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TD Net: Discovery and Resource Management for Corporate Libraries

Smart Libraries Newsletter [September 2016]

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Smart Libraries Newsletter has provided extensive coverage of index-based discovery services and tools for managing electronic resources oriented to academic libraries. These include products from ProQuest, Ex Libris, EBSCO Information Services, and OCLC. These products compete vigorously in the academic library sphere, with some also expanding into other markets such as public libraries and schools. Another company, TDNet, also offers these types of products, oriented to corporate, medical, and other special libraries. This article rounds out our coverage of discovery services, providing an overview of a company and its products that may be less familiar to those in academic and public libraries.

Company Background

TDNet is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, with offices in West Chester, PA in the United States. The company was founded in the year 2000, with backing from venture capital firms Landmark and Delta Ventures, in addition to Teldan Information Systems, its corporate parent. Asher Sofrin serves as Chief Executive Officer for TDNet and as the Managing Director for Teldan Information Systems. Moshe Efron is the Vice President of Sales. Doug Madigan joined TDNet in September 2015 as its Sales Manager for North America. As a private company, TDNet does not disclose its business details, such as the specific number of employees or annual revenue. In a telephone interview, with both Efron and Madigan, Efron stated that the company serves several hundred customers, with about 65 percent in the United States and the remainder in Europe, which characterizes the size of the company as smaller than other industry players.

TDNet operates partially as a subsidiary of Teldan Information Systems, which was founded in 1978. Teldan's core offerings include subscription management services, aggregated databases of e-journal content primarily in the fields of science, technology, medical, and engineering. The company also offers tools for managing military information and operates the annual INFO conference and exhibition. Teldan offers e-content management and discovery services via TDNet.

The founding of TDNet came about to help Teldan Information Systems respond to the trend playing out in the mid 1990's of publishers shifting to electronic formats. As a major subscription agent, the company perceived the opportunity to expand its business by creating tools to help manage these emerging electronic resources. Development of the TDNet knowledgebase and electronic resource management applications commenced in 1998. TDNet was officially launched at the IFLA General Conference held in Jerusalem in 2000.

TDNet works primarily with corporate libraries and those supporting health care organizations, though its customers do include some academic and other types of special libraries. This orientation to special libraries drives significant differences compared to those from Ex Libris, OCLC, and other companies that are oriented more toward academic libraries.

TDNet's products are based on an e-resource knowledge base and a discovery index it has developed. The knowledgebase is oriented toward the resources of interest to its key customer base of libraries in the corporate environment and healthcare. These organizations often subscribe to much of the same range of titles as academic libraries. The TDNet Knowledge base currently describes 324,000 journal titles, over 830,000 books, and 2,900 aggregated databases of full-text content from over 52,000 different publishers. Each library receives its own copy of the knowledge base that is frequently updated and can include coverage of private or proprietary collections that are not part of the global distribution. Efron indicated that several company personnel work directly or indirectly with the upkeep of the knowledge base, but that increasingly parts of this work can be automated as vendors deliver holdings data in standard formats, such as KBART, and with improved quality control.

One of TDNet's early products was an OpenURL link resolver called TOUResolver, which is able to determine appropriate links for articles based on metadata in its knowledge base. TOUResolver functioned much like Ex Libris SFX and was purchased directly by libraries and licensed through partners, such as Endeavor information Systems. The knowledge base can also be used to generate A-Z lists of journal titles or other finding aids.

The TDNet Electronic Resource Management (ERM) product includes a variety of components to assist an organization in the acquisition and management of subscription-based content and can be configured for consortial or single-institution deployment. The ERM includes the ability to manage vendors, collect and report usage statistics, track the holdings contained within each package, and to manage renewals and cancellations.

In recent years, TDNet has reshaped its product lines away from traditional modules such as ERM tools and link resolvers and more toward higher-level functions. TDNet currently organizes its offerings around three categories of functionality: Discovery, Portal, and Authentication.

Discovery

TDNet Discover brings together a variety of technologies and content components into an environment designed to enable library users to search and view results from across the entire set of electronic content offered by the library. This discovery tool makes use of both pre-indexed content held in the central index maintained by TDNet as well as federated search technology directly accessing external targets of resources. This hybrid approach contrasts with other index-based discovery services that rely entirely on a central index.

The TDNet Central Index forms a core part of its discovery product. This index is populated from a large number of sources such as PubMed, PubMed Central and content from many other publishers. The index includes full text of articles when available in addition to the citation metadata. The central discovery index of article-level metadata and content also incorporates the knowledge base of metadata and holdings at the journal title level. This approach facilitates the presentation of valid results regardless of whether the searcher is looking for a given journal title or for relevant articles.

TDNet Discover blends index-based retrieval with federated search, with the ability to blend all results from all sources into a single relevancy-based list. The central index continues to expand. Popular federated search targets can be incorporated into the index when the publisher is willing to provide content to TDNet.

Many of TDNet's customers are corporations or other organizations that manage private proprietary collections in addition to their subscribed resources. TDNet is able to manage these private collections in the copy of the knowledge base and indexes used by such an organization without exposing that content publicly.

An important capability of TDNet Discover relates to providing reports and statistics on the use of resources. The environment includes a built-in Sushi harvester, which automatically collects COUNTER statistics for each of resource. TDNet is currently working toward merging its electronic resource management tools into its unified discovery environment. The core functionality of the ERM addresses the complete lifecycle of electronic resources, including acquisition or renewal, tracking license terms, vendor contacts, and authentication or authorization details. The environment also collects and aggregates use statistics. These capabilities will gradually become part of the back-office console of TDNet Discover.

Madigan noted that TDNet is one of the few remaining providers of discovery and electronic resource tools that is not also a content provider. This independence assures no bias in how these products perform relative to content resources from any given publisher.

Portal

TDNet has also created a content management system that provides a complete web site or landing page for the library. This portal environment surrounds the core discovery component with relevant content items and searches. Many libraries in a corporate environment may not have ready access to the enterprise intranet in a way that enables them to make timely updates or incorporate specialized search features. The TDNet portal enables personnel in the library to easily create content pages, either for specialized topics or to serve as the library's main website. Functions based on TDNet Discover can be formulated into widgets, which can in turn populate the portal or external web-based resources. These widgets may provide general search capabilities or can be personalized for any given user.

Especially when implementing the TDNet authentication services, the view seen by a library user can be customized according to roles defined or inherited from a single sign-on process.

Authentication Services

Another area of functionality TDNet addresses involves authentication services. The needs of its typical customers, such as pharmaceutical companies or other corporate entities, come with very sophisticated requirements for interoperability with local authentication services. The requirements of these kinds of organizations differ considerably from colleges and universities that continue to rely mostly on IP-based authentication.

TDNet provides a variety of tools to enable users to leverage their single sign-on for access to the discovery environment as well as to external content resources. TDNet works with a variety of authentication services. It has a long-standing reseller arrangement with OpenAthens and has developed an integration layer with its TDNet Discovery environment. OpenAthens was developed by Eduserv, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom. The company also works with SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) used in many corporate environments to provide a single sign-on with its discovery environment and with the electronic resources accessed. The company can also implement an option on a corporate network to automatically redirect access to a library content resource through the discovery environment. This redirect can even occur when the user attempts to access it via its native URL, enabling all use to be captured for statistical reporting. TDNet's authentication services are designed to enable access to authorized resources from any location and through any device, including tablets and smartphones.

Professional Services

TDNet adds value to its products through its professional services. Rather than using the products with their default deployments, TDNet offers services to integrate and customize its content and technology products into its customer's technical and organizational environment and with third party providers. TDNet is able to implement specialized thesauri according to the specific requirements of the library. Some institutions may, for example, prefer to incorporate Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) or other customized subject headings into the information architecture of their implementation.

Technical Details

TDNet does not publish the specific details of the technical components that underlie its products, but the company emphasizes that they are based on an open approach that follows applicable industry standards. The TDNet applications are based on APIs that can be used to create alternative interfaces, widgets, or other customized functionality. For more information on TDnet, see http://www.tdnet.com.

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Publication Year:2016
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 36 Number 09
Issue:September 2016
Page(s):3-5
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Company: TDnet
ISSN:1541-8820
Record Number:22254
Last Update:2022-11-15 09:03:23
Date Created:2017-02-16 09:12:55
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