My NewsBreak on the acquisition of H.W. Wilson by EBSCO is now live at the InfoToday website.
Some of the press releases about the acquisition described it as a “merger.” It’s not. EBSCO bought Wilson and made it a division of EBSCO Publishing. The Wilson offices in the Bronx and in Dublin (Ireland) will close. The databases will move to EBSCOhost and WilsonWeb will close down.
As someone who started her library career when people actually consulted printed indexes (yes, in book form!) to start their research, I have always been a bit concerned that Wilson seemed perpetually late to the technology party. While I was entranced by Dialog, Orbit, and other early online search services, Wilson kept trying to sell me books. Now, granted, once they did recognize that electronic delivery was going to trump print, they did a bang-up job. Text to speech, for example, is fantastic.
Here’s hoping that EBSCO preserves the best parts of the Wilson technology, indexing, and databases — without onerous price increases that will prevent libraries from enjoying said preservation.
Personally, I’ll miss seeing the Wilson booth at conferences and chatting with Wilson staff.
Yesterday’s joint press conference (EBSCO and ABC-CLIO) added some information to the press release of June 15th announcing EBSCO’s acquisition of two history databases from ABC-CLIO: Historical Abstracts (HA) and America: History and Life (AHL). EBSCO will also distribute eight additional history databases and ABC-CLIO’s online history ebook collection, called History Reference Online. The two companies already had a close relationship; they announced a distribution agreement only last April and a linking agreement in September 2006. According to EBSCO’s Tim Collins, this acquisition of the two databases “formalizes” the relationship.
The present databases are English-language, abstract only, files. Only about 8% of the titles overlap with those in other EBSCO databases. The plan going forward is to add full text, which will make expanded databases multi-lingual. However, indexing will remain in English. The companies have already licensed and digitized several hundred titles, but–and given the subject matter of the databases, this is highly ironic–some backfiles of the history journals are incomplete. Yes, the historians lost their history! This is an ongoing project, to hunt down and digitize the history journals in Historical Abstracts and in America: History and Life.
Tim also told us that database updating will continue to be done by ABC-CLIO and its abstract and indexing team will remain in place. The pricing will remain the same post-acquisition, although once the enhanced, full text product is in place, customers will have the option to subscribe to the upgraded product at a higher price. He gave no date for the release of the full text versions of the databases.