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Innovative Launches its New Knowledge Base

Smart Libraries Newsletter [October 2016]


Innovative Interfaces has launched the Innovative Knowledge Base (release 1.0) to assist academic libraries in the management of electronic resources. The knowledge base includes both technology and content components in support of more efficient management of electronic resources. The technology components are developed by Innovative as part of its open initiative, while the content components are based on data acquired from other services or providers. The Innovative Knowledge Base can be used to support electronic resource management performed within Sierra or third party tools, OpenURL resolution via WebBridge LR, and other standard link resolvers and index-based discovery services, such as Encore Duet. The knowledge base is a multi-tenant cloud-based offering built on the Innovative Open Library Stack platform that Innovative has developed for the deployment of new products and services. This platform, which leverages an infrastructure resident in the Amazon Web Services set of global cloud services, provides a highly scalable, reliable, manageable, and secure modern foundation for Innovative's new applications. The technology components of the knowledge base include tools for working with bibliographic and holdings metadata, integration with Innovative's electronic resource management functionality, and infrastructure upon which the Innovative Knowledge Base resides.

Innovative focuses on the development of technology, but also has experience curating metadata content through their SkyRiver bibliographic utility service. Similarly, the Innovative Knowledge Base will be populated from a variety of proven sources, including partnerships with commercial organizations, as well as open access projects. EBSCO Information Services contributes ongoing updates from their e-resource knowledge base that was developed to support the company's own Full Text Finder, link resolver, and electronic resource management tools. According to EBSCO, the knowledge base includes over 3.2 million unique titles and over 11,500 databases and packages. Libraries using the Innovative Knowledge Base can also take advantage of holdings data from the KB+ open knowledge base that currently describes more than 1,529 packages and 30,601 titles. Innovative states that as the product evolves, libraries will benefit from the inclusion of other commercial and community-supported repositories.

Each organization subscribing to the Innovative Knowledge Base will benefit from its own view of the data, stored in Innovative's Open Library Stack. The product includes the ability for libraries to maintain a profile of local holdings coverage and mechanisms to automatically synchronize the library's local automation system, such as Sierra or Polaris, with the central system of record. Innovative will maintain the accuracy of the knowledge base by publishing updates to the global content every two weeks as part of this initial release, with a goal of increasing frequency over time.

Innovative emphasizes the open character and flexibility of its knowledge base. It is not locked into a single monolithic source but enables the library to work with a variety of sources to assemble their own instance of the knowledge base that best meets their needs.

The new knowledge base supersedes the company's legacy offering, Content Access Service (CASE), a set of coverage metadata in support of the WebBridge link resolver and the Millennium Electronic Resource Management module, which initially launched in October 2005. CASE was based on metadata licensed from OCLC, which no longer offers this data service. OCLC's data service was based on the knowledge base it gained through its acquisition of Openly Informatics in January 2006. OCLC has since revamped the knowledge base that underlies its WorldShare License Manager and other services reliant on e-resource holdings data.

CASE was based on older technology and workflow models that required each institution to manually download coverage, derived from the CASE database, into their local systems. CASE data was updated monthly from a single third-party source, and any resources owned by a library that were not represented in CASE had to be added and maintained manually.

By contrast, the new Innovative Knowledge Base employs a responsive web-interface with predictive search capabilities and rapid response times based on the elastic nature of the platform. Libraries using the Innovative Knowledge Base have the option to compare local holdings with those of other participating libraries, and they can take advantage of open representational state transfer (REST) APIs that support the integration of multiple content streams, as well as the ability to automate library workflows that engage multiple systems.

E-resource knowledge bases exist to simplify the management and access of electric resource packages. Most of the electronic resource packages to which libraries subscribe contain many individual titles. It is essential for a library to know what titles are included and what range of dates is included. Rather than each library having to independently track coverage and holdings, a knowledge base provides this data in a continually updated form. A knowledge base should be populated with the largest possible representation of the academic and professional resources published. Libraries subscribing to the knowledge base can then activate the specific packages or portfolios to which they subscribe. This model greatly simplifies the management of electronic resources by requiring libraries only to activate portfolios rather than to track individual titles and holdings manually. The knowledge base must naturally be as comprehensive and accurate as possible so that libraries do not have to make corrections or create their own profiles for packages not already represented.

The concept of using knowledge bases as in support of electronic resource management and linking is well established. Ex Libris introduced SFX in June 2000, based on technology it acquired from Ghent University. Ex Libris was the first company to offer an OpenURL-based link resolver based on a knowledge base of e-resource holdings. Serials Solutions introduced its Article Linker (later 360 Link) in 2002, which was based on a knowledge base of e-resource holdings. Serials Solutions earned a reputation of providing a very high quality knowledge base. Serials Solutions was acquired by ProQuest in July 2004. ProQuest's acquisition of Ex Libris in December 2015 will lead to the merging of the knowledge base curation processes of the two antecedent companies, though the technical implementations may remain separate. Other commercial providers of knowledge bases include the EBSCO Information Services, whose knowledge base supports their own link resolver and discovery solutions, as well as TDNet.

Proprietary knowledge bases have dominated the realm of electronic resource management and linking. Although some efforts at creating open access knowledge bases have been undertaken, they did not reach a level of completeness and accuracy to compete with the proprietary products. A more promising endeavor, the GOKb, was launched in June 2012 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an open access knowledge base managed through a platform based on open source software. GOKb currently describes 47,959 titles and 524 packages. The sister project run by JISC in the UK, KB+, has seen similar results.

Knowledge bases of e-resource holdings represent a critical component of an automation environment for academic libraries. Most academic libraries dedicate the vast majority of their collection budgets to e-resource subscriptions with much smaller proportions allocated to physical materials. A well-accepted approach to managing electronic resources involves workflows based on activating portfolios, with granular holdings provided via a knowledge base. Given that academic libraries represent about half of Innovative's customer base, the provision of a high-quality knowledge base is critical.

View Citation
Publication Year:2016
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 36 Number 10
Issue:October 2016
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Record Number:22257
Last Update:2022-11-29 00:37:35
Date Created:2017-02-16 09:27:27