Monday, February 08, 2010

Media Week 4 (Vol 3): Google Wave, Reed Elsevier, Lexis/West, Elsevier,

Google Wave could be part of Google's plan to enter the educational market: eSchool News

Raymond Schroeder, director of the University of Illinois’s Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service, said an instant replay of students’ waves answers “the age-old question posed to faculty members: How do you know that everyone contributed to the project?”

“With playback, you can view the wave in time-lapse, blip by blip—even those that are deleted. You can see who contributed what at what time to the wave,” said Schroeder, adding that free access to Wave could be a fiscal godsend for IT officials whose budgets have dwindled over the past two years. “Free is very good,” he said. Schroeder became one of the country’s first campus IT officials to use Google Wave last month when he connected Illinois’s Internet in American Life course with a class from Ireland’s Institute of Technology at Sligo, participating in a wave that focused in the internet’s role in energy sustainability.

Setting Reed Elsevier to rights may mean break up (Times):

Sales remain weak and margins are heading south. Reed urgently needs to catch up on the investment it should have made in its information tools years ago. LexisNexis, its database for lawyers, is losing market share in the giant US legal market to Westlaw, owned by Thomson Reuters. Only Elsevier, its science and healthcare arm, is still growing. Thomas Singlehurst at Citigroup thinks the group as a whole will not return to topline growth until the end of the year.

Reed shares rallied 13% in December but have trailed the wider market by 26% in the past year. Trading at 13 times this year’s forecast earnings flatters its weak earnings profile. What is Erik Engstrom, Smith’s replacement, to do? In these cases, the kitchen sink is the favoured option. Engstrom is not ready with a revival plan yet, so painting a bleak picture of the trading environment and writing off lots of good will should do the trick. The nettle he has to grasp is closing down the remnants of business publisher RBI, where trading is in freefall, and selling off its exhibitions arm. It could raise £1.2 billion and it is essential to pay down its £4 billion debt pile.

With a lack of ideas coming from Reed, analysts are coming up with their own. Claudio Aspesi at Bernstein thinks a complete break-up becomes an option if LexisNexis cannot fight back against Westlaw. That plan has plenty of merit. Selling databases to lawyers and journals to academics has as much in common as the meat trays and cigarette filters that were demerged from each other when Reed chairman Anthony Habgood ran packaging combine Bunzl.

More of the revamped Lexis and West legal database products (Law Tech News):

Online legal research is not an easy activity. An entire industry has grown up around interpreting research needs and finding information for lawyers and their clients. Researchers have to remember where information resides, e.g., which database, and extract relevant documents in a compressed amount of time using Boolean or natural language search strategies, prayers, and perhaps a Ouija board.

Last year, Google Scholar and Public.Resource.Org made legal information more available and easier to search. This year at LegalTech New York, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters aim to change the way users interface legal research tasks. And these changes, at once, appear to make legal research easier and more effective.

LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters are putting their best assets forward with Lexis for Microsoft Office and WestlawNext, respectively, to bring value to the legal information stored in their repositories and make search easier and more effective for legal professionals. LexisNexis draws on its experience in enabling content-related workflows and the IP in LSA to put legal research in Microsoft Office and SharePoint Server. Thomson Reuters incorporates its work product in digests, headnotes, indices, and more into WestSearch.

ImageSpan teams with Arvato Finance to create a global clearinghouse for digital content (MarinIJ)

ImageSpan connected with Arvato, a Dublin, Ireland-based subsidiary of media giant Bertelsmann, to streamline its LicenseStream service, which wraps a photo with tracking information that allows its owner to identify who is using it on the Web. Arvato operates Payment Lounge, a payment system that takes the money from a licensee and then distributes the proper share of the revenues to the different parties that created or distributed it. "By joining LicenseStream with Arvato Finance's PaymentLounge services we are creating a new category of infrastructure that addresses a monetization gap - an automated content clearinghouse - and generates revenues for content producers and owners in several significant ways," said Iain Scholnick, ImageSpan's chief executive officer.

The company launched LicenseStream in 2008 and it has inked deals with a number of large digital content owners, including the Chicago Tribune newspaper and McEvoy Group, publisher of media properties such as Spin magazine and Chronicle Books. ImageSpan tracks how many times a photo is viewed and thereby can figure out how much money the news site would have to pay the owner of the content.

From the @twitter:

Amazon Said to Buy Touch Start-Up (NYTimes)

Pearson buys Medley to aid FT's move to digital (EveningStandard) Adds more 'premium services' for FT subscribers.

Hachette tells US court: revised Settlement worse than first: (Bookseller)

ScrollMotion tapped by publishers to develop textbook apps for iPad (AppleInsider)

CQPress/Sage launches custom textbook publishing operation for professors. (CQPress) (LibreDigital platform).

Elsevier announce Pageburst (Elsevier)

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