Research Tools - Fall 1993

Two Periodical Indexes Accessible Through DRA

Finding access to articles through computerized indexes has proven to be one of the most popular features of the Weinberg Memorial Library's CD-ROM laboratory. In the month of March 1993, over 530 searches were executed on ABI-Infom, the index to business journals, and 1152 searches were completed on Periodicals Abstracts, the index which covers general information. All of these searches have had to be completed in-house.
With the installation of the new online public catalog from Data Research Associates in August, searching for article citations from these two particular databases will be possible through either the OPC, via the campus-wide network, or through a modem from offices, dorms, or home computer terminals. DRA's network, DRANET, a node on the Internet, will allow the searcher to use either the ABI-lnform or Periodicals Abstracts database in order to find indexing to journals and newspaper articles on general topics and business information. Instead of accessing a CD-ROM product at one of the ten terminals in the second floor CD-ROM laboratory, the patron will use the OPC to dial into the DRA mainframe computer in St. Louis, where magnetic tapes of Periodicals Abstracts and ABI-Inform are loaded on a weekly basis. This allows for even more up-to-date searching of current journals and newspapers than on the networked CD-ROMs which are updated quarterly.
By using the Internet connection (pre-programmed by DRA staff) on the online public catalog terminals throughout the library or through the dial-in access, the patron will see options for searching these two databases. Unlike the CD-ROM databases, the search appears in a format more typical to a book search, since DRANET presents an interface for the databases that more closely resembles DRA's book query screens. A full abstract and local holdings information are part of each citation retrieved.
Printers will he available at the main terminals on the second floor of the Weinberg Memorial Library, and downloading at a PC will also be an option.
Because ABI-Inform and Periodicals Abstracts are the most heavily used databases, they were the logical choices for the test run. More databases will he added as demand grows.

Betsey Moylan
Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition