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Electronic databases on- and off-line at Plastics USA.

The number of on- and off-line electronic databases (EDBs) for the plastics industry has increased significantly in the past five years. I was fortunate to chair a session at the recent Plastics USA detailing specific on- and off-line EDBs. Speakers at this hands-on presentation were Herm Dillon, president of PLASPEC, and Dr. Mike Kmetz, president of IDES, Inc. PLASPEC is an on-line EDB that includes daily updates on various detailed data on plastics materials, machinery, and industry news. IDES produces off-line retrieval databases on materials and part cost estimating, just to name two of the company's many in-depth offerings.

We write about such electronic media in the pages of PLASTICS ENGINEERING, but seldom do we get the opportunity to see these systems up and running. The speed and the volume of data in both on- and off-line forms of retrieval captivated this onlooker. For those of us who have had to do research in a technical library, it's not difficult to understand how one can be awestruck by solving a problem or by answering a series of questions in seconds or minutes rather than hours or days. One wonders how we did without such electronic resource systems in the past. Even for those of us who use a computer solely for word processing, we too know the advantages of using electronic data storage/retrieval over traditional methods of writing and editing.

This session on plastics databases was so well received that it gave Herm, Mike, and me ideas for NPE '94. Mike suggested that we conduct a workshop at the '94 exposition and Herm suggested that we hold it for the entire day -- something that would be a bit different but certainly worthwhile for a technical session. Further, with SPI in agreement, we will again make this a hands-on effort, just as one might infer from the term workshop.

In addition to the two database developers/vendors, we're planning on having a dedicated computer-hardware person on site to answer any questions about basic systems, modems, upgrades, and peripheral gear.

Mike, Herm, and I trust that this upcoming workshop will give hundreds of NPE '94 attendees an opportunity to learn how to effectively use on- and off-line systems in the interest of making all of us more competitive by delivering expert information through expert systems and resource data, on-line and off-line.

My sincere thanks to Herm, Mike, and their colleagues for their year-long effort in making this session a success.
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Title Annotation:plastics industry's national exposition and conference
Author:Ferris, Roger M.
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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