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InfoTrac is a family of full text databases of content from academic journals and general magazines, of which the majority are targeted to the English-speaking North American market. As is typical of online proprietary databases, various forms of authentication are used to verify affiliation with subscribing academic, public, and school libraries. InfoTrac databases are published by Gale, a part of Cengage Learning.
In the late 1980s, InfoTrac databases were originally published on CD-ROMs which were mailed to subscribing libraries at regular intervals. In that era, when personal computers were still relatively new, many publishers were not yet licensing full text of their articles, so most publications were represented only by article abstracts. InfoTrac databases were published in coordination with various microfilm products from Gale which came on sequentially numbered easy-loading cartridges, on which individual frames were also individually numbered. Most InfoTrac abstracts and full-text articles from the 1980s and 1990s have a code at the end of the article which points to the exact frame on a microfilm cartridge where the story begins, which a library user could use to obtain a copy of the article as originally published.
Like most database companies, Gale started offering real-time access to InfoTrac databases through a Web interface in the late 1990s (while simultaneously improving its full text coverage). Around 2000, Gale began making scanned articles in PDF format directly available through the Web interface, thus relieving users of having to go to microfilm or hard copy to obtain as-published copies of articles.
The InfoTrac brand was relaunched in 2005 on a new technology platform named Thomson Gale PowerSearch, which was named "most improved product" at the 2005 Charleston Conference. InfoTrac has also placed ninth in Library Journal's list of the top 50 library brands of the millennium.
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