Disk shows fast track to management education: Roger Trapp looks at a new database that guides users through the morass of information

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THERE IS no shortage of material to assist the executive intent on self-improvement. Indeed, management education has developed so far in this country that it is difficult to make a choice.

But help is at hand here too. More than 50,000 items of information, including courses, videos, books and journals, are now available at the touch of a button to anybody with a personal computer and a CD- ROM drive.

The system, called the Institute of Management International Databases PLUS, was launched at last week's International Online Information/CD-ROM 92 exhibition held at Olympia in London. It is the result of a link-up with Bowker- Saur, the reference publishers.

The institute claims it has developed the most comprehensive collection of resources on management in Europe and, by putting it on a single disk, a unique means of saving managers time and money.

Because the system is updated quarterly, it provides quick and easy access to all the latest techniques and practices.

Stressing that it is an aid rather than a substitute for going on courses, attending conferences or reading books, the institute says that the system saves time wasted by choosing the wrong seminar or book, by guiding intelligent selection.

This is not the organisation's first venture in this field. Its predecessor, the British Institute of Management, had a helpline that managers could reach via a modem.

But this development is, according to Bob Norton, the management institute's head of information services, 'a major step forward in the delivery of management information.

'It enables busy managers to have instant access to a unique and unrivalled collection of management databases from the comfort of their own desks. It will revolutionise the delivery of management information.'

The disk costs pounds 799 ( pounds 699 for institute members), including four quarterly updates. For the more cautious, a demonstration floppy disk is available to try before taking out a paid subscription.