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Recap: Is Reference Looking Up?

By: , Posted on: May 16, 2014

On Tuesday, Elsevier was pleased to be invited to participate in an event at the Oxford Publishing Society (OPuS)  focusing on the past, present, and future direction of major reference works. OPuS is a professional society for publishers and associated professions based in Oxfordshire to meet and exchange ideas.

2014-05-13 20.11.22Bryan Davies, Director of Books Product Management at Elsevier, shared insights gained during the development of our recently launched Reference Module on ScienceDirect. He was in good company with his fellow panel members. David Attwooll was previously Editorial Director of Reference and Trade Publishing at Oxford University Press and MD of Paperback and Reference Divisions at Random House UK. Ian Grant, Managing Director of Encyclopædia Britannica (UK) Ltd, discussed the rise fall and rise of Encyclopædia Britannica into a modern, electronic-only resource primarily aimed at schools.

Each case study emphasized the important role traditional publishers continue to play providing the communities we serve with trusted, complete information where it is needed. However, in a world where ‘good enough, is good enough,’ publishers need to focus attention where it matters most. All agreed that delivery platforms formats will continue to evolve and those who fail to keep pace will not survive. David predicted that the wrappers used to define different types of  book format  will merge: “Reference publishing for the future will center on metadata and signposting, and enabling people to mash up what they need with what they’re doing – a la hip hop. Reference publishers will be builders of signposts”

You can view more detailed notes from the session and others ran by Opus here.

To view for yourself how Reference Modules have been developed to meet the changing needs of the researcher visit our video here.

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