Online Search Services
Online search services also known as online systems suppliers search services, or online service spinners, are responsible for mounting databases on a computer and making the arrangements necessary for such databases to be searchable from a large number of remote user workstations or terminals. Online search service systems that provide access to a large number of databases generally convert those databases into uniform format with some standardization features so that the basic commands and search techniques apply across all the databases offered by a given vendor. Naturally, the intending user needs awareness of the range of search services that are available. It might so happen that one database may be available from several search services (vendors). Access to that database may be considerably cheaper, especially once the telecommunication charges have been taken into account via one search service than the other. More over a different vendor may offer search facilities which support much more effective searching for a specific (given) topic than might be possible via another search service (vendor). Some services might offer customers other benefits such as ease of searching, processing speed and competitive pricing.
There are a number of different types of such services such as:
i) The traditional Super market online search services;
ii) Specialist online search services;
iii) Publishers as search services;
iv) Platform independent services; and
v) Bibliographic utilities.
In recent times, online service suppliers are attempting to respond to the long felt need of devising common interfaces to tools such bibliographic databases and directories including directories of Websites, which indicate the location of information and the full text of the document which contains information. Some of the sophisticated online search services are trying also to offer access to other information channels, such as databases mounted by other vendors, the contents of other Websites, information collections such as libraries, and people as information channels. This new aspect of the service described as an Integrated Information Solution (IIS). Some of the examples of services which seek to generate integrated information solution are: i) K R Science Base for the WWW, ii) DIALOG Web, iii) Engineering Information Village, etc. Such US need to be targeted to meet the needs of specific groups, and the service supplier must understand, those needs, not only in terms of the type of the database to be accessed, but also in terms of specific features of interfaces and the most acceptable pricing strategies.