Local online database access expands

It's a big week for online databases, with two major resources opening for business.

The larger of the two - and indeed the largest such database in the world - is Lexis-Nexis, a set of electronic libraries containing legal, news and business information sources. Auckland firm Butterworths of New Zealand kicked off its "active representation" of the service with a launch notable for the number of legal professionals in attendance.

Butterworths specialises in legal publishing and is targeting the legal profession for business. To this end, the company has helped develop the New Zealand legal database, adding all the Laws of New Zealand titles published to date as well as full coverage of NZ Law Reports back to 1958. Other New Zealand titles include Resource Management Appeals from 1991 and the Current Law Digest. The collection will eventually hold more than 80,000 pages of statutes, judgements and legal research documentation.

All the database material is stored in SGML (structured general markup language) form, which allows multimedia use and re-use of databases. The database will be available as an online service, in hard copy, or on CD-ROM. Internet access is available through Telnet.

Butterworths head Philip Kirk says his company will be "able to demonstrate the ability to simultaneously publish online, in print on disk and on CD-ROM - in short, any medium to meet the market efficiently - from the same database".

The 500 million-document database also contains material from a range of news sources, including the New York Time, AP, Reuters and the Financial Times; information from specialist business publications; financial reports and lists of works in print.

Both Butterworths and Lexis-Nexis have been part of the global publisher and online information provider the Reed Elsevier Group since 1994, when REG acquired the database's owner, Mead Data Central, at a cost of US$1.5 billion.

Further information on pricing and services is available from Sarah Mclauchlan, 0800-800-986 extn. 7122 or email BONZL!WGPO!mclauchs@bwthsnz.attmail.com

On a less global but no less useful level, the Land Titles Office has begun to go live with an online database containing the statutory Land Titles Index, Land Titles Journal and Land Titles Plan Journal. The new service, Land Title Link will be online between 7am and 7pm each day.

The 12 LTO offices will go online progressively from now until the end of May. First to go live were the Auckland office, which accounts for 30% of the LTO's business, and the other pilot site, in Invercargill. The service is hosted by the EDS bureau mainframe in Trentham.

Title records themselves can not yet be transmitted electronically, but customers can choose fax, DX, mail or pick-up delivery. The initial joining fee is $150, with an annual renewal fee of $50. Individual index searches are charged at $1 a "result screen" and a non-urgent document will be delivered for $7 ($8.50 if faxed). Customers need a 386 or better PC with Windows 3.1 or later or a Mac running System 7.1 or later; a modem and a Telecom dial-up PACNET line.

Further information from Ron Munron at the LTO, 0-4-471-6850.

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