February 17, 2018

InfoTech: Gale Creating Directory Library Online

By Michael Rogers

  • Digital products to retain collectibility and browsability of print
  • 12 directories mounted on single platform
  • Five-year backfile standard, longer files also for sale

In a recent visit to LJ, David Forman, Gale’s business publisher for academic, public, corporate, and advanced research libraries, revealed that Gale now is focusing on bringing its directory business to the web in the Gale Directory Library. In order to revamp its print products for the online world, the company turned to 16 experts and conducted surveys of users. The findings emphasized that librarians desire certain aspects of the print to be preserved in the online, namely “collectibility: users want to buy it, keep it, and own it,” said Forman.

They also want the e-versions to retain the print’s browsability. Although searching is necessary, the “serendipity” of flipping through the data also is essential for library users. The 12 directories (expanding to 16 by February) are mounted on a single platform and can be sorted by fields and exported. When designing the directory platform, the company adopted the mantra of “search, sort, export, and analyze.” Searching can be done either by entity name or keyword, and users can search widely or drill down into individual directories. A subject search has been added for 2008 to broaden the usability.

“We want to make it accessible to neophytes and expert searchers,” Forman said. Gale is including a five-year back file on most titles, which are being sold as annual editions; longer back files also can be purchased separately.