2001 Publishers Open Forum


Washington, D.C.
January 15, 2001
9:30-11:00 AM

Question-and-Answer Session

Luise Weiss, chair of the BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee, introduced the event and then turned the podium over to Geraldine Foudy, who introduced the speakers and moderated the event.

The 1st speaker was Jennifer Bernardelli from Gale who spoke about the Business and Company Resource Center. The 2nd speaker was Paula Kepos, Director of Academic Content for Bell & Howell, who spoke on ABI/INFORM Global.

Presentations were followed by a question-and-answer session, recorded as follows.

Q  Please name one of the features the other vendor's database has that you wish was part of your database.

A   Bernardelli: Broader scope of academic content

Kepos: Reference and non periodical content. Now I'm going to flip the question back at you. What do you think? Questioner answered that his library is a bit of a special case; since they do not offer Business as a major his student's focus is more on Economics and Finance so he thinks ABI lacks hard core finance materials and would like to see more current research information such as working papers. Another audience member added they could use more information on Human Resources.

Q  Users are confused about the array of databases available to them. Is there any way you could collaborate or work more together to create clearer differentiation?

A   Bernardelli: Gale has created a new product called Total Access for users who don't know where to go. This product can be set up to search all your databases, including your OPAC and other 3rd party databases, not just Gale.

Q  For Gale- do you have any information on cases besides Ornel? People have requested information on product liability. Not looking for the legalese, but material that business students can read and understand. Also are you working on entering dates for the last time company histories were updated?

A   Bernardelli: Working on getting the content sourced and dated. Ornel is currently our only provider but we are open to other suggestions.

Q  Are you including ejournals in your databases? If so, how do you decide which ones to add? are you taking recommendations?

A   Bernardelli: We are looking into including more ejournals and are open to suggestions.

Kepos: We are also open to suggestions. Dealing with case studies, we are marketing a new product called xanedu.com directly to students.

Q  For Gale- What do you plan on doing about the information content that is different between your print and electronic sources?

A   Bernardelli: There were a number of entries where we had companies listed in our International Directory of Company Histories print volumes that were not profiled online. By the end of the second quarter we hope to have this fixed.

An audience member also asked that Gale issue the indexes for these volumes separately in paperback. At this point the index takes up almost half the volume and is a waste of library shelf space.

Q  For Gale- What is your criteria for inclusion of international companies?

A   Bernardelli: Use Graham and Whiteside's research. Though it is a challenge to find information on state run companies especially in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Q  Both products need better indexing and full text coverage of lists such as "Fastest rising companies" and the Fortune 500. Often the name of the list changes, but it's the same list year to year. Both products but especially ABI need to cover these better. Also, when people find indexing errors there is no standard obvious place to go to report them.

A   Bernardelli: We try to address these problems. Send email to contentqa@galegroup.com

Kepos: There is a place to email in corrections or concerns on the Bell and Howell website. Address them to the Business Product Manager and they eventually find their way to my desk.

Q  For ABI: Like to reiterate how dismayed and concerned I am about the content of Win Shih's letter to you. Originally thought he had done a large sample and came across the errors he mentioned in his letter. I was particularly dismayed to find out that he had just randomly picked twelve titles and six of them had serious problems. What are you going to do to address this problem? I find it unacceptable in any product, especially one that is priced as high as ABI is.

A   Kepos: His findings don't sound good. I'm going to look into this further and try to run some random checks. I agree that the quality of your data should be high for the price you are paying.

Q  Part two of question for Gale: How was the decision made to swap out Investment Web and change it to Research Bank Web?

A   Bernardelli: We sent notices out in June and August to our mailing contacts at all the subscribing institutions to make sure you had the correct URL's. The content didn't change--they are still the current reports--just the name changed. Thomson Financial and Gale do have a content problem, and we can work with you individually on that issue.

Q  For ABI: What are the dates of the new Historic Newspapers product you mentioned in your presentation. How is it searchable? viewable?

A   Kepos: I recommend you stop by the booth. I can only really guess at the answers as we just released the product. It is a full run of the newspapers from 1869 to present.

Q  Any plans to get the Financial Times?

A   Kepos: No, but we would love it.

Q  Kepos asked the audience what they would like to see more of included in the the new Trade and Industry product being put out by ABI.

Q  Apparel, Restaurant Management, Healthcare, Nonprofits, Sports, Telecom, Privatization of Utilities were mentioned by audience members

Q  For Gale: Any hope of getting more investment and market research reports included in the Investext file? ex. Thompson reports

A   Bernardelli: We are trying to do that, but it's an ongoing educational process. We have to teach the publishers how to balance between different core markets. They are not comfortable going from a model where their customers pay a thousand dollars for one report to a model where a large number of people have access to all their reports for a yearly fee. We're working on educating them about the value of this option.

Q  We see many aggregators losing rights to various periodicals. Do you understand how many problems this causes for us and our users? How do you plan notify us of the changes?

A   Bernardelli: IAC has a history of good relationships with publishers. We give them as much distribution as possible. We think their publications should be available in as may locations as possible. It's sometimes difficult to get them to understand and collaborate with this.

Kepos: I second what Jennifer says. We lose only approximately five to six percent of our titles a year we still have access to the huge core of our collection.

Q  What happened with ABI and the Harvard Business Review?

A   Kepos: I think Harvard should do a case on it! One vendor offered three times the money we were offering for an exclusive five year contract. The price we offered is based on how many hits the resources gets in our system. We added quite a bit to that figure because we know the importance of the Harvard Business Review to our users, but it wasn't enough.

Bernardelli: I agree it was not right for the one vendor to offer that much money and then make them sign an exclusive agreement. In the end it could possibly hurt the HBR because their journal will not be used as much.

Q  For Gale: I would like to make a statement for the Boston Area Librarians Group concerning your recent purchase of RDS. We would like RDS to be kept separate. Also, for both of you, how detailed are the statistics that you can make available to us concerning our use of your databases? Is is possible to give us detailed statistics at the journal level?

A  Both answered they can give very detailed usage reports.

Q  For Gale: Did I understand you correctly in your presentation- Are you planning to have subject guide searching available in Business and Company Resource Center? It's one of the features I find the most unique in General Business File.

A  Should be available by the end of the first quarter in March when the complete conversion should be done.

Q  For ABI: What is going on with the new natural language search option? I did a search on Brown v. the Board of Education and they are all stopwords.

A   Kepos: Laughed- that definitely seems like a problem. I'll look into it.

Q  For Gale: Any plans to electronically archive any of the publications in Business and Company Resource Center?

A   Bernardelli: We're currently trying a pilot project with Ward's.

Q  For Gale: Any plans to have more of your print products available in Business and Company Resource Center? For example the Market Share Reporter and Encyclopedia of American Industries.

A   Bernardelli: Over the next three years we're going to be working on including more of our print publications. As always we're interested in any ideas you have for new print publications you would find useful.

Q  For Gale: What is the pricing model for Business and Company Resource Center?

A   Bernardelli: Very flexible options. We can do it by number of concurrent users or according to size of library/university.

Q  It would be helpful to have a way to search the full text of an Investext report by keyword.

A  [I'm not clear on the answer to this one. Something like the content for many of the reports comes in PDF. I think that should make keyword searching available, but I'm not sure what she said. -- Recorder]

Both speakers ended by saying they found the session very helpful and hoped we could do it again sometime.

Session recorder:
Eve Wider
Reference Librarian
University of Pittsburgh

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee

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ALA Midwinter Conference, January 15, 2001

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