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Enhanced SpringerLink Offers eBook Collection
Posted On June 26, 2006
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Springer (; part of Springer Science+Business Media), which claims to be the world's largest STM (scientific, technical, medical) book publisher, has announced it will offer its complete publishing program online and on one integrated platform. Springer unveiled its new e-book initiative at the American Library Association annual conference. To accommodate the e-books, the company also launched the Beta of its redesigned SpringerLink service, which allows users to access e-books, electronic reference works, and e-journals on a single integrated platform. At launch, the new eBook Collection provides 3,000 imprints from 2005, with a target of 10,000 total titles in 2006. The company plans to add 3,000 new e-books every year. The new SpringerLink offers simplified and improved browsing and search functionalities, including a new guided navigation search engine and seamless integration and linking of e-books with the other content.

The company has provided a chapter level approach to the e-books, with individual DOIs assigned. The HTML or PDF documents are fully searchable and can be downloaded—by individual chapter—and printed. The service allows unlimited, simultaneous access to the e-books. There are no course-pack or other restrictions. A key differentiator is that libraries will own in perpetuity any e-books they buy and can store and archive them locally if they wish. The company hopes this model, combined with attractive pricing, will accelerate the adoption of its e-books in academic and corporate markets.

Libraries can purchase a complete collection of all titles from a year or choose from among 12 topical categories that have no overlapping titles. As a special promotion, organizations that purchase one or more Springer eBook Collections for 2007 will also receive the 2006 and 2005 collections.

"Our new eBooks integrate seamlessly into the redesigned SpringerLink, making it possible for users to easily search through journal articles, eBooks and eReference Works— or search only eBooks," said Peter Hendriks, president of global sales and marketing at Springer. " With the ease of accessing eBooks, we think librarians will see greater usage of the many thousands of books that Springer publishes every year."

One person previewing the service while at SLA commented: "Springer, from my viewpoint, is a step ahead of others in allowing unlimited printing and sharing, as well as improved access to searchable book chapters."

Until this relaunch of the integrated platform, users accessed Springer's products on three different platforms: SpringerLink for journals, e-books powered by NetLibrary, and Bureau van Dijk for major reference works. All imprints from NetLibrary have been transferred to the new SpringerLink. According to a Springer representative, most library customers are choosing to transition to the new SpringerLink platform.

Springer worked closely with 35 global development partners (in corporate, academic, and government settings) on the features and functions for the redesigned SpringerLink and eBook Collection. One corporate librarian said that his global firm was seeing a strong, growing interest in e-books because of the diverse company locations and many work-at-home employees. His company has had e-book access to Springer titles through NetLibrary and journal access through EBSCOhost. The company will do a trial of the SpringerLink eBook Collections because it is attracted to the collections available, the functionality (especially the chapter download capability), and to the unlimited, simultaneous use model. "Site licensing with a single user at a time has not worked for us," he said.

As of June 20, the new SpringerLink Beta version is available alongside the current version. The two will both be available until Aug. 15, 2006, when the enhanced version becomes official. There's more product information, free sample e-books, and an online demo linkable from the Springer site.

"With the redesigned SpringerLink, our site and the new eBook content is fully search engine compliant. If someone searches for information via a commonly used search engine such as Google, MSN, [or] Yahoo, our content will be included in the search results," said Olaf Ernst, global director of eBooks at Springer. "If a searcher's university or corporate library has purchased our eBooks, they'll be able to easily access the content. In addition, searchers can buy single-title access to our eBooks via our partners such as Netlibrary, etc."

According to Ernst, the electronic versions of books will be available online in advance of print availability. He said that Springer worked especially hard to maintain the high quality of images within the PDFs. The company will continue to work with its advisory partners over the next year. Future plans include more user tools, such as bookmarking within the text and users' notes.

Springer eBooks are available directly through SpringerLink at Springer also offers customers the option to purchase individual e-book titles through online retailers. Contact the following partners for Springer eBooks:

  • Ebook Library (EBL)
  • Ciando
  • Knovel
  • MyiLibrary
  • NetLibrary
In addition, Blackwell's Book Services and YBP Library Services are authorized to sell Springer eBook Collections. Springer e-books are available through EBSCO, Swets, and other subscription agents. ebrary also offers Springer e-books on a title-by-title basis.

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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