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Weekly News Digest

January 15, 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.

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IBM Launches WebSphere Translation Server

IBM has launched the IBMWebSphere Translation Server, new software that will enable enterprisesto provide Web pages, e-mail messages, and chat conversations in multiplelanguages, in real time. With the IBM WebSphere Translation Server, whichuses IBM's advanced machine translation technology, enterprises can createand distribute Web content globally, without the need for special Web pagesor separate Web infrastructures. It also enables chats in multiple languagesfor both internal and external communications.

"Machine translation allowsfor dynamic business content to be created at a fraction of the cost ofprofessional translation services," said Steve McClure, vice presidentof Speech and Natural Language Software at IDC. "At present, the machine-translationindustry consists mainly of small, segmented players, with no clear leader.IBM's entry signifies a major turning point and will help validate andaccelerate the adoption of machine translation—a software market projectedto reach $378 million by 2003."

Designed for a customer'senterprise, IBM WebSphere Translation Server supports bidirectional texttranslation between English and French, German, Spanish, and Italian, aswell as from English to Chinese (both simplified and traditional), Japanese,and Korean. The software runs on NT, AIX, and Solaris and can translateup to 500 words per second (speeds may vary based on processor speed andsystem configuration). IBM WebSphere Translation Server will be availablein March from IBM and its business partners, and is priced at $10,000/languagepair/processor. For more information and to experience the multilingualpossibilities, visit the IBM Voice Systems page at choose the link to WebSphere Translation Server.

Source: IBM Software

New Version of askSam Now Available

askSam Systems ( is now shipping version 4 of askSam, its free-form database software. askSam can create full-text searchable databases from unstructured information, such as e-mail, resumes, legal texts, government regulations, research notes, and correspondence, as well as from structured information. According to the company, askSam 4.0 is a major upgrade that adds over 100 new features and improvements to the previous version.

The software now provides a new Search Results Window that displays a list of all documents retrieved by a search. The Search Results Window gives an overview of the retrieved documents, including the total number of documents found, the number of hits in each document, the first line of the document, and the context of the hit. The Search Results can be customized for each database, and users can include specific fields, define a sort order, and more.

According to the company, the new version has import filters for Word 97/2000, Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Access, and Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) databases, which make it easy to bring information into askSam. Other improvements include wizards to help users, increased maximum database size (from 4 gigabytes to 16 terabytes), improved security with multiple-level passwords and advanced encryption, and new report features.

askSam version 4.0 Standard is available for $149.95. askSam 4.0 Professional, which adds full-text indexing capabilities, is available for $395. Using askSam Professional, hundreds of megabytes and thousands of documents can be searched in seconds, according to the announcement. Owners of earlier askSam versions can upgrade to version 4.0 for $89.95. A free, fully functional, 30-day trial version can be downloaded from the askSam site.

There is also a new SurfSaver 2.2, which is a browser add-on that lets users store Web pages directly from a browser into searchable folders. Unlike bookmarks, SurfSaver creates a permanent archive of Web pages in folders on a computer. Users can open, search, and edit SurfSaver files with askSam 4.

Source: askSam Systems

Lexis-Nexis Acquisition Will Expand Municipal Code Offerings

The Lexis-Nexis Group ( has announced that it has acquired Book Publishing Co. (BPC), a leading producer of municipal codes and ordinances for local governments throughout the U.S. BPC has published codified ordinances for more than 2,000 municipalities in nearly every state in the country. It was founded in 1951 and has current contracts with approximately 1,200 municipalities to publish their ordinances.

"The acquisition of Book Publishing Co. is a strong strategic fit with Lexis-Nexis Group," said Jim Smyth, senior vice president and publisher for Lexis-Nexis Small Law Firm and Government Markets. "Its content is targeted at one of the largest market segments for Lexis-Nexis: small law. With it, we can provide even better value-added, customizable information that will meet the specific needs of small law and solo practitioners."

Smyth said that BPC's relationship with its municipal customers is similar to the relationship Lexis-Nexis has with state governments for the production of their official state codes. (Lexis-Nexis publishes annotated state codes for 35 states and territories.) The acquisition of Book Publishing Co. is the sixth made by Lexis-Nexis in the last 12 months.

Source: Lexis-Nexis Group

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