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The Computer Information Delivery Service (CIDS) is a federal bulletin board network that provides accelerated access to time-sensitive U.S. government information to subscribers around the world. The objective of the CIDS was to provide timely information on an equitable basis but at a fraction of the cost of current distribution methods.
CIDS is accessed by private information companies — news services, research companies, and database services — who retrieve data on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis and redistribute it to their customers around the world. The service also is accessed by numerous federal, state, and local government offices, libraries, and academic institutions.
Information is offered in chronological order by category and organized by menu. Users can retrieve data automatically by pre-defined user profiles or selectively by browsing the menu by title and date. Users may review current or past issues of the US Department of State Dispatch, for instance, in their entirety or select individual stories by title. Other retrieval options, such as the ability to search by key word, may be added later by commercial services, such as Lexis-Nexis, which subscribe to CIDS. Users also may directly download CIDS data to privately owned software programs.
Most commercial users-who value the accelerated access to foreign policy information in electronic form - establish a CIDS profile to automatically capture information pertinent to their needs. The public may use one of these services at home or at a local library to have the same information at their fingertips.