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Weekly News Digest

October 22, 2001 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

ProQuest Completes Sanborn Maps Digitization Project

ProQuest Information and Learning (http://www.il.proquest.com) has announced the completion of an initiative to digitize its collection of Sanborn insurance maps. Dating from 1867 to 1970, the Digital Sanborn Maps project encompasses some 660,000 large-scale maps of 12,000 U.S. cities. Maps were created every 5 to 10 years, showing the progress of the nation over time. For some communities, up to eight maps are included, covering different time periods and stages of development. The digitization project began in 2000.

The maps contain information such as the outline, size, height, and shape of the buildings; the construction materials used; the function of structures; and the location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building-use information (ranging from symbols for generic terms such as stable, garage, and warehouse to names of owners of factories and details on what was manufactured in them), and house and block numbers. In the case of large factories or commercial buildings, even individual rooms and their uses are recorded on the maps. Other features include pipelines, railroads, wells, dumps, and heavy machinery. The maps can be valuable to genealogists, local historians, city planners, environmentalists, geographers, architects, and others who are interested in the history, growth, and development of U.S. cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

Sanborn Map Co. was the primary U.S. publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years. ProQuest sells microform editions of the maps. In electronic form, Sanborn Maps allow greater flexibility of use and improved viewing possibilities over microfilm, according to the announcement. Users can manipulate the maps, magnify and zoom in on specific sections, and layer maps from different years. Free trials are available for libraries.

Source: ProQuest Information and Learning

Delphion Offers New Productivity Tools

Delphion, Inc., a provider of intellectual-asset-management software and services, has announced a set of new productivity tools for its Internet-based intellectual property (IP) research service at http://www.delphion.com. The new tools provide business professionals with additional power to search, analyze, and access IP data.

Using bar charts, the Snapshot tool enables users to perform a quick, visual analysis of the patents that comprise their search results. Work Files allows users to create and save personalized lists of patents. The Data Extract tool lets users export key patent data from up to 20,000 records into other applications. This enables users to leverage their patent research in entirely new ways. For example, users can incorporate research findings into a spreadsheet for further analysis, or include them in a report or presentation. The PDF Express tool saves users time by allowing them to download multiple patents in batch mode vs. opening them one at a time. Users receive a Zip file and a list of the downloaded patents they can save to their local drive.

The new tools are available immediately through Delphion's two subscription packages. Delphion Unlimited subscribers have access to the tools at no additional charge. Delphion Premier subscribers can gain access on a pay-per-use basis.

Source: Delphion, Inc.

Gale Adopts SFX OpenURL Standard for Linking Databases

Gale Group (http://www.galegroup.com) has announced that it has adopted the SFX OpenURL standard, a technology that links databases to one another at the document level no matter what their source. SFX is available in Gale's InfoTrac databases.

"SFX is a significant milestone in the evolution of electronic reference because it addresses a fundamental problem with electronic databases: They operate independently of each other. A library may have developed a great research collection using a variety of vendors' databases, but if they aren't tied to one another, their value is significantly diminished," said John Barnes, Gale Group's senior vice president of product management. "SFX allows for comprehensive, integrated electronic solutions."

SFX (http://www.sfxit.com) was created by Ex Libris (http://www.exlibris-usa.com), a worldwide supplier of software solutions for libraries and information centers. More than 35 customers worldwide have chosen SFX, including ProQuest Information and Learning, ingenta, and EBSCO. Using SFX, libraries can define the rules that allow them to create links that integrate their information resources regardless of who hosts them. SFX links are context-sensitive and configure based on the institution's e-collection. Context-sensitivity prevents dead links—users are presented with only those links to information available within the library's collection.

According to Ex Libris, SFX is setting the standard for OpenURL link servers. OpenURL is a de facto standard and is now on a fast track to NISO standardization. (See http://www.niso.org/commitax.html) The OpenURL Web site can be found at http://library.caltech.edu/openurl. The OpenURL specification can be found at http://sfx1.exlibris-usa.com/openurl/openurl.html.

According to the announcement, Gale's development and expansion of its periodical databases has been a key growth strategy for the company. In addition to technological improvements such as SFX, Gale's periodical content has increased. Since January 2000, Gale has added more than 1,000 new newspapers and magazines to its collection of periodicals. Well over 7,000 periodicals are now available through its products; more than 3,000 are full text.

Sources: Gale Group and Ex Libris



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