TITLE: Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Gopher
Scarcely a week goes by these days without another commercial entity offering Internet access. Yet, the new gopher from Congressional Quarterly, Inc. will please many interested in current events and politics.
Though the company will not simply give away such publications as CQ Researcher, CQ Weekly Reports or Governing Magazine, the gopher does provide abstracts, selected texts, and tables of contents of recent and back issues (though at this time summaries only cover the current year); datafiles on legislation and voting; and an online catalog of CQ books and upcoming seminars.
The contents may almost suffice as an index, and unlike CD-ROM products, reflect the most recent weekly edition. For each issue of their flagship periodicals, one article is selected for reprint in near-full text. Other stories and articles are abstracted, which again may prove more informative than a non- abstract CD index.
Since Congressional Quarterly sells individual issues of the CQ Researcher, an invaluable tool for the study of current events, non-subscribing libraries may wish to note valuable issues and order just those needed subjects (as of this writing, individual issues cost $7.00).
For those interested in legislation, the gopher provides current awareness information on major votes for the current Congress (1993 and 1994). Granted, this service is in no way a replacement for full-featured online databases, or even the Library of Congress' own legislative database (locis.loc.gov). But then, the gopher is far easier and certainly cheaper to locate quick information on major votes such as the Brady Bill or the lifting of the Bosnian arms embargo (use the gopher search feature by pressing the forward slash key and typing a keyword).
According to CQ's Melissa Henderson, the gopher serves as an effective method for publicizing the company's services, which in turn should produce increased subscriptions. In no way will the gopher replace the for-fee (online) service, Washington Alert. Regardless of the company's quest to increase its bottom line, the CQ gopher is a worthy addition to gopherspace.