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Update on Gale—Mobile, Global, and In Context
Posted On February 14, 2011
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At the recent ALA Midwinter meeting, I caught up with Nader Qaimari, senior vice president, marketing, Cengage Learning, to talk about recent developments at Gale and get a peek at some forthcoming products. Gale continues to be excited about the streamlined company structure implemented last summer—the integration of Gale and Cengage. Qaimari says it lets the company make content connections and help libraries serve as the conduit to information and textbooks. Other news he was eager to discuss included the company’s mobile initiatives, its new Gale World Scholar product line, enhancements to PowerSearch, new administrative tools, and ongoing work on the In Context products.

For library administrators, Gale introduced the new Gale Usage website in December. This new tool provides librarians with fast, flexible access to usage statistics, including COUNTER 3 compliance, and allows them to create and save customized reports for their Gale online resources. In January, Gale introduced its completely redesigned product management tool. The new GaleAdmin Tool features an intuitive new interface that makes it easier to configure and customize the views, preferences, and options on Gale products—including which search to default to, how to automatically turn on limiters, and how to add a library’s holdings. It also provides new functionality with access tools designed to increase usage, including product widgets, AccessMyLibrary, and mobile apps (now available in public, school, and college library editions).

PowerSearch enhancements will be implemented in March. You can find more information on the enhancements here:

When introduced in mid-2009, Gale PowerSearch 2.0 offered the ability to search millions of entries across multiple online resources with just one query. Since then, Gale has gathered feedback from users and, based on that input, Gale is adding new search features—including Search Assist, search filters, additional limiters, and enhanced relevancy. It is also expanding content—more than 1,500 news periodical titles were added last year—and adding support for additional languages in the user interface.

The new Gale World Scholar, a series of research portals for area studies, is expected to launch in April (with the debut planned for the ACRL 2011 National Conference). The first in the series is Latin America & The Caribbean. This regional studies resource combines historical primary sources with contemporary content, including video, podcasts, etc., with a range of support tools. Gale says it’s the first time ever that Gale has combined digital archival collections and current content in one contextualized environment. Features include categories and topics, interactive statistics and maps, and current news and periodicals. Archival documents are facsimile images and each one is full-text searchable. Gale says it is introducing one million primary global documents never before seen electronically, from political and social ephemera, biographies, records of the Department of State, etc. Here is a sneak peek at the some of the content to be included in the resource: (look under Latin America).

Gale is continuing to evolve its Resource Center databases. In Context is a fairly new portfolio of online products that evolved from and is replacing select Gale Resource Center databases—there are now 7 In Context products. Actually, Gale says it’s not just a replacement, it’s a reinvention—it “represents a fundamental shift in Gale’s approach to product development.”

Designed as an online learning environment, the resources deliver authoritative content through comprehensive weblike portal pages. They are designed to support the development of critical thinking and information literacy skills while providing the intuitive experience today’s users have come to expect from online research. Gale reports that a study by an independent customer satisfaction research firm showed significant improvement in college students’ satisfaction with the new products.

The new In Context products offer the following:

  • User tools such as topic overviews, quick-fact boxes, and expert-selected content highlights
  • Search assist and "Did you mean?" functionality consistent with searching on the open web
  • Dynamic images, audio, video, maps, and interactive components
  • ReadSpeaker text-to-speech technology and on-demand language translation
  • More than 1,800 cross-searchable portal pages
  • Web 2.0 share tools including links to social networking sites
  • Customization options for specific user and reading levels

Finally, Qaimari talked proudly of the company’s “forward integration work.” The Gale marketing department has been working with libraries to improve and enhance their websites and enable compatibility with all online resources. The work is all done pro bono. Each site is built with the particular business needs and identity of the library in mind. Gale has now worked on some 2,000 sites for libraries of all kinds—small libraries, rural libraries, and large public libraries, such as New York’s Queensborough Public Library. Here’s a list supplied by the company.

Custom Websites

Library of Virginia Resource Portal

Tennessee Electronic Library K-5 Portal

Fairfax County Public Schools Online Resources

Florida Electronic Library Website

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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