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Magazines > Online > Jan/Feb 2005
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Online Magazine

Vol. 29 No. 1 — Jan/Feb 2005

The HomePage
Introducing InfoCentral
By Marydee Ojala
Editor • ONLINE

With this issue, ONLINE starts its 29th year of publication. When ONLINE started publishing, our online world was rather small—the exclusive province of librarians, mostly corporate and academic. We were the information intermediaries—our end users did not search themselves, but relied upon us, online researchers, to retrieve information for them. Full-text articles were not in electronic form; we made do with citations and abstracts. We used online as a bibliographic reference tool, a pointer to information, not as the ultimate source of answers. Things have certainly changed!
I hardly need to point out to any ONLINE reader that delivery mechanisms for journal articles have radically changed as well. I recall sorting Dialog search results by journal title so that my staff could go to the stacks, pull the requested titles off the shelf systematically, and photocopy them. Sounds archaic, doesn't it? With today's linking technology, coupled with products presenting full text electronically that mimic the print product, people expect everything at their fingertips.
ONLINE has changed as well. In the beginning, it was print only. We're talking the mid-1970s. Then we moved to full text through the third-party aggregators. That was in the early 1980s. When the Web became an accepted delivery mechanism, we made some of our articles available for free full text on our Web site. Starting in 2005, we're going to offer a digital archive, not just of ONLINE, but of nine other Information Today, Inc. publications.
The new service will be called ITI InfoCentral [www.itiinfocentral.com or http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/infotoday/search.html]. You will be able to search ONLINE content back to 1988. It's the standard ProQuest digital archive interface. There's a basic search, or you can choose the advanced interface that allows you to limit your search by keyword, author, title, and date. Abstracts are available for free. There are various full-text fee options, all of them consistent with normal ProQuest pricing. Just want one article? It's priced at $2.95.
This is an exciting development for ONLINE. But that's not all. We've also gotten very excited about blogging. Perhaps you've followed Information Today, Inc.'s conference blogging activities [www.infotodayblog.com]. As a team, we've blogged several major conferences, including Online Information 2003 and 2004 and SLA's annual conference in Nashville. Next year you can expect not only SLA conference coverage via a group blog, but some other new and interesting developments, including editorial blogs.
One of the frustrations of editing a print publication is the time lag. This issue's attempt to convey the real-time aspects of our Open Access Forums in London and Monterey was a true challenge, as participation, writing, editing, and deadlines converged. There's no doubt that streaming media and blogs have an immediacy that a print publication lacks. Hopefully, the print version brings some coherence, clarity, insight, and analysis to enhance the experience. Going forward, I intend to keep ONLINE in the forefront of new technologies. Watch this space for new developments. 2005 is going to be fun!

Marydee Ojala [marydee@xmission.com] is the editor of ONLINE. Comments? E-mail letters to the editor to marydee@xmission.com.

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