwest. …

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