My radar (Google Alerts) pointed me this morning to this article by Barbara Quint at Information Today. My first response to “EBSCO Exclusives Trigger Turmoil” was “What a mess!” Quint shares the saga of EBSCO and Gale lobbing volleys at each other during the ALA Midwinter meeting. EBSCO announces new acquisitions that were ‘exclusive to EBSCO for the library “marketspace.”‘ Major competitor Gale issued a letter to the library community urging “librarians to get involved in opposing publishers granting exclusives, at least to EBSCO.” Read Quint’s article for all the gory details.
If you’re a librarian running or contemplating a discovery service, how do you feel? EBSCO has some new content I assume is going to become available via their EBSCO Discovery Service and some content is going to disappear from Gale’s holding which I assume means it will disappear from Serials Solutions’ Summon discovery service which includes Gale as a major participant.
I’m not the smartest person when it comes to understanding relationships between publishers and aggregators but I did raise the concern about such a mess:
Yes – source lock-in. I’ve written, perhaps ad nauseam, about my concern that discovery services, if not integrated with federated search, force organizations that want a single search tool to choose one service or the other. Federated search is very important for organizations that have particular sources they want to search that are not available from one of the discovery services.
Even if an organization is happy with the set of sources provided through a discovery service, the availability of sources is dependent on the relationship with the publishers (and/or aggregators.) Discovery services are too new to know how publisher relationships will evolve, especially given the competition.
Choosing a discovery service causes a library to “cede control of selection,” to steal Carl Grant’s words. The relationship between publishers, aggregators, libraries, and patrons is an ever-shifting one. Unfortunately, it’s the patrons who are left to scramble when the content they care about is no longer available from the search service their library subscribes to. Sigh!
Tags: federated search