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In a recent issue of Scientific American,Ivars Peterson summed up the importance of online information systems to today's scientific and technical community: "To stay current in a field,whether in mathematics,astronomy,or electrical engineering,you must have access to a computer network. Colleagues can read a paper or report,whether in final or draft form,as soon as it's finished-sometimes even as it's being written. To an astonishing degree,computer networks have already supplanted the more traditional means of formally and informally exchanging scientific ideas and data. " For the thousands of technical personnel who lack the necessary training or experience,this valuable guide explains step-by-step how to conduct successful online searches with a minimum investment of time,effort,and expense. Harley Bjelland describes the required computer hardware and software,the advantages and disadvantages of available database services,procedures for cost-effective searches,and techniques for evaluating and using information obtained through online systems. Real-world examples illustrate how to take full advantage of a wide variety of databases dedicated to computers,chemistry,physics,electronics,mathematics,and many other disciplines.