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Inspec: 1990s

In 1990, UMI were chosen to produce INSPEC on CD-ROM. The complexity of the indexing required significant development work by UMI's software team. INSPEC Ondisc, which was launched in September 1991, was the first of UMI's product line to use their new ProQuestTM software.

As part of INSPEC's continued commitment to quality a tape correction service was introduced with complete replacement records for the few records that are subsequently found to contain an error after release. In order to significantly improve currency weekly updating of the tape service was also introduced. INSPEC joined forces with Ask*IEEE to provide a comprehensive document delivery service both for documents covered by the database and all other published scientific material.

The tremendous amount of effort required for re-processing and maintaining the database to the highest quality standards possible was rewarded in December 1993 when INSPEC won the Best Information Product Award from the European Online User Group.

In 1995, the physics coverage was extended significantly when FIZ Karlsruhe and INSPEC merged the INSPEC and PHYS databases and in 1996 coverage was extended further to include the rapidly growing number of refereed electronic journals. Astronomical object indexing was introduced in 1995 and one year later, new fields were also added to accommodate publication and document URLs, Publisher Identifier Numbers and SICI codes. These fields were added to facilitate linking to electronic article repositories as these become available.

The database in recent years has also been incorporated into full-text systems - for example as a front end index in the CD-ROM product IEL (IEEE/IEE Electronic Library) and as links from bibliographic references in electronic journals of the Institute of Physics and the American Institute of Physics.

By the end of 1997, INSPEC had reached 5.75 million records and was growing at a rate of over 300,000 records per annum. Many companies, universities and research establishments worldwide are loading the database on their own networks providing ready access to INSPEC data at their desktops to many more scientists and engineers than ever before. The Internet has revolutionised the way information is disseminated. 

Many online hosts now provide customer access to INSPEC via the Internet and in turn INSPEC uses the Internet to transmit database updates to some online hosts and customers. In 1998, in order to improve the database data specification, we reprocessed the whole database in SGML format for the benefit of those intending to load the database in-house.