June 2010 marks the tenth anniversary for Serials solutions. The company has grown into a major competitor in the library automation industry, demonstrating remarkable growth from its quite humble beginnings. Now a business unit of ProQuest with 175 employees, Serials Solutions began as a project of Peter McCracken, with the goal of organizing and managing the electronic holdings of the library at East Carolina University and later at the University of Washington. In 2000 McCracken launched Serials Solutions as a 4-person company, which has since developed an arsenal of products to manage and provide access to electronic resources. ProQuest acquired Serials Solutions in July 2004, and subsequently built a broad suite of products centered on the e-journal knowledgebase originally conceived and created by McCracken. Most recently, Serials Solutions created Summon as a discovery service for all aspects of library collections, including print.
The Summon Service from Serials Solutions continues to gain strength as a major competitor in the discovery arena. Since the original product announcement in Jan 2009 and its launch as a production service in July 2009, Serials Solutions has continually expanded the content represented in the index and has attracted a steady stream of libraries adopting this hosted service. Some of the libraries publicly announced as subscribers include Dartmouth College, Oklahoma State University, Grand Valley State University, University of Huddersfield (UK), and Bucknell University. (See March 2009 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter for more details on Summon.) The Bibliotheca Alexandria in Cairo, Egypt also selected Summon in recent weeks.
Grand Valley State University adopted Summon in July 2009, following an in-depth evaluation to determine the extent to which their holdings were represented. Subsequent to implementation, the GVSU Library conducted studies to assess the impact of their new discovery service on the use of library resources. Serials Solutions provides a promotional case study which includes selected findings that reports significant increases in the use of specific electronic holdings. For example: “Academic Search Premier saw a usage increase of 92%, General OneFile increased 179% and ABI/INFORM rose 354%” and “after the Summon implementation (completed in August 2009), GVSU's top 100 journals showed an average usage increase of 48%, while the top 1000 had increased usage of 82%.” (see: http://www.serialssolutions .com/assets/publications/GVSU-Summon- Case-Study.pdf)
Another important development involves the selection of Summon by the European university that created Summa, one of the earliest discovery platforms based on a consolidated index. In July 2010, the State and University Library (Statsbiblioteket, Universitetsparken) in Aarhus, Denmark announced that it has become a partner with Serials Solutions for Summon. This announcement stands out because this library has gained significant attention for its development of the Summa discovery platform. The collaboration with Serials Solutions will bring together the strengths of the Summa project and Summon. Summa involves a large consolidated index of metadata from Danish research publications and cultural heritage collections, resulting in an extremely powerful search capability.
Development of Summa began at the State and University Library beginning in 2005 as an open source discovery platform based on the Lucene search engine, programmed in Java. It has been adopted by other libraries beyond the original development site including the Silkeborg Public Library and the Odense Public Library, both also in Denmark. In addition to Summon, the State and University Library has subscribed to a full suite of Serials Solutions products including 360 Link, (OpenURL link resolver), 360 Resource Manager for electronic resource management, 360 Counter for assessing use of electronic resources, and 360 Core, the central knowledgebase services related to e-journal subscriptions.