Summer 1988 // Volume 26 // Number 2 // Tools of the Trade // 2TOT1

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Knowledge Index


Phyllis E. Worden
Evaluation Specialist and
International Programs Coordinator
Cooperative Extension
Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Knowledge Index. Demonstration disk and searchable database, $5.00. Available from Dialog Information Services, Inc., 3460 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto, California 94304, telephone 800-3-DIALOG.

Have you considered using a computer to find results and other information as you keep yourself and clientele up to date? Currently, over 3,000 separate on-line databases available from commercial vendors can easily be accessed from the home or office.

The database I've been using is called Knowledge Index (KI) by Dialog Information Services. It contains information from more than 60 separate databases.

KI is easy to use with a menu system and 12 basic commands. The KI manual, which you receive when you pay a one-time registration fee, has complete instructions on how to call up a database and do key word searching. There's no monthly minimum charge with KI; you only pay for the on-line time you use.

Many of the KI databases are updated monthly and bases such as News Search (contains newspaper texts) are usually updated overnight. KI provides its members with two free hours of searching time during the first 30 days.

KI can be accessed through Dialnet, Tymnet, or Telenet numbers. All three network systems have "drop-off points" in many major cities. If you don't live in one of these cities, in addition to the KI connect fees, you'll have a long distance line charge to the nearest network drop-off point.

Access to KI databases for users is limited to evenings and weekends...times when the phone lines are the cheapest. KI maintains a 24-hour customer service line to help with computer searches or questions about the system.

Databases that will probably be most helpful to Extension educators are:

  1. Agricola (holdings of the National Agriculture Library), including 4-H PRK database.
  2. Agribusiness USA (agriculture trade and government publications).
  3. Books in Print and Forthcoming Books (including costs and publishers).
  4. CAB Abstracts (includes abstracts in horticulture, nutrition, rural Extension education, and training).
  5. International Software (reviews of over 6,500 software packages).
  6. ERIC (Educational Resources Information Centers).
  7. Gradline (1,300+ U.S. and Canadian graduate programs).
  8. Medline (medical and health articles).
  9. Cancerlit (National Institute of Cancer).
  10. Mental Health Abstracts.
  11. Psych Information (psychology abstracts).
  12. Sociological Abstracts.
  13. Food Science and Technology Abstracts.
  14. Agrochemicals Handbook.
  15. Consumer Reports.

If you want to visit with me about my uses of KI, give me a call at (303) 491-6430. KI has been a personal timesaver and provided a whole new way of doing "library research" with my home computer.