Geophysics on CDROM review (December 1997)

PDM reviews the Elsevier Science Seismic Exploration on CD-ROM which contains the most frequently used volumes from two book series, Geophysical Publication's 'Handbook of Geophysical Exploration' and Elsevier's 'Advances in Exploration Geophysics', as well as a large collection of related abstracts.

The product is described as "a formidable reference library available at your fingertips". Installing and setting up is near instantaneous requiring a mere 7MB on the users hard disk to access the 182 MB of data on the CD-ROM. A quick visit to the help file and you get the general idea about how to use the search tools which allow you to search and browse the reference books and a large collection of recent abstracts from the literature. Everything you see can be printed out or cut and pasted to other applications. Elsevier claim that the CD-ROM was developed to be 'user-friendly' and that the information can be easily accessed without prior training or referral to complex manuals. In essence this is true. The interface is efficient and hassle free and all the functionality of the program is available with minimum effort.


Klaus Helbig and Sven Treitel co-authored the CD-ROM and Helbig describes it as "a new way of getting geophysical reference books to the individual" allowing the individual researcher access to a "private reference library". In his introduction to the CD, entitled "The Future of Books and Journals" Helbig makes a quirky argument in favor of the printed word (and the modern "printed" media - the CD-ROM) over the "evanescent" recording of the Internet. It is true indeed that the way in which URL's are suppressed or moved around on the internet detract from the permanence of the archive but it is a shame perhaps that no pointers are included on the CD to geophysical sites on the net. I looked up tape formats on the CD and accessed an erudite article on the basics of magnetic recording, and an image (of rather poor quality) of a sample recording format. Some pointers to the SEG would have been useful - or even a cross reference to the SEG's Georom series.

Standard sought

Overall the usefulness of this product can be judged from the contents of the volumes that make up the CD. If you have found either of the titles useful in the past, then the compact access offered by the CD-ROM should be a timesaver. At PDM we already have the SEG's Georom, the AAPG Bulletin on CD ROM and a couple of other reference volumes that are regularly used, and what we'd like for Christmas is a) a CD Jukebox to put them all in and b) a standard interface for full text search across multiple reference works. Maybe we should start up our own committee…

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