Thursday, 7 November 2013

Keeping pace with changes in eJournal technology

Tracy Gardner: keeping pace with eJournal technology
eJournal technology is an essential part of the scholarly publishing industry. It is also the topic of one of our most popular training courses. Here, we spoke to Understanding eJournal Technology co-tutor, Tracy Gardner, about the challenges of keeping up-to-date in this area.

SK: What is the main challenge that publishers face in the field?
TG: The pace of change within eJournals technology is fast. This technology has removed the barriers between production, editorial, marketing, sales, customer services and most importantly – the customers. Renew Training started running business technology courses specifically for publishers around 7 years ago and during all that time the same course has never been delivered twice!

SK: What is driving the pace of change?
TG: Changes in how libraries authenticate their patrons, how they manage reader navigation and the implementation of new search and discovery tools has changed the eJournal landscape dramatically.

SK: Who does this affect?
TG: For those in sales, marketing and customer service it can be hard to understand the business ramifications of how eJournal technology affects the way librarians and researchers find and access content. How does the fact a library uses a proxy, or only has one IP address for their entire institution, or indeed if their IP addresses are a state secret impact how researchers read your content? Does Shibboleth or Athens solves these issues, or does it create news ones? What about OpenURLs and working with link resolvers – and what are resource discovery services and tools and why should you worry about them?

For those in operational or technology roles, the business technology side of eJournals can seem daunting and especially for those new to the industry, the way the information community works can seems counter to the way many other business sectors operate.

SK: How can you keep pace of these changes?
TG: Educate those in sales, marketing, customer services, product development, editorial, project management and IT in the technologies. These roles are all vital to the delivery of eJournals. You need to clearly position these technologies in the context of the industry issues they aim to solve so your teams understand how they are used throughout the supply chain internally and by librarians through to end users. Understand a) your customers' technical and business requirements, and b) how technology plays a role in discoverability and deploying eJournals.

Tracy Gardner has over 17 years’ experience in marketing and communications and has worked for CatchWord, Ingenta, CABI Publishing and Scholarly Information Strategies. Her career has focussed on improving communication channels between publishers, intermediaries and librarians and she understands the business of scholarly publishing from many different perspectives.

Tracy is co-tutor with Simon Inger on Understanding eJournal Technology course run by ALPSP in association with Renew Training. If you are flummoxed by any of the above terminology, or if you would like to understand more about how your customers are using business technology to serve their patrons, then come along to the next course on 13 November 2013 in Oxford.

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