CD-ROM Database Products and Services
CD-ROM is a derivation of the compact digital audio disc. All the optical formats use a set of laser pick-up optics. CD-ROM uses the digital audio compact disc (CD) system for storage and retrieval of machine-readable (digitally encoded) information.
Optical storage technology uses optical scanning techniques to store massive amount of information in a compact area. The use of lasers allows an optical storage device, such as CD-ROM disc, to function as a high density, compact, portable, and easy to use computer storage device. The CD-ROM disc can be used in a standalone disc drive or a disc drive that is about the same size as a floppy disk drive with a single computer interface.
Optical discs, specifically in the form of CD-ROM, have become increasingly important as medium for storage and dissemination of information during the I990s. CD-ROM can be purchased by users and consulted at their own workstation. At present, the price of CD-ROM discs is not at the reach of individual users for personal use. But, organizations and libraries may buy discs on behalf of the end-users.
If more than one person needs to use the system at a time, then you may be into the realms of networking. Some people go in for complete workstations for their CD-ROM application, while others might try to use the existing microcomputer with appropriate additional hardware and software.
In other words, in the present context CD-ROMs represent a means of access to information. They may be used as an alternative to online access to external database via telecommunications networks, including 'WWW. If in case the database recorded on the CD-ROM is a "full-text of a document like an encyclopaedia, it can be searched any number of times conveniently and portions of its text can be copied for use.
The basic stand-alone workstation provides a single user with access to a single disc. The basic components of the stand-alone configuration are:
i) stand-alone PC
ii) a CD-ROM drive
iii) appropriate software
iv) a printer (if needed)
Most PCs have an integral CD-ROM drive, but if this is not available, the PC needs a spare expansion slot via which the drive can be linked. If in case; hard copies printouts of the results of a CD-ROM search is required, then a printer is essential. The choice of the printer depends upon the requirement and the relative priorities.
On the software side, in addition to the operating system of the microcomputer, it is also necessary to have the following:
- device driver software (which tells the computer that a CD-ROM drive is connected and how to communicate with the drive).
- retrieval software, which supports searching of the, CD-ROM database (this will be supplied by the producer of the CD-ROM database).
- installation software, which controls the installation of the database on the user's equipment, and supports the setting up of configurations such as user-defined pass words, and equipment specification.
But, the ideal CD-ROM configuration offers a multi-user access to many databases in a way that allows the integration of databases on CD-ROM with other databases used by the information seeker. This is facilitated by network configuration. These include networked file servers and jukeboxes, pre-caching and internet access.