Magazine article Information Today

Platform Relaunches, Discovery Interfaces, and Mobile

Magazine article Information Today

Platform Relaunches, Discovery Interfaces, and Mobile

Article excerpt

It has certainly been an interesting year for news in the information, publishing, and library worlds. Some of the hot topics included ebooks, e-readers, the iPad, mobile content delivery, the changing news industry, cloud computing, real-time search, geolocation, collaboration technologies, and the social graph. Libraries also continued to battle budget woes, and everyone seemed to take a frugal approach to spending.

These are all important developments. But if I had to pick a single theme that emerged from the news stories we've covered, I'd have to say that 2010 was the year of the platform relaunch. Content providers hustled to implement new platform architectures that would provide a more agile development environment (i.e., make improvements faster) and provide customers with a more satisfying and productive search experience (i.e., more like Google). I think youll be surprised to see the actual number of platforms that were relaunched from nearly all the important content providers. Of course, librarians who adapted the new services to their libraries and trained their users on the changes probably won't be too surprised at the numbers.

Next-Gen Platforms

There was plenty of activity in the legal field with completely new platforms from Thomson Reuters Legal, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg. All three companies claim their new products transform the way legal research is conducted. All were feeling the effects of lowcost providers, free internet resources such as Google Scholar, and efforts by Public. Resource. Org to put legal research materials in the public domain.

After 5 years of development, Thomson Reuters Legal introduced a new Westlaw platform, called Westlaw Next, that is designed to simplify and to streamline the front-end search experience (no need to select a database to begin with) and provide superior results using new backend algorithms.

Bloomberg, long known for its service for Wall Street professionals, moved into the legal research market this summer with the launch of Bloomberg Law, which was quite a departure from its old workstations and dedicated terminals. Bloomberg Law's selling point is that it integrates news, company information, and financial data with legal research content in a single search engine.

In October, LexisNexis began a phased release of its long-anticipated enhancement to Lexis.com and gave it a new name to reflect the improved interface. Lexis Advance offers a more modern-looking and simplified interface that offers access to critical content with fewer clicks. An upcoming article in Searcher in early 2011 by Carol Ebbinghouse will compare the three services.

Here's a quick review of some other platforms that were relaunched this year. Most of these developments were covered in NewsBreaks (http ://newsbreaks. info today.com).

Hoover's introduced a new platform with an improved site design and enhanced functionality. It also offers access to nearly twice as many companies and people worldwide, now including more than 65 million enterprises and 85 million professional contacts globally.

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) launched a "substantial upgrade" to the IEEE Xplore digital library. Xplore, which first launched online in 1998, had its last major redesign in 2005. IEEE Xplore now offers a more robust search engine, intuitive user interface, sophisticated facets for refinement, and customizable features.

LexisNexis redesigned the interfaces for its general reference services for higher education (LexisNexis Academic), public libraries (LexisNexis Library Express), and secondary schools (LexisNexis Scholastic).

In August, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. officially switched off its aging Wiley InterScience platform and launched the all-new Wiley Online Library.

Dialog launched a first release of the new ProQuest Dialog, which offers a subset of Dialog and DataStar content for end users in the pharmaceutical and biomedical customer community. …

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