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Weekly News Digest

September 11, 2000 — 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 ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Presidentís Advisory Committee Issues Report

The President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) has released the report "Transforming Access to Government Through Information Technology," which highlights findings and recommendations for both improving public access to federal information resources and simplifying internal and external government transactions.

The PITAC offers the following three key recommendations:

  • Fund an aggressive IT (information technology) research program that addresses the federal government's most critical long-term technology challenges, including computer security and privacy, scalable information infrastructures, and standards for data sharing and integration. 

  • Create within OMB (Office of Management and Budget) an Office for Electronic Government to promote innovative IT efforts and policies across federal agencies, and a Government IT Innovation Program (GITIP) that would fund high-risk, exploratory, and experimental IT projects. 

  • Establish pilot projects and Emerging Technology Centers (ETCs) to encourage information integration across government sectors and to push leading-edge information technology into operational systems.
The PITAC, a body of top IT experts from private industry and the research and education communities, advises the president and the Office of Science and Technology Policy on all areas related to high-performance computing and communications and information technologies. Copies of the report can be obtained from the National Coordination Office for Computing, Information, and Communications at 703/292-ITRD (4873) or via its Web site (

Source: President's Information Technology Advisory Committee

The Long-Anticipated Debuts! LEXIS-NEXIS Acquires Press Access, Inc.

Today, LEXIS-NEXIS formally unveiled its site with its new Web-based interface. The company recently sent a letter to all LEXIS-NEXIS Universe customers with the news that was replacing Universe, and would provide an easier-to-use product with broader search capabilities and searching available from the home page. Universe users don't need a new ID or password. The new site is being promoted as the company's "new flagship product for news and business." Legal customers have been using the site for the past year, and business searchers have been looking forward to the launch of the upgraded service for NEXIS.

According to the letter from Bill Pardue, president of NEXIS, the new search site provides all the content and functionality that Universe did with the addition of some customer-requested features. Accessible directly from the home page, Search lets users find information with a single search using standard-language words or phrases. With the Subject Directory, users can select from 34 subjects and more than 1,200 topics and can search across different types of content. Users can use Boolean logic and add Index Terms to searches conducted through Power Search. A new Web sources database allows users to search Web sites mentioned in news sources. The service also provides access to a more robust Company Dossier, accessible directly from the home page and offering information on 500,000 companies.

Watch for a NewsBreak next week that will cover the news in greater detail.

A company representative indicated that customized task-based applications for specific professions (specifically, insurance, competitive intelligence, and finance) were an important component of the new implementation. This is similar to the specific practice pages available in He indicated that this was also an important factor in the just-announced decision to purchase Press Access, Inc. (, a privately held company founded in 1992 that provides proprietary content about media and journalists and media relationship management (MRM) solutions for public relations and marketing professionals.

The acquisition of the small but fast-growing and profitable company will enable LEXIS-NEXIS to integrate its content with Press Access products, resulting in new features, such as one-click access to recent articles by a selected journalist, guided forms to research topics, analysis of topical coverage by journalists, leveraging indexing, and metadata to identify patterns. Rich Barno, founder and president of Press Access, was previously the president of MediaMap (from 1989-1992), the major competitor to Press Access. A year ago, MediaMap announced a strategic relationship with Dow Jones-Reuters (now Factiva) that links from MediaMap to Dow Jones articlesóa deal that was obviously studied by LEXIS-NEXIS.


OCLC RetroCon Service for Yale University

The OCLC RetroCon service ( is converting into machine-readable form approximately 150,000 catalog records representing monographs and serials held in Yale University Library's East Asian Collection. The conversion project will run through June 2003. The records will contain vernacular characters and romanized information.

"Yale University Library's East Asian Collection is one of the most important collections of East Asian materials in the U.S.," said Gary Houk, vice president of OCLC Services. "This OCLC RetroCon project will enhance the richness of the CJK (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) collection in WorldCat (the OCLC Online Union Catalog), thereby enabling researchers beyond the Yale campus to discover and gain access to these valuable materials."

This 3-year project is one of several OCLC RetroCon projects currently under way that will result in the retrospective conversion of more than 2 million records representing materials held in more than 10 libraries across the Yale University campus.

Source: OCLC

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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