Newton, MAóLater this month, 20,000 copies of the 1996 Design News CD-ROM OEM Supplier Directory will be mailed free of charge to qualified subscribers.
But if you didn't make the list, don't despair. You can either purchase the disc--or tap intoits contents for free over the Internet at http://www.dndir.com on the World Wide Web, beginning in January. This is the second edition of the directory on disc, and the first to come up on the Web.
"There are many media through which engineers can receive data: in print, CD-ROM, over the In-ternet," says Steve Thompson, general manager at the Boston Division of Cahners Publishing Co., parent company of De-sign News. "We will provide it to you in any way you're comfortable." The directory is also still being published in conventional paper form.
"People are moving to electronic technology in order to access large amounts of information," says Nancy Finn, director of market access products at Cahners. "It is especially useful for something like a directory, where users can do interactive searches. And, there are an increasing number of design engineers with CD-ROM drives." In fact, in the 1995 annual careers survey of Design News readers, two-thirds of the respondents said they either had a CD-ROM drive or expected to have one soon.
'Instant access.' Users of this year's initial CD-ROM version say it's a lot handier to use than a paper version. "I was happy to get it," says Bruce Peardon at AT&T Bell Labs, North Andover, MA. "You can't beat having that instant access. I found it pretty useful."
A key advantage of discs versus paper, proponents say, is the ability to quickly access, search, sort, and cross-reference information that would be impossible on paper. For example, users can pick vendors by trade name, product category, and location; and can create their own "preferred vendor" lists. "Searching by geographical location makes it easy to find vendors in my area," says Manuel Silveira, a mechanical designer at Gasonics International, San Jose, CA.
A mountain of data. One of the many enhancements in the new CD-ROM: more vendor and product information. Warner Jones, director of sales and marketing for new media at Cahners, says the '96 version will include an estimated 2,000 pages of spec sheets, 10 different downloadable software packages, and more powerful search and sort capabilities. For example, instead of simply searching for valves, users can now hone in on specific subcategories of valves such as air-operated, butterfly, control, float, flow-control, hydraulic, pneumatic, and so on.
The disc includes technical papers, index of Design News articles, a comprehensive calendar of 400 trade shows and conferences, information on standards from ANSI and IEEE, and an expanded version of a major feature article from this year's Design News aerospace issue (September 11, 1995): "Build Your Own Airplane." About 5,000 people build their own planes each year, and the article takes readers through the steps that one enthusiast followed to build his.
The Design News CD-ROM OEM Directory recently won a SIMBA Best New Directory award at the National Directory Conference in New York, among 75 entries.
What to do when you get it
If you receive a 1996 CD-ROM, the first thing to do is pop it into your CD drive and, under Windows, type D:install (or whatever letter drive is assigned to your CD drive). The CD requires a CD drive and Windows, as well as a PC with at least a 386SX CPU, 4M RAM, 2.5M available hard-disk space, and VGA graphics.
On the start-up screen, you'll see several menu choices, including Search, Catalogs, Articles Index, Trade Show Index, Standards Index, Technical Papers, and Help.
Make your choice. Clicking on Search gives several choices: Supplier, Product Category, Product Subcategory, Trade Name, and Geography. Selecting Product Category gives an alphabetical list of product types, such as clamps. Users can click on one or more categories, or type in their own category and see if it is available.
Choosing subcategories goes into more details, such as cable, electric, conduit, or others.
Users can pick by several categories, geographical areas, and so on. When finished, selecting Show Results displays a list of possible suppliers meeting the users' criteria.
Engineers can also get directly to a supplier by choosing a Supplier search.
Once the disc generates a supplier list, there are several options to the left of each name. Clicking under the red check-mark will add a vendor to the user's preferred supplier list. Clicking under the pencil allows you to make a notation. Three other columns note if there is added information available, downloadable software, or an on-line catalog.
Vendor information. Selecting the vendor's name brings up additional information about that company. Along with company name, address, phone, and fax, the information can include product trade names, distributors, sales offices, and catalog spec sheets. Choosing the fax button will automatically set up a fax cover sheet ready to print out--or send directly by fax from PCs equipped with fax modems.
Another choice from the main menu, Catalogs, brings up a menu of supplier catalogs, searchable by table of contents or keywords.
Expanded editorial. On the editorial side, Technical Papers offer an expanded version of "Build Your Own Airplane." The disc version features additional text and illustrations outlining how one enthusiast built his own four-seat, high-performance airplane from a kit. The editorial index gives headlines from Design News feature and news articles since 1990, while the trade-show and conference listings are sorted by technical subjects.