Magazine article Information Today

Information Today, Inc. Acquires Online Magazine. (NewsBreak)

Magazine article Information Today

Information Today, Inc. Acquires Online Magazine. (NewsBreak)

Article excerpt

Information Today, Inc. (ITI) has acquired ONLINE magazine, the flagship of Online, Inc.'s fleet of periodicals and conferences. ITI produces the annual InfoToday, Internet Librarian, and Computers in Libraries conferences, among others, and publishes books and periodicals (as well as electronic NewsBreaks) for the online industry. ONLINE's January/February 2002 issue will be the first one published by ITI, though the change is effective immediately for subscription and other business purposes. Marydee Ojala, editor of ONLINE, will remain with the magazine, reporting to ITI vice president of content Dick Kaser, and will also assist in conference program planning.

The sale marks the culmination of Online, Inc.'s strategic initiative to reach beyond its original audience, the information professional community, to the broader business-to-business (B2B) market. Beginning several years ago, Online, Inc. launched an assortment of specialized seminars and workshops devoted to targeted interest areas such as DVD technology and applications, intranets, Web-based virtual communities, and buying and selling electronic content. Earlier this year, the company replaced its annual Online World

conference and exhibition with a much smaller WebSearch University that's aimed primarily at information professionals, and an eContent exposition that's geared to the business sector. Meanwhile, its EContent magazine underwent editorial refocusing and was relaunched as a B2B periodical.

ONLINE began publication in 1977 under the direction of Jeff Pemberton who, with his wife and business partner Jenny, was the moving force behind Online, Inc. and a visible, even ubiquitous, presence at the company's conferences for many years. According to Nancy Garman, publisher and former editor of ONLINE, the Pembertons are ready to take a much less hands-on role in the company, and this sale will enable them to do that. Responsibility for the organization's active management has already been passed to their Sons Adam and Andrew, as well as to Garman.

In announcing the sale, Jeff Pemberton expressed confidence that the magazine is in good hands. Tom Hogan, president of ITI, said: "ONLINE has been our worthy competition for over 2 decades.... Jeff Pemberton and the many other publishing professionals at Online, Inc. should be commended for their pioneering efforts over the years and for their dedication to the online community. Having ONLINE under the same roof as Information Today, Searcher, and our other publications is a dream come true for us."

For the duration of its joint existence, an ongoing editorial and marketing challenge for Online, Inc. was describing, justifying, and maintaining the distinction between ONLINE, its sister publication Database, and more recently, EContent. Even longtime subscribers could not consistently recall in which journal a particular article had appeared. The standard explanation was that ONLINE focused on systems and services, while EContent covered databases and subject-specific electronic resources. But the distinction was often fuzzy, and became more so with the increasing importance of the Web as a research tool. To some extent, though, the fact that both were bimonthly periodicals (EContent recently ramped up to monthly publication) blunted the horns of the dilemma. …

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