At the beginning of the 1970s it became apparent to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that the use of computers for information work merited serious consideration. We had taken part in investigations which indicated that the technology was well developed and reliable. We knew that large scale commercial services were available. What we did not know was the real value of these external services to the Ministry. All the databases concerned were derived from very familiar printed secondary journals. Did mechanized operation offer substantial advantages? Was the cost justified? How could mechanized operations fit into the present library activities? If the use of computers did offer improved facilities, what administrative arrangements were necessary? It was decided, therefore, to attempt to answer these questions by the evaluation of external computer‐based bibliographic information services under practical conditions.
Johnston, S. (1978), "Choosing between manual and on‐line searching—practical experience in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 30 No. 10, pp. 383-393. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb050652Download as .RIS
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