Inspec in the 1980s - commitment to quality

The 1980s saw a rapid rise in the use of the online database, resulting in a significant proportion of revenue now coming from the sale of electronic products.

Throughout the same period, the size of the database also grew dramatically - from two million records in March 1982 to over 3.5 million records by the end of the decade.

In the early 1980s, Electrical & Electronics Abstracts reached its 1,000th issue, and at that time (albeit tongue in cheek), it was predicted that the 2,000th issue would be reached in 2064. The rapid growth in demand of electronic delivery of information poses the question whether there will ever be a 2,000th issue in print!

Coverage of the database was extended in 1983 to include a special Section D, covering information technology for business applications. The print publication launched was entitled IT Focus which later became part of the Key Abstracts series and renamed Business Automation.

Two significant developments were achieved in the 1980s: the introduction of chemical and numerical data indexing and the Database Upgrade Project, which brought the whole database up to modern quality standards. In 1969, validation techniques and the use of authority files had been fairly rudimentary, but over the years more sophisticated validation methods were employed. 

There had also been many changes of standards and practices in bibliographic and subject descriptions. Thus, in order to enhance the appearance and improve the retrievability, it was decided to embark on a major project to reprocess the whole file and upgrade it to meet the highest possible quality standards.

The database upgrade project required 3.5 man years of software development and more than two years of computer time. When the project was completed in 1989, every single record (3.25 million) had been brought up to current day quality standards and re-archived on to optical discs.

As the reprocessed data was re-loaded on to online systems over the next few years, the database was renamed INSPEC2.

Continue with the history of Inspec.