University Microfilms International has launched Business Periodicals OnDisc, a full-text image system on CD-ROM containing complete articles from nearly 300 business and management journals indexed in ABI/ INFORM. The coverage includes approximately 55 percent of all 1988, 1989, and 1990 ABI/ INFORM OnDisc records. The 300 titles were selected by UMI according to a study of retrieval frequency in the ABI/INFORM online file. Retrospective coverage begins with 1987 material; however, the current collection contains only sample titles (17 discs) from 1987. The total of approximately 160 CD-ROM discs contains 5,500 article pages each. BPO is updated monthly, synchronized with ABI/INFORM. It is planned that each year 50 to 60 discs will be added to eventually bring the data base to a five year coverage as is ABI/INFORM.
The system allows browsing through the table of contents of any periodical, or browsing through several issues to read relevant articles. Searching is done through ABI/INFORM first. Once a record is selected, a notation on the screen tells which disc holds the complete article. Upon insertion of the corresponding disc, the article appears on the screen. The user can move from page to page or zoom in on particular elements of the article. A laser printer is used to produce a high-quality copy.
The system is available as a turnkey package on a 12-month subscription. It includes the API/INFORM OnDisc and BPO data bases, and an image retrieval and output workstation, laser printer, application software, connector for debit card reader or coin box, and disc storage carousels. Price: if the user is an ABI/ INFORM subscriber, the annual subscription of the BPO will cost $14,950; otherwise it is $19,900, including workstation and maintenance. There also is a $.10 per page printing charge.
API/INFORM contains an index and abstracts of the leading business and management information periodicals. Over 800 journals are indexed with 400 indexed cover to cover on such topics as accounting, data processing, human resources, real estate, international trade, advertising, law, sales telecommunications, financial management, information management, banking, health care, insurance, marketing, taxation and a wide variety of topics to meet the needs of even the most demanding researchers. The subscription period is one year (data base contains coverage for past five years) , updated monthly. The API/INFORM CD-ROM product also may be networked for an additional fee of $150 per simultaneous user. The data base may be searched online through Dialog (File 15) at $114 per hour and BRS (File INFO) at $100 per hour. It is also available on magnetic tape from UMI for a license fee of $19,500 per year.
BPO appears to be off to a good start, with several hundred subscribers; nevertheless, handling over 360 CD-ROM discs for five years of BPO and ABI Inform is not very appealing. It puts up some of the same barriers to access as microform. An online alternative is needed, but the storage requirements for five years of BPO and API Inform may be as high as 216 Gbytes. Given the impracticality of loading that much information on magnetic storage media, the options are a large CD-ROM jukebox or WORM technology using compression techniques. The more attractive option is WORM technology It may be possible to reduce the entire data base to six discs in a WORM jukebox, to be mounted on WORM drives attached to a local library system, thus assuring rapid. online access. The editors hope that UMI will pursue this alternative.
[Contact: UMI, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346; (800) 521-0600.]