Welcome to Online Insider ...
... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Prous Sells to Thomson

Marydee Ojala @ 8:54 am

One more family business succumbs to the lure of Thomson, further consolidating information resources in the hands of large corporations. Barcelona, Spain-based Prous Science has had a tremendous reputation among pharmaceutical and health researchers. It’s been innovative (had a Web presence beginning in 1995) and fast to create new products and respond to customer needs. Now it will be part of Thomson Scientific, melded into its Pharma/Chem Markets division, joining Thomson Pharma, iDDb, Derwent World Patents Index, and Web of Science. Prous CEO J.R. Prous and EVP Josep Prous Jr. both have positive comments (and since they’re quoted in the Thomson press release, of course it’s positive), particularly about continued product development and innovation, and customers can only hope these sentiments will turn out to be true.

Prous hosts Webcasts and has produced Web sites for associations such as the American Diabetes Association. How will this fit into Thomson Scientific? With Prous headquarters remaining in Barcelona, how much influence will they wield in Philadelphia? Will Prous’ Integrity platform play well with other Thomson platforms?

With Thomson on the prowl for other acquisitions, Prous won’t be the last family (or even small) business to heed Thomson’s siren call. And there will be one more booth disappearing from information industry and library association conference exhibit halls.

Gearing Up for Internet Librarian International

Marydee Ojala @ 1:45 pm

It’s been busy around here as we gear up for Internet Librarian International to be held in London the 8th and 9th of October. The wiki’s been a bit slow to catch on, although today a contribution from someone in Uganda caught my eye. You can see the wiki at here . The password is London. Lots of room still in most of the pre-conference Master Classes, so feel free to sign up, even if you’re not coming to the rest of the conference. I am so looking forward to this conference. It’s so much information, concentrated into two days, with contributions from many librarians and information professionals hailing from many different countries and several continents.

See you there!

Times Deselects

Marydee Ojala @ 3:40 pm

This is the news blurb we’re running in the November/December 2007 issue of ONLINE:

"The New York Times announced it would cease its Times Select product and open up 23 of its news and opinion columnists and some of its archives for free, rather than fee-based, access. Launched in 2005, Times Select garnered $10 million per year in revenue from 227,000 paying subscribers. Researchers will not be charged for older stories from the newspaper published between 1851 and 1923 or for newer stories between 1986 to the present. Articles published between 1923 and 1986 will be $2.95 for one article or $15.95 for 10 articles viewed within 30 days. The discontinuation of Times Select, according to Vivian Schiller, SVP & General Manager, reflects changes in how people find news. Increasingly, it is from search engines, social networks, blogs, and other online sources."

How will librarians handle this? Will they be tempted to drop their subscription to an aggregator like LexisNexis (or be forced to do so by management)? At what point does the convenience of aggregation outweigh its costs? How many free web sites can a librarian check before he/she is spending so much time that it equals or exceeds the subscription costs to a premium content site? Just another conundrum for our times.

WebSearch University

Marydee Ojala @ 7:09 pm

I just finished reading the evaluations from WebSearch University in Washington DC. There were a lot of them! With 250 people at the conference, most felt obliged to fill out and turn in the evaluation forms. It delights me that so many people who came to WebSearch cared enough to tell us what they thought about it, and it wasn’t the “bribe” of the iPod Shuffle, either. One attendee actually wrote that he/she didn’t need an iPod but wanted to share her/his thoughts anyway.

Attendees were generally complimentary (Thanks!) but wanted more presentations geared to the truly expert searcher. Point taken.

Next year, we do plan on both a spring and autumn WSU. The latter will be back at the Washington Marriott on Sept. 22-23. Spring dates (and city) are still in negotiation and as soon as I know them, I’ll post them here.

Take That, Hyphens!

Marydee Ojala @ 4:01 pm

A news report from Reuters this morning informs me that about 16,000 words are no longer hyphenated in the newest edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. I feel vindicated, after 30 years of screaming at people not to hyphenate the word online. I can’t find it at the moment, but in the very early days of ONLINE magazine, Jeff Pemberton, then both the publisher and the editor, I think, ranted in an editorial about why hyphens were inappropriate when it came to online (and ONLINE). It’s online, not on-line. Although I was tempted to describe Jeff as the then-editor, I resisted temptation and restructured (re-structured?) the sentence.

I did find it amusing that the editor of the Shorter OED, Angus Stevenson, used two hyphenated words in his explanation of why he had assassinated hyphens: design-led and old-fashioned. Yeah, both look old fashioned to me.

And when was the last time I saw ice cream rendered as ice-cream? Can’t recall, it must have melted from my memory.

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