Division general manager Tim Collins talks about the organization's focus on growth
There may still be folks out there who only associate the name EBSCO with magazine subscriptions for libraries. But EBSCO Subscription Services (http://www.ebsco.com/ess) is just one of two divisions within EBSCO Information Services (EIS; http://www.ebsco.com). Tim Collins heads up the other division, EBSCO Publishing (http://www.epnet.com). The two divisions work closely in serving the needs of libraries, and Collins talked with me about their products, competitors, and markets. Collins is also vice president of EBSCO Industries, Inc., the parent company. (By the way, if you've ever wondered what EBSCO stands for, it's the Elton B. Stephens Co., named for the founder and now chairman.)
Q Give us a capsule description of EBSCO Publishing's mission.
A The mission is really shared between EBSCO Publishing (EP) and EBSCO Subscription Services (ESS), given that we make up what is known as EIS and given that we're both intermediaries between libraries and publishers. The mission is to provide solutions for libraries that meet their needs in the area of serials information. This includes provision of access to secondary databases, full-text databases, as well as current journal subscriptions, both in print format and online.
EP focuses on the secondary and full-text databases through our EBSCOhost service, whereas ESS focuses on the services related to the purchase of print and online journals, and EBSCO Online provides the access to online journals. And, ESS now offers articles on a pay-per-view basis as well as selling books through a new service.
What makes EBSCO unique is that we integrate the services so that a user can look at an abstract from a licensed database, such as BIOSIS, and link over to the full-text article in one of EBSCO Publishing's aggregated databases, or to the article from one of the online journals that they buy through ESS. The key to all that is the user doesn't know where the full text came from--they just know that it's available and seamless. We call that our "smart linking" technology, and it's central to our mission of integrating our services. So, it's a shared mission but we each focus on different aspects of it.
Q So, what are the differences between searching on EBSCOhost and on EBSCO Online? On EBSCO Online, can someone search the full text of journals, whether their library subscribes or not?
A Within EBSCO Online you can search the full text of those journals that you subscribe to, but you can only access the abstracts and headers of the journals that you don't subscribe to. EBSCO Online provides current subscriptions, on a journal-by-journal basis. The average user in an academic library, for example, would come to EBSCOhost and search a full-text database directly, or for a subject-specific query, would use a licensed database. Then they may link to an article available in a journal via EBSCO Online.
Q So, libraries could have both services?
A Yes, most libraries do have both. It depends on what the user wants. If the user wants to browse the most current issue, then he'd go to EBSCO Online. The advantage of searching in a database on EBSCOhost is to be able to use targeted indexing terminology and classifications, such as class codes in EconLit.
Q I've seen differing figures on the number of journals you have in full text. Is this a difference between the two services?
A There are about 4,000 journal titles available in full text for sale on EBSCO Online. On EBSCOhost we offer aggregated databases, which vary by market and subject, created from about 6,000 full-text publications. Some publishers might work with both and choose to sell all of their journal titles on EBSCO Online--but maybe license only half of them to EP for inclusion in a database. Some publishers, such as academic or scientific publishers, have chosen not to work with aggregators--but they do work with subscription agencies. …