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IAC's Industry Express speeds industry news to fast-track online users' desks.

Information Access Company is a database factory. Over the years it has developed products that have become research necessities in business, technology, and other subjects. Its business/technology quartet of PROMT, Trade & Industry Database, Newsletter Database, and Computer Database provides unsurpassed coverage of markets, companies, products, and trends for industry sectors worldwide.

However, this cluster of related yet distinctive files goes against today's great trend toward online simplicity. Each of the four databases overlaps with others in subject coverage and sometimes in source publications. There are numerous differences from one to another in file structure: PROMT and Computer Database have full text and abstracts; Newsletter Database has full text only; Trade & Industry has full text, abstracts, and citations. Each also has distinctive indexing practices and update schedules. Even for expert online business searchers, it is a chore to keep track of the individual characteristics of these four databases. As for end users - not a chance.

Industry Express is a partial solution to these complications. It takes timely, significant publications from PROMT, Trade & Industry Database, Newsletter Database, and Computer Database and merges them into a single consistent file. It specializes in fast-moving high-tech fields, where command of current information is particularly important. It is a full-text file, with common indexing and exceptional timeliness. It is by no means a complete replacement for the four source databases, because it makes great sacrifices in comprehensiveness and retrospective coverage, but for getting insightful analysis of the latest high-tech developments, it can make one search take the place of four.

High-Tech Hot News Only

Industry Express concentrates on fastmoving, technology-based industry sectors: computing, electronics, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and health care. The exception to this sector emphasis is a small group of general business periodicals, including Forbes and industry Week, that present the overall business picture. The database contains only 52 publications from among the thousands covered in the source databases, but the periodicals chosen are the major titles in their respective fields. Other industry sectors are expected to be added in the future. Industry Express contains cover-to-cover full text, excluding short items such as letters and reviews.

Industry Express is a "hot news only" database that is updated daily, with rolling coverage of the previous 30 days' records. Articles from a source publication appear online within 24 hours after IAC receives an electronic feed from the publisher, which sometimes makes Industry Express' version more timely than the source's print edition. It is also often more up-to-date than the source databases; the contents of a publication will appear in Industry Express at the same time or earlier than in the main database. This can result in overlap between searches run in Industry Express and a source database. On DIALOG, deduplication commands can help.

Several Search Options

Industry Express has thorough indexing, especially for a database whose records appear online so quickly. Topical content is represented by company names and ticker symbols, subject descriptor names and codes, industry sector names and codes, geographic area names and codes, event names and codes, and segment names and codes. Although similar in design, the indexes are not identical to those in any single source database. Industry Express indexing resembles that in PROMT most closely.

Subject content is expressed by descriptors and "segment" names, which refer to the database's seven categories. Approximately 100 industry codes represent broad manufacturing and service sectors. Geographic divisons include countries, continents, U.S. states and regions, and important alliance groups such as OPEC and OAS. The event codes are comparable to those in Predicasts, though far less specific, and refer to type of business activity, government action, etc. Records can also be searched by title, lead paragraph, text, author, journal name, publication date, source database, and word count. Relevance searching, with DIALOG's Target command, also works well with Industry Express' full-text records.

Another New Database?

Can yet another database help solve the confusion of too many databases? For Industry Express, the answer is yes, but only under the right conditions. Take this short quiz to see if Industry Express can serve your business research needs: 1. Is it necessary for you to closely monitor

the industries covered in the database? 2. Can you get what you need from a few

of the major publications in the field? 3. Are timeliness and full-text documents

particularly important?

If you answer "Yes" to all three questions, Industry Express can be a great convenience.

Take part two of the quiz to reveal if Industry Express will not meet your needs: 1. Does a single IAC database - PROMT,

Computer Database, etc.- meet

your needs sufficiently? 2. Is comprehensiveness in your topic,

i.e., getting as much information as

possible, important? 3. Are you looking for secondary document

types, such as reviews? 4. Is deeper retrospective coverage

(beyond 30 days) more important to

you than having the very latest information?

If you answer "Yes" to these questions, then Industry Express is too limited, and you'll generally want to stay in the source databases.

Industry Express and its source databases are, of course, not mutually exclusive. They can be used together, although expensive record duplication will occur without careful search techniques.

Putting Industry Express to best use depends upon understanding its niche. It actually falls somewhere between a daily newswire and a comprehensive research database. Like a newswire, it emphasizes immediate delivery of full-text information. However, its newsletters and trade journals provide more information and deeper analysis than is found in news reports. It also has potential as a research tool for end users, who generally place high importance on three of Industry Express' major features: timeliness, full text, and selectivity. Whether used by expert searchers in concert with its source databases or as a stand-alone high-tech business review for end users, Industry Express is a useful addition to IAC's database family.

Mick O'Leary has been using and writing about online information for over 15 years. He is the director of the library at Frederick, Maryland, and a principal in The Data Brokers, an information consultancy.
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Title Annotation:Information Access Co.
Author:O'Leary, Mick
Publication:Information Today
Article Type:Evaluation
Date:Nov 1, 1995
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