Large Publisher Comments on Working with Google

The UK’s Daily Mail reports that publisher and database provider, Reed Elsevier “has called a truce” with Google. I wonder if Google knows that they were feuding? Reeds’s CEO, Patrick Crisp, says both companies need to work together.

“For the last year or two we have had a lot of discussion over whether Google is an ally or a competitor,’ he said. ‘But there is a logic to working with Google in one or two areas. Google brings its size and we bring our content.”

Fine, toss some of your content into a large database and people might buy it. A sale is sale. In most cases, the searcher will only find the abstract and then have to pay for the full text. Many publishers are working with Google to add their material. Where these records fall on a search results page is another issue. They MIGHT turn up if the searcher knows the exact title of an article but subject searching is something else. Every web page can’t be in the first 10-20 results.

Also, people might end up paying for material that they can access for free from their university or public library since Reed is also selling full access to these organizations. The searcher might even be able to find a free copy of an article if the author is allowed to place a copy on their own web site.

However, Reed’s databases like LexisNexis not only offer content unavailable (to this point) elsewhere but they also offer what many vertical search tools offer:

+ Access points to material that are not available from general web engines.
+ Advanced search features that some users find useful and are willing to pay for.
+ As general web databases grow larger (more and more pages) using a smaller, more focused database, can pontentially save the searcher time and aggravation.
+ People can’t use what they don’t know about. It’s a marketing issue for Reed and others. It’s also a challenge to change the habits of the searcher. That said, showing how a database can save them time is a perfect way to begin.
+ Factiva’s (another online data aggregator) CEO, Clare Hart, said in June, “Our customers recognize the value in the comprehensive service they’re getting and the time that they are saving. Time is one of the most important assets to business people.” Hart also mentions that info quality counts. She’s right.

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