Many traditional commercial publishers realise that they need to rejuvenate at least the interface part of their software in order to keep up with the trends in online information retrieval, and information dissemination that cannot be sufficiently limited by the software equivalent of the “No solicitation” and “No trespass” signs. This paper aims to look at the case of Springer and its attempts to address this issue.
The paper focuses on the new version of SpringerLink (launched in August 2010) and other partially free services offered by Springer, the second largest scholarly publisher. The data reported here were collected during the first week of 2011.
The paper finds that many of the Springer services can significantly improve the efficiency of searching the SpringerLink databases. Most can be and should be directly incorporated in an upcoming release of the software. Others need more time for improvement, and to become practical and functional.
These recent concentrated in‐house efforts by Springer provide a good model for other scholarly publishers and online information services to make their software more state‐of‐the‐art by incorporating useful Web 2.0 features, or simply implementing pre‐web functions that have been used only by information professionals because they were user‐hostile compared with the gadgets, gizmos, and applets available these days that can do things automatically, smartly and very appealingly, but some of them can also turn out to be a pointless distraction.
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