The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons why CD‐ROM technology has made such a widespread impact on libraries in the science, technology and medicine (STM) sectors, and whether, now and in the future, there are sensible alternative strategies which our profession should consider adopting. It will concentrate mostly on large, core bibliographic databases both because this area of the market represents the great volume of sales by value — and because it is the area I know best.
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