Received a press release from Gale/Cengage today. Baker and Taylor will now distribute the GVRL e-book collection, Lit Crit, and the Directory Library. B&T is the first wholesaler to sell GVRL. See the full press release below.
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.
I spent Monday with several librarians in a discussion on the future eReference platform. I’m referring to products like Credo, GVRL, Sage Reference Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, etc. Our discussion revolved around platform features, good features and not so good features. I’m going to list some highlights of the discussion below, but would really like to have input from others about features you and your end users want and expect. Continue reading eReference Platforms – The good and bad features
Farmington Hills, MI, June 5, 2009 – Gale, part of Cengage Learning, today announced that Encyclopedia.com (http://www.encyclopedia.com) was named the 2009 CODiE Award winner for Best Online General Reference Service. The Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) 24th Annual CODiE Awards, the only peer-reviewed honor in the industry, celebrate achievement and vision in software, education technology and digital content.
From the Gale/Cengage RE:sources blog, May 2009
Widgets pack a wallop
Results from K-12 school, academic and public libraries confirm that usage soars when you add the ability to search all or part of your Gale Virtual Reference Library collection with a widget. Comparing the number of user sessions before and after the addition of a widget on the pages of a high school in Minnesota, a college in Texas and a public library in Ohio, Mark Springer, a data analyst from Gale, documented gains of 178%, 167% and 140% respectively. Read more results like these in the RE:sources blog next week.
Concerning my previous post on Gale/YBP, I had a chance to talk with John Barnes at Gale/Cengage regarding the pricing of GVRL titles through the YBP service. According to him, GVRL prices will remain the same using various tiers, based on FTE. Within the next month, YBP will load all of the Gale patron data into their system and this data should indicate each library’s tier level. While searching YBP for GVRL titles, the title price, based on your library’s tier, should be displayed. Thanks to Nader Qaimari from Gale/Cengage for commenting with the same.
Great news from Gale/Cengage and YBP (Baker & Taylor). GVRL, LitCrit and Gale Directory titles can now be purchased through YBP services. This is wonderful news and comes on the heels of the recenet B&T and ebrary partnership. Clearly publishers and aggregators are finally working together to make purchasing ebooks as seamless as the print book. It’s about time! What is unclear in the press release is the pricing of Gale titles. Typically these are sold on a Tier model, based on FTE. I’ll post more once I hear about the pricing.
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]
LJ just released E-Reference Ratings, “an evaluation of nearly 180 subscription based electronic resources in 14 subject categories.” Of course, many of these are eBook platforms like Britannica, Credo, GVRL, Oxford, and Sage. There was no category for eBooks, instead you’ll find them listed under the various subject categories.
Products were reviewed by a team of 8 reference experts and included 7 criteria: scope, writing, design, linking, bells & whistles, ease of use, value. Resources were given a star rating, 1 to 4 stars to indicate * poor, ** satisfactory, ***good, ****excellent A brief paragraph also accompanied each resource.
According to LJ, “Because we know that online resources continually grow and evolve—a list of this nature can date quickly—E-Reference Ratings, which made a print debut in the November 15th Reference Announcements issue, will find its permanent home and reach its full potential on our web site. We intend not only to keep up with these ever-changing products (adjusting the ratings as necessary) but also to expand the number of databases in each category and venture into new ones. We hope to hear from all parties—librarians, publishers, and vendors—about how we can keep this tool thriving and make it even more useful.”
Congrats LJ! This was no small feat.�
I love widgets. Last week at the Charleston Conference I was on a panel discussing “bridging the google gap.” I was to discuss ways libraries were bridging that gap through reference services. Widgets was one of my answers.
Widgets can be embedded on multiple library web pages, course management systems, facebook, teacher/faculty websites, anywhere really! Caution, my web designer friends always remind me to have one ONE search box on a page, otherwise it gets confusing.
There are many eBook/eReference vendors who provide widgets. I’ve got links to some of them below. If you know of others, send them my way and I’ll post.
Credo Reference – Search the entire Credo collection with their widget. Some libraries have put the search widget on a reference page, as a starting point. Now that Credo links to other sources through their “resource links” feature, users can start with traditional reference sources and move to journals or other databases of your choosing. For a look at this feature, check out the Watne Memorial Library . You might also be interested in an informal review of the new Credo interface.
Gale/Cengage – GVRL in particular. I am fond of this widget because you can establish subject collections of sets of titles. Once you have the collection established, it can be placed in the widget and only those titles searched. This is a fab idea for subject guides/pathfinders, or for class assignment links.
Reference Universe – RU searches the indexes, TOC, and list of articles of both print and electronic reference titles. Using your online catalog, they will connect the user to a reference source. The widget opens up your entire reference collection. St. Mary’s College of California has a great example of this widget. Be sure to click on “reference.”