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Ziff develops new software for Computer Select.

Ziff Desktop Information's Computer Library Division has developed new search and access software for Computer Select, the company's CD-ROM-database of computer product and industry information. Incorporated in Computer Select beginning with the December '92 edition, the new software, ZDScan, offers uses more powerful and flexible searching, faster performance and greater ease of use in accessing the more than 175,000 documents contained in the database. The new software replaces the Lotus Bluefish search engine, the search technology used by Computer Library products since 1988.

ZDScan is the first step in Computer Library's long-range plan to make its databases more powerful and more accessible through improved software performance and user interface design. This strategy also includes developing native versions of its products for the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh graphical desktop computer environments. During 1993, Windows, Macintosh and character-based versions of Computer Select will all be available on one disc, to meet the needs of professionals in today's mixed-computing environment.

ZDScan was developed by Computer Library in conjunction with Dataware Technologies, and uses the CD Answer retrieval engine for high-performance searching and support of the enhanced features available to Computer Select users through the ZDScan interface. The future Windows and Macintosh versions of Computer Select will use CD Answer's multiplatform retrieval engine to deliver Computer Select for DOS, Windows, and Macintosh on a single CD-ROM disc.

Computer Library's flagship product, Computer Select is a database of computer product and industry information. The database includes:

* nearly 80,000 full-text and abstracted articles from over 175 computer, technical and business periodicals;

* specifications for more than 74,000 hardware, software and data communications products;

* profiles of the more than 13,000 companies that make the products; and

* definitions of more than 13,000 computer and communications terms.

* More flexible and powerful search capabilities. The new interface lets users more easily and interactively perform searches, to find the precise information they want more quickly.

"Words" and "Fields" searches have been combined in a single search screen called "Find." This enables users to easily formulate and refine, from a single, unified screen, searches using any combination of words and fields. Searches can be edited on the fly, replacing the former method of specify-search-refine-search. The results of the current search are automatically updated and displayed for user feedback. In addition, Word searches are no longer limited to 10 words and now can incorporate previously "masked" words such as "a," "the" or "that." ZDScan supports the full range of Boolean search tools, including wildcards and proximity designators, in an easy-to-use, more, graphical environment.

* Faster performance. Improvements range from 25 percent faster on 286-based personal computers to as much as ten times as fast on 386-based personal computers and above.

* Simplified access to attachments. You can search by type of attachment, such as utilities, worksheet files or executable code. Pop-up boxes and prompts simplify the process of downloading attachments.

* Expanded print options. You can select printer ports from any print menu. You can also choose to print abstract or full text of any article (if available).

* Context-sensitive help. The disc also includes the complete Computer Select Users' Guide in PostScript and PCL, as well as ASCII text for printing.

* More full-text data. Compression technologies allow for more full-text publications, like the recently added InfoWorld, on the disc.

The new version of Computer Select does require slightly more memory, DOS 3.3 or above and an 80286-based computer or above. The new minimum system requirements are: 640 Kb RAM, an 80286-based computer, MS- or PC-DOS version 3.3 or above, Microsoft MS-DOS CD-ROM Extension software (MSCDEX) version 2.10 or above, and 1.5 MB of available disk space.

All Computer Library products are available directly from the company For more information, call 800/827-4889, ext. 517.
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Title Annotation:Ziff Desktop Information
Publication:Information Today
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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