Inmagic, Inc. (http://www.inmagic.com) is well-known in library circles. For more than 20 years, the company has helped librarians handle their information organization issues, build databases, and provide content catalogs for users. But information professionals and the organizations they support now must deal with an ever-increasing range of resources—in multiple collections, in diverse formats, and in diverse locations. In November 2005, Inmagic quietly introduced Presto, a newly developed research asset management product that accommodates complex information environments and multiple structures and collections. Now, the company is releasing version 1.1 of the software and proudly announced several recent high-profile customer implementations.
"We introduced Presto in response to the evolving needs of information professionals and the organizations that they support," noted Inmagic's president and CEO, Phillip L. Green. "With nearly everyone a ‘researcher' in some way, end users in a wide range of organizations are critically dependent on getting timely access to the right information. However, those research assets typically are not easily accessible by all who need them. The assets are highly varied and reside in multiple places around an organization. Their sheer volume continues to grow, and ‘information silos' often get created because each type of information or business process is unique. Presto enables organizations to replace this with a single Web-based system that's optimized for enterprise research asset management."
Consolidating those "information silos" is at the heart of the product. Presto lets organizations manage many types of internal and external content—documents, images, PDFs, Web resources, news, RSS feeds, and more—while maintaining the unique metatag structures for each type. Information professional administrators and their users all work from a single, Web-based system to gain access to content 24/7.
This Presto should not be confused with an earlier Inmagic product with the same name that I covered in an article in September 2004 (http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleId=19335)—that product has now been rebranded as Genie Express. According to Green, Genie Express lets users build a single catalog easily—it uses a single metatag structure, such as Dublin Core. The new Presto 1.1 is designed for more complex environments that need to handle multiple metatag structures and want to consolidate multiple content catalogs within a single environment. Green said that the company now offers a range of products designed to meet the needs of a full spectrum of library and information center customers.
A core feature of Presto 1.1 is what Green calls "active management." The product was designed for information professionals to add value to their content and actively manage an organization's research assets. Presto provides the ability to define content metatag structures, add fields, categorize content, change taxonomies, inactivate erroneous or out-dated content, restructure home pages, publish content, and set access rights for end users—all without support from a company's information technology (IT) organization.
Information professionals control exactly what is shown on the home page and how it's displayed, and this easily can be changed to reflect hot topics and to accommodate special collections of information. Different views and content can be presented to different user groups.
Presto lets users search and browse for information, depending on their needs. Users can choose a simple Googlelike keyword search or use advanced search screens that are tailored with fields for each content type. P resto supports taxonomy structures and browsable directories that let end users easily navigate to the information that they need. The hierarchy for a browsable directory can be managed with a simple drag-and-drop interface, and directory categories can be viewed in multiple ways. Presto has defined APIs for loading third-party taxonomies.
While Presto handles metasearching of multiple content catalogs, Green said it is limiting to call it just a metasearch product. Metasearch products allow multiple sources of information to be searched in one interface but do not enable active content management as Presto provides. Presto does not automatically de-dup content. According to Green, this can be handled as a pre-importing process. This would be set up by Inmagic's professional services group during implementation. At the current time, Presto does not handle passwords and authentication for searching subscription resources. In the next release, Presto will offer RSS and e-mail alerting.
Inmagic, Inc. also announced that Cephalon, Kennedy Space Center/NASA, and Newsweek are implementing Inmagic Presto.
The Professional Services/Medical Information group within the Cephalon Medical Affairs Department is implementing Presto to manage and provide access to various materials (e.g., published articles and regulatory documents) that are used to inform and educate healthcare professionals on the more than 20 products marketed by the pharmaceutical firm.
After exhaustive industry studies, Kennedy Space Center/NASA said it decided to implement Presto to organize and provide agencywide access to mission-critical video and imaging assets that are used by a wide audience to increase mission safety, review design decisions, and monitor launch results.
Newsweek has an editorial staff of 700 around the world who use research materials in at least seven different repositories (information silos)—a photo archive, article archive, Web links, topical databases from internal research, newsfeeds, etc. Newsweek is implementing Presto to unify access to this wide-ranging set of research materials. Madeline Cohen, director of the Newsweek Research Center, commented: "Presto gives the Newsweek Research Center a dynamic content management system to quickly deliver critical news information to our users, plus a powerful search and retrieval database for Newsweek articles and cover images. The Research Center can now configure new databases and change the look and feel of our intranet homepage without having to rely on IT. Being as self-sufficient as possible was a key requirement for us."
Presto 1.1 is offered in three configurations, depending upon the application— InfoCenters, Newsrooms, and Marketing. Because they are based on Microsoft SQL Server and .NET technology that utilizes Web services, Inmagic applications can be integrated with and interoperate within an organization's overall IT infrastructure. Pricing information was not disclosed.