Annals of Internal Medicine 100(6):914 June 1984


"The power and the beauty of science do not rest upon infallibility, which it has not, but on corrigibility, without which it is nothing." -- Howard E. Gruber*

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Review of Sci-Mate

To THE EDITOR: Thank you for an accurate and objective review of our Sci-Mate software package (1) We believe that the true test of a software productís worth is in trials by users and reviewers. And, as we expected, Sci-Mate does well in such trials.

There are several points made in Wigtonís review we would like to clarify. First, we agree that Sci-Mateís performance on the Apple personal computer is cumbersome. However, there has been so much demand for software to run on this machine that we feel we must support it. We strongly recommend use of a hard disk when running Sci-Mate on an Apple and we state this in our product literature. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to speed up transmissions from online services: 1200 baud is standard in the industry and is independent of Sci-Mate.

There is one statement in your review, which I would like to correct: the Sci-Mate field limit is 1900 characters, not 255. The record limit also is 1900 characters. The reason these two limits are identical is that Sci-Mate features a variable field length and there is no requirement to predefine the field length. The length limit for a search statement in the Personal Data Manager is 255 characters. We recognize the need for improved bibliographic formatting capabilities in Sci-Mate and are developing a module that would do this.

Finally, although there are many new, user-friendly online systems such as Colleague (Bibliographic Retrieval Services) available, they do not offer the downloading ability of Sci-Mate. We believe that this ability to integrate online searching with offline processing makes Sci-Mate unique among microcomputer software products.

Eugene Garfield, Ph.D.
Catheryne Stout, M.S.I.S.
Institute for Scientific Information; Philadelphia, PA 19104

ē Gruber HE. The origin of the origin of species. Review of Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X: New Light on the Evolutionists. By: EISELEY L.
The New York Times Book Review. 1979 July 22:16.


1. back to text WIGTON RS. Review of Sci-Mate Universal Online Searcher and Sci-Mate Personal Data Manager. Ann Intern Med. 1984; 100:621-2.