An industry has arisen of more than one hundred firms providing access to computer-based information. Some information providers, such as Down Jones, provide access to a wide range of financial information; others specialize in a narrow field of information, such as library book purchases, home construction permits, and department store sales. When developing a list of external databases, the database manager will probably receive employee requests in the form of trademark or servicemark names. After defining the necessary content of external databases, the database manager should try to locate alternative information providers. In doing so, the manager should note the method or methods by which information can be accessed. Data communications is just one of several methods for accessing external databases that the database manager should consider. Other methods include optical and magnetic media distributed as part of a subscription service, as well as conventional printed media.