Bits & Bytes
AN ON-LINE LIBRARY FOR YOUR LITTLE PRODIGY
Do your children need reference materials to do their homework? By September, if current plans unfold, they could be looking up the annual rainfall in Outer Mongolia on a computer network instead of dashing off to the library. Infonautics Corp., a startup in Wayne, Pa., is planning a service called Homework Helper for delivery over the Prodigy network run by IBM and Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Using computers from Tandem Computers Inc., the service will provide access to information from sources such as the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Reuters. The system will also offer the texts of some 700 important literary works, digitized photographs, Cable News Network transcripts, and Monarch Notes. Prices have not been set, but an Infonautics official says a subscription will add less than $10 a month to Prodigy's fees. Infonautics was founded by Marvin I. Weinberger, founder of Telebase Systems Inc., a nearby business that helps companies search commercial data bases. He has raised funding from venture-capital sources and two philanthropies.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG