Magazine article Information Today

NewsNet GUI, Enhanced System Features Debut at National Onli

Magazine article Information Today

NewsNet GUI, Enhanced System Features Debut at National Onli

Article excerpt

New front-end and revamped behind-the-scenes components of NewsNet include Baton, a graphical user interface that will appeal to command-line-o-phobes; new file-server technology to provide more power and speed on the service; and both enhanced Boolean searching and natural-language concept searching features. NewsNet has licensed Personal Librarian Software (PLS) to beef up searching capabilities.

Orchestrate Your Own Search

Baton will look familiar to Windows users. Its main screen displays 16 icons representing commonly used pathways into NewsNet's databank of 800-plus information products. There's an icon to initiate a text search, of course, plus others for retrieval of hits from the NewsFlash clipping service, for scanning newswire or newsletter headlines, and for accessing reports from sources such as Dun & Bradstreet and Standard & Poor's.

Click on the text-search icon and dialog boxes prompt you to build your search criteria and choose your database sources (by title or subject, selection of date ranges, etc.) via point-and-click input. The process is decidedly more intuitive than if is in a non-GUI environment, enabling "generalist" information seekers to harness NewsNet features they might not otherwise have understood or tried.

Through Baton, users create a search statement off line, then click to connect to NewsNet and run the search. Results appear in a similar point-and-click environment with the same retrieval options as in a traditional NewsNet search, including previewing of results by headlines, lead paragraphs, and keyword in context (KWIC) displays.

NewsNet then ranks the articles turned up in a search by relevance. Baton displays the ranking visually, in a bar graph that quickly communicates what's worth checking out further.

For experienced searchers who prefer the precision of selecting specific codes from NewsNet's Reference Guide--and who don't mind looking up "Oil & Gas Interests Newsletter" and keying in EY04--one of Baron's icons, Native Mode, transports them to the traditional interface.

Behind the GUI front end, NewsNet is making other changes and improvements. Next month, the service will migrate away from its older mainframe systems to a new UNIX-based file-server technology, providing enhanced searching power and speed and enabling quicker deployment of new services, according to the company.

Concept Searches

The licensing of the PLS search engine will bring, among other things, concept searching capabilities to NewsNet information seekers, whether working through Baton or the command-line interface. …

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