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Inside, the British Library online service, opens.

The British Library (BL) has announced a new online service called Inside. It opens up the BL's journal and conference collection to researchers, librarians, and information professionals in education, business, and government worldwide.

Inside is a completely integrated service that allows users to search, order, and receive delivery of articles from a single low-cost service. Inside is available now on CD-ROM; the Web service is scheduled for release later this year.

According to the BL, Inside will suit all researchers, from the novice to the information specialist and from the sole searcher to the largest library. Because of the comprehensive nature of Inside, the service complements more specialized databases and gives users the ability to discover key research material from a variety of disciplines. Orders can be placed instantly and material received in as little as 2 hours. All the information on Inside is held at the BL and is immediately available.

During a search, users can identify requests and can hold these in a pending tray with both the Web and CD-ROM service. At the end of searching, the pending tray can be opened up and an order placed directly with the BL. The costs of the order are displayed on screen. Alternatively, searches can be conducted on behalf of third parties and the results downloaded and distributed to the interested party for further consideration.

For delivery options, users may select from a 2-hour fax, a 12-hour fax (overnight), mail, or courier services. Orders can be tracked and customers informed of their progress at any stage.

An account manager deals directly with the BL, and it is the account manager who decides for a specific organization who has access to the Inside service, who has ordering facilities, or who just has access to searching the database. The account manager has complete local control over budgets for ordering documents from Inside and access to the database. Billing can be specified by individual or department within an organization.

The costs of Inside are made clear. There are no hidden charges. The document-delivery costs are made up of two elements: a service charge and a publication-specific copyright fee (fixed at the discretion of the publisher). Subscription pricing (in British currency) can be found on the BL Web site (http:hwww.bl.uk/ online/inside/overview.html).

The Inside CD-ROM Service

The CD-ROM service is split into two CD-ROMs: Inside Science PLUS and Inside Social Science and Humanities PLUS. Each CD-ROM is published monthly and contains the previous 6 months of data. The Inside CD-ROMs are derived from a database of 20,000 journals. Science PLUS provides access to 1.3 million articles each year from 13,000 business, scientific, technical, and medical journals. Social Sciences and Humanities PLUS provides access to 700,000 articles each year from 7,000 business, arts, and social science journals.

Updated at regular monthly intervals, the service has an international spread across all subjects. The subscription runs for one year and the monthly CD-ROMs will contain details down to article level.

The database can be searched in a variety of innovative ways. It can be networked around your organization allowing individuals to order articles within agreed budgets.

The following equipment is needed to use the Inside CD-ROM service: a 386 IBM or compatible PC with 512 KB of available RAM, approximately 5 MB of hard disk space, a CD-ROM player and controller card with Microsoft Extensions-compatible device driver, DOS version 3.1 or greater, a Hayes-compatible modem, access to a telecommunications network, and access to a printer and fax machine (optional). The index can be networked using a number of networking solutions including Optinet, CDNet, SCSI Express, CorelSCSI, Discport, and LANtastic. Some knowledge of DOS or text editor is also required.

The Inside WEB Service

Set for release in the U.S. this fall, Inside Web provides Internet access to 250,000 journals, an alerting service covering 10 million articles from 20,000 journals and 16,000 conferences, supported by the document delivery service described above.

The range of information held on Inside is comprehensive. Science, medicine, engineering, business, law, finance, and the humanities are all covered extensively:

* 20,000 current journals that can be searched down to article title. level, many of which also contain abstracts 16,000 conference proceedings that can also be searched to paper title level (many of these conference proceedings are extremely hard to find and the BL's collection is a unique source of primary research material. They, are often the first reference to be found on major new areas of research, according to BL) * Journal title level information on over 250,000 other journals held at the Library

A full listing of journals held on Inside is available to subscribers. The information is current and up to date. Inside is updated on a daily basis and from receipt of a new journal or conference proceeding, the articles are cataloged and put onto the Inside database within 72 hairs of receipt.

Inside Web offers a variety of search techniques. Users wishing to use subject searching may search the entire database or a selected part of it for articles that contain chosen key terms. Users may also search for specific articles. With very little information, a list of citations can b matched against the Inside database and the full-text articles ordered.

Using a template search, the entire database of over 250,000 journals can be searched quickly and easily. With a minimum of information, it can be established whether or not a particular journal is held at the BL.

Diary Searches, another type of searching that is available, are saved searches that may be run on a regular basis-daily, weekly, or monthly -- providing regular updates on particular subjects of interest. Inside alerts the user to the fact that a particular search is due to be run again.

Free-Text searching may also be employed to develop a search using commonly known search languages. According to the BL, this type of search is particularly useful for the trained information specialist who can construct searches on behalf of users who do not have access to the service but who wish to be kept informed of research material in their areas of specialty.

The Inside Web service is a secure system that is password driven. Licenses are per site and multi-site licenses are available at negotiated rates.

Source: The British Library, West Yorkshire, U.K., 011-44-1937-546-6698; Fax: 011-44-1937-546-697; inside-helpdesk@bl.uk; http://www.bl.uk.
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Publication:Information Today
Date:Sep 1, 1997
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