In March 1999, STN International, the international scientific and technical online search service, will introduce STN On the Web, a full-feature service opening access to all STN files through a Web browser. STN carries over 200 major scientific databases across a wide range of disciplines. STN made the announcement at the Online Information '98 Conference in London on behalf of all of STN International's sponsors: Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS; http://stnweb.cas.org, http://www.cas.org), FIZ Karlsruhe (http://stnweb.fiz-karlsruhe.de), and the Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Information Center for Science and Technology (JICST; http://stnweb-japan.cas.org). The sponsors jointly operate STN in North America, Europe, and Japan.
The new Web service will offer full functionality as well as access to all the databases, according to the STN announcement. Initially, an STN spokesperson told us, STN On the Web will support HTML transcript formats. It will feature the familiar STN command language as well as a graphical user interface for Help functions. The system will hyperlink from article abstracts in CAplus to publisher Web sites for publishers participating in ChemPort. It will also offer all the basic functions of STN Express including chemical structure searching. It will fully integrate images and text with HTML or Adobe PDF formats, depending on what the journal publisher offers.
STN International already has some Web-based services, specifically STN Easy with Discover!, Chemical Patents Plus, and ChemPort. The new service will combine the advantages of full-powered STN commands with the Web's universal accessibility, according to the announcement.
All current STN customers will have immediate access, while new customers can establish accounts by contacting any regional STN Service Center. If customers want to stay with the old access routes, STN tells us that it has no plans to drop the conventional dial-up STN network.
When STN puts its complete array of databases out on the Web, that will probably mark the last of the majors to become "all-Web." We asked an STN representative about the time it took. He said, "This was an effort of the STN Service Centers, which are CAS, FIZ Karlsruhe, and JST (Japan Science and Technology Corporation), so there is a lot of technical know-how there." And it apparently took a lot of coordination and work to complete the full process.