Magazine article Information Today

CD/DVD Commentaries: Directions to the CD/DVD Industry

Magazine article Information Today

CD/DVD Commentaries: Directions to the CD/DVD Industry

Article excerpt

Courtesy of Waterlow New Media Information's Multimedia and CDROM Directory, I spent a few hours exploring the state of the CD-ROM/DVDROM industry instead of watching the Super Bowl. (That may disqualify me in the eyes of some readers, and I apologize for this high crime.) Although the main title does not include the word "DVD-ROM," the tag line says "incorporating The DVD Directory." The uppercase "T" in "The" is justified as this is the first and only DVD Directoryavailable both on CD-ROM and in an impressive print volume that is included in the price of the CD-ROM version ($295).

Numbers and Titles

I would be the first to point out that DVD is still in too premature a state to issue a DVD-only directory. True, DVD in itself may mean the DVD movie discs and the DVD-ROM reference discs, but the former category is covered by most of the movie directories on the Web. And while I have a few such-mostly repurposed-titles, what I and (presumably) most IT readers are really interested in is the DVDROM and the CD-ROM industry. I am certainly not "dissing" DVD-Videos. Even from the point of view of a library and information professional, they are an advancement over prevailing media, and the media librarians definitely will be pleased with the improvements brought by the DVD, as well as with the simplicity they offer in storing and lending such titles. But I'll stick with the CD-ROM and DVDROM reference databases.

This may seem to be a serious limitation, as the largest segment of the roughly 30,000 commercially available CD-ROM titles is made up of games; 4,151 titles are classified in this category. But I look at it from the other side and note that there are 1,627 dictionaries and other CD-ROMs to help one study foreign languages; nearly 1,500 for biology, physics, and chemistry; 1,332 for medicine; more than 1,000 for geography, maps, and atlases; 905 for history and cultural studies; 700 for business (and nearly 1,200 when you include banking and economics); nearly 500 for fine arts; 432 for social sciences; 362 for literacy and linguistics; and about 150 encyclopedias, to name a few of the major categories.

The distribution of titles by country of publication is not surprising. About 43 percent of the titles originate in the U.S. The U.K. and Germany each contribute about 16 percent of the titles, followed by Canada (6.2 percent), France (4.6 percent), Italy and Australia (2.4 percent each), and Spain and the Netherlands (1.5 percent each). The Middle East and Africa are at the end of the list.

As expected, the vast majority of the CD/DVD titles run under some version of Windows. Less than a third run on Macintosh, and DOS is quickly fading away.

The DVD-ROM subset is paltry with a total of 70 titles, and some of them are not really DVD-ROM titles in my opinion, such as Cheech and Chong's "Corsican Brothers" or the "All-Nude Summer DVD." It's not as if there is anything wrong with the All-Nude series. After all, such movies gave birth to the video industry, and now DVD brings more to the party. Although considering what I saw at a special exhibit running parallel to COMDEX in another Las Vegas hotel's conference room, no sophisticated software is required for this genre!

The number of DVD titles is even less if we discount the duplicates, such as Decouvertes/Discoveries and World Book Discoveries, a very interesting DVD-ROM encyclopedia-with a different twist than the well-known other encyclopedias-based on the Gallimard/Larousse (not Gallimaud, as reported in the directory) print publication. Some of the other titles may be planned for the future, as I bugged my contacts at the publishers in vain. These include the Britannica 99 DVD-ROM from Encyclopaedia Britannica and The Digital Library from The Learning Company. Both companies have been very cooperative in providing beta copies of their CD-ROM titles, so I have no reason not to trust them. On the other hand, a DVD-ROM database that is much better than it gets credit for-the Funk & Wagnalls DVD-ROM Encyclopedia-is not included, even though it has been around since last summer. …

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