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Fulltext Sources Online Directory Bought by Information Today, Inc.
Posted On October 12, 1998
BiblioData, Inc. ( has sold its leading directory, Fulltext Sources Online (FSO), to Information Today, Inc. ( ITI has taken over existing inventory and production of future editions.

Since its initial publication in 1988, Fulltext Sources Online has grown from a few hundred listings to over 8,500 entries covering newspapers, journals, magazines, newsletters, and newswires found online in full text. The semi-annual publication covers full text on the following vendors: Dialog, LEXIS-NEXIS, Westlaw, Dow Jones, IAC InSite/InSite Pro, Ovid, STN International, GBI, Genios, FT Profile, DataStar, InfoGlobe, Infomart, QL, Reuters Business Briefing, and Burrelle's. Last year, it began adding entries for publisher Web sites that offer free Internet archives for journals.

Ruth Orenstein, president of BiblioData and now former editor of FSO, recalled the early days: "Our first book was 129 pages, with no coverage dates but lots of white space. The current book has 626 pages, including Internet URLs, a concept unknown to early searchers."

Single issues of FSO cost $118, and 1-year subscriptions (two issues) run $195 (standing orders are $175.50).

According to Tom Hogan, president of Information Today, Inc., FSO has instantly become one of ITI's flagship products: "BiblioData has done a magnificent job of providing an indispensable guide for information professionals. We hope to continue this excellent tradition, while updating and refining FSO for the future." Orenstein said, "We are pleased that Information Today will be carrying on the task of updating FSO for the next millennium. ... We will be working closely with Information Today to help them complete the transition as smoothly as possible."

Donald T. Hawkins has been named managing editor, and ITI plans to appoint another editor shortly. Hawkins also edits Information Science Abstracts, a recent ITI acquisition from Documentation Abstracts, Inc.

Orenstein and BiblioData have set a high standard for ITI to meet. For 10 years, every issue of Fulltext Sources Online has appeared with an announcement of substantial improvements and expansion. Even with over 8,000 listings, they still verify almost half the listings with online searches, not relying on the lists vendors provide them. ITI will also take over the "Private Zone" BiblioData has offered, which allows subscribers to check on the latest Web sites for journals online.

Like many of the best reference tools, Fulltext Sources Online began as a tool designed for the designer. Orenstein left a career doing online searching in market research to start an information brokerage. "I started making the list for myself in 1989. When I was finished, it looked like a book. So I signed up for a table top exhibit at the Online World conference that year, but it ended up they had no table tops available. So they gave me an empty booth. All I had was just a draft of my book, but it went fabulously right from the start." Colleagues and advisers gave her very good comments, according to Orenstein: "Any time someone told me something that rang true, I put it in the next book."

BiblioData has kept the publishing rights to the newsletter it inaugurated in 1995, The Cyberskeptic's Guide to Internet Research. The decision to sell FSO now was almost a function of time, according to Orenstein. "The 10th anniversary issue was in July. Creating the book was eating up more and more of my time. After 10 years, I thought people might want something different. It seemed like the right time. I enjoy starting new products and that's what I hope to do now. I welcome ideas from others."

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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