Serials Solutions continues to build its arsenal of products related to the management and access of electronic content. In mid-March 2008, the company announced that it had been named as the exclusive distributor for AquaBrowser for all academic libraries in North America.
AquaBrowser, part of the genre of new library search interfaces, was created by Medialab Solutions, a small company based in The Netherlands. With over 200 installations, AquaBrowser currently holds the lead in this category of library software.
Beginning in 2004, The Library Corporation (TLC) signed an agreement with Medialab Solutions to distribute AquaBrowser to libraries in North America. In June 2005 Medialab strengthened its relationship with TLC, giving it exclusive representation to libraries in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. In January 2007, TLC and Medialab Solutions announced a three year extension of this exclusive relationship. This relationship unraveled only months later when Medialab Solutions went through a major business transition. TLC has since gone on to create its own new-generation discovery interface for libraries called Indigo.
Medialab Solutions was acquired by R.R. Bowker in June 2007. Both R.R. Bowker and ProQuest, the parent company of Serials Solutions, reside with Cambridge Information Group (CIG). As part of the CIG family of companies, Serials Solutions has increasingly become involved in the technology focused components of the business. This focus, coupled with its existing network of academic library clients, make it the part of the overall company best positioned to promote AquaBrowser to academic libraries.
Serials Solutions continues to expand its position in the library automation industry. Last month we reported that ProQuest acquired WebFeat and folded it into Serials Solutions, making it the dominant player in the federated search arena. This new addition of AquaBrowser to the company's portfolio strengthens its ability to compete with companies such as Ex Libris for the technology dollars of academic libraries.
Until the last year, interest in AquaBrowser came primarily from public libraries. More recently, academic libraries such as the University of Oklahoma and the University of Chicago have purchased the product and will likely serve as a catalyst for future sales in this sector.
In this phase of library automation where Serials Solutions' Product Line Now Includes AquaBrowser libraries have taken a strong interest in improving the interfaces to their content and services, Serials Solutions gains access to the product at a time when the pump is primed for many new sales.