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Electronic Phone Books are Useful Tools


Canada Phone and Select Phone
Pro-CD Inc.
Danvers, MA, USA, U.S. $69.00 and $99.00 respectively, ISBN 1-887377-48-4,
Required: CD-ROM Drive, IBM-Compatible PC or Apple Macintosh

Reviewed by Marnie K. Lucas-Zerbe

Time is a precious luxury for many journalists, so tools designed to make our lives easier are always welcome.

Two such tools are the 1997 editions of Pro-CD's compact disc directories, Canada Phone (Canadian residential and business phone book listings) and Select Phone (U.S. listings). These little jewels are not just electronic phone books that put thousands of contacts at your fingertips, but potential time saving organizational tools as well.

New features have been added to allow for creative use of the data. Select Phone's tool bar includes helpful options such as Geo Target which enables the user to find listings based on their distance from a designated point, while Map View shows exactly where the listings are located. These features are not included in Canada Phone.

Canada Phone and Select Phone feature intelligent and practical organizational tools that allow searches to be conducted utilizing ten different combinations of search criteria fields, including a standard industrial code (SIC) field for targeting business searches. Tagging, sorting and various label printing options are also included.

Unfortunately, nothing is fool proof. Although most listings I checked were accurate, I found incorrect, outdated, and unavailable listings on more than one occasion. You may have to click on the new More Info icon to see when the listing was last updated. Finally, the users' guide, despite its attempt to appear simple and direct, can leave a reader feeling confused and unclear, since the tools available, or unavailable, on Canada Phone are never clearly specified.

On the whole, however, both are useful and inexpensive tools.

Published in Sources, Number 40.

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