Saturday, October 10, 2009

Media Week 41: OCLC, NewsCorp, LexisNexis

Skyriver takes on OCLC's cataloging market. (LJ):

A new company called SkyRiver has launched a bibliographic utility, directly challenging long-dominant OCLC. Over the last 18 years, strategic acquisitions by OCLC have narrowed competition, but SkyRiver—founded by Jerry Kline, the owner and co-founder of Innovative Interfaces—aims to expand the market and offer an alternative bibliographic utility for cataloging that could save libraries up to 40 percent off their expenditures for bibliographic services.

SkyRiver is already fully operational, with a few libraries engaged as development partners. While the company has not disclosed the names of the participating libraries, at least one is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

Some of the libraries are expected to go into full production with SkyRiver in mid-October, shifting away from their current bibliographic services. In January 2010, the company will begin broadly marketing its service.

Jonathan Miller (NewsCorp) was interviewed by MediaPost (from Sept 1, 2009):

How will media companies make money five years from now?
There will be more pay and subscription, more multiple levels of niche marketing, various devices and consumption channels, and more low-cost channels. Part of the trick will be getting good at all of the above. It will no longer be as simple as making a movie, selling a DVD and the rights to HBO, and making 19 percent of the gross from a television network, so life is good. The media business will have many more points of consumption, and you will have to aggregate all of it. But in the end, we will not trade one to one - they will all have different values.

One of the key questions is whether content continues to grow and be differentiated and valuable enough to have true paying models. I think the answer is "Yes." We will see both subscription forms as well as micropayment transactions. We are at that inflection point in the music industry where streaming forms are taking over from a la carte downloads. For a reasonable price going forward, consumers will be able to access their music of choice for every device and platform for one price, instead of paying for every a la carte download to captive devices.

Interview with John Lipsey, Vice President, Corporate Counsel Services at LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. (Corp Counsel)

Editor: Can you give us some examples of how social networking provides value to legal professionals in their professional lives?

Lipsey: First, social networks help professionals develop and grow wider networks - global networks that they can call upon for any number of needs. We know that lawyers are greatly concerned about relationships and getting to a trusted source that has information they need - a referral, perhaps, or expertise in a particular area. Professional networks allow lawyers to find other lawyers and legal professionals who can help them solve a problem.

Professional networking also provides a secure environment to allow those professionals to collaborate in a trusted way. People can engage in online discussions and showcase their expertise. Corporate counsel can maintain a level of visibility within the legal profession and can also extend the resources they have by tapping into the network. This is important in today's economy. We know that frequently corporate counsel, especially those in smaller legal departments, are truly crunched in terms of cash, resources and time, so having an immediate resource that is available 24/7 - a place where they can find people who have answers to their questions - creates efficiencies they wouldn't otherwise have.

And applying the social network concept to the legal community:

Editor: Your survey also found some interesting differences between how corporate counsel use online social networking as compared to private practice lawyers. Can you give our readers some examples of those differences?

Lipsey: In general, corporate counsel are interested in using online networks to access unique content and tools that will help them do their jobs more efficiently, effectively and at lower cost. In other words, they're looking for access to resources. We forget that even though corporate counsel are practitioners, they tend to operate as relatively small departments within large companies whose business has nothing to do with the practice of law, so they often don't have as many resources as, say a private practice in a large law firm. A professional network can provide them access to low-cost information while helping them maintain visibility in their profession.

Private practice lawyers, not surprisingly, are interested in finding new clients; their networking interests focus predominantly around looking for opportunities to get in front of prospective clients. Private practice lawyers can also be a resource to corporate counsel by providing unique and needed content. They can showcase their expertise by acting as a resource to corporate counsel online, perhaps putting them top of mind to corporate counsel when buying decisions for legal services happen to come up. Within a professional network such as Martindale-Hubbell Connected, the diverse interests of both in-house and outside counsel can actually be met simultaneously through robust interaction on a legal-only network.

Woman in Black author Susan Hill, and memoirist Rick Gekoski reflect on the influence of literature in shaping their lives, from Enid Blyton to Roald Dahl. Review by Michael Arditti (Telegraph)

The two writers take very different approaches and choose very different books. Hill picks hers seemingly at random, in the process producing an impressionistic autobiography. Gekoski starts with the Dr Seuss books of his Long Island childhood and ends with his own recently published works. Hill includes mostly novels and spiritual writing; Gekoski an almost equal balance of fiction, poetry, philosophy and psychiatry. His writing is the more intimate, hers the more personal. He offers penetrating portraits of his parents, ex-wife and children; she offers fascinating sketches of literary and artistic figures she has known while vouchsafing little of note about her husband and daughters (indeed, her most rounded family portrait is of her great aunt). Yet both authors afford highly revealing glimpses into the book-lined recesses of their minds.

They each use their chosen titles as a means to recall and record the past. Dorothy L Sayers’s The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club brings back memories of Hill’s student days when she lived with “a minor order of rather haughty and snobbish nuns” in a Kensington lodging house that boasted every Penguin detective story; Francis Kilvert’s Diary of her friendship with its enigmatic editor, William Plomer; and Great Expectations of family holidays in Southport.

Giles Coren: The barcode is nothing to celebrate. It killed off the traditional shop and gave us the checkout girl. And what’s with a 57th anniversary anyway? (Times)

And we know about it, of course, because Google decided to commemorate it in its “doodle” du jour. And that is how we come collectively to know things about our days now. Once, it was the church calendar that told us: everyone knew intuitively that it was Whitsuntide, Ash Wednesday or Michaelmas. Then it was newspapers, and we all knew what the headlines were. And then it was television, and we all knew that tonight we’d find out who shot JR. But now it’s whatever the hell some Korean kid in Silicon Valley feels like commemorating in a search engine logo doodle.

And so eight billion people, more or less, got up on Wednesday, logged on, saw a barcode where the multicoloured “Google” normally is, and thought: “Eh? What’s that? Oh, right, it must be the anniversary of the barcode. And that’s probably ‘Google’ written as a barcode.”

My mother said they had chickens - no geese though...

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