One of the more ineresting new products that I saw in the Exhibit Hall was InspecDirect. The Inspec database has been a favorite of searchers since it first became available online on the Dialog system in the early 1970s. It has been through a number of overhauls and adaptions to various technologies as they appeared. Now Inspec has done it again with a new interface incorporating many features used by searchers. Stephen Arnold ("Inspec’s own Stephen Arnold", at left above), Product Manager, and Simon Thomson, Publishing Director & General Manager, Inspec, showed me the beta system (launch of the full system is scheduled for January 2008), and I was very impressed.
Arnold and Thomson emphasized that Inspec’s relationships with aggregators will continue, and its database will continue to be available through all its current channels. InspecDirect represents another access channel for current customers who may wish to use the new interface. In addition, access to the Inspec database by individuals will be available for the first time (Thomson could not give me any pricing at this time) through the InspecDirect web site.
InspecDirect has three parallel ineterfaces: Quick Search, Advanced Search, and Expert Search. Here is a screenshot of the Advanced Search page.
I was very impressed by the InspecDirect interface (in fact, I commented that I wished I had had access to it during my early days of searching Inspec on Dialog at Bell Labs in the 1970s and 1980s!) Watch for complete coverage of the launch of InspecDirect in future issues of Information Today and an in-depth review in an ITI journal.
Columnist, Information Today