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Smarter Metadata — Aiding Discovery in Next Generation E-book and E-journal Gateways

In Linked Data, Technology on March 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Source: Andrew Mason on flickr

From my February post on The Scholarly Kitchen —

With the recent surge in library e-book sales, serials aggregators are racing to add e-books to their platforms.ProQuest’s recent acquisition of ebrary and JSTOR’s expansion into current journals and e-books signal a shift from standalone e-book and e-journal aggregator platforms to mixed content gateways, with e-books and e-journals living cheek by jowl in the same aggregation.

Meanwhile, researchers have become accustomed to the big search engines, and have shifted from reading to skimming. As the authors of an article in the January issue of Learned Publishing, “E-journals, researchers – and the new librarians,” summarize:

Gateway services are the new librarians. . . . Reading should not be associated with the consumption of a full-text article. In fact, almost 40% of researchers said they had not read in full the last important article they consulted. . . . ‘Power browsing’ is in fact the consumption method of choice.

These changes in behavior mean that gateway vendors have to develop more sophisticated tools for organizing and surfacing content. ProQuest, OCLC, EBSCO, and others have responded by creating new tools and systems. But is it enough?

Publishers often discuss distinctions between e-book and e-journal business and access models, but the truly complex differences in e-books and e-journals reside beneath the surface, in the metadata layer. Understanding and compensating for these differences is essential for interoperable content discovery and navigation when mixed e-book and e-journal content is delivered in large-scale databases, which is increasingly the norm.

Continue reading on TSK.

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