Inc. Magazine’s Databasics

Since 1980, the number of databases and computer time-sharing services offering business information has increased dramatically. This guide will tell the reader (who is presumed to be a decision-maker in a small or large business) where the answer to an immediate problem might be found.

Five sections include almost everything the seeker of electronic information could want to know. Part 1, “All About the Information Industry,” focuses on why business people need electronic information, the kinds of databases available, and what vendors and information brokers do.

Parts 2 (the databases) and 3 (the vendors) make up the bulk of the material, which is presented in a format that facilitates comparisons among competing services. A typical database listing includes a brief description of the scope, a sample problem for which the file is useful, a sample record, and a profile section giving file size, update frequency, vendors who sell it, and costs. In addition to the business databases, also included are scientific, technical, patents, and environmental databases.

The vendor profiles include position in the industry, competitors, databases loaded, charges, customer support, training offered, and documentation available. Information is current as of late 1983; changes in the industry since then have made some of the information obsolete. Costs especially should be checked with the company listed. Evaluations and ratings are not offered. Companies were offered the opportunity to review their entry but were not charged for their listing.

Part 4 on hardware is merely descriptive, but the technical specifications are provided in several appendices. Part 5 provides a brief gaze into the future of the industry.

A detailed table of contents and a good index make it easy to locate specific pointers again. The guide will be a handy reference tool for locating possible sources when a new problem arises.

The book does not attempt to cover the mechanics of any specific database or service but is designed to detail the wealth of information sources available to both small and large businesses.