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Information Today

Vol. 30 No. 1 — January 2013

What’s Hot in 2013
by Barbara Brynko

Seen any good trends lately? Just ask Patricia Sabosik, president of Elm City Consulting, LLC, who has been monitoring the vital signs of the information technology industry; here are just a few of the hottest trends she sees for 2013.

People can’t get enough mobile content. Tablets and smartphones are fueling the mobile frenzy with unprecedented growth, says Sabosik. The facts spoke for themselves at Henry Blodget’s IGNITION meeting last fall: From 2010 to 2011, health information jumped 134% with 18 million users, general reference grew 74% to 34 million users, and online retail was up 94% to 29 million users. “The professional side of the business is thinking about apps,” she says. “The download pace at the App Store is expected to hit 60 billion in 2013, and since 89% of those apps are free (11% are paid), we’re seeing a shift to a freemium model. Most smartphone users are now spending more time with apps instead of the web.”

There’s more money in our wallets. VC funding cycles have been disrupted, says Sabosik, and there’s money available. What’s interesting is that the available early-seed files are being democratized through companies such as Kickstarter, Inc. that are investing in micropayments. “The risk is lower, the money is available, and if something works, the VCs can come in,” she says. “And if the product doesn’t work, there isn’t a $10 million loss to deal with.”

Companies are turning to open source. Boosting the innovation cycle is critical to the enterprise, and open source platforms are gaining traction and moving into the B2B and B2C spaces. Sabosik says the buzz at the Drupal Business Summit in Boston last fall was about companies using Drupal open source, and we’re not talking just technology companies: The New York Stock Exchange; Johnson & Johnson, Inc.; Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; and Thomson Reu­ ters, Fidelity, and Bloomberg, LP are using it for their financial services.

The end user matters. Whether using open source or paid services, enterprises have turned their product development cycles upside down. Smart companies are starting with the goal of the end-user experience and working backward to build products and services.

Big Data is just plain big. The data evolution in the information in­ dustry is focusing on unstructured data. At the MarkLogic Summit on Big Data last fall, attendees learned that there’s no more database at the front end and there’s a push toward non-SQL, in which all data gets indexed. Data indexed with tags is retrieved using weighted algorithms. The pro­ cess has become schema-agnostic.

For the People, by the People … Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2014 citizen developers will be building 25% of all business, and that figure is on the upswing. Consumerization of IT is on the rise, but even non-tech companies need easy-to-use, secure programs to manage their workflows.

What are other trends on Sabo­ sik’s radar? Integrating content solutions into professional workflows, more standards across the industry, government initiatives for data transparency, and interoperability of tools and solutions between and among key industry players are also moving the trends’ needle.

Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) sees a big emphasis on open access (OA) and licensees, two issues that emerged in a big way at the end of 2012 and are sure to continue in 2013, says A. Miles McNamee, vice president of licensing and business development at CCC. “OA turned into an attention-getting moment for our rightsholders,” he says, calling it a “student-body left moment,” where resources shifted to help address OA rights and concerns. With funders mandating OA, CCC is helping to manage the workflow in a consistent way, he says.

“Copyright is like broccoli,” says McNamee. “It’s not sexy and doesn’t taste particularly good, but you need it to stay healthy.” CCC is making big waves in education with informational videos and topical webinars. With the boom in corporate licenses, workers need go-to solutions built into their workflows to show what they can and can’t do with content; CCC is leveraging tools and workflows using Pubget, a content acquisitions and analysis company that CCC acquired in 2012. Christopher Kenneally, CCC director of author relations, says CCC is expanding its platform-agnostic portfolio to serve all constituencies. “It’s all about innovation and responding to the customer,” he says. This isn’t the same CCC it was 5 years ago or even 1 year ago, says McNamee. “We’re moving ahead.”

The view from the Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. is that 2013 is poised for strong M&A activity. “We’re feeling good about 2013 in terms of the strategic companies still having a historically large amount of cash on their balance sheets, and also private equity firms raised approximately $700 to $800 billion in capital in 2007 and 2008, and those firms need to put that capital to work,” says Adam Gross, chief marketing officer. “We are expecting an active and fairly well-off buyer pool that should lead to good evaluations and strong M&A activities in the marketplace.”

Here are just a few of the product highlights you’ll see in 2013:

  • When it comes to educational tools, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, continues to build on the user experience. Since students no longer live by books alone, Cengage is gearing up on several fronts. First, MindTap, a cloud-based personalized, multichannel learning experience, is bringing the library into the classroom, says Nader Qaimari, senior vice president of marketing. “One of the things we’re really trying to do is bridge the library and the classroom,” he says. The MindTap experience gets librarians involved and becomes an advocate for libraries in promoting more library usage and in getting students aware of available resources, he says. The testing process with customers is critical in providing a game plan that focuses on product development going forward. There’s also a suite of new products in the works focusing on culture and geography for kids as part of the National Geographic Virtual Library product suite. Expect to see new partnerships emerging this year, says Qaimari, announcements that will be made at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, the ACRL conference, and the ALA Annual Conference.
  • At EasyBib, the new ResearchReady is geared to help students develop sharper research skills, says Neal Taparia, co-founder of ImagineEasy Solutions. “We’ve seen that students from the get-go have poor research skills,” he says, noting that bibliographies for student papers are filled with citations from Google and Wikipedia. ResearchReady, which will be launched this year, will fill the void in helping students understand plagiarism, best practices for citations, and credible websites. Most schools just don’t have the curriculum or enough librarians to teach proper research skills. Students can access the subscription-based online service from the library and at home. The key, says Taparia, is that the product had to be engaging, with a storyline and interactive exercises to go outside the product. “We want to create a scaffolded program to generate lessons for elementary and middle school students, building up these skills throughout their education,” he says.
  • In the 2 years since ProQuest acquired ebrary, the ebook provider has continued to build out its digital resources, along with tools and technology to create a seamless workflow for users working with ProQuest’s entire product portfolio. This year, ProQuest is expanding the beta connection between the ebrary and ProQuest platforms. There’s no additional investment for users or libraries; the new network of links bridges the gap between people and information to keep libraries in step with users. “Our approach is flexible and interoperable, allowing for innovation at any point so it easily takes up the new technologies and models that ProQuest is continually pioneering,” says Rich Belanger, CIO at ProQuest.
  • EBSCO Publishing reports that it is focusing on the end user to ensure satisfaction with its products and services. Since libraries want interface and integration choices, as well as better access to journals and other content, EBSCO continues to establish partnerships between ILS vendors and EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) to let libraries select their preferred interface for EDS. The new Publication Browse service lets users search a library’s ejournal collection from within EDS. “As with library databases, content is king and providing high quality metadata from additional resources is a continuing goal for EBSCO,” says Sam Brooks, executive vice president of sales and marketing. Within the past 6 months, EBSCOhost added 15 more databases, five of which are “super databases” that combine content from EBSCO and H.W. Wilson in each discipline, as well as the latest licensed journals. With EBSCOhost Collection Manager, an online tool for searching, selecting, and ordering titles and creating and managing PDA lists, libraries can enhance their ebook and audiobook collections. Brooks points to the surge in titles from 100-plus publishers, offering plenty of options for libraries. Look for more new products, such as the patron-driven short-term loan in which libraries can license titles for 1, 7, 14, or 28 days; Smart PDA features in which libraries can select titles on a loan-to-own basis; a subscription for unlimited access to nearly 100,000 ebook titles; ebooks in EPUB format; and more enhancements for the ebook direct download from EBSCOhost Mobile.
  • At ProQuest, Tim Wahlberg, general manager of Dialog, reports that work on Dialog is moving along well. “Our development process is grounded on deep engagement with customers,” he says, and he and his team have been working closely with Dialog customers to deliver “robust Alerts performance and precision search features,” as well as building out content. The new interface is poised to serve searchers at both ends of the spectrum, from those with little training to power searchers game for complex search strategies. Dialog customers can expect the migration to begin in midyear, he says.
  • At Serials Solutions, Jane Burke, vice president of strategic initiatives, is shaking the very foundation of library management solutions. “The last time libraries, particularly academic libraries, wholesale changed their library automation systems was a decade or more ago,”she says, “but in 2013, we will see the emergence of new systems caused by the fundamental change in the nature of academic collections.” Intota, a new solution from Serials Solutions and ProQuest that has been in development since 2011, is designed to solve the challenges inherent in today’s academic collections. Burke and her team are building Intota from the ground up and are collaborating with Intota Development Partners to assure that the solution meets user expectation and needs. Once completed, it will be a full life-cycle management solution for all of a library’s collections—print, electronic, and digital. Burke says work on Intota will continue through 2013, along with a new knowledgebase authoritative metadata to serve Intota users. Intota is scheduled for release in late 2014.
  • SAGE Publications is enhancing its SAGE Knowledge platform, a research resource with more than 2,200 ebooks in 10 expert-curated subject areas and nearly 400 e-reference titles. The addition of SAGE Navigator will give researchers a cool tool to review social sciences literature. It leads users—whether students, researchers, and faculty—through critical literature in nearly 300 topics and adds interactive elements to introduce new perspectives to the field. SAGE will also be publishing the first articles in three of its latest open access journal titles: SAGE Open Engineering, SAGE Open Medicine, and SAGE Open Medical Case Reports.
  • “In 2013, LexisNexis will continue to harness its leading-edge technology and world-class content to support legal professionals,” according to Christine Alberti, director of communications and thought leadership. The big push is to provide products that can be integrated seamlessly into a legal professional’s workflow, whether that is by enhancing its existing product line or rolling out new tools and services: LexisAdvance is adding collaboration, visualization, and mobile; Lexis for Microsoft Office gives users access to LexisAdvance within Microsoft Outlook and Word documents; LexisNexis Digital Library offers more than 1,585 titles for lawyers on-the-go who need mobile access anywhere, anytime; and LexisNexis SmartWatch is a pioneering risk-monitoring tool for supply chain management professionals to protect company brands.
  • Springer Science+Business Media completed the process of migrating customers to its new SpringerLink platform. The agile platform kept three key functions in mind while improving the user experience: speed, simplicity, and optimization. There’s more big news with the Springer Book Archives, another component to the SpringerLink platform. Olga Chiarcos, senior project manager, says the project triples Springer’s content online with about 100,000 books in English and German dating from the 1840s. Springer ebooks are available as e-reader-compatible PDFs and are DRM-free. “The Mycopy print on demand (POD) brings old titles back to life,” says Chiarcos, who notes that books were being digitized at a rate of 5,000 a month. Getting access to some of the older titles presented quite a challenge, she says, and Springer collaborated with institutions, such as the German National Library, in digitizing select Springer or Springer-imprint titles for the collection. In exchange for access for digitization, “Springer shared its expertise and equipment, offering best practices in the digitization process,” she says. One of the other big challenges was determining what titles actually belonged to Springer, since many of the imprints were acquired in the analog age and the records were not always available. Legacy imprints acquired by Springer that will appear in the Springer Book Archives include Vieweg, Teubner, Birkhaüser Boston, and Plenum Publishers.
The value in keeping rich collections alive is tangible. Among some of the treasures in the Springer collection are Rudolf Diesel’s work on the diesel engine, Niels Bohr’s Über den Bau der Atome, and the first book published in 1979 by Alvin E. Roth, the 2012 Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences. When Roth won the Nobel Prize, Springer received numerous requests to translate his book into other languages, but it was out of print. With the capabilities in the new archives, such titles can easily be printed on demand. As Chiarcos noted, “Great minds don’t go out of print, they go online.”

Barbara Brynko is editor-in-chief of Information Today. Send your comments about this article to
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