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By Yvette Diven
Lead Product Manager, Data Services, ProQuest Workflow Solutions

We’re debuting a new, occasional feature from ProQuest Workflow Solutions this month: View from the Knowledgebase. It’s intended to provide you with a statistical glimpse into the ProQuest® Knowledgebase, the comprehensive, authoritative repository of electronic, print, and digital resource metadata that powers the Intota™ library services platform, the Summon® Service, and other ProQuest solutions that researchers and librarians use every day.  

This inaugural View from the Knowledgebase considers the growth of e-resources—in particular, Knowledgebase coverage of e-serials and aggregated packages of content in languages other than English. In the months ahead, we’ll dive into other Knowledgebase statistics to identify trends and topics around Open Access, ebooks, changes in the academic publishing landscape and other areas of interest to our customers. We hope you find these insights informative, thought provoking, and perhaps even a little bit surprising.

Scope and purpose of the Knowledgebase

ProQuest considers the Knowledgebase to be the essential foundational element that allows the same high-quality, centrally hosted and managed metadata to be shared across all of our products and services.  The Knowledgebase is resource knowledge that describes not only individual resources but the relationships between those resources and their creators, publishers, and providers worldwide.

Over the past 10 years, the Knowledgebase has seen a huge volume of growth and change. From its origins over a decade ago as the first centrally-managed source of e-journal coverage data, to its essential role today in transforming library management and resource discovery, the Knowledgebase sheds light on where library collections have been and where they’re going.  As library collections have become more global and more diverse, so too has the Knowledgebase.

Where it all got started – E-journal launches

It doesn’t seem particularly surprising that the rise of electronic journals since 2005 would be a factor in the “print to E” shift and researchers’ preference for online formats. Or surprising that e-journals were the first resources to be showcased in ProQuest’s 360 MARC Updates service, which was established at that same time to help libraries enhance OPAC discoverability of e-serials alongside print titles.  Given the number of e-journal aggregations available today (totaling more than 3 Million e-serials holdings worldwide), one might reasonably think that new online journal launches have continued to increase sharply over the past decade. Yet Knowledgebase statistics from the 10-year period between 2005 and 2014 suggest something a little different.

Online Serials Launch History

 E-journal launches have waned since 2010, the year in which new launches peaked at 2,015 titles. Most of these post-2010 launches, like those of earlier years, are still actively published. Others have ceased completely, been suspended, or merged into new titles.  (Subscribers of ProQuest’s Ulrichsweb™ service can set up personal Ulrich’s Alerts to receive notifications of these serials changes.)

International growth and the increase in Non-English packages

Of the number of e-journals launched over the past decade, those published in a primary language other than English remain approximately 25% of the total, with a sharp rise to 35% of the total in 2014.

Online Serials Launch History

E-serials in languages other than English have become a growing presence in the Knowledgebase in the wake of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and other international outlets for scholarly publishing. Of the 27,374 actively published non-English e-serials today, more than 5,168 of the total (nearing 20%) are peer-reviewed scholarly titles alongside consumer, trade, and government publications.

As the graph below illustrates, the increase in non-English and non-US based aggregations (of both e-serials and ebooks) in the Knowledgebase continues to climb as we extend our coverage of scholarly material and other content from around the world:

Growth of International E-Resources

What’s next for the Knowledgebase?

These are exciting days for the Knowledgebase and those of us who work to bring its benefits to libraries and researchers.  ProQuest is committed to the ongoing development and enhancement of the Knowledgebase, adding resource knowledge and expanding a breadth and depth of coverage we could not have envisioned even 5 years ago. There’s a wealth of information in our Knowledgebase that we’re using to enhance our existing services and develop our new initiatives.  You can visit the ProQuest Support Center for our monthly report of key Knowledgebase metrics.

We’ll share another View from the Knowledgebase soon, so stay tuned!

13 Apr 2015

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