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Gale Groupís InfoTrac OneFile Creates Web-Based Periodical Collection for Libraries
Posted On October 16, 2000
Gale Group ( has created a massive mega-database of 16 million records covering over 6,100 journals in its new InfoTrac OneFile service. The service offers online access to popular magazines, academic journals, and trade press, as well as to five newspaper indexes and news wire archives. Files extend back 20 years.

John Barnes, senior vice president of product management at Gale Group, said: "This is an ideal product for large libraries and consortia who need to serve users of all typesófrom students to academicians to business executives. InfoTrac OneFile allows the library gateway to be more flexible, serving a broad spectrum of needs, and more responsive by delivering richer search results for every query."

Of the 6,111 magazines and journals offered in the indexed database, 2,659 appear in full-text. The full-text collection also includes some 90 news wires covering government, agriculture, sports, and corporate press releases. Although the bulk of Gale Group's periodical holdings appears in the new service, there are some omissions, according to InfoTrac OneFile's product manager, Bonnie Hawkwood. The growing collection of full-text newspaper archives is not included. (According to Gale Group's president, Allen Paschal, in an interview appearing in the November/December 2000 issue of Searcher magazine, the company currently has over 120 full-text newspaper archives available in its newspaper Web Resource Center service.)

Newspaper coverage in InfoTrac OneFile only extends to bibliographic citations and indexing for five major national newspapers, apparently the equivalent of National Newspaper Index. It indexes only The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor. Nor does InfoTrac OneFile include most of the newsletters Gale Group publishes in its Newsletter Database.

This new product, according to Hawkwood, is intended to serve as a "virtual basic periodical collection" for public and academic libraries. When asked about whether the new product from Gale Group might compete with Dialog, another Thomson subsidiary, she pointed out that Dialog has its own market, one focused on corporations and individuals. Dialog, as well as other search services, provides other features and functionality appealing to that marketóe.g., transactional pricing options. Gale Group targets the library institutional market.

The new InfoTrac OneFile will sell as a subscription product, with prices starting at $8,000 a year for up to two simultaneous users. Gale Group has no plans underway to add transaction pricing to its InfoTrac OneFile, even as an add-on option for libraries looking to introduce e-commerce to their Web sites. However, Hawkwood said that the company has received some requests for such an option from academic libraries looking to open access to library subscription databases for alumni.

The closest competitor to Gale Group's new offering would appear to be Bell & Howell Information and Learning's ProQuest service. The ProQuest product has more newspapers and more accounting journals and also has added millions of full-image articles. Hawkwood indicated that of the 2,659 full-text journals within the InfoTrac OneFile collection, over 1,100 titles have full-image as well.

As the product launches and the company receives user feedback, it may expand the content to other Gale Group holdings, according to Hawkwood. However, for now it's focusing on specific features of interest to librarians. For example, within a few months Gale will have improved the ability of the system to help librarians linking to their OPACs in two ways. The introduction of MARC 856 links should help librarians interested in connecting library holdings information to cited articles from the 3,452 titles for which the product does not offer full-text. And a little while after that, Gale will improve the ability to link back InfoTrac OneFile's full-text holdings to library OPACs, so that the library systems can merge records of this virtual collection with their print holdings.

The InfoTrac interface and product line have been widely used in libraries back to the product's early CD-ROM days. Gale Group has developed a number of new improvements, including InfoTrac Total Access, which integrates all types of Internet-based information within a single search interface, and InfoMarks, which allows users to copy and paste URLs into files where they can save, reuse, and share search results.

Gale Group already has a fast-growing line of subject-focused Internet products known as Web Resource Centers. Most of these products include substantial contributions from Gale Group's reference publicationsóe.g., the Company Intelligence database, augmented by periodical material. This all-periodical collection marks a new direction.

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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