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By Anne Jordan

Item is an online news and information service, which provides access to around 3,500 sources and an archive of around 94 million articles. It can be used both for ad hoc research and for media monitoring. Although information professionals in Canada and France are likely to know about this product, it has not had a high profile elsewhere, so I was interested to find out more. and are produced by Canadian-based CEDROM-SNi ( They are essentially the same product, both offering the same sources and functionality, with aimed at the North American market and at Europe. Both versions provide English and French language interfaces. The English interface of was used for the purposes of the review.

I always start off with the sources when reviewing a product and found to have an impressive range of licensed sources including news sources and industry journals. Its strengths are clearly the Canadian and French markets, but the review found other interesting sources.

There is a good selection of economic and financial sources (e.g. The Banker, The Economist and American Banker), major U.S. dailies (such as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and New York Times) and several respected industry sector titles. However, although strong in English and French language sources, the product is weak in other languages.

Readers can check out the source list at has basic search screens, but also offers advanced searching with options for using indexing and operators to build a more complex search. However, as an experienced searcher I found some functionality disappointing and the review gives details of these aspects.

One of the strengths of the product is the wide range of possibilities for information sharing using alerts, folders and publishing options. It took some time to understand these capabilities with the different accounts, different types of user groups, different types of folders etc. However, that complexity reflects the wide range of options for using for setting up diverse media monitoring and current awareness systems for different users groups and individuals.

It was an interesting task to look at this product and one I'll be keeping my eye on in future.

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