Tag Archives: Michael Ross

Britannica launches a new web-based e-book service

Big news from Britannica today, they just launched a new web-based e-books product.  The first 15 pages of each single-volume, illustrated title are free.  Libraries can contact Britannica for pricing.

Here is more information from the press release:  Students in elementary school through college can easily access hundreds of high-quality books on the subjects they’re studying through a new Web-based e-books service available to schools and libraries from Britannica Digital Learning.

The new service, at ebooks.eb.com, makes it easier than ever to use Britannica’s expert-written single-volume titles for research, papers, homework and projects. More than 300 non-fiction digital books are now available. They cover the full range of curriculum, including math, science, language arts, social studies and health. Continue reading

2 million images in Britannica’s Image Quest

From an Encyclopaedia Britannica Press Release:  Students and teachers who need photos and other images for research, papers and projects can now find them easily and conveniently in Britannica Image Quest, a new online database from Britannica Digital Learning.  The Web site, which is now available to schools, universities and libraries, currently provides images from more than 40 of the best collections in the world, including Encyclopaedia Britannica, Dorling Kindersley, Getty, the National Portrait Gallery of London, the National Geographic Society and Oxford Scientific.   Continue reading

The Future of the Book – From One Perspective

Britannica’s Michael Ross (also on the NSR Advisory Board), has an interesting blog post of the future of the book.  It is a summary of his thoughts and impressions from attending two book related conferences “down under.”  The article appears on the Britannica blog.  Michael discusses some eBook readers and devices, copyright, green thinking, and the overall impressions of younger Australians towards eBooks.

Side note, I love the “steal this widget” tactic on Britannica’s blog.  Widgets are in.

A Visit to Encyclopaedia Britannica

Monday, August 11th I stopped by the Encyclopaedia Britannica offices on LaSalle street in Chicago.  I visited Michael Ross, Senior VP of Corporate Development.  Michael gave me a nice tour of the Britannica headquarters and I took some photos to share with everyone.  You’ll see some remarkable similarities between an international publisher and a library.

britannica-001.jpg They have bookshelves AND servers.

britannica-002.jpg 60+ servers in 3 locations as a matter of fact.

britannica-004.jpg No, this isn’t spaghetti, it’s Britannica ONLINE!!  Don’t cut the pink one….

britannica-011.jpg Despite the thousands of wires to support Britannica online, they still have a print library collection.

britannica-009.jpg And they use white boards to sketch out future plans.

britannica-005.jpg I even got a sneak peek at the cover art for the 2009 Almanac!

britannica-010.jpg And they dress business casual, just like me!

Seriously now, Britannica has a really cool feature coming to all of their online products sometime this fall.  Right now it is called “project darwin” but it will take on a new name online.  This new feature will bring web 2.0 features to Britannica online including user comment/feedback areas.    Some other facts about Britannica:

Over one million visitors use Britannica online every day.

Britannica offers multiple interfaces for their products (they manage over 30) – public (free, with annoy wear) , individual membership, institutional/libraries, and multiple foreign language interfaces including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, and 2 in Spanish.

They offer thousands of videos too.

Britannica Blog offers daily posts on thousands of topics, by hundreds of writers – many well known.

For more information, check out Britannica Online here:  www.britannica.com

And thanks, Michael, for the tour!

Future of Reference Publishing – Panel Summary

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference John Barnes, Rolf Janke, Sue Polanka, Michael Ross, Casper Grothwohl

For those of you unable to attend the ALA Panel – The Future of Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, there is a summary of the program available on Booklist Online.

We encourage comments, questions, and discussion on the blog.

What do you want from us? Reference Publishers want to know.

The last question asked during the ALA panel was asked by panelist, Michael Ross from Encyclopaedia Britannica.  He wanted to know from the librarians in the audience, “what do you want from us?”

Librarians were not shy in extending several responses:

§  I need to make my purchasing decision based on reviews. So, I need to find reviews and awards information easier on a publishers site, to determine and justify my purchase decision

§  More creative pricing models – to support many sizes and needs of institutions (ie. 2 simultaneous users, own, subscribe, collections)

§  Reference sources are duplicated too much. We have dozens of articles with same information. Can you all publish unique things?

§ Consistency in search protocols across platforms – boolean, truncation, plurals, default search, etc (better yet, how about one single platform, SP)

Librarians, what else is on your wish list for reference publishers?  Place your comments here so our panelists can see them.

A View From the Top Panel at ALA

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference

Here’s a snapshot from the ALA Presentation – A View from the Top.

Left to right:

John Barnes, Gale/Cengage, Rolf Janke, Sage, Sue Polanka, WSU, Michael Ross, Britannica, Casper Grathwohl, Oxford

To start the session, each of the panelists was asked:

Will we have reference in 10-15 years?  If so, what will it look like?

Their responses were:

John Barnes – Yes, but in a different form – digital and more interactive.  The transformation is already happening. The first step is to get our collections online, which we are doing now.  This might help to ease the “if it isn’t online it doesn’t exist” philosophy of researchers

Rolf Janke – Yes, but google and other web based vendors might share the stage with us. 5 years ago google was a threat, now they are partners.

Michael Ross  – Yes, but the vocabulary will change. We won’t have collections or series, ‘search’ will become ‘find,’ and there will be more birthing of products online.  Reference will need to become unbound – in a more transparent environment that address the needs of a variety of people.

Casper Grathwohl – We are not dying, we are knowledge factories. All of us, including Wikipedia, have a place in the environment. The information is there, we need to determine how to define it and add value to it, and there is no lack of ideas on which direction to go.

ALA Program – The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing: A View From the Top

Headed to Anaheim?  Mark your calendars for this not to miss event:

2008 ALA Annual, Anaheim
Monday, June 30, 2008 10:30 – 12:00
Anaheim Convention Center 204B
Reference Books Bulletin (Booklist) sponsored program:

The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing: A View from the Top.

Top managers from reference publishing share their views about planning for tomorrow in a digital age and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Speakers:
John Barnes, Exec. V.P. Marketing and Strategic Planning, Gale/Cengage
Casper Grathwohl, V.P. and Publisher, Oxford University Press
Rolf Janke, VP/Publisher, SAGE Reference
Michael Ross, Sr. V.P. Corporate Development, Encyclopedia Britannica

Moderator:
Sue Polanka, Chair, Reference Books Bulletin Editorial Board

ALA Program – The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing

2008 ALA Annual, Anaheim
Monday, June 30, 2008 10:30 – 12:00
Reference Books Bulletin (Booklist) sponsored program:

The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing: A View from the Top.

Top managers from reference publishing share their views about planning for tomorrow in a digital age and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Speakers:
John Barnes, Exec. V.P. Marketing and Strategic Planning, Gale/Cengage
Casper Grathwohl, V.P. and Publisher, Oxford University Press
Alison Mudditt, Executive Vice President, Higher Education Group, SAGE Publications
Michael Ross, Sr. V.P. Corporate Development, Encyclopedia Britannica

Moderator:
Sue Polanka, Chair, Reference Books Bulletin Editorial Board