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Ingenta Brings Suite of Online Publishing Services to the U.S.
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Posted On October 4, 1999


A U.K.-based provider of electronic publishing services, ingenta, inc. is mounting an aggressive global expansion campaign by establishing a U.S. office and bringing in an important new member to its management team. The company, with European operations in Oxford and Bath, U.K., announced that industry veteran Christine Lamb, newly appointed chief operating officer, would head its new office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The ingenta service offers a unique value for publishers and users by providing a search engine for professional journal content with the bibliographic layer of data for free, with links to the full text of journal articles.

Lamb's immediate task will be to contact U.S. publishers and focus on building a base of content to meet the needs of the scholarly and professional markets. Mark Rowse, CEO of ingenta, indicated that agreements with a number of publishers are currently pending and would be announced soon. The company then plans the launch in January 2000 of a redesigned Web site that will include portal features such as news and alerting services.

Established just 1 year ago (in September 1998) by Rowse through a partnership with the University of Bath, the company has quickly built its services for publishers and users from bibliographic data via telnet into Web-based full-text electronic distribution. The company continues to operate its BIDS service (Bath Information and Data Services), which offers 12 bibliographic databases to the U.K. higher education community on a not-for-profit basis through its BIDS Academic division. Databases include ERIC, Embase, Compendex, and the ISI Current Contents files, among others. According to Rowse, MEDLINE and several other databases will be added soon, and Reuters Business Briefing is in the trial phase now. BIDS will not be phased out, but will continue to operate as a portal for U.K. academia.

For librarians and users, the ingenta service already provides access to over 2,000 journal titles and over 500,000 articles. While specializing in the scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journal publishing area, the company plans to broaden the scope of content and is adding key business resources as well. Users have free access to the bibliographic information and article abstracts, and, depending on each publisher's preference, are then able to access full-text articles through subscription or pay-per-view options, or in some cases for free.

The ingenta full-text journals service already includes a number of key publishers, including Elsevier Science, Academic Press, Blackwell Science, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Blackwell Publishers, and Oxford University Press. While most of these publishers also offer content through their own Web-based access, and some participate in other electronic distribution services such as HighWire or CatchWord, Rowse stressed that ingenta offers publishers increased market visibility, a supplemental distribution point for their content, and additional revenue streams.

He also pointed to a number of key advantages in the ingenta service. For publishers, ingenta provides a hosting service for end-user access through the ingenta Web service, and also can convert publishers' content for electronic distribution through other third-party channels such as OCLC or EBSCO. The ingenta service already offers publishers a very large base of U.K. academic users and will target the U.S. academic and research markets. The company also plans to reach out to corporate libraries that need access to professional material.

Ingenta has also recently developed a partnership with eBusiness Technologies (http://www.ebt.com), whose DynaBase Web content management system will enable ingenta to build a new generation of XML-based portal and e-community services. The first two of these are produced with CABI Publishing in the areas of animal science and human nutrition. The sites are scheduled to preview late this fall and launch in early January 2000. The sites will be access controlled from the ingenta site.

Management Expertise Will Be the Key for Expansion

Lamb, with 20 years of experience in the information industry, brings considerable expertise and valued industry and user contacts to the ingenta expansion plan. Previously, Lamb was director of content and market development at SilverPlatter Information. Lamb spearheaded content development for KnowledgeCite, an Internet-based information service backed by SilverPlatter that provides access to bibliographic databases. The service is reportedly still in the beta phase and is due to launch this fall.

Prior to this position, Lamb was a senior product manager at Inso Corporation, a leading developer of international, electronic proofing tools, and reference materials. Lamb served as president of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Electronic Publishing, and is a frequent speaker at information industry and library conferences.

"[Lamb's] extensive experience in the information industry will be critical to ingenta's expansion into the U.S. market," said Rowse. "We look forward to tapping her strengths in this area as we establish our presence in the U.S."

"Ingenta has demonstrated its leadership in the U.K. by helping publishers understand how the Internet can build new revenue streams and extend audience reach," said Lamb. "I look forward to the opportunity of developing the company's publisher services while enhancing ingenta's visibility in the U.S."

For more information, visit http://www.ingenta.com or call the Cambridge, Massachusetts, office at 617/576-5815.


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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