I just had a nice conversation with John Barnes, Executive VP Strategic Marketing and Business Development, at Gale/Cengage. I asked John if Gale would be introducing new business models directed towards end users with their recent acquisition of HighBeam. Below is a brief summary of our discussion. Thanks John.
HighBeam’s clients are a combination of students and small businesses.
Gale/Cengage for several years has offered Goliath: Business Knowledge on Demand, which consists of business information, targeted to small business clients.
With the acquisition of HighBeam, Gale now owns encyclopedia.com, which John says, “has untapped potential to connect users to the library.” Their mission, to place “high quality embedded information in front of end users.”
So, rather than a new business model for end users, Gale will continue to make information more discoverable to end-users through encyclopedia.com, Goliath, and their existing AccessMyLibrary product. AccessMyLibrary allows a small slice of InfoTrac to be indexed by search engines. When users “want to see more” they are prompted to enter information about their library, which in turn takes search engine traffic to libraries.
Discoverability. It’s all about end users discovering our content, trapped in that invisible web. I’m anxious to see how Gale can embed quality content into encyclopedia.com. Wishful thinking, but maybe in time this could rival Wikipedia, with links to scholarly resources and digital and special library collections.
For more on discoverability, read John’s (and other reference publishers) comments in these articles in Booklist Online:
The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing: A View from the Top, Part 1
The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing: A View from the Top, Part2