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Compact Disk Exchange.

As new media formats become accepted in the marketplace, they find their way to library shelves to satisfy patron needs for information and recreation. Audio collections now include compact discs, so librarians looking for that hard-to-find CD may want to try an online service brokering new and used discs.

For Members Only

The Compact Disc Exchange, located in San Francisco, has been online seven months. It is still small, but the sysop, Wayne Gregori, hopes to see the system grow.

CDE is a membership system with a $10 yearly fee. The fee is charged to ensure that users are serious about their intentions and also to recover some of the costs involved in producing and mailing the printed newsletter.

Members may browse the database of compact discs and classified ads or use the seller's utility menu to list their own items for sale. They also have access to the system's message base, where a potential buyer may contact a seller for more information about a disc offered for sale. The message base also can be used for more general discussion.

There are several sub-boards for the system's special interest groups. For those who enjoy a real-time discussion, the system also has a conferencing feature.

Nonmembers can access a limited premembership menu by dialing 415824-7603. An 800 number is available to members who purchase time in one-hour blocks. East coast users may find this to be a more economical way to access the system.

Communications are established with the usual BBS settings of 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, and no parity. The bulletin board uses TBBS software and can send ANSI graphic codes to terminals with this capability.

First-time users will be asked to supply a password and to respond to a brief questionnaire. Prospective members who leave a mailing address will receive a complimentary copy of the monthly newsletter listing all the CDs currently in the database.

Menus Make It Easy

Members see the menu shown in Figure I when they log on to the system. The first option, H, How it works, is also available on the premembership menu and explains the system and the charges. The second option, M, Music, allows members to search the database of available CDs.

Searching is menu driven for ease of use. The database is divided into the following categories: jazz, soul, rock, world beat, soundtracks, country, and classical.

The classical section can be searched either by composer or artist. Entries matching the search criteria are first displayed in brief format. Brief format includes the artist or composer, the title, and asking price. Also available is a detailed listing that includes the seller's name and any notes he or she has chosen to include about the compact disc or its contents.

Members who use the system frequently should find menu option, D, Discs, quite useful. This option allows searching of all music categories for titles listed within a specific number of days. Frequent users could employ this feature to search for titles added since their last logon. New titles are uploaded nightly.

Sellers use menu option U, Utilities, to post discs they are offering for purchase. The system prompts the seller for the appropriate information about the disc and even offers the opportunity to attach a 256-character note to the database entry.

Discs can be purchased with VISA, MasterCard, or by check. When an order is placed, the system generates two mailing labels, one addressed to the seller, the other addressed to the Compact Disk Exchange. The seller receives a mailer addressed to CDE and an invoice listing the disc that is to be mailed. Upon receipt of the disc, the system then generates a mailing label for the buyer and also handles all the accounting involved in the transaction, including the service fee added to the purchase price. Orders are processed daily.

For more information about the Compact Disk Exchange, read the text file in the premembership menu. If that doesn't answer your questions, leave a message for the sysop.

Computer Security Revisited

In my last column we looked at some online sources of information on computer security issues, including computer viruses. Immediately after I finished that column, I learned about another BBS concerned with this topic. Since I am writing this column on Computer Security Day, I thought it would be appropriate to mention this system.

The National Computer Systems Laboratory Computer Security BBS is sponsored by the federal government, specifically the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The BBS can be referred to as the NIST Computer Security Bulletin Board and contains information about computer security, various micro topics, and the National Computer Systems Laboratory.

The board runs under RBBS-PC software and supports ANSI graphics on systems with this capability. The usual communications settings of 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, and no parity should be used when dialing this system at 301-9485717. If you need help accessing the system, the number for the voice line is 301975-3359.

The BBS has a messaging system, a files area, and a bulletin area. New users on any BBS always should start by reading the system bulletins. The bulletin area on this BBS has a number of text files that provide further information about the BBS, its sponsoring organization, and its purpose.

Actually reading a bulletin is a bit tricky and I couldn't manage to read a single one on my first visit to the system. The main menu does have an option to leave a comment to the sysop, so I left a message asking for help. Sysop Marianne Swanson responded promptly and explained the trick.

Figure 2 shows the main bulletin menu. If you are interested in one of the topics, enter the number of the topic at the prompt. I had selected the first topic, Using the BBS. Once you have selected a topic, you will see a submenu of bulletins under that topic. At the prompt, enter the number of the bulletin you wish to display. You will be returned to the main bulletin menu with its prompt. Simply enter the number of the bulletin once again and it should display.

The bulletins are designed to provide quick access to small amounts of information. While the bulletins are not lengthy, there is a great deal of information in this section including, for example, the text of a bill related to computers that was introduced in the Senate to amend Title 18 of the United States Code. Other bulletins discuss the board itself and contain instructions for its use, lists of NIST publications and how to order them, lists of other computer security organizations, and indexes to recent issues of journals concerned with computer security.

Information Only, Please

The Files section of the BBS also contains informational files, rather than executable program files. System users may contribute informational files if they leave a note for the sysop notifying her of the new file,

In the bulletin discussing the Files section, the sysop requests that executable program files not be uploaded and states that any such files will be removed. The files on the system include bibliographies of computer security materials, lists of computer security videos, indexes to Virus-L Digest and RisksForum Digest, virus alerts, and articles discussing particular viruses and the systems they infect.

I saw files relating to PC, Macintosh and Commodore viruses, and others discussing viral infections on networks. If you want to learn more about computer security issues or need information about viruses, you may want to browse through the files on this system and download those that seem appropriate for your situation.

Bulletin board systems and the services they provide are still evolving and growing. No longer are they just for computer enthusiasts. Librarians can make use of these services to assist them in many of their daily tasks from reference services to acquisitions. So turn on that modem and dial.

Systems Discussed Compact Disc Exchange P.O. Box 460693, San Francisco, CA 94146 415-824-7603 415-695-9824 (voice) 8 data bits/1 stop bit/no parity The National Computer Systems Laboratory Computer Security

BBS National institute of Standards and Technology 301-948-5717 301-975-3359 (voice) 8 data bits/1 stop bit/no parity
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Title Annotation:compact disk shop
Author:Balas, Janet
Publication:Computers in Libraries
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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