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Ingenta’s Technological Enhancements Make Debut in New Service
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Posted On January 12, 2004
Ingenta, Inc., which provides access to professional and scholarly research, has announced the availability of an enhanced and unified alerting service for the content available through both ingenta.com and Ingenta Select, the former CatchWord service. Since Ingenta purchased its principal competitor CatchWord in 2001, it has been working toward the goal of integrating its two research platforms. Following a massive engineering effort, the company now successfully operates the two platforms as an integrated data set. The new alerting service serves as the first visible public functionality that takes advantage of the complex behind-the-scenes integration.

ingenta.com is the company's comprehensive document delivery service, offering access to an electronic collection of publications, as well as access to a larger database of publications that are available for fax or Ariel delivery. Ingenta Select has offered access to just the electronic collection. Users of the services have had to set up and maintain separate and multiple alerts. The new alerting service is managed from a single Web interface and searches and delivers alerts for 6,100 electronic full-text and 20,000 fax and Ariel formatted titles.

Simon Dessain, Ingenta's COO, stressed that integrating the two sites has been a complex and timely process. "We have undertaken the integration in stages, starting with the invisible infrastructure." The alerts are now run against a single set of data and provide a much streamlined and simplified service for administrators and users. He commented that the real significance of the new service is what it represents and demonstrates.

As to the next step—full integration of the two Ingenta sites into one—Dessain said the company hopes to have a beta of the integrated interface available in the "very near term." A formal group of libraries will be testing it and the beta will also be publicly available.

The company also announced that linking traffic from registered third parties to ingenta.com and Ingenta Select doubled in 2003. With 40 linking agreements now in place, and Ingenta-hosted content accessible via over 600 Web services, Ingenta says it has created the largest linking network in its market.

The Ingenta aggregation sites are provided to librarians and users for free, and there are currently about 16,000 institutions registered to use the services, of which about 7,000 are in the U.S. Ingenta offers pay-per-view downloading to libraries and end users that do not have subscription arrangements with publishers. In addition to its aggregation of journal articles, Ingenta creates branded Web sites for publishers and libraries. Ingenta now operates over 250 such sites for major publishers such as McGraw-Hill and Oxford University Press (OUP).

Dessain said the company is particularly proud of it recently launched OUP site, Oxford Scholarship Online (http://www.oxfordscholarship.com), which he said was delivered on schedule and highlights Ingenta's capabilities. He called it a "groundbreaking site from a technical and commercial perspective." The $3.5 million, 5-year project with OUP integrates 700 online books to start, and an expected 200 titles a year, with other online resources via active reference links within footnotes and bibliographies. The companies say this enables the user to cross reference information from millions of journal articles within a single search.

Speaking of the project, Geoffrey Bilder, chief technology officer at Ingenta, said: "We have pushed the boundaries in Web design in helping OUP realize their vision for the online future of the scholarly monograph format. Oxford Scholarship Online demonstrates that with the right content, planning, skill-set, and experience you can genuinely create new kinds of Web resources to benefit the scholarly community."

For more information on Ingenta, see the Interview with Ingenta's founder and CEO Mark Rowse in the November 2003 issue of Information Today (http://www.infotoday.com/it/nov03/hane2.shtml).


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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