BIDS and BODOS — whence and whither: the background to and the development of the BIDS Bibliographic Services and the BIDS Online Document Ordering Service

Publication Date01 February 1994
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/eb040533
Pages29-35
AuthorBarry Smethurst
SubjectInformation & knowledge management
BIDS and BODOS
whence and whither:
the background
to
and the development
of the BIDS
Bibliographic
Services and the BIDS
Online Document
Ordering Service
by Barry Smethurst, Head of BIDS
This
article
first looks
at
the
Bath Information
and
Data Services (BIDS) online bibliographic
services from
the
point
of
view
of
the
computing personnel
who
have developed
and
run
the
service.
It
examines
the way in
which librarians have worked with
the BIDS
personnel in
the
design
and
development
of
the
services.
It
then
looks,
also
from
a
computing
perspective,
at
the
role
of
librarians
in
those areas
of
the
rapidly
changing information world with which
BIDS
is
concerned.
It is in
this latter context
that
the
background
to,
the
development
of,
and
the future
environment
for,
the
BIDS
Online
Document Ordering System (BODOS)
are
explored.
What
is
BIDS?
BIDS'
Mission Statement
is "To
aim
to be a
leading provider
of
convenient
and
well supported
network access
to a
wide
and
growing range
of
information
for
the benefit
of
the higher education
and research community
and
other, related organi-
sations."
BIDS
is a
service
for
librarians
and for the
users
of
libraries.
It is
however, quite clearly,
a
service
which addresses only
a
part
of
that with which
librarians
are
concerned.
It is a
networked
computer based information service and
a
service
which deals with one type
of
networked informa-
tion. BIDS
is
about documents
or
articles
in
journals.
Its
main role
is to run
bibliographic
databases. By providing network access
to
bibliographic databases,
it
helps users
to
find
out about the existence
of
articles which
are
relevant
to
their work.
It
also provides facilities
BODOS
to help users
to get the
articles they
want.
This seems like
a
very simple role when
so de-
fined, and much the same
as
played
by
several
other organisations.
In
practice
it is
rather com-
plex
and
operates
on a
fairly large scale. Because
of the
way it
was
set
up,
it is
differentiated from
other organisations with similar functionality,
and
it
is
astonishingly inexpensive. BIDS has comput-
ers
at
Bath which
are
linked
to the
networks.
It
obtains,
by
entering into various contractual
relationships, bibliographic databases
and
mounts
these
on its
computers. BIDS' data suppliers
include:
the
Institute
for
Scientific Information
(ISI)
in
Philadelphia, with their four citation
databases;
the
Secondary Publishing Division
of
Elsevier (formerly known
as
Excerpta Medica)
with their medical database, EMBASE;
the
British
Library with Inside Information; Engineering
Information Inc with
Ei
Compendex* Plus
and Ei
Page One; CAB International with Public Health
and Tropical Medicine database;
and
several
others. BIDS
now has
fully indexed records
of
the
contents
of
something approaching 20,000 differ-
ent journal titles going back
up to
12 years. This
amounts
to
approaching 70,000,000,000 characters
of reference information.
None
of
this
is
revolutionary. Data-Star, Dialog,
and others have been doing this
for
longer than
BIDS.
They have more databases
and
store more
information.
Critical features
and
differentiators
The critical features which differentiate BIDS from
the commercial organisations which
run
biblio-
graphic datasets
are
such that, despite being only
three years old, BIDS runs, measured
by
number
of user sessions,
the
largest
ISI
online data service
in
the
world,
the
largest online Inside Information
service
in the
world,
and
probably
the
largest
VINE 95 (June 1994)
29

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