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Magazines > Information Today > October 2003
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Information Today
Vol. 20 No. 10 — Nov./Dec. 2003
NEWSBREAK UPDATE
What's New in Linking, Archiving, and More
By Paula Hane

Industry news seemed to slow a bit in late August and early September while people squeezed in their last days of summertime enjoyment and students headed back to classrooms. But then the pace surged as companies rolled out projects and announced products that they planned to showcase at fall events.

Linking Is Hot

Elsevier and two divisions of the American Chemical Society (ACS)—Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) and Publications—announced that they will provide linking between their services by the end of2003. Users of Elsevier products and services (such as ScienceDirect, MDL databases, and ChemWeb) will be able to link directly to ACS scientific journals. Users of CAS products and services (SciFinder, STN, and others) will be ableto link, via ChemPort, directly to Elsevier scientific journals. And in 2004, Elsevier journals will join ChemPort Reference Linking, which will allow Elsevier users to access ACS scientific journals and CAS database records.

H.W. Wilson announced that JSTOR, an archive of more than 320 scholarly journals, now joins the sources accessible via WilsonWeb's WilsonLink service. Ingenta also announced a new reference-linking initiative with JSTOR.

JSTOR is an independent not-for-profit organization with a mission to create and maintain a trusted archive of important scholarly journals while improving and extending access to them. It originated as a pilot project of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1994. JSTOR now has 210 participating publishers and serves more than 1,700 institutions in 76 countries.

OCLC recently added three sets of MARC records for JSTOR collections to the WorldCat Collection Sets, making them available for purchase. The sets are the JSTOR Business Collection, the JSTOR Ecology and Botany Collection, and the JSTOR Language & Literature Collection. With these additions, OCLC offers the complete MARC record sets for all JSTOR titles.

Dialog has expanded the number of e-journals that can be linked to seamlessly from Dialog-retrieved abstracts and citations. In recent months, an additional 77 publishers of STM information have begun working with Dialog to offer new e-Journal Links. (For more, see the interview with Dialog CEO Roy M. Martin Jr. on page 1.)

The Disappearing Act

Dialog has been providing linking and beefing up its products, but a small notice in the September/October issue of its Chronolog newsletter caught my eye:

At the request of the American Medical Association, the AMA collection of medical journals (File 442), which includes 10 titles, was removed from Dialog. These titles, which were also previously available in individual files on a subscription basis, will be removed as well. The AMAjournals are comprehensively indexed in MEDLINE (Files 155, 154), EMBASE (Files 72, 73), Current Contents Search (File 440), and others.Alternative sources of full-text medical information include The New England Journal ofMedicine (File 444), Gale Group Health and Wellness Database (File 149), NewsRx Weekly Reports (File 135), Gale Group Newsletter Database (File 636), and Periodical Abstracts PlusText (File 484).

AnAMArepresentative did not provide a reason for the removal but did supply additional information about access: "The contract with Dialog was suspended June 30, 2003. That means no new content for DataStar and Profound.New content is available on the JAMA/Archives Web site by subscription and also on Ovid, ProQuest, and EBSCO. Document delivery services exist on Infotrieve and ISI as well as directly from the AMA on the JAMA/Archives Web site."

In other news, barnesandnoble.com will no longer sell e-books. The company, which is the online retail business of Barnes & Noble, said limited technology and poor sales led to its decision.

Convenient Product Packaging

Dialog has bolstered its Dialog Company Profiles service with an improved search interface, more robust navigation features, and an expanded roster of authoritative reference sources. The reference titles are supplied by Gale, another Thomson company. They include Encyclopedia of American Industries, Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries, Encyclopedia of Global Industries, Market Share Reporter, and World Market Share Reporter, along with a larger pool of newspaper business sections from around the world. Dialog Company Profiles provides an integrated package of company information blended from a variety of sources and data types.

As this issue went to press, LexisNexis announced enhancements to Company Dossier and Industry Dossier, which was launched in June. The Dossier products will now provide more content, display charts automatically, and offer improved functionality. The number of companies included will increase from 13 million to 20 million. The Dossier products provide an integrated package of content, including news, business and financial information, intellectual property reports, and legal information.

LexisNexis is also making Company Dossier available to the academic market as an add-on option to its LexisNexis Academic product. (Because of license restrictions, certain content is not available to the academic market.) In addition, subscribers to Company Dossier will be able to access new company sources through LexisNexis Academic, including Bloomberg News, Experian Business Reports, Investext Current Reports, Business Public Records, Directory of Corporate Affiliations, BMI Company Reports, FBR Asian Company Profiles, and Teikoku Japanese Companies—Detailed Reports.

According to Wendy Beecham, senior vice president of LexisNexis' enterprise and library division, the Dossier products are part of the company's strategy to deliver an array of business intelligence solutions, not just news and information. Offerings like Dossier supply relevant content that's provided in context in a preferred delivery format.

Beecham said LexisNexis plans to introduce other Dossier products, possibly on Countries, Executives, Products, or Market Research. The company is also considering the addition of nontraditional content sources, including some that are not available in digital format.

Platforms, Integration

LexisNexis is shifting its focus from content aggregation to integration. The company will integrate technologies, content, and products within a customer's applications and work flow. Last month, I mentioned news about the company's fundamental move toward a global, integrated technology platform. (See the NewsBreak at http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb030728-1.shtml.) The goal, according to Jim Peck, LexisNexis' senior vice president and global product officer, is to provide access to LexisNexis Group content from anywhere in the world on a single platform. Standardizing and converting data to XML will also allow easier and faster product development, reduce costs, and enable local customization and adaptation.

In July, LexisNexis announced a new integrated application called Total Search. The first release is expected to be available in mid-November. LexisNexis Total Search lets law firms search both internal and external content with a single search on the lexis.com interface. Customers can also choose to begin their research within the firm's internal documents prior to searching LexisNexis or other external information providers. LexisNexis will use FAST's search engine for searching internal content, but this will be transparent to customers. Total Search uses an open architecture platform and works with existing enterprise document-management systems.

Other companies have also been working to move their search platforms to the next generation. Earlier this year, Factiva completed its upgrade to the Factiva product platform and switched off its legacy products: Reuters Business Briefing and Dow Jones Interactive. The new platform is Web-services-based and XML-enabled.

The Roy Martin interview on page 1 features a discussion of Dialog's integration efforts—in both technology and content—as part of the Thomson organization. With these sorts of initiatives, customers should experience the next level of information access.

Archives, Access

Recently, there's been a series of interesting announcements about access to archives and special initiatives. Digitization efforts seem to be gaining momentum, as are concerns for ensuring public access to critical content.

The Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have agreed to permanently provide free online public access to GPO Access archives. Many library organizations applauded the collaborative agreement that will ensure access to more than 250,000 federal government titles. Miriam A. Drake, who wrote a NewsBreak on this topic (http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb030825-1.shtml), interviewed Public Printer Bruce R. James for the September issue of Searcher (p. 50).

OCLC announced the upcoming availability of the PAIS Archive, a retrospective database that will contain electronic versions of records previously available only in the 62 annually cumulated print editions of the PAIS Bulletin, 1915­1976. The PAIS Archive will be released on FirstSearch in phases, beginning in spring 2004 with the years 1957 to 1976. The full file is projected to be available in mid-2004.

Greg Dyke, director general ofthe BBC, has announced plans to give the public full access to all of the corporation's program archives. The service, called the BBC Creative Archive, will permit users to freely download BBC radio and TV programs from the Internet for noncommercial use. Dyke said: "Up until now, this huge resource has remained locked up, inaccessible to the public because there hasn't been an effective mechanism for distribution. The digital revolution and broadband are changing all that. For the first time, there is an easy and affordable way of making this treasure-trove of BBC content available to all." No details have been given on when this will become available.

On Sept.10, the Library of Congress acquired the September 11 Digital Archive (http://911digitalarchive.org), a joint project of the City University of New York Graduate Center's American Social History Project and George Mason University's Center for History and New Media. The archive contains more than 130,000 written accounts, e-mails, audio recordings, video clips, photographs, Web sites, and other materials.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine announced that more than 1.5 million OLDMEDLINE citations will be added to PubMed. The citations are to articles from international biomedical journals that cover the fields of medicine, preclinical sciences, and allied health sciences. They were originally printed in hard-copy indexes published from 1953 through 1965.

Dueling Serial Sets

In June, I reported on the Readex project to digitize the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, a massive archival initiative (http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb030609-2.shtml). The first phase was due for release by the end of September, followed by monthly updates. When completed, the Digital Edition will comprise approximately 13,800 volumes (from print) and more than 12 million pages from 350,000 publications, including 52,000 maps. The Readex Digital Edition is based on the masters from its microprint set, supplemented by Library of Congress, Senate Library, and Stanford University collections.

Recently, LexisNexis announced a project to create a digital Serial Set as well, based on the microfiche set and companion Index created by its Congressional Information Service (CIS) unit. An ambitious rollout schedule has been established to release the Serial Set through monthly updates within a mere 2-year period beginning in December. (See the NewsBreak at http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb030915-1.shtml.)

According to the company, the major source for filming the CIS collection was the Senate Library, with additional materials from other primary depositories. A LexisNexis representative said: "The CIS Serial Set has been known for years as the best and most complete collection available. And if we do find omissions, we have a plan to track those materials down and include them in the digitized collection."

When asked about providing enhanced indexing, the representative noted that in addition to the index-access points in the print index (bill number, report number, petitioner name, and subject indexing), the company would add the ability to search by title, issuing source, author, illustration title, and keywords in the statistical table titles, as well as SuDoc, Serial Set, and public law numbers. Userswill be able to limit a search to only those documents that contain statistical tables or illustrations. They can also limit by document type or search only certain segments.

Terminology will be standardized to conform to the CIS Executive Branch Documents thesaurus (which has its roots in the CIS Serial Set Index). LexisNexis is using a combination of data manipulation and human indexing to handle the enhancements.

Responding to this competitive development, Readex has moved up its timetable. The entire U.S. Congressional Serial Set Digital Edition, from theAmerican State Papers through 1980, will now be completed by December 2008. David Braden, Readex vice president of sales and marketing, said the company intended to create a more complete digital resource than any existing single set. He said, "Readex is building the high-end product."

LexisNexis hasn't announced pricing information yet, so it's not possible to compare the services on that basis. Prospective purchasers should check with the companies for more details and a demonstration.

Toolbars, Search Engine News

The Internet Archive, which since 1996 has been collecting monthly snapshots of the Web using Alexa Internet crawlers, has now added keyword content searching. The collection, called The Wayback Machine, had provided access by URL but now offers Recall Search, a beta engine that was designed by a volunteer. Barbara Quint reported that the engine searches 11 billion pages of the 30-billion page archive. It was scheduled to go into full service on the entire archive in mid-October (http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb030908-1.shtml). Quint says the Internet Archive is one of the great success stories on the "love" side of the Internet's "for love or money" saga.

AltaVista introduced a new search Toolbar, which includes its Babel Fish translation tool, lookup features for ZIP and area codes,currency exchange rates, and weather and time in 65,000 cities worldwide. The toolbar also includes a pop-up blocker. You can download it for free at http://www.av.com/toolbar.

Google announced that the latest version of the Google Toolbar is out ofbeta and available for download at http://toolbar.google.com. Google's free browser utility enables users to search from any page on the Web. It offers pop-up blocking, Web-form filling, and a new Blogger button that makes posting to Blogger.com Web logs quick and easy. Although this is yet another announcement from the search engine marketing king, the toolbar is great.

For the latest industry news, check http://www.infotoday.com every Monday morning.An easier option is to sign up for our free weekly e-mail newsletter, NewsLink, which provides abstracts and links to the stories we post.


Paula J. Hane is Information Today, Inc.'s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks. Her e-mail address is phane@infotoday.com.
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