Wednesday 10 July 2013

HighWire Press's Hugh Blackbourn at 'It's all about discoverability, stupid! How to get your content seen by the right people'

Simon Inger & Hugh Blackbourn field questions
Discoverability is an art and a science. How do you find what you are looking for with fidelity? We have to ensure the content can be found quickly and easily. Otherwise, in today's world, with so many articles competing for the readers attention, if you do not focus on discoverability, it's as if you have not published them.  Hugh Blackbourn, Senior Publication Manager at HighWire Press provided a view from their perspective on discoverability. 

For HighWire Press, there are nine elements to consider with discoverability.

1. Search Engine Optimisation
Rather than building technical challenging 'page turning' PDFs make URLs search engine friendly for spidering. Each new site they launch is announced to the major search engines as they deliver most traffic (e.g. Google, Google Scholar, PubMed, Microsoft, Yahoo and ISI, plus other major reference services such as GeoRef for earth sciences). They meet regularly with Google and Google Scholar to have a good relationship (but it helps they are in California). Google needs to know which journals or articles are accessible to which authors. They use subscriber links which enables access links on Google Scholar.

2. Discoverability - web scale and specialised search
This is a broad category and includes customer specialised search engines, which want data to serve particular customers such as library portals. There are also geographically specialised search engines, which serve a region such as China (e.g. Baidu).

3. Visibility
You need visibility and discoverability to work in harmony. The world has moved on and the journal is no longer as important as it was: people read articles now. They have a widget construction kit (WiCK), use RSS for topic collections, related article recommendation services and social media tagging (Facebook, Twitter, Google +).

4. Search within an issue
1. Quick search
2. Advanced search
3. Within an issue (table of contents)

5. Related content link - standard auto-search
Based on topics or subject collections - you can collect from across titles and set topic yourself.

6. Linking and alerting
Working with NCBI/PubMed, HighWire developed the original technology to have links in the reference section. This led to industry development of CrossRef and the DOI system. They exploit NCBI databases by linking from articles to databases in two way linking. There also had toll-free inter-journal linking, which was an odd form of open access before OA existed.

7. Data distribution and repository deposit 
This supports distribution of publisher metadata to more than thirty direct recipients. include ISI, PubMed, CrossRef etc. They also work with LOCKSS.

8. Text mining
HighWire Press support Open Archive Metadata Harvesting Protocol with content structured for use by text mining researchers. With publisher agreement, they regularly respond to data requests. Text and data mining presents additional challenges: Is a separate sub required? Is it counted for COUNTER or Journal Usage Factor? Is an additional license required etc? Prospect - a new service developed by CrossRef - will be available at the end this year aims to solve individual researcher use-case.

9. The changing market
Technology is changing rapidly with new ways of presenting and accessing content. They deliver content to Amazon for Kindle devices and apps. They have many mobile optimised sites and are able to rapidly deliver mini-sites which include topical sites targeted to a specific audience/membership division which incorporate not just information from the publisher's journals, but external content as well. They can help drive traffic, build membership, increase revenue (e.g. via advertising) and provide benefits to authors and editors. They build apps for Apples iOS and for Android phones and tablets and the use of these devices is restoring the notion that readers browse to find relevant content.

Discoverability has many components - seemingly unending process of refinement and adaption to new technical requiring investment of your time and resources. The results are meaningful, fairly immediate and rewarding. Blackbourn closed by reclaiming the model of 'CPD' - commitment to publishing discovery.

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