Each of us is aware that a telephone book is in principle always out-dated; that it is difficult to read and that it is essentially useless. This is exactly where the electronic form offers itself perfectly. In Germany there is now a complete telephone book on CD-ROM which only costs DM 48 and has, in the meanwhile, turned into an absolute best-seller. That means it is much cheaper to buy this CD-ROM than to constantly call information or use different telephone books which are never complete. This is an example for countless reference works, industrial address-books, etc., which shall all disappear within the course of the next few years in the print form and shall only be available in CD-ROM or in online form as well.
4. Who's Who Information.
The area of "Who's Who" reference works is most strongly developed in the Anglo-American world. However, also in German-speaking countries and in France, etc. there are biographical encyclopedias being published constantly as per the newest data. Here as well it is meanwhile the case that the majority of publishers have all this data saved electronically and that the products shall either only be published in CD-ROM or in paper and CD-ROM form, sometimes with combined prices.
5. Historical Biographical Encyclopedias
This is where the development shall take the longest because the historical biographical encyclopedias are only in the most seldom cases available in electronic form. However, in order to make available encyclopedias which were published between 1600 and 1900 or 1600 and 1970 and having almost all been published in the traditional set-form and not being able to be called up electronically, it would require huge outlays which are not at all financable.
The K.G. Saur Publishing Co. has created a Worldwide Biographical Information System in the past 20 years in which it has compiled all biographical lexica published between 1600 and today, completely photographed them and placed them in their corresponding biographical archive. Thus, aside from the 24 other archives, there has also been published the "Czech and Slovakian Biographical Archive", which has been completed recently. Due to the costs these archives exist in microfiche.
The index of names, containing the corresponding birth- and death dates, birth- and death places, occupational entries as well as cross-references of in which lexica the articles are contained and on which microfiches they have been filmed, is published in book form. It shall, however, be included in the "World Biographical Index", which is cumulated with the other biographical indices in order to offer a complete source of information.
That means, for example, that one can find out from the "World Biographical Index on CD-ROM" how many articles have been published on Franz Kafka in the "Czech and Slovakian Biographical Archive" or in the "German Biographical Archive". On the CD-ROM version it is also possible to call up everything by country, by subject area, by century, by sex etc.
The combination of the classical microfiche form, still necessary due to reasons of cost, and the access made possible through CD-ROM, which can also be called up over the internet and made completely available online seems to represent the ideal solution.
Zpatky do INFOMEDIA 96.