Creating a Successful E‐information Service

Ina Fourie (University of Pretoria, South Africa

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




Fourie, I. (2004), "Creating a Successful E‐information Service", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 366-366.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Through the use of case studies, Creating a Successful E‐information Service introduces readers in a clear, practical way to the principles of improving and upgrading existing services, as well as introducing electronic information services (EIS) from scratch. An EIS is defined as “one where maximum use is made of electronically held information” (p. V). According to the authors it is much easier to design an EIS from scratch than to convert a traditionally paper‐based information service (p. V). Although the discussion is kept to basic principles, the reader is alerted to the more complex underlying issues through an extensive reading list for each chapter that is offered at the end of the book. The clarity of the text can be contributed to the authors' extensive experience in EIS. They have been involved amongst other things, in the pioneering virtual reference desk project ( and the associated virtual reference digital conference.

Creating a Successful E‐information Service includes eight brief chapters covering the concept of an EIS, the different kinds of EIS, the consideration of customers and their needs, the involvement of different parties in the planning of an EIS, budgeting, means of keeping in touch with customers, as well as the need and means to keep up with the competition. The book is concluded with a glossary, a list of references for further reading, an index, and information about the authors. The chapters follow a similar format. Each is started with a bulleted list of what to expect in the chapter. At the end there is a summary and sometimes a conclusion. A list of examples of electronic services is also included. The index is unfortunately very basic.

At US$45 Creating a Successful E‐information Service (160 pages) seems rather over‐priced in comparison to a publication such as A History of Online Information Services: 1963‐1976 by Hann and Bourne (MIT Press, 2003, 493 pages), which is also listed at $45.00 (hardback). For those readers not concerned about the price, Creating a Successful E‐information Service, is, however, recommended as an excellent first point for e‐service and potential e‐service designers, as well as a recommended text for library and information science (LIS) students.

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