In the last decade there has been rapid growth in the availability and use of on-line databases both overseas and in Australia in 1979, 400 databases were listed in the American CUADRA Directory of Online Databases; in 1986, over 3000 were listed. In 1984 there were 67 Australian publicly available databases; by 1986 this had grown to 160 with a further 22 planned (Directory of Australian Databases, 1986). Extensive Australian use of overseas databases became practicable in 1979 when OTC introduced MIDAS, which allowed more economical direct access to the major US systems. Since then large overseas vendors have established offices and agents in Australia: DIALOG in 1979, SDC/ORBIT in 1981. Permagon Info-line and Mead Data Central in 1985.