Need Information? Look It Up In The Library Computer

February 10, 1991|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — How will Tylenol react with tetracycline? Will erythromycin negate the effects of birth-control pills?

Starting Thursday, countians will be able to get up-to-date information on these and other referencequestions as the Carroll County Public Library installs a new compact disk/local area network computer at this branch.

The network of eight disk drives and four work stations, combining personal computer and compact disk technology, stores 150,000 pagesof text on one disk, said Ann Wisner, county library public relations director.

"This will never become obsolete," said Scott Rinehart, CCPL's technical support administrator. "We can add up to 99 disk drives to the system, and it can support up to 50 work stations."

Data bases available this week will be Physician's Desk Reference, Physician's Data Query, magazine and health indexes and the community services directory.

"The bases are self-guided with menus and are very user-friendly," said Gail Griffith, assistant director of county libraries.

Physician's Desk Reference is a computer version of the annual volume listing medications, their components and side effects that many doctors refer to before writing prescriptions.

The computerized version will be updated quarterly, so it will be much more upto date than the print version, said Delores Maminski, Westminster'sbranch librarian.

Cancer information and data on treatment centers, doctors and studies is available on Physician's Data Query.

Themagazine and health indexes, similar to but faster than the current InfoTrac system, provide indexes to periodicals and abstracts.

"The Health Index Plus references medical journals and health magazines," said Martha M. Makosky, CCPL's director.

A more current edition of the library's Community Services Directory will also be available on the data base.

"That type of information can be out of date theday you print it," said Maminski. "This will be updated once a week."

By mid-March, two more data bases will be added, one which will allow patrons to add a little culture to their lives.

Using a format that allows users to flip from subject to subject without returning to the main menu -- the program introduces patrons to events and famous people in history.

An added feature allows users to listen tomusic or view artworks.

"If you call up Mozart, you can read facts about his life, listen to some of his music and view arts that werecurrent in his time," said Ryan Miller, administrator for the library's computer network.

The other data base will include a dictionary, thesaurus and directory of famous quotations.

Information for the $40,000 system -- paid for with a federal Library Services Construction Act grant -- is stored on compact disks, similar to those that play music, said Rinehart.

"You could put it into a disk player and play it, but it wouldn't be very melodic," he said.

The data is then fed from the central system -- kept in the library's storage area -- to the four work stations on the main library floor through wires, said Miller.

Eventually, the information could be fed through telephone wires to work stations set up in other CCPL branches.

"With luck, that will come in late summer or fall," Rinehart said.

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