The Safari PubFactory platform for academic search and reference: a review of 2014

Safari isn’t just a single product providing books, videos, and training courses to business professionals. We also have a robust client services group that serves the academic publishing market. The team and talent at our PubFactory division operate some of the flagship products in online search and reference.

Providing great academic and scholarly content has always been the PubFactory team’s primary focus and 2014 was another great year in that effort.  The number of publishers and products using the platform continues to grow, and PubFactory’s feature set has expanded in genuinely useful ways.  Here are the ways Safari transformed online publishing just last year:

New Sites and Exciting Improvements

10 new PubFactory sites launched in 2014, which means that we are now operating more than 55 academic products supporting scholars across the humanities, science, lexicography, economics, the social sciences, and law.

Harvard University Press launched the Loeb Classical Library, their second PubFactory site (the first was DARE, The Dictionary of American Regional English, launched late in 2013). This puts the 520 Loeb volumes of Greek and Latin texts and translations online for the first time. The Loeb library is a ground-breaking series that brings the canon of Greek and Latin texts to the general readership, featuring authoritative facing-page translations composed in the last 100 years.  The site takes advantage of PubFactory’s search, browse, read, bookmark, annotate and share functionality, making the library more useful than ever for today’s researchers. The elegant interface was developed specifically to reflect and bring up to date the iconic Loeb’s green and red identity.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.14.20 AM

Oxford University Press added the Oxford Legal Research Library to their suite of law content on PubFactory, bringing the total number of products to nine. (PubFactory supports a surprising amount of law content — in addition to OUP’s suite of law products, we also host Bloomsbury Professional, a product targeted at law practitioners in the UK and Ireland, and De Gruyter and Elgar Online both of which include a significant amount of legal material.)

OUP launched five new products in their Oxford Research Encyclopedias series.  This new series is their most ambitious reference effort in decades. OUP plans to provide dynamic, continuously updated digital encyclopedias in over 20 major disciplines using PubFactory and its SiteGen module.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.07.18 AM

Other new developments this year saw the University Press of Mississippi and theUniversity of North Carolina Press launch on the University Press Scholarship Onlineplatform, which is now hosting 18 of the world’s great academic presses including:

University Presses are crucial disseminators of the scholarship of the world’s academics and as such provide a foundational part of the scholarly record.  Aiding this scholarly communication and widening its availability and discoverability is at the core of what PubFactory does.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.17.34 AM

OUP also leveraged PubFactory’s fine-grained access control to enable selling individual titles for certain OUP products.   This upgrade highlights PubFactory’s ability to enable access to content through publisher controlled collections or individual titles.  Users can filter their searches by supported access models, including free and Open Access.  The disposition of the content is clearly indicated to users so they can immediately see if they are benefiting from their institution’s paid subscriptions or the Open Access model.

The Cengage Compose custom book-building product was significantly enhanced to support a variety of international customers.  This is an exciting upgrade for the product and will mean that it can be used to build custom textbooks for students in Australia, Asia, South America and potentially anywhere in the world, which significantly broadens the reach of the product for Cengage.  Compose makes significant use of the PubFactory custom book build functionality which is also included in IMF’s eLibrary and the De Gruyter platform.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.18.42 AM

The IMF eLibrary product had numerous significant enhancements in 2014 including the addition of cited-by functionality, the use of the SiteGen module to provide a host of country and topic specific subsites, and the addition of other publishers’ content to make the eLibrary a definitive resource for economic data on developing countries around the world.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.20.29 AM

De Gruyter made some significant updates to their site including:

  • Support for EPUB content
  • Support for SWORD deposits.  SWORD is an industry standard protocol for supporting deposits of scholarly information.
  • The addition of new databases including Enhanced Electronic Grammars and four new law databases
  • Support for ORCID and FundRef information as part of CrossRef and PubMed deposits.  ORCID is a new standard for providing author ids; this is extremely helpful in disambiguating the authorship of scholarly articles.  FundRef provides a mechanism for tracking back to the funding source for projects.
  • Extended reporting support to better analyze usage of the site.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.21.53 AM

The SAGE Research Methods Online p roduct added a new content type, cases, and will soon be adding another with data sets.  The push to include binary content is interesting and something that I expect we will see much more of as we move forward.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.23.01 AM

PubFactory Improvements

All of the above products and projects would not be possible without the PubFactory platform providing the underlying infrastructure.  This platform not only provides the search, browse and reading interfaces for making the works available and discoverable online but also provides interfaces for our publishers to upload their content and customize the interface to their needs. This provides the best possible combination of standard features that work “out of the box” with significant customization available to the publishers without the need for engineering support.  The platform also allows publishers to manage access to the products through a full featured account management system.

Working with our clients, we’ve added some great new features to the PubFactory platform this past year. These include:

  • Responsive templates – we made a large investment this year in adapting our base PubFactory templates to accommodate responsive site designs that hugely improve the mobile and tablet experience. We are excited about the redesigns that leverage this new capability; many of our publishers will be benefiting from this in the coming year.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.26.06 AM  Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.26.48 AM

  • EPUB support – PubFactory now fully supports the EPUB document format, including automated document loading, search, browse, and display.
  • Video support – Video is now supported by the base platform.  Video support assumes the use of the Brightcove video streaming service.  Full text transcripts are supported.
  • Glossary support – glossaries are now supported.  These glossaries will support the linking of a full explanation to any word or set of words in the text. The content will link to a glossary entry which will be presented to the user in a lightbox. This enhancement has been coded to allow glossary links to be added to many content types.
  • COUNTER 4 support – At the beginning of the year we rolled out support for a full set of these reports, now the industry standard for reporting in the academic library space.
  • Cited-by linking – PubFactory now has an integration available with CrossRef’s Cited-by service. With this service it is possible to include links to content that reference the article that the user is currently reading. These links are dynamically updated over time whenever new relevant content is added to the CrossRef database.  This allows users to follow the threads of scholarly communication across the books and journals where that conversation is occurring.
  • Citation alerts – In conjunction with the cited-by support, it is now possible to set a citation alert so that a user can be alerted whenever a new citation link appears for an article or chapter of interest.
  • The title landing page has been enhanced to support A-Z, topic-based and featured article views as well as a standard table of contents.
  • Token redemption – The base templates have been enhanced with the addition of a token redemption interface. If the feature is enabled, a link to the token redemption page appears on the homepage where users are able to create individual accounts and redeem AMS tokens.
  • Virtual issue support – PubFactory has been enhanced to provide better support for “virtual journal issues”. Virtual issues provide a mechanism to support the publication of articles even before the parent journal issue is formally published.  This means that publishers can publish individual articles as soon as they are ready and then move them into an issue when the entire issue is complete.
  • OAI-PMH – an API conforming to the Open Archives Initiative’s Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is now configurable to enable library and other systems to query PubFactory sites for metadata retrieval.

Looking Ahead

We are delighted to be expanding the Safari Client Services team as we begin 2015, and we have plans for further growth. Wiley’s new reference platform is progressing well, and there are exciting new launches and platform enhancements planned with many of our clients.

We are continuing to enhance the basic platform and improve the degree to which our publishers can configure their sites without needing custom programming.  In the short-term, we are looking at making internationalization even easier and providing a default out of the box e-commerce solution.

Finally, we’re in promising discussions with some potential new publishing partners. If you would like to request a demonstration of what PubFactory could do for you, please do get in touch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s