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Interesting news this week that Elsevier have bought Plum Analytics from EBSCO. It seems to be part of a trend for the big content companies to expand their reach by acquiring other companies in associated fields. There’s a fascinating blog post from Roger Schonfeld from Ithaka ‘the strategic investments of content providers‘ that discusses what this might mean for the library sector and why these companies might be looking to diversify.
I’d probably reflect that library sector technology companies have a long history of mergers and acquisitions – a glance at Marshall Breeding’s chart on how companies have evolved over the years quickly shows how companies seem to change ownership or merge with great regularity, it doesn’t seem to be an especially stable marketplace. Yet libraries typically keep library management systems for quite long periods of time, ten years doesn’t seem unusual, and often upgrade with the same vendor, but maybe that slow turnover of systems might be related to the mergers and acquisitions as parent companies realise that their investment in a library systems supplier doesn’t provide quite the level of return they wanted? But recently there’s been a large number of systems procurements, particularly in academic libraries. A look at HElibtech’s procurements page shows a lot of recent activity.
With EBSCO’s involvement with the FOLIO open source product and Proquest’s acquisition of ExLibris, I wonder if that means Elsevier is looking for a suitable library systems or discovery product? Or does the acquisition of Plum Analytics mean that they are looking more at the world of citation systems, altmetrics and bibliometrics?
I picked up over the weekend via the No Shelf Required blog that EBSCO Discovery usage data is now being added into Plum Analytics. EBSCO’s press release talks about providing “researchers with a much more comprehensive view of the overall impact of a particular article”. Plum Analytics have fairly recently been taken over by EBSCO (and here) so it’s not so surprising that they’d be looking at how EBSCO’s data could enhance the metrics available through Plum Analytics.
It’s interesting to see the different uses that activity data in this sphere can be put to. There are examples of it being used to drive recommendations, such as hot articles, or Automated Contextual Research Assistance. LAMP is talking of using activity data for benchmarking purposes. So you’re starting to see a clutch of services-being driven by activity data just as the like’s of Amazon drive so much of what appears on their sales site by data driven by customer activity.