Magazine article Information Today

Collins: EBSCO Streamlines Information Services

Magazine article Information Today

Collins: EBSCO Streamlines Information Services

Article excerpt

Tim Collins has been at the helm of EBSCO Publishing for more than a quarter of a century. As founder and president of EBSCO Publishing, Collins is no stranger to the ebbs and flows involved in the rapidly changing information industry and some rather rough economic times.

Experience and business expertise has taught Collins to know when it's time to switch gears to accommodate new markets and to provide better services to its global network of libraries. And in late May, the news of such a shift made headlines as EBSCO Publishing (EP) merged with EBSCO Information Services (EIS). Both companies were divisions of EBSCO Industries, Inc., one of the largest privately owned businesses in the U.S. The merged companies will be known as EBSCO Information Services, with Collins as president.

As details of the merger began to unfold, Collins pointed out that the two divisions have worked closely together for years, but the possibility of a merger first began to generate buzz less than a year ago.

"We decided to merge the businesses because we feel we can better serve our customers as a result," says Collins. Since libraries were asking for more integrated product offerings, the merger was designed to create better integration between products that support the companies' journal, e-package, ebook, database, and discovery businesses. The consolidation of the two companies lets the new EIS "offer more creative product packages to our customers as the result of a single sales organization selling all EBSCO product offerings," he says.

For industry analyst John Blossom, president of Shore Communications, Inc., the timing was right, and the merger is poised to provide more value to customers and end users. "Aggregation is an information service," says Blossom, "and in [the realm of] The New Aggregation, we treat it as part of a stack of information services that are tailored to solve specific problems for audiences. Access to a database is no longer sufficient in and of itself for most institutions to justify subscription costs."

Responding to Customer Need

EBSCO has continued to roll out an impressive portfolio of library resources to its global customer base that spans the academic, medical, K-12, public library, law, corporate, and government markets. Among its top offerings are EBSCONET, with a complete e-resource management system, and EBSCOhost, which supplies a fee-based online research service with more than 375 full-text databases, a collection of 380,000-plus ebooks, subject indexes, point-of-care medical references, and an array of historical digital archives.

In 2010, EBSCO also introduced its EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) to institutions. EDS' single search box lets users easily access EDS' complete content collection, with deep indexing and full-text searching of its expanding portfolio of journals and magazines.

Collins credits EBSCO's customers with helping the company move toward the merger. "The extremely positive response by our customers to our discovery product, EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) and our ability to automatically offer direct linking from EDS and EBSCOhost to content subscribed to via EIS reinforced to us that the businesses were becoming more closely aligned," he says.

EBSCO customers who purchase ejournals and e-packages via EBSCO can offer their users EBSCO SmartLinks+, which supplies accurate, one-click access instantly to the full text of ejournals in the EBSCOW and EDS collections. All of the key players will eventually reap the benefits: "It's great all around," he says, "for libraries [that] get more value from the e-journal collections; for end users who have greater, simplified access to the full text that they want; and for publishers who will see more usage of their content, and subsequent value attributed to it."

Both EIS and EP were the largest companies in their respective fields in terms of sales, says Collins. …

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