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COC3 - Electric Library

COC3 reports, 
February 22, 1998, Session 2

Primary Presenters:  Kevin P. Davies, Educational Sales Director

A very positive, upbeat presentation.

Why is Infonautics in the electronic information business?  The
information environment is rapidly changing.  There is a need to provide
services for small institutions, such as high school, undergrad.  This is
a perfect complement to the expanding mission of library consortia. 
Infonautics was founded in 1992, a spin off from TeleBase Systems. 
Located in Wayne, PA; publicly held; 200 employees.  It is the
fastest-growing online database provider for libraries.  The founding
concept is to provide an end-user product that "anyone can use effectively
without training." 

A new paradigm: 

Electric Library is different to all other electronic information
products.  It is end-user focused, designed for the novice user but
nonetheless powerful enough for advanced users.  Its emphasis is on
INFORMATION, not periodicals (though it contains periodicals).  Focus
groups and library/end-user feedback led Infonautics to the realization
that users want GOOD INFORMATION, not a periodicals product.  Many users
(though it's different of course for research level users) want
information rather than sources; they want to spend time reading rather
than searching.  That said, Electric Library is a full-text-based product. 

Two search methods:

o Natural language for novice - "Why is the sky blue?" kind of questions
o Boolean for the advanced searcher
o These offer tools to quickly identify relevant articles and best parts
  of articles
o 3 simple steps to your information:  type in a question, get results
  list, get full text for reading.


o Full-text information is updated daily
o Content:  500+ magazines & journals (growing)
o 60+ newspapers & newswires (domestic & international) -- such as
  Reuters, Gannett, Xinhua, Itar-Tass
o 50+ radio (NPR), tv (ABC, lots & CNN, some), government transcript
o 2,000 reference books/works of literature (mostly K-12), supplied by one
  online package of "great books"
o 50,000+ photos images works of art
o 1,000+ maps from around the world (JEPG)
o Magazines are input cover to cover, 2-10 years back
o Very current (TIME Magazine, for example, is input ahead of time),
o Not designed to be a browsing product -- can't look at a whole issue
  (Publisher-partners don't want EL to do that -- would compete directly
  with their products)
o Mostly English-language (a little Spanish)
o Includes World Almanac & Book of Facts
o Everything is licensed for educational use
o Text is ASCII

Platform options:
A. Web
B. Client/Server (Mac/Windows)
   Internet safe
   no gateways, links to WWW
   eliminates monitoring of student while doing research
   4-5 times faster than WWW
o Pay once and have either/both for a single fee

o Commitment to service/unparalleled
o Provide many feedback channels, many focus groups

No MARC records available yet for the titles within the EL, but under

Adding & dropping titles:
o EL mostly adds titles, however:
o Ethnic NewsWatch -- was part of EL till end of last June; then Softline
  took it out 
o Ditto for Contemporary Women's Issues 
o Both still available as premium databases (i.e., for extra fee)
o EL Doesn't work with aggregators any longer, because materials perceived
  to be too vulnerable to dropping.

Other observations:
o Next goals:   beef up periodical areas, newspapers
o There is a content list online -- see it for exact titles.
o Statistics/usage:  can tailor as we want these data


o Different prices for different markets (K-12, public, academic)
o High end -- $2,000/year for one Simultaneous User per year (academic
o Lowest $1,000 per year for 100 SUs  (i.e., bulk purchase)
o Unlimited use public library:  $25,000 per 100,000 users
o Two consortial models:
	A.  We will deliver a population to you
	B.  We've got a lot of people, give us a discount
o Interesting metaphor:  "parent-child technology" (consortium is the
  parent; members are the child)
o Site license -- unlimited use -- very complicated calculations
o EL definition of a consortium:  A group that enables the vendor to deal
  with one person or body for purchase order, contact, payment

No specific price lists or charts were presented by Infonautics.

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