ProQuest announced today that it has acquired WebFeat. Library Journal interviewed Serials Solutions general manager Jane Burke about the acquisition. Serials Solutions was acquired by ProQuest several years ago. Consolidation has occurred in the federated search industry.

Is there a story behind the story? I can only speculate, and I will — ProQuest bought WebFeat for its customer base. ProQuest already has federated search offerings through its business unit, Serials Solutions. Both WebFeat and Serials Solutions are known for their low-cost offerings and business models based on providing federated search as a service. WebFeat has sold federated search solutions to consortia (Serials Solutions hasn’t) and WebFeat has a large number of customers in that market. More customers means more service to sell. At one time Serials Solutions licensed their connectors from WebFeat. They no longer do. Plus, the press release stated that WebFeat founder and CEO Todd Miller would only be remaining with WebFeat briefly, as a consultant. So, this doesn’t strike me as a technology play even though Burke, in her interview with Library Journal, mentions a couple of WebFeat’s features that would complement Serials Solutions’ 360 Search.

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