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Definition: online service


(1) An information service activated and accessed from a computer. See cloud computing and online.

(2) An organization that provides access to the Internet. See ISP.

(3) An earlier organization that provided proprietary content online. Before the Internet became available to the general public, online services such as AOL and CompuServe contained a unique mix of databases and resources available via dial-up modems. If email was provided, it was only between members of the same service.

After the Internet became popular, all the proprietary services added Web access to their content. Email systems were either switched to the Internet's SMTP mail protocol or their proprietary formats were automatically converted back and forth to SMTP. The following online services predate the Internet explosion of the mid-1990s and are here for historical purposes. See AOL, CompuServe, portal and SMTP.


AOL (America Online)
Internet access, variety of databases
www.aol.com


CompuServe
Internet access, variety of databases
www.compuserve.com


DataTimes
Newspapers, magazines, financial


DIALOG
Largest collection of databases
www.dialog.com


Dow Jones Interactive
Finance, daily news & news searching
www.factiva.com


Genie
Internet access, BBSs, roundtables


LexisNexis
Legal and news information
www.lexisnexis.com


National Library of Medicine
MEDLINE and MEDLARS databases
www.nlm.nih.gov


Prodigy
Internet access, variety of databases
www.prodigy.com


Questel - Orbit
Patent, trademark, scientific, news
www.questel.orbit.com


West Publishing/WESTLAW
Legal databases
www.westpub.com