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EBSCO Consolidates its Library-oriented Subsidiaries

Smart Libraries Newsletter [July 2013]


In a major move that consolidates the two library-oriented subsidiaries of EBSCO Industries, Inc. that have operated separately for almost 30 years, EBSCO Publishing and EBSCO Information Services will combine into a single company. Tim Collins, President of EBSCO Publishing, will lead the consolidated company as its President and Chief Operating Officer. Allen Powell, formerly President of EBSCO Information Services, will continue to lead the company's subscription services business, reporting to Collins. The new company will operate under the name EBSCO Information Services. The reorganization will be effective on July 1, 2013.

EBSCO Information Services and EBSCO Publishing have been involved in increasingly overlapping business activities in recent years. EBSCO Publishing focused on the development and production of content products and tools related to their access. EBSCO Information Services was more involved in services and technologies for libraries related to the acquisition and management of subscription-based resources. EBSCO reports that while the two companies have worked together closely all along, they will be fully integrated into a single business.

EBSCO Publishing and EBSCO Information Services, operating as independent companies, each developed their own technology infrastructure for the deployment of their products and services. EBSCO Publishing relies on EBSCOhost as the platform for publishing its content products, and EBSCO Discovery Service as its Web-scale discovery platform. EBSCO Discovery Service provides access to an expansive representation of library resources, including the collections managed by the library's ILS and non-EBSCO electronic resources. EBSCO Information Services created EBSCONET to support its subscription services and to provide tools to libraries to assist in the management of electronic resources. Services based on EBSCONET included ERM Essentials, the LinkSource link resolver, and the EBSCO A-Z service. The EBSCONET product suite also includes Usage Consolidation and Usage Loading Service.

Prior to the merger of the two businesses, efforts were already underway to consolidate their technology platforms. In January 2012, EBSCO announced that it would shift its A-Z and LinkSource utilities to the EBSCOhost platform. Link resolution and tools for browsing or searching e-journal titles and the knowledge bases underlying them seem intrinsically related to discovery, making it beneficial for these reside within the same infrastructure. EBSCO reports that A-Z and LinkSource will be redeveloped as a new product named Full Text Finder, deployed either as a standalone product or a component of either EBSCOhost or EBSCO Discovery Service. Full Text Finder will be provided to existing EBSCO Discovery Service customers without additional cost. EBSCONET, the strategic platform of the incumbent EBSCO Information Services, provides functionality to libraries for managing their print and electronic subscriptions. ERM Essentials provides a complete electronic resource management system. EBSCONET previously also included the EBSCO A-Z e-journal finding aid for library users and the LinkSource link resolver, but these two components have been shifted to the EBSCOhost platform.

The merger of these two business units results in synergies and streamlining in the company's technology platforms. The organization retains the name EBSCO Information Services, which better characterizes its products and services.

Organizational Background

EBSCO Information Services and EBSCO Publishing have operated as independent subsidiaries of EBSCO Industries, Inc., a massive, privately-owned, diversified group of businesses. In addition to these two library-oriented businesses, EBSCO Industries is involved in real estate, manufacturing, outdoor products, and other areas, along with a central set of corporate services that support all of its businesses. EBSCO has continually grown through the acquisitions of companies with the potential to expand within each of its areas of interest and to increase its revenues. In previous years, EBSCO Information Services and EBSCO Publishing were considered part of the Information Services Division of EBSCO Industries, operating as separate companies.

EBSCO traces its history to the entrepreneurial activities of Elton B. Stephens, with the founding in 1944 of Military Services Company to sell magazines, bindings, and racks to US military installations. The company has steadily grown through the acquisition of other related companies.

EBSCO Publishing got its start as a family business in Ipswich, MA that created summaries of magazine articles, which they published in a newsletter. Founded in 1984 by Gerald Seaman and Tim Collins, the company , called Popular Magazine Review, had expanded considerably by the time EBSCO Industries acquired it in 1987 and renamed the product Magazine Article Summaries. That year EBSCO Industries had also acquired Horizon Information Systems, a company founded in 1985 to create search and retrieval software for databases distributed on CD-ROM, with Oliver Pesch leading the development process. These two companies were combined to form EBSCO Publishing. In 1991 the company began issuing products on CD-ROM, and in 1995 EBSCOhost was introduced, providing access to its database products via the Internet. In 1992 EBSCO Publishing began to cover scholarly journals in its databases in addition to popular titles.

Today EBSCO Industries, Inc. ranks among the largest 200 private companies in the United States with estimated revenues of around $2.5 billion. As a closely held private company, EBSCO Industries does not release financial details for itself or its subsidiaries. Dixon Brooke serves as its Chief Executive Officer.

Previous structureNew organization
SubsidiaryEBSCO Information ServicesEBSCO PublishingEBSCO Information Services
HeadquartersBirmingham, ALIpswich, MAIpswich, MA
PresidentAllen PowellTim CollinsTim Collins
Technology PlatformEBSCONETEBSCOhost + EDSEBSCOhost + EBSCONET + EDS
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Publication Year:2013
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 33 Number 07
Issue:July 2013
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Record Number:18277
Last Update:2022-11-16 19:10:55
Date Created:2013-08-22 10:02:48