Using scannable datastrips to maintain personal computerized indexes to key veterinary journals
Breland, June Meadows
Langston, Vernon C.
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The isolation of many veterinary practitioners from easy access to medical information is a concern to both veterinary and library professions. Despite the prevalence of personal computers in veterinary practice management, there is little evidence to demonstrate that veterinarians are taking advantage of the computerâ s telecommunication capabilities to search remote databases. The survey findings of Pelzer et al indicate that veterinarians continue to rely on personally owned books and journals as their major information resource and make limited, if any, use of online databases. A number of reasons offered by Langston and Waldhalm to explain this limited use include expense of the online services, lack of detailed abstracts/full text online, and the perceived difficulty of obtaining articles not available in the practitionersâ personal library. Pelzerâ s study also indicates that very few veterinarians take advantage of the computerâ s power to maintain personal indexes for the journals or reference files they do own. Langston and Waldhalm view the time required for data entry to constitute a hindrance to most veterinarians in creating a filtered bibliographic system based on their own libraries. Three of the five journals identified by White as being key veterinary information resources have recently initiated a reader service which will enable practitioners to easily build and abstracted index to the articles in those journals. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Compendium of Continuing Education for the Veterinary Practitioner, and Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association now carry datastrips containing authorsâ names, titles, abstracts, citations, and key words when available, of the articles contained in each issue. This paper explains how the strips were developed, how they can be scanned, decompressed and imported into most commercial database applications. Examples will be provided for end-user manipulation of the coded information to retrieve articles through a variety of access points using both Macintosh and MS-DOS applications. A description is also given of a service provided by the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine Library to make the datastrip information available in decompressed files to faculty and students through a local computer network and to alumni via diskettes by mail.