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| | [10-01-2004] Searching on the Run
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Searching on the Run |
by Carol Tenopir -- 10/1/2004
With wireless connectivity and small laptop computers, we are no longer tied to the desktop for online searching. Handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs) offer even greater portability. So far, the most common uses of PDAs are as calendars and address books, or to interface with a laptop or desktop machine. More advanced PDAs, like Research in Motion's BlackBerry Wireless Handheld™, as well as new versions of the Palm PC, add email, paging, a telephone, and limited Internet surfing.
Hard-to-read screen displays and small keyboards (or no keyboard) have been a barrier to using PDAs for online searching and reading. As the technology improves (and as people get accustomed to doing everything digitally and on the run), PDAs may become the hot device for accessing databases and electronic publications. Already there are reports of BlackBerry addiction.
LexisNexis is one of the first to offer online services to BlackBerry users. Those whose companies subscribe to LexisNexis (LN) Publisher can get current news on a limited set of predefined topics delivered directly to their BlackBerry. LN Publisher "pushes" targeted information to a company's web site, portal, or intranet. The company administrator of LN Publisher (such as the corporate librarian) sets up the topical profiles and determines to whom incoming stories are delivered. Users see a similar display as they would on their desktops, at no extra charge.
BlackBerry users can also search more than 14,000 sources in the LexisNexis database (for an add-on fee). This is a special interface and simplified search tool especially designed for the PDA market. LexisNexis services don't run on other PDAs, and even BlackBerrys must be Java-enabled, have BlackBerry Enterprise Server version 3.5 or higher, and be Mobile Data Service enabled.