Magazine article Computers in Libraries

CD-ROM Hits Its Stride at Ten

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

CD-ROM Hits Its Stride at Ten

Article excerpt

This year marks the tenth anniversary of CD-ROM in libraries, a decade since BiblioFile and the Grolier Encyclopedia were first issued on disc. The technology is firmly in place--market researchers expect that most major software will be distributed on CD-ROM instead of floppy by the end of this year, and that both reflects and motivates the medium's new status as a standard peripheral, an expected feature of any microcomputer system bought today.

CD-ROM is a lucrative business too. More CD-ROM drives were sold in 1994 than in all previous years combined. Norwell, Massachusetts-based BIS Strategic Decisions expects 12.8 million of them to be sold worldwide this year, and predicts sales to continue at a healthy compound annual growth rate of 21 percent with sales reaching 31 million units by the year 2,000 for total revenues of $6.2 billion.

The medium is ubiquitous in libraries of all types, and many libraries are now contemplating circulating collections. Multimedia college textbooks are expected from a number of academic publishers this fall. EBSCO's 1995 CD-ROM Handbook now stretches to nearly 250 pages. The 1994 edition of Mecklermedia's CD-ROMs in Print had almost 6,000 entries, while the 1995 edition has about 8,400. Similar directories from TFPL and Learned Information, Inc. list similar numbers. Since the printed directories, taken together, cover about 60 percent of what is actually available, this means that about 10 new CD-ROM titles are published every day, 365 days of the year. Hogan and Shelton, editors of Learned Information's CD-ROM Finder directory, observe that, "For the foreseeable future, there is little reason to believe that the CD-ROM star will not continue to rise."

But, this is no time for complacency. Remember CD-ROM Librarian, CD-ROM Review, CD-ROM End-User, and /ROM? Those were magazines in the earlier years of CD-ROM--magazines that didn't quite make it. That sort of volatility is not a thing of the past, however. On the contrary, things are changing fast enough to make anyone's head spin.

After 15 years, this magazine and the associated Computers in Libraries conference were sold by Mecklermedia Corporation to Learned Information, Inc. for more than one million dollars. Earlier in the year, Mecklermedia's CD-ROM World, which had continued the 10-year run of CD-ROM Librarian, albeit with a nonlibrary emphasis, was sold to IDG, publisher of Multimedia World, and promptly axed. Last fall, Mecklermedia sold a whole stable of book manuscripts on library technology topics to Learned Information. So, as Mecklermedia places all its chips on Internet, World Wide Web, and virtual reality with a business and consumer emphasis, Learned Information has assumed that publisher's previous role of serving the library technology community. …

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