State of the Art - Purpose and Presentation
The State-of-the-Art Reports are of several types. They vary marginally in the presentation of the content. Though, their key purpose is to present consolidated information available in various forms and to repackage the same in a condensed form for the users. The need for consulting this type of source arises when a particular user desires to know about the development of a particular area in which he has not been interested so long. This needs basically consolidation work. The basic objectives of information consolidation are:
• to improve the effectiveness of information transfer;
• to encourage intensive use of information scattered all over for developmental activities; and
• to fulfill information requirements of the potential users by repackaging information in evaluated and synthesized form.
This category of reference source is generally serial publications but they differ in frequency and format subject periodicals having regular frequency. They contain articles dealing with current and significant trends of development in a specific field. They are compiled from primary sources but are arranged according to some definite plan. They deal with already published knowledge in a more organised and systematic way. They are more often referred to than the primary sources because they provide organised and consolidated information in useful packages which are self-sufficient.
In short, they occupy an intermediate position between a technical journal and collection of handbooks or monographs. Subject journals publish articles related to recent development in scientific or technical fields or result of a particular research to make it accessible to the subject specialists. After a few years, the concrete and related results in similar areas are combined to publish a comprehensive handbook, sourcebook, monograph or treatise. The state-of-the-art reports such as reviews, advances, surveys, progresses, trend reports and so on are published to bridge the gap between these two types of publications: They are published periodically to present in a proper form, analysis of the progress done by research and practice.