There is some great news for librarians wanting their reference content to be searchable on one common interface. ABC-CLIO has added 250 titles to the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). The titles are either ABC-CLIO, Greenwood, Praeger, or Libraries Unlimited imprints and cover history, humanities, and general interest topics. The addition of the ABC-CLIO titles takes the tally of publishing partners for GVRL close to 50 I believe (Nader, please correct me if I’m wrong). For those who want to search the full text of reference content in one platform, having 50 publishers and nearly 5,000 titles to choose from is looking really good right now. More information can be found on Gales’ Re:sources blog.
Reference Books Bulletin (Booklist) will host a webinar on the 21st century reference collection on January 12th. Register online for this free event.
Here is the description of the event:
Reference collections are changing, driven by technology and new patterns of use. Join Booklist’s Mary Ellen Quinn, Editor of Reference Books Bulletin, and a group of library and publishing experts as they talk about how the traditional reference collection is being transformed. Panelists include David A. Tyckoson, Associate Dean, California State University Henry Madden Library; and representatives from Encyclopaedia Britannica, M. E. Sharpe, World Book, and ABC-CLIO.
I’m writing to ask for 10 minutes of your time to complete a survey about online reference databases. I’m trying to gauge interest in a variety of features offered in online reference databases (think GVRL, Credo, SRO, ORO, ABC-CLIO, etc). My results will be used in a presentation I am co-presenting at the Charleston Conference in a couple of weeks. I’ll be co-presenting with Tom Beyer, the Director of Publishing at iFactory. iFactory created Sage Reference Online, a variety of Oxford products, and more. My part of the presentation takes Tom’s wild ideas and put them into perspective, hopefully using the data collected from this survey to determine if the features could work.
Thanks so much for your time and please feel free to forward this to your colleagues. Results will be posted on the blog at a later date.
Got a chance to beta test the new ABC-CLIO/Greenwood interface this week – Digital Collections. It’s a nice looking interface, easy to navigate with pleasant layout, colors, fonts, etc. Basic/advanced/browse searching of over 6,200 titles. They have some cool features too – cite this source ( I still need to check the citations against versions of MLA – 7th and APA – 6th), bookmarks, notes, user profile, RSS feeds, institutional branding, and an admin module. I really like the self serve MARC record download. Did a quick glance at the MARC records which look pretty good – didn’t see the blatant errors that some publishers are dolling out with their “free” MARC records. Printing and emailing available, but number of pages or total content to be printed was not consistent for each title. Although, I don’t think any eBook interface has gotten this one right yet ABC-CLIO still has several features in the works for integration in a later release which include: collection and order management tools, statistics tracking, printing upgrades, image searching, and jumping to specific pages. I asked for a “back to search results” option and a “permalink” for the persistent url. They have persistent url’s in place for titles and some chapters/articles, but you currently have to copy/paste the url from the address bar. Another cool feature is the easy click to increase/decrease font size. Those of you who are Greenwood Digital Collection customers should see the automatic switchover to the new interface on September 17th. See the press release below for more info. Continue reading
One thing librarians are always ranting about is the cost of eBooks. In some instances, the eBook can cost 150-200% of the list price. The Kindle 2 blog just posted an interesting break down on the cost of print books. When it comes down to it, printing costs are only about 10% of the total book cost. Author royalties, marketing, proof reading/editing, cover design and the like all take a piece of the pie as well. These expenses don’t magically go away on the eBook. The 10% printing cost is used to manage interfaces, buy servers, and to pay programmers, which probably costs more than 10% of the book I would think. Ron Boehm, from ABC-CLIO, wrote a nice article about the economics of publishing and ebooks for NSR, it contains more information on the pricing of p vs. e. The question still remains, why are some eBooks priced at list and others at 150 – 200% over list? I think some of this has to do with the number of simultaneous users, 24/7 access, and other value added features that a publisher or aggregator may offer. Recouping costs of development and storage are probably factored in their too. None of this makes it any easier to swallow for those of us paying the higher costs, but one can only hope that over time, as the eBook matures and interfaces are perfected, that the costs will stabilize.
Thank you for your support, No Shelf Required readers, subscribers, and supporters. We hit a milestone in March with the 10,000th unique visitor to NSR. Clearly, ebooks are a hot topic with this much interest in the blog in less than one year. Let’s keep that interest and conversation going strong. We welcome your comments, posts, ideas, and more. Other NSR stats include: Continue reading
On the Friday of the ALAMW Conference, the Independent Reference Publishers Group met for a panel presentation/discussion on using one single platform to host all reference content. It was an interesting discussion. I’ve summarized the panel in my notes below.
Independent Reference Publishers Group Meeting
Friday, January 23, 2009
Representatives from the following organizations were in attendance: Choice, CQ Press, Omnigraphics, Sharpe, ifactory, Sage, Salem, Neal Schumann, ABC-CLIO, Rosen, Credo Reference, Serials Solutions, NISO, Booklist, CHOICE, Wright State University.
The theme of this meeting and panel discussion was instituting a single platform for electronic reference content. Sue Polanka from WSU started things off with her wish list and each publisher had a chance to respond.
Sue Polanka – Wright State University
One day I’d like to purchase/license all of my reference content, regardless of publisher, and load it on the platform of my choice for the best cross searching available. This platform could be an existing one, like GVRL, Credo, ebrary, EBL, NetLibrary, etc. or some shareware, something developed by libraries. Benefits to patrons and librarians include: Greater access, more content, single search interface for ease of use and discoverabilty, easy to implement in library instruction and on web sites. These systems need to have unlimited simultaneous use, 24/7 access, with no DRM or other restrictions on downloading or printing, the most multimedia available during today’s expensive economic times and an actual ebook price, up front, would be appreciated.
Todd Carpenter – NISO
One platform has barriers to interoperability and they are bigger than technological, as in political and economic. [barriers shouldn’t prevent us from trying to do this. IRPG would be a good venue to discuss this. Seems like publishers would want to do this for reasons of – more exposure, and less cost of producing pricey interfaces – has anyone ever heard of epub or the IDPF? SP]
Peter McCracken – Serials Solutions
Federated products are often a starting point for research and therefore have an opportunity to have a reference role. The current design doesn’t work best for the patron since they get mostly articles. Somehow relevance needs to be a factor to assign tags to reference and get them to the top. We need to use field mapping more effectively. [I prefer a pre-indexed approach since federated products tend to be slow. Publishers/aggregators should take advantage of all metadata and tag reference items appropriately. If federated products are used, the reference content should be faceted as “overview material” or “background information.” SP]
Rolf Janke – Sage Reference
Publishers still have an infrastructure that supports print publishing. The infrastructure is a difficult component to downsize in favor of doing more digital publishing. Print is a one size fits all model yet e publishing is not so, publishers have a multitude of business models, interfaces, features, etc. The concept of a one size fits all platform for all publishers content is way ahead of its time, publishers currently could never agree on a standard business model. Pricing standards could help, but are not likely. [Gee, these must be the political and economic barriers that Todd was referring to? Looks like publishers could learn about collaboration from libraries. SP]
Ron Boehm – ABC-CLIO
Publishers need to invest in new things while maintaining our print production, which is expensive for publishers, particularly in these bad economic times. Right now we need to do both [e and p] or we would lose half of our business. The best strategy for ebooks is to have unlimited access. Ron supports the idea of publishers working with multiple aggregators or distributors to have reference content available in a multitude of platforms, but doesn’t recommend the libraries/consortia maintain their own platform. [Ditto on unlimited access and multiple aggregators. OhioLINK has been maintaining its own platforms for years. It’s a great system when you want to make enhancements and don’t have to wait on other companies or the majority of users to agree. SP]
Big news in reference publishing today. ABC-CLIO has licensed the content of Greenwood Imprints. Here’s a clip of the press release:
ABC-CLIO and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced an agreement granting ABC-CLIO a perpetual license to use the imprints and publish the titles of Greenwood Publishing Group, including Greenwood Press, Praeger Publishers, Praeger Security International and Libraries Unlimited. In addition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will transfer certain assets, including copyrights, contracts and inventory, of Greenwood Publishing Group to ABC-CLIO. This agreement is effective immediately.
According to Ron Boehm, a No Shelf Required Advisory Board Member, oh, and the CEO of ABC-CLIO, they will dramatically be scaling up the eBook program with this combination. I like to hear that news!
Sounds like the perfect October audio interview to me….Ron, you up for it?
At ALA Annual in Anaheim ABC-CLIO hosted focus groups for academic reference librarians to discuss the changing face of electronic reference books and hear what they had to say about what they hoped to see for the future of these products.
Here are the items we discussed and the general feedback we received. We encourage all readers of the No Shelf Required blog to post comments or questions – we want to hear what you have to say too!
Is print reference still viable?
It was generally agreed that print reference is still viable. Whether or not the librarian would purchase the print version depended upon the subject of the title and if their budget prohibited purchasing the electronic version. However, nearly half of the 20 attendees said they are no longer buying print reference at all.
What comes first, the book or the eBook?
As stated above, most answered that they would purchase the eBook and not the print, so the question for them was moot. Others stated that they would be inclined to purchase an eBook version of a title prior to the release of a completed print version if subsquent updates were provided and the final print version would be available within 12 – 24 months. The original release of the eBook version would have less content than the print, but both versions would be identical by the time of print publication.
- Unlimited simultaneous usage & remote access
- Export to citation programs
- NO plug-ins
- Open to Google and federated searching – access to all eBook platforms through one search engine
- Make ordering easier by offering eBooks via the usual print distributors
Purchase vs. Subscribe
Posted on behalf of Devon Bell.
ABC-Clio. History Defined Discussing the Evolution of the Reference eBook
ABC-CLIO would like your voice to be heard!
Join ABC-CLIO on Sunday, June 29, 2008, at ALA Annual in Anaheim, CA. We’ll be hosting a focus group for academic librarians. These discussions will offer you an opportunity to express your needs and opinions on the future of eBooks.
- Updating books and new editions
- Designing your perfect system for reference eBook acquisition and access
- Simplifying purchasing, processing, and administration
- Purchasing vs. subscription
Library reference is changing: the nature of the products, media, and packaging; business models, policies and budgets; and even the way titles are found and ordered. Publishers and distributors are making changes to their models and systems every day. Now is the perfect time to voice what you want in reference eBooks. All attendees will receive $100 Clio Dollars to use toward the purchase of any ABC-CLIO print or eBook title. All attendees will also be entered to win an iPod Shuffle. If you are interested in participating, please RSVP by June 15 to Elizabeth Marotta at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 800-368-6868 ext. 346.
Attendance is limited, so register today.
Sunday, June 29, from 11am-12pm
Refreshments will be served.
The focus group will be held in the Lido A room at the Hilton Anaheim. The hotel is located at 777 Convention Way, Anaheim, CA 98202, adjacent to the Convention Center.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to seeing you at ALA Annual.
The team at ABC-CLIO
130 Cremona Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
Booth #1200 while at ALA.