In a recent issue of "Scientific American", Ivars Peterson summed up the importance of online information systems to today's scientific and technical community - "To stay current in a field, whether in mathematics, astronomy, or electrical engineering, you must have access to a computer network. Colleagues can read a paper report, whether in final or draft form, as soon as it's finished - sometimes even as it's being written. To an astonishing degree, computer networks have already supplanted the more traditional means of formally and informally exchanging scientific ideas and data". Modern online systems, for fees ranging from $10 to more than $200 an hour allow researchers to tap into enormous pools of information, sort through millions of documents in seconds, and view the results of their inquiries almost instantly on any modern equipped personal computer. For the thousands of technical personnel who lack the necessary training or experience, this guide explains how to conduct successful online searches with minimum investment of time, effort and expense.
Harley Bjelland describes the required computer hardware and software, the advantages and disadvantages of available database services, procedures for cost-effective searches, and techniques for evaluating and using information obtained through online systems. Real-world examples illustrate how to take full advantage of a wide variety of databases dedicated to computers, chemistry, physics, electronics, mathematics, and many other disciplines. Harley L. Bjelland is an electrical engineer with extensive experience in high-level online access for such companies as IBM, Motorola, TRW, and Northrop Corporation. He is the author of TAB'S "Writing Better Technical Articles".