School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Library Journal

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The information industry continues to consolidate, just as agribusiness has consolidated and now dominates farming. Both the family farm and the small information company still exist but are becoming rarer in an age of mergers, acquisitions, and increased economies of scale. Small companies distinguish themselves by high quality, special themes, or useful tools to keep and build their customer base.

The database marketplace this year was dominated by the news of several large acquisitions. Wiley's purchase of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. drew concerns from members of the Information Access Alliance (IAA), made up of representatives from SLA, the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, and other library groups. The IAA is particularly concerned with continued market consolidation among commercial scholarly publishers.

Other acquisitions occurred in the database and secondary publisher fields. In March 2007, Elsevier, a publisher that has raised IAA's concerns in the past, announced its acquisition of the Beilstein Database, the well-known organic chemistry fact book and database. Elsevier had been involved with the Beilstein-Institut in the database's production and marketing since 1998 before acquiring it outright in 2007. Cambridge Information Group (CIG) acquired ProQuest and formed ProQuest CSA, which extended both its indexing and abstracting services and full-text articles. OCLC purchased RLG to create a single mega-shared cataloging company in a world that once had several competitors (remember WLN?). OCLC's new service included several features from RLG's discontinued RedLightGreen union catalog.

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