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SoftLine Information Introduces Alt-PressWatch Collection of Full-Text Alternative Press Weeklies
Posted On February 12, 2001
SoftLine Information, Inc. (, the database publisher specializing in abstract and full-text files based on non-mainstream sources, has announced a new full-text service called Alt-PressWatch. The new service will primarily include weekly newspapers, journals, and magazines. Most of the sources covered will already have abstracting and indexing in SoftLine Information's Ethnic NewsWatch product. As the press announcement of the new service reminds users, "In an era in which more and more media is owned by fewer and larger corporate conglomerates, the alternative press is one of the last bastions of independent and critical print coverage."

Alt-PressWatch will cover a wide array of fields, including the environment, government, labor, education, civil rights and liberties, gender issues, feminism, the Supreme Court, public policy, politics, religion, foreign policy, the arts, and entertainment. The database will carry current material plus archives extending back 5 years, with more retrospective coverage planned.

Titles offered in the collection come from the Ethnic NewsWatch file. SoftLine Information plans to add more and more titles as it expands contractual agreements, according to a company representative. Currently, the company has more than 50 titles signed up, including Athens News, Arkansas Times, Colorado Springs Independent, Metroland New York, Random Lengths News, Santa Barbara Independent, Texas Observer, Worcester Magazine, The Advocate, Mouth: Voice of the Disability Nation, Lambda Book Report, Ragged Edge, Race, Gender and Class, and Native Americas.

Marketed primarily to academic and public libraries, the Web-based database will be available in the late spring by subscription only directly from SoftLine Information. Subscriptions for the service are based on a number of factors, but should fall in the $1,500 to $2,600 price range. At present, the company has no plans for any pay-per-view access options, though a representative indicated that it might eventually offer the service through third-party vendors who do offer nonsubscription payment options. Currently, Lexis-Nexis, EBSCO, and OCLC carry Ethnic NewsWatch, SoftLine's leading title.

Created in 1991, SoftLine Information now provides a whole line of alternative press databases. In addition to Ethnic NewsWatch and the new Alt-PressWatch, it offers the GenderWatch, Alt-HealthWatch, and Diversify Your World databases; the latter two are full-text files. Overall, the company's full-text services incorporate some half a million articles from 500 publications and add 80,000 to 100,000 new articles annually.

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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