Wish you were there ....

We have been persistently watching the developments in information market for the last five years. It all started with the first CD-ROM - Online Users Meet held in New Delhi in the year 1992. Those were the days one had to physically demonstrate CD-ROMs or online facilities to convince the information prefessionals that apart from the print-on-paper products, there could be other alternatives viable for information handling and delivery. The annual user group meetings at New Delhi in 1993 and at Madras in 1994 exhibited a definite upward swing in the knowledge level of users, concomitant demands at the users end, a growth in supply in terms of variety of products on offer and in the number of sources of supply.

The deliberations in the first Information Today and Tomorrow (ITT) Meet in 1994 in the picturesque surroundings of Suraj Kund was a feast (in more than one sense) for knowledge seekers and suppliers. The deluge of new breed of information products and services and the emergence of new entrepreneurs joining the fray were enough to convince the information professionals that the Indian information market was indeed coming off age.

Came the second ITT meet in Calcutta! This was a joint session of the 4th CD-ROM and Online Users Meet and the 2nd Information Industry-Promoter-Users Interaction Meet. One can summarize the outcome in one simple statement _ that the growth story continues with new actors, environments, problems and solutions. The topics that provoked considerable heated discussions were: tradeable government information, private_government interaction in information product and service developments and the tariff and non-tariff barriers in information flows across geographic boundaries; some of the executives making their company enlightened customers about their offerings.

Though small, a formal exhibition was organised. Apart from some indigenous CD-ROM products, library software and online services, multimedia information products made their maiden entry. Also for the first time, a foreigner undertook an exclusive trip to participate in the 2nd ITT Meet. A noteworthy trend is that participants have not only grown in number over the years but they also represented different areas of information work _ end users, intermediaries, indigenous database producers, software companies, CD-ROM and Online service providers, telecom service, and information professionals (both young and old!)

And here is a round-up for those who could not join the deliberations _ a bland alternative without mouth-watering refreshments and cultural programmes!

We bet you would remember your date with ITT next time.

- A. Lahiri