CDS-ISIS user forum

Putting CDS/ISIS databases on a CD-ROM

by Ed Brandon

CDS/ISIS databases can easily be put on a CD-ROM. What follows is some material I prepared some time ago that may be helpful. It is designed for a user in Ottawa, so it should be adapted to the needs of a specific system.

  1. Use the read-only version of CDS/ISIS. This is a program called ISISCD.EXE. This program, found on the Heurisko diskette, is the only one required - YOU MAY NOT USE ISIS.EXE, DEFOVL.OVL, nor PASOVL.OVL.

  2. It is strongly advised that the main menu (xXISI) be changed as follows:
    • Delete options E (data entry services), I (inverted file services), M (master file services), U (utility services), and D (database definition services), as these options are all disabled anyway in ISISCD.
    • Delete the L (Change language) option if you are not supporting multiple language versions of your application. If the single language you are supporting is not English, then specify the language in SYSPAR.PAR parameter 7.
    • Remove the C (Change database) option if only one database is being supplied on the CD-ROM. Open this database by default when CDS/ISIS is being called, by specifying the database name in parameter 6 of SYSPAR.PAR. However, read 3b below first.
    • Most likely you should remove option A (Advanced programming services). You will not be able to compile programs in any case, but you can specify programs to be run. However, option A does prompt you as usual if you want to compile a program or run one. This could be very confusing to the end-user.
    It is preferable, if custom programs are being provided and used with the CD-ROM, that they be called from a menu, and included in the menu. Then one can safely remove option A.

  3. All options on menu xXGEN, used with information retrieval services, are available. Remove the option to change languages if only one language is being used.

  4. All options on menu xXPRT, used with sorting and printing services, are available. This includes the relatively new option to convert a hit file to a database. Most likely you will want to remove this option - it is seldom used nor required. Keeping it poses a number of problems that must be addressed:
    • Good documentation must be provided. There is none in the manual, nor is there much of any use to an end user in the latest read-me file.
    • A database must be provided, and accessible, to receive the hit list. This complicates things since this database cannot reside on the CD-ROM, and since you may have decided to disable the option to change database on the main menu (see 2c above).

  5. The only system menu and system worksheet files you need, and hence the only ones you should provide on the CD-ROM, are:
    • xXISI (main menu)
    • xXGEN (information retrieval services)
    • xXPRT (sorting and printing services)
    • xXLNG (language). Provide this menu only if multiple languages are being supported. Ensure that this menu only lists the language options you are supporting.
    • xYPRT (print system worksheet)
    • xYSRT (sort system worksheet)

  6. The only message files you need to include are those for the language(s) you are supporting.

  7. The two system character-handling tables, ISISAC.TAB and ISISUC.TAB, must be provided, with the system menus.

  8. The end user must be instructed to create a work directory on her/his own hard drive. If the CD-ROM is being accessed via a LAN, a virtual drive, unique to the user, may be used instead of the hard disk.

  9. It is recommended that smaller files be copied from the CD-ROM to the user's hard disk to speed up access. This is particularly true of all database definition files, but may also be true for some or all of the index files (e.g., *.n0* and/or *.l0*). All CDS/ISIS system files should most likely also be copied to the hard disk. Placing these various files on the user's hard disk will speed up access to the data.

  10. The problem with all this is that it is impossible to determine in advance how to configure the SYSPAR.PAR file. It is strongly recommended that a small installation program be written to build directories, copy files from the CD-ROM to the users's hard disk, and build the SYSPAR.PAR file. One of the problems in trying to build the SYSPAR.PAR file is that the CD-ROM drive can have any of a number of drive designators, as can the user's hard disk, or LAN-based virtual drives.

  11. The alternative to this is to build an installation batch file that can be executed off the CD-ROM, which takes as parameters the names of the drives and directories to be used. This can then build the necessary directories and copy files. The user would then have to build her/his own SYSPAR.PAR file, and may need some advice on how to do this.

  12. It is a good idea to re-organize the database to save space. This is particularly true if the database has undergone a number of updates. However, the database file size is not reduced by performing just a master file re-organize in master file services. Instead, four steps are required:
    • Make a backup of the database, using master file services.
    • Close the database (by responding with only an Enter keystroke to the change database option on the main menu).
    • In database definition services, with no database open, re-initialize the database.
    • Restore the database from the backup, using master file services.
    In some cases, just initializing the database in database definition services, when no database is open, may do the same as steps b and c above, but my experience is that this doesn't always work.

  13. Similarly, it is strongly recommended that a full inverted file generation be performed on the final database, just prior to putting it on the CD-ROM. This will ensure that:
    • There are no terms in the inverted file with no postings. Such terms normally are the result of deleting or modifying records containing them, such that the particular access points are no longer present in the database. These still show up in a terms dictionary list. I.e., CDS/ISIS deletes the postings, but never the term itself, when updates are made to an inverted file.
    • The index is as efficient as can be. Constant updating of an inverted file may make access to the postings slower. An occasional rebuild of the index is always a good way to re-optimize the index, speeding up searches.
    • A rebuilt index takes less space. Note that space is normally not a consideration on a CD-ROM, but a small index that is a candidate for storage on the user's hard disk clearly should be as small as possible.

  14. Unesco, which holds the copyright to both ISIS.EXE and ISISCD.EXE, normally requires that a licence agreement be signed between Unesco (or a Unesco-licensed distributor acting on Unesco's behalf) and the user of the software. This requirement is relaxed with the use of the read-only version, ISISCD.EXE. However, Unesco wants a statement about the copyright, and access to the complete system, included in an obvious place (in the user documentation, and on the CD-ROM itself). Here is a typical statement, used by the North American distributor:
    "Mini-Micro CDS/ISIS Version 3.0 Mini-Micro CDS/ISIS is
    a copyrighted product of Unesco and is distributed
    through a network of national and regional
    distributors.  In Canada and the United States the
    exclusive distributor is the CDS/ISIS Distribution
    Group, located in Ottawa, Canada.
    "For information on the complete version of Mini-Micro
    CDS/ISIS please contact:
                   "CDS/ISIS Distribution Group
                   P.O. Box 36015, RPO Wellington
                   Ottawa, Ontario
                   K1Y 4V3
                   Phone: (1-613) 728-2186"
    [You may prefer to use a different distributor name, or refer users of the CD-ROM directly to Unesco. I suggest you check directly with Unesco if you have any doubts.]
    Ed Brandon
      HOME phone:  (1-613) 592-0020
           e-mail: CDS/ISIS:
      WORK phone:  (1-613) 236-6163 ext 2057
           fax:    (1-613) 563-3858
    mail icon Wageningen Digital Library, 8 September, 1998