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Péter's Picks & Pans: ITI InfoCentral, Clusty, ArticleFinder 2.0

Magazine article Online

Péter's Picks & Pans: ITI InfoCentral, Clusty, ArticleFinder 2.0

Article excerpt

In spite of the obvious subjectivity, this very-well-implemented system with its free and very reasonably priced offerings is clearly a pick.

My first pick requires a disclosure: ITI InfoCentral Digital Archive derives all its content from Information Today, Inc. (ITI), which in turn owns the periodicals that have published most of my columns and feature articles for the past 15 years. In spite of the obvious subjectivity, this very-well-implemented system with its free and very reasonably priced offerings is clearly a pick. The other pick is the new Clusty system from Vivisimo, showcasing its popular clustering and metasearching technology. The pan is Infotrieve's ArticleFinder 2.0 service, which abandoned its free search service. In addition to a monthly subscription fee, it still has unreasonably high document delivery charges and often levies unrealistic royalty fees.

ITI INFOCENTRAL DIGITAL ARCHIVE

I am delighted with the launch of ITI InfoCentral [www.itiinfocentral.com or http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/infotoday/search.html], which I learned about from a ProQuest press release just as this column was due. (It shows that I am really not in the loop when it comes to ITI matters.) I have been bugging ITI for some time to make its large collection of library and information technology articles digitally available for both searching and direct delivery. After all, ITI publishes the leading periodicals for practicing information professionals, such as Information Today, ONLINE (ahem), Searcher, Computers in Libraries, and DATABASE (renamed EContent in 1999 with a re-launch and focus change in 2001). Most of these are already well-covered by a variety of full-text databases produced by Gale Group, ProQuest, and EBSCO, but these are subscription-based services for libraries. These publications are also included in several indexing and abstracting services, but getting the full-text or page-image version of the typically two- to five-page articles are expensive through document delivery services that typically charge about $20 per transaction.

My wish is now fulfilled-with more than a little help from ProQuest, which makes the full documents searchable for free and charges only $2.95 per item for immediate download. This is somewhat below the direct print delivery charges (that ITI has not increased for more than a decade) and is way below what it costs to get articles through Infotrieve. By the time you read this, I will have an in-depth review about ITI InfoCentral in the open access archive of my database reviews, which is hosted by Gale [www.galegroup.com/ free_resources/].

ITI InfoCentral covers 10 periodicals owned by ITI and will offer almost 38,000 documents by early 2005. Not all of them are available in full text, and the archive does not go back to the first volumes of all the journals. The archive starts in late 1987 for some titles and early 1988 for others but has pretty good retrospective coverage for a field focusing on information technology. I am somewhat dismayed that the DATABASE journal name has disappeared under the successor EContent title, even though for 20 years it was a respected journal name. If you're looking for DATABASE, search EContent-the articles are there. ITI's newsletters are not part of ITI InfoCentral.

The PQ Archive software is perfect for this collection. It has the power search features needed for full-text searching, such as proximity and positional operators; limiting by date range, author, one or more journal(s), and/or headline; and sorting the results by date or relevance.

The only additional search options I miss are two check boxes: one to limit the search to the abstract (usually the lead paragraph) and another one to search only documents available in full text. The short results list indicates the necessary bibliographic elements and the formats available. The content is very good and the pricing is excellent. The software has power without intimidating the user. …

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