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sources: best combo of tech, folk



GOTTA DATE with a database? Make it with sources.

On-line databases have their place. But it's time to say that one that advertises itself as superior to sources isn't.

1. At the heart of an information storage and retrieval system is the knowledge, care, experience and dedication of its people.

At sources are nine dedicated, caring, experienced, knowledgeable people. Three of us have been at sources more than 10 years. I've been dedicated to the service for the full 15 years since I founded it, Associate Publisher Tracy Blyth for going on 11 years and Listings Editor Cheri Westra for 10.

2. The heart of sources' database,the Subject Indexes, are stored in a state-of-the-art electronic retrieval system, a version of RBase System V customized by Mendon Associates (see page L-136), in richly-filled filing folders, in a reference library with works
specifically intended for journalists and in the knowledge, experience, care and dedication of the staff.

3. The easiest access to sources' store is through the hard copy printout of the database you hold in your hands, produced twice a year and distributed free to your work station.

For backup, on those occasions when you can't find the organization, person or information you want through these pages, you can access through the simplest of technology: dedicated telephone hotline or by fax.

The telephone hotline number is (416) 964-2671.

The fax number is (416) 964-8763.

It's very seldom we're stumped on a hotline query. Usually you get something to help you while you're still on the line.

sources already provides trusted, responsible, personal client services that huge corporations spend millions of dollars telling you they have discovered they must provide.

In short, you-simply by being a Canadian editor, reporter or researcher and hence eligible to receive the sources service for free-enjoy the best of electronic storage, the easiest of access around the clock, and personal backup.

Those dazzled by "new technology" sometimes haven't thought this through. It's possible to fail to recognize the efficiency, ease and environmental responsibility that sources-the version in your hands provides. It, for instance: .

  • is extremely portable
  • requires no external energy source
  • is made entirely from recycled materials (recycled paper and recycled vegetable oil-based ink)
  • recycles other materials used in its manufacture by Delta Web Graphics. Silver is recovered from film, metal printing plates are recycled
  • keeps out of the municipal waste stream substances used in its manufacture that don't lend themselves to recycling
  • can in turn be recycled, and should be
  • enables wide-band browsing, allowing for as much or more serendipity as purely electronic on-line systems
  • provides real-life speed of access to the information you want usually faster than with a strictly electronic on-line system
  • is free, unlike most on-line systems.

Some assume whatever the cost of accessing on-line databases, that online access is always faster and easier than access through this hard-copy database you hold in your hands.

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool computer nerd. But fellow nerds, get real!

Consider the typical steps in the following two ways of nailing down the name and number of a relevant contact person. In both cases it's assumed you're working at your computer word processing program and realize you need an additional contact.

CASE A-You turn to an on-line database. You:

(a) exit your WP program

(b) access your telecommunications program

(b) access the on-line database

(c) enter keyword(s), scan what's thrown up

(d) scribble down name, number (e) dial person.

CASE B-Turning to sources first, you:

(a) flip to the Subject Index, find key word(s)

(b) note an L-page number

(c) turn to L-page, leave it open to name, phone number

(d) dial person.

Faster, easier and environmentally responsible.

Technology, people.

sources provides the best of both worlds.


Published in Sources, Summer 1992


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