Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A rant, not necessarily coherent: Thompson Gale

Thompson Gale are the tricksiest publisher's of databases I know. It's one thing to market a subset of a database as a separate database. It's another to sell two databases with different names and the exact same contents.

I couldn't believe it when I pulled up the title lists for Business & Company ASAP and General Business ASAP and the title lists were EXACTLY THE FREAKING SAME.

I emailed the company rep earlier this week asking what the differences were. I haven't heard back yet. I wonder what they're going to tell me. Maybe there's something different, but when I searched one and then the other they returned EXACTLY THE SAME FREAKING RESULTS. ARRRGH. SOoo frustrating.

The other piece about marketing a subset? Well when the state rebid the contract there was a big list of databases that were very subject specific which looked nifty. We looked at them and they were great. Come to find out each one is just a subset of full-text journals that are indexed in the larger Academic OneFile. My guess is that they were and are in the Expanded Academic database (Also searched by OneFile). When you search OneFile, you are searching most of the Gale databases that the state purchased. That's cool as long as the databases have different contents. OneFile searches both of those business databases that are EXACTLY THE FREAKING SAME.

Here's a list of those subset full-text databases

InfoTrac Agriculture Collection
InfoTrac Business Economics and Theory
InfoTrac Communication & Mass Media
InfoTrac Criminal Justice
InfoTrac Diversity Studies
InfoTrac Educators
InfoTrac Environmental Issues & Policy
InfoTrac Garden, Landscape & Horticulture
InfoTrac General Science
InfoTrac GLBT Life and Issues
InfoTrac Information Science & Library Issues
InfoTrac Insurance & Liability Collection
InfoTrac Nursing and Allied Health Collection
Infotrac Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Collection
InfoTrac Pop Culture Collection
InfoTrac Psychology Collection
InfoTrac Religion & Philosophy
InfoTrac Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure
InfoTrac US History
InfoTrac Vocation, Careers & Technical Education
InfoTrac War & Terrorism
InfoTrac World History

It is nifty to be able to search a subset of full text journals on a specific topic. I actually LIKE this feature. BUT, when I was evaluating the package as proposed by Gale to the state, I did not know that they were subsets of a larger database. It is the marketing tactic of making us think there was more content, more databases, more access that I despise. Misleading, complicated rant, rant, rant, rant.

I should say that it was clear that they were all searched using Academic Onefile. But that is true of many other diverse databases such as Informe a Spanish language collection and LegalTrac a premier legal research database. What was not clear was the fact that they (the little fulltext dbases) were subsets of stuff already indexed.

Academic Onefile is a supersearch engine that will eventually (hopefully) search any and all Thompson Gale products purchased. Although, now that I look at the website, it does say that

"Academic OneFile is the premier source for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources. With extensive coverage of the physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, the arts, theology, literature and other subjects, Academic OneFile is both authoritative and comprehensive. With millions of articles available in both PDF and HTML full-text with no restrictions, researchers are able to find accurate information quickly. Includes full-text coverage of the New York Times back to 1995. Updated daily."

Does this mean it has it's own content or is it just describing the affiliated content found in Expanded Academic and other databases.

See what I mean about misleading marketing. I can't trust them that there is original content. Not after looking at the title lists for both Business and Company ASAP and General Business File ASAP.

I sure hope the state dumps this group and goes with someone else next time around.


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