Gale - Helping Libraries Prepare for the 21st
David Bateson, Gale
Good Afternoon. My name is David Bateson and I am Sales & Marketing Manager for Gale at Primary Source Media. If the presentations have run to schedule this afternoon it should be about 4.01pm and I have about 19 minutes to tell you and show you a bit about Gale - and how it hopes to help libraries prepare for the 21st Century!
First of all let me explain the relationship between Primary Source Media and Gale. Primary Source Media - as you have already heard from my colleague Katri Deißroth is an international publisher of microfilm and CD-ROM reference titles and is - like Gale - a part of the Thomson Group of Companies. In fact Gale and Primary Source Media are both part of the "Reference/Library Group" at Thomson and as Gale does not have an office outside the US - Primary Source Media - based in Reading in the UK - is responsible for the sales marketing and distribution of Gale titles in Europe and the Middle East.
Gale - also known as Gale Research - is a leading international reference publisher. To give you an idea of the scale of the publication list:- in the 1997 catalogue there are over 400 current titles of which 40 are in CD-ROM format and 15 available online via the Internet. Approximately 100 of these are new titles either published or due to publish this year.
Gale was founded in 1954 in Detroit Michigan in the USA by Frederick Gale RUFFNER who was at the time looking for a listing of voluntary membership organisations in the United States. He tried a number of local reference libraries and after an exhaustive search discovered that no listing actually existed so he decided to produce one. This title - the Encyclopedia of Associations is now in its 32nd edition - and is available in 5 hardback volumes listing nearly 23,000 American non-profit membership organisations. Its companion international edition lists nearly 19,500 similar organisations around the world.
Since 1954 Gale has grown to an organisation of 600 people based in the historic Penobscot Building in Detroit - of which over half are full time editors and researchers of the over 400 current reference titles. Gale reference titles now span a wide range of subject areas including - literature - business - biography & genealogy - science - art & entertainment - information & publishing to name but a few.
Gale also incorporates a number of imprints which you may be familiar with:
1) St. James Press. St James Press was founded in 1968 in London and acquired by Gale in 1988. It has approximately 50 titles currently in print of which 27 have been named Outstanding Reference Sources by the American Library Association.
2) Taft. Founded over 20 years ago Taft is a leading provider of information in the non- profit/voluntary sector.
3) U¡X¡L which is the educational arm of Gale now handled in Europe by another Thomson company Thomas Nelson UK , and
4) Visible Ink Press which is the "trade" arm of Gale - publishing lower price mainly paperback reference titles
Gale is still very much a traditional print publisher catering
to the needs of its primary market - the reference librarian
whether in a public academic or business reference library.
Just as that librarian's role has changed over the years Gale
has also endeavoured to provide information to its customers
in a form most suited to the needs of that customer. Gale as
a reference publisher has benefitted perhaps more than other
types of publisher from the development of electronic publishing.
You are all I am sure aware of the great benefits of electronic
information over print information in terms of
Gale is now not only able to put one title - for example the 5 volumes of Encyclopedia of Associations - on to 1 CD-ROM but also to bundle several previously separate (but related) print titles on to 1 CD-ROM and allow the user to search all at the same time. Instead of having say 10 Gale titles all open on the desk and having to cross reference all the information onesself this can now be done at the click of a mouse on the computer screen and then saved or printed out immediately.
Perhaps the best example from Gale of all of the advantages of the electronic medium is the "Contemporary Authors" series. In print form this is in 153 volumes with a "new revision" series in 53 volumes updating the original series covering about 100,000 contemporary writers. To buy the entire print collection would at current prices cost in excess of £15,000. "Contemporary Authors" on CD-ROM costs just over £600 per annum annual subscription and includes the entire print series on 1 CD. New releases automatically update previous entries and the entire database is of course searchable from the search engine.
A very important consideration at the design stage of a Gale CD is useability both for the novice user and the more experienced information professional. Therefore all Gale databases have a straightforward interface allowing both simple searching and the use of more complex searches using Boolean operators and other search languages.
A few key Gale titles that are now available on CD-ROM include:
1) The Encyclopedia of Associations. The original title that launched Gale is now available on one CD- ROM called "Associations Unlimited". The extended search facility allows all approx 42,000 organisations to be selected by several different criteria.
2) Gale Business Resources. Based upon 2 directories listing companies in the US and around the world this CD lists a staggering 400,000 companies and links in information from about 10 other Gale titles giving exhaustive details on company histories/brands/rankings/market share reports and many other vital pieces of business information
3) Biography & Genealogy Master Index. This CD is essentially an index to 10M biographical sketches of people from the beginning of recorded history to today's newsmakers. It refers the user to more than 2200 volumes of 780 biographical dictionaries and who's whos. An internal tagging system allows a library to mark up which sources it has in its collection and aid the user in tracking down the information he or she needs
4) SuperLCCS. Is a comprehensive guide to the Library of Congress Classification System. One CD contains the equivalent of 42 bound volumes that are a guide to this system. Ideal for the classification librarian the CD not only consolidates all additions to the schedules published by the Library of Congress it also includes guides to users in the form of "Gale notes" that are compiled by a specialist team of expert classification librarians. Again a powerful search engine allows all of the schedules to be searched for the most appropriate and consistent classification
There are of course several more CDs I could mention but I thought I would quickly refer also to one more:
5) Gale's Quotations:Who Said What? which collects together 117,000 quotations from the "famous and the infamous"!. In all cases it gives a brief career description for the person quoted - for example Jesus Christ is listed as follows:
Roman. Religious Leader. Background of Author/Speaker Born: 4? B.C. in Bethlehem, Judea. Died: 29? A.D. in Jerusalem, Judea. Career Highlights: Founded Christianity which became one of world's largest, most influential religions; Christians believe him to be the "Son of God. Also known as: Son of Man; Messiah; Anointed One; King of the Jews; Son of God.
I was also able to find the following quote from W. J. Prowse:
Though the latitude's rather uncertain, And the longitude also is vague, The persons I pity who know not the City, The beautiful City of Prague. - The City of Prague
So far I have only spoken about CD-ROMs. No presentation of Gale would be complete without reference to GaleNet - the new Internet based delivery mechanism for information from Gale. In time undoubtedly all of Gale's major reference works will be accessible in this way. Currently 15 Gale databases are on GaleNet including all of the CD-ROMs I have just mentioned. A few Gale databases may indeed jump straight from print to online by-passing CD-ROM (this is likely to be the case for example with the Dictionary of Literary Biography - a currently 173 volume guide to literature from around the world). Gale's main concern is to make sure that information is available in formats most suited to customers' needs - Gale is therefore likely to remain a print publisher for many years to come as well as a major provider of information in electronic form.
Access to Gale databases whether on CD-ROM or via GaleNet is currently on an annual subscription basis. This ensures that during the 12 month subscription period (which can start at any time) you are guaranteed to have the most up to date information. Information is updated on most titles twice a year but in due course online databases will of course be updateable on a real time basis. Gale recognises that it is important to be able to evaluate each product beofr making a buying decision and so all titles are available on a 30 day trial basis. With CD-ROMs this is normally built in to the set up routine - a trial CD is valid for 30 days and allows access to all data but does not permit saving or printing. At any time the CD can be bought and unlocked by telephoning and being allocated an "unlock code". Similarly the GaleNet service can be trialed - once IP addresses have been taken for the relevant PCs a 30 day password code is allocated.
What developments can we look forward to from Gale in the future? Obviously digitisation of all information held in analogue/print format will continue and in due course all or almost all information will be available in electronic form. Gale are also looking into the possibility of transaction based access where a user can pay just for the information that they need. In addition there are already plans to establish hyperlinks on the Internet from the listing of a particular association in say Associations Unlimited direct to that organisation's homepage. Gale already has its own web search engine called "Cyberhound Online" which helps you to search the World Wide Web and evaluate sites.
If you have Internet access why not have a look at the various Gale sites - the general page is gale.com from where you can visit the cyberhound site and also GaleNet.
I hope you have found this brief presentation useful and interesting - of course in the short time available I have been able to concentrate only on a few key electronic titles but if you would like further information on any of the titles discussed or other titles please come and get a 1997 catalogue from me and of course you can always browse the catalogue on the Internet at gale.com.