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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PLS INTRODUCES AT1, THE FIRST "SECOND GENERATION" INTERNET SEARCH SERVICE

AT1 allows users to find content "below, behind and inside the Net"

Users can now identify high quality content amidst multiple terabytes of data on the AT1 Invisible Web; top publishers join as charter members.

NEW YORK, NY, December 12, 1996 — Personal Library Software, Inc. (PLS), the leading supplier of search and retrieval software to the online publishing industry, ushered in the next generation of Internet search engines today with the introduction of a new Internet based service, AT1.

AT1 combines the best of PLS's search, agent and database extraction technology to offer publishers and users something they have never had before: the ability to search for content residing in "hidden" databases — those large collections of documents managed by publishers not viewable by Web spiders. AT1 also allows users to create intelligent agents to search newsgroups and websites with E-Mail notification of results.

"We think AT1 is a tremendous opportunity for publishers to generate revenue from the Internet, quickly, without building huge new databases and Web sites," declared Dr. Matthew Koll, founder and president of PLS. "AT1 lets publishers have access to millions of potential new users at little or no cost — it is the ideal marketing tool for all sorts of intellectual property."

Dr. Koll explained that the World Wide Web, which he calls the Visible Web, contains less than one percent of the intellectual property that is available online, perhaps 200 gigabytes of data. "Even this limited content is straining current Internet search engines, which also often produce results that do not reflect the true value that may reside at a site. AT1 opens a vast new universe of content packaged by online publishers, and also creates vast new audiences for these publishers, "he continued.

To view the data that resides on what PLS calls the 'Invisible Web', users would have to subscribe to several private data services and perform multiple searches to find which database is best for their needs. With AT1, the user will know immediately where the data is, on or below the Visible or World Wide Web.

"AT1 is a tremendous productivity tool that produces immediate benefits to users and to online publishers looking for wider, low cost distribution of their content," he continued.

AT1 uses unique "beacon" software that enables any online publisher using PLS search and indexing products to create and send an index to the AT1 Hub, a central server that manages all searches for the end user. "Beaconized" data is roughly 2% the size of the actual database, providing tremendous efficiencies for publishers yet also producing highly accurate, relevancy ranked results for users.

The AT1 technology allows publishers to migrate their content to the Net without having to re-engineer basic systems. For example, one AT1 publisher shows results and dynamically creates an article requested by a user on their Web site — the core database and archived text, however, have not been re-engineered. "Existing content, new users, incremental revenue — that's the formula," said Dr. Koll.

In Phase One of the AT1 rollout, AT1 will deliver the user to the publisher — and the publisher decides how to best deliver the content to the user. In Phase Two, scheduled for mid-1997, users will be able to access database content directly through AT1, should a publisher opt to pass through the content. In both cases, publishers retain complete control over distribution and pricing of their content.

Publishers wishing to participate in AT1 can sign up as a Charter Partner through March 31, 1997 and receive the AT1 Beacon software free of charge. Charter partners also receive free advertising space on the AT1 site and preferential royalties when Phase Two begins.

Over twenty large publishers have agreed to participate in AT1, including the world's most popular publisher, America Online; the world's largest computer publisher, ZDNet; the world's largest scientific publisher, Questel/Orbit (the US patent database); and one of the world's largest and content rich publishers, Knight Ridder Information. Some other Charter Partners include:

  • DataTimes
  • Congressional Quarterly
  • Mecklermedia
  • Phillips Publishing
  • AT&T;
  • Baseline
  • VersusLaw
  • Newsnet
  • LRP
  • The Associated Press
"The response to the Charter Partners Program has been astonishing," said David Macdonald, general manager of AT1. "We already have under contract 5.7 terabytes of high quality, editorially filtered and branded data, which is roughly thirty times the amount of unfiltered content available on the World Wide Web through traditional search engines."

PLS recently entered into an agreement with America Online to provide prominent placement of AT1 in the area used for Internet search. "America Online alone delivers more than seven million potential users," added Macdonald. America Online is also an investor in PLS and uses PLS technology and products as the foundation for its internal search and find capabilities and its newly announced galactic search features.

PLS has also added several features to make the service more attractive to users. "Users can create agents that search all the current newsgroups and receive E-Mail notifying them that something is being discussed in a newsgroup containing their search term. There are services charging companies $295 a month for this service — AT1 will provide this functionality for free for the first three months we are open for business," explained Macdonald.

Other features, also free of charge, include agents to monitor changes in URLs; a database of searches to assist users in validating or creating a search; and an archive of newsgroup postings.

PLS, a privately owned company, is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland with satellite offices in California, Chicago, Seattle, New Jersey as well as Europe. PLS is the leading supplier of search and retrieval software to the online publishing industry. The company can be reached at 301-990-1155 or http://www.pls.com.


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