Monday, April 28, 2014

History of electronic resources

What is online?
Online searching is a means by which electronic databases stored on a remote computer can be accessed and searched from a computer terminal.


History of electronic resources
The application of the term “online” has changed over the past few years (pre-2004) due to the development of new products and services. The term “online” can apply to:
  • Commercial, “traditional” search services such as those offered by Dialog
  • CD ROM database searching (1980s)
  • Consumer online services, e.g. American Online, MSN
  • The Internet (Many people think that that online is the Internet)
Finding information online
  • Bibliographic citations were found manually usually printed abstracts and indexes such as Engineering Index (1884), Index Medicus, and Chemical Abstracts
  • Manual production of abstracting and indexing services was labour intensive and the delays long. It could take up to two years between the publication of an article in a journal and its listing in an abstracting and indexing journal.
The convergence of data processing, information science, the growth in public data networks and the computerisation of print publications brought the online industry into being
  • 1950s: computers developed, batch processing, number crunching, first text-based search
  • 1960s: batch searching (non-interactive) in readable form, some services developed, printed indexes produced by computers, 
  • 1969 ARPANet developed. Beginning of Internet ; American military decentralized information elsewhere
  • 1970s: commercial databases launched (Dialog, considered first, had 6 bibliographic databases in 1972); expensive, difficult to use, mainly searched by specialists. 
  • 1980s: OPACs became common in libraries, an increasing number of diverse databases and commercial services were available, business information provision grew with more full-text systems based around menu interfaces were being offered to end-users, CD ROMs were adopted towards the end of the decade
  • 1990s: propriety Windows interfaces were developed, then as the Web became popular access to commercial services over the Web became a priority for suppliers; end-user searching was now a reality and services were marketed directly to the actual consumers of the information, rather than professional intermediaries.
“In large part, the history of electronic resources for reference began with the development of computer-assisted typesetting and printing.”
 
Kathleen M. Kluegel, 2001. Electronic resources for reference. In Reference and information services: an introduction 3rd ed., general eds. Richard E. Bopp, Linda C. Smith
 
Batch processing
  • Advances in computer and telecommunication technology
    • Modem
      • A contraction of modulator-demodulator, an electronic coupler used to connect a computer terminal to a telephone communication system. A modem translates electronic signals of the computer into sounds that can be transferred over the telephone line.
  • Much faster disks stacks replaced magnetic tapes
  • Development of microcomputers, search software and telecommunications networks
  • Searcher and system communicate interactively
interactive
A computer interface designed to respond to input from a human being, usually in the form of commands and/or data. A back-and-forth dialogue between a computer program and its human user is an interactive session.
ODLIS: Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science
History of electronic resources
  • 1972 Dialog 1st commercial online service
    • Developed by Roger Summit (father of online systems) for Lockhead Missile and Space Company
  • others follow, e.g. ORBIT (SDC), CAN/OLE (Canadian Online Enquiry Service, 1972), BRS (1977)
  • Number and availability of databases available through search services increase
  • Market expands to most academic and special libraries
  • Early 1980s full text databases become available on commercial search services
  • Mediated searching era
    • Mid 1980s meditated searching peaked than began a sharp decline
Meditated search
A systematic search in which a trained intermediary, such as an online services librarian or information broker, assists the end-user in locating desired information, by helping to formulate and execute appropriate strategies for searching online catalogs and databases, and by using more traditional bibliographic finding tools.
History of electronic resources
  • 1st online databases developed for use by end-users, but most end-users unwilling to take time to learn search language required
  • Most searching done by trained searchers/librarians on behalf of others
  • Charged on a per search basis typically based on time spent online + additional charges for displaying/printing the records
  • 1982 Knowledge Index (Dialog), After Dark (BRS) introduced
    • Menu rather than command driven
    • Marketed to end-users
    • Fewer databases and features but lower pricing
  • 1980s introduction of CD-ROM databases in libraries
  • use of CD-ROM searching skyrocketed, dial-up information services steadily declined
  • 1990s development and expansion of World Wide Web
 
It should be noted Dialog is generally not used in libraries, whereas databases are. Dialog can be found in special libraries, where they are quick and specific, and the service keeps reinventing itself.

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