Martina Noelle
SilverPlatter Information

Delivering an Integrated Electronic Library

An electronic library must be flexible enough to accommodate a collection of databases that respond to the varied information requests of users. It must be simple enough for novice users to search whilst powerful enough for experienced searchers. It must support multiple computer platforms whilst taking advantage of the power that each workstation offers. And it must be accessible from many different locations.

SilverPlatter Information and our partners provide information users with the electronic resources, technology and utilities users require to fulfil all information needs.

In doing so, we recognise that each organisation has its own set of challenges and priorities. This is why we offer an electronic library that delivers the two critical components of any information service: information of scope and relevance and excellent access tools.

Subscription options

SilverPlatter database subscriptions are designed to fit into any information service. You have the choice of the data, the interfaces appropriate for computing platforms and the means of connectivity that you need to establish, expand and maintain your electronic library.

The range of options available include:

CD-ROM Subscriptions

Databases on CD-ROM are accessed from a PC. The databases are located in a CD-ROM drive and are only searchable by the individual using that PC, only one user can search the database at any moment in time using PC-SPIRS, WinSPIRS or MacSPIRS retrieval software.

File Server Local Area Networks

The majority of SilverPlatter databases can be accessed using a file server network such as, Novell, DEC Pathworks, Banyan Vines, or Windows for Workgroups. The databases are loaded on the file server and can be searched from DOS, Windows, and Macintosh platforms only.

Client/Server ERL Subscriptions

ERL technology is a software solution for providing Local Area Network and Wide Area Network access to all major databases via TCP/IP. Based on client/server architecture, ERL technology has two main software components; the ERL retrieval clients (user interface), and the ERL server software (search engine). The SilverPlatter databases are mounted on one or more ERL servers and are searchable using a choice of SilverPlatter PC-SPIRS, WinSPIRS, MacSPIRS, UNIXSPIRS and WebSPIRS retrieval clients.

DOS,Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, WWW and Z39.50 access to ERL

With ERL technology, network users can simultaneously access and search all SilverPlatter databases, independent of their location on the network and their computing platform. The network can be as large or as small as library resources dictate as ERL will scale to fit users requirements. ERL supports all major industry protocols including DXP, Z39.50 and HTTP.

Internet Subscription Services

Internet Subscriptions are a Total Area Network application of ERL technology. Because the Internet is based on a communications protocol supported by ERL it is possible for SilverPlatter and our partners to build an international network of ERL servers on the Internet. This solution works in exactly the same way as a Local Area or Wide Area Network application of ERL.

Select Databases Local and Remote

In most cases Internet subscriptions complement existing local ERL subscriptions to easily increase the availability of heavily searched information, or make less frequently searched information available without incurring any additional hardware expenses. Databases on a local ERL network and databases on an Internet server may be searched simultaneously.

SilverPlatter Retrieval Software

SPIRS Network and Standalone Retrieval Clients

SPIRS (SilverPlatter Information Retrieval System) is the most widely used search and retrieval software in the world. Currently SPIRS is installed at thousands of sites around the world and used by millions of searchers every day. SPIRS software is designed to provide tools for both novice and expert searchers to achieve accurate and comprehensive results.

SPIRS contains a common range of features across multiple platforms and also provides some features that are platform specific to make the best use of a particular client. The majority of clients are available for use in a standalone or ERL environment. However some databases are only available in an ERL environment.

A sample of the many features that are available with SPIRS include:

SilverPlatter databases can be accessed using SPIRS software on the following platforms:

WinSPIRS for Microsoft Windows

WinSPIRS is a retrieval client for bibliographic and full text databases. It provides a one-screen view of the search terms, search history and retrieved records so that users can easily see the kinds of searches that are resulting from their queries. WinSPIRS Automatic Subject Lookup can offer alternate terms from the databases controlled vocabularies to narrow or expand searches. WinSPIRS also offers a multiple database searching facility and the ability to handle graphics. The WinSPIRS interface is also customisable into three major languages German, Spanish and French.

MacSPIRS for the Macintosh

Provides access to information with the user-friendly Macintosh interface. MacSPIRS features pull-down menus, Macintosh shortcuts and more.


PC-SPIRS for DOS for the IBM PC and Compatible, is the world's most popular search and retrieval software.


UNIX-SPIRS provides a UNIX character-based interface to support terminal users. UNIX-SPIRS is only available in an ERL network and with Internet Subscriptions. WebSPIRS for ERL Networks

WebSPIRS is the latest SilverPlatter gateway. It allows users to search SilverPlatter databases from NETSCAPE, MOSAIC or any forms capable browser within an ERL network. Forms created from templates in HTML format retrieve the ERL data using WebSPIRS. You can use the WebSPIRS templates as models to create your own interface forms, or you can make a copy of a template and modify it to fit your needs.

The following major features are supported by WebSPIRS:

Because WebSPIRS only works with ERL Technology, it supports only the features provided by the most current version of ERL.

Full download and installation instructions at

Z39.50 Option

Version 3 Clients

The Z39.50 Option is based on the most current Z39.50 specification (Version 3). Currently, SilverPlatter supports the following features:

Z39.50 client accessing ERL Server


Allows V3 Clients to scan and select terms from any index in a database. Future versions will allow scanning of the controlled vocabulary, or Thesaurus, available in many SilverPlatter databases.


Allows V3 Clients to receive information about the ERL Server, including available databases, attribute sets, element sets, attribute combinations, term lists, etc. This eliminates the need for pre-configuring V3 Clients to the ERL Server and each database. Explain also allows the Server to provide descriptions of available Use Attributes (searchable indexes) to the V3 Client. This enables users to search beyond Universal search terms, such as "Title," "Author," "Subject," etc.

You can test the Z39.50 Option by searching the databases available on SilverPlatter's Test Server. To access the Server, configure your Client to the following Domain Name and Port Number:

You must also specify the Database Name and 4-character Database ID foreach sample database you want to search (ERIC, GPO on SilverPlatter, or MEDLINE).

Search Advisor for Windows

Search Advisor is a retrieval client that enables professional searchers to translate their searching expertise into a retrieval interface through the creation of automated search strategies. By incorporating the experience and techniques of the professional searcher, the interface guides novice users through the complexities of database searching, dramatically increasing their search success.

Select Search Advisor Script

Designed with a graphical user interface for Windows, the Search Advisor offers tools used by professional searchers to map search strategies, automating the most common or most difficult searches. End users choose one of the resulting search strategies from a customised menu and are lead through their search, prompted for simple subject input. Behind the scenes, professional-level searches are automatically conducted, ensuring that retrieval is accurate and complete.

Authoring a Search Advisor Script

Search advisor is entering beta test.

Holdings Display Manager

This Windows based utility allows a library to manually input their journal and message data, or to import an electronic file in MARC or ASCII delimited format. When viewing a database record, if the journal or article is held in the local catalogue then this information is displayed, and the user can then retrieve the journal from the library. The software can accommodate up to 65,000 messages including, detailed messages and individual branch holdings' messages.

HDM is in beta test.

Publication Delivery Manager

If the library does not hold an article in its collection, the Publication Delivery Manager facilitates the requesting and tracking of documents from leading document delivery suppliers including the British Library Document Supply Centre, ISI - The Genuine Article, and UMI Infostore. Records from a search are simply downloaded into the utility and are faxed or emailed to the preferred document delivery supplier.

PDM is in General release.

Zpatky do INFOMEDIA 96.