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Swets Information Services

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With its E-Journals Management Drive, Swets has made great strides in the year 2005

By Arie Jongejan

Swets: driving e-journals management

More than a year has passed since Swets first launched its far-reaching E-Journals Management Drive to reduce the complexities and expense in managing e-journals. Though I myself am a recent addition, I know Swets as a company with a long-standing reputation and as a trusted partner. Having worked with a major publisher for over two decades, it is also truly exciting for me to explore a new side of this rapidly changing industry. Though the STM industry - and the information supply chain - undoubtedly face many more changes in the 21st century, Swets has more than proven its added value to both customers and publishers for more than a century.

Thus, from the new and challenging vantage point of a subscription agent, I fully endorse Swets' mission. Identifying and providing services for both customers and publishers is the main driver of everything we do at Swets. From a customer perspective, the scope of our mission involves a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from resource identification, selection, acquisition and ordering, to distribution and disclosure of information. Clearly, our portfolio of products and services differs depending on whether we talk about print, electronic or a combination of the two. Either way, it is our firm belief that recognisable and measurable customer service should drive every single product or service we provide.

On the publisher side of the equation, we have sought to achieve a substantial reduction in the complexity and expense involved in e-access, while fostering new improvements in our existing processes. Not only have we doubled the number of publisher relations managers representing Swets around the world, we have also decentralised many key activities to regional offices, ensuring the most active and comprehensive representation for our publisher partners.

Performance and quality improvements

Since we last shared news of our E-Journals Management Drive with Research Information a year ago, we at Swets have spent a year strengthening our position in e-journals management by developing and upgrading tools and services. Our goal has been to achieve significant performance enhancements and faster response times on the one hand and a higher quality of service on the other, simply by 'doing things right the first time'.

We've achieved these critical goals by analysing every single procedure and practice in order to remove gridlocks and delays. Other campaigns have involved upgrading our catalogue database with new license and URL information fields and populating them with information from regular, in depth publisher surveys. Furthermore, we've collaborated closely with our global publisher partners to ensure streamlined e-journal policies and quicker access set-up times for our customers. This we achieved by: negotiating grace periods; obtaining e-references in advance; encouraging EDI information exchange; simplifying license agreement procedures; and requesting confirmation of access being granted.

Our recent ISO Audits are also testimony to Swets' commitment to transparent and efficient processes. As the only subscription agent to be ISO 9001:2000 certified on a worldwide scale, Swets recently completed two successful re-certification audits in its UK and Dutch regional offices. Carried out by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), an independent certification body, the intensive 2004 audits yielded an excellent report card for Swets without a single non-conformity. This represents a significant stamp of approval for Swets' drive to streamline its serials management process and speed up response times for customers.

A full-service portfolio

The Swets family of products share a common theme - all of them provide recognisable and measurable service to customers. Even (or especially) for less tangible, but core areas - like claims handling for missing print issues or interrupted electronic access - Swets is in the process of developing enhanced tools that will enable libraries to more easily achieve their aims. We plan to provide customers with clear reporting tools about the number of claims handled, the percentage of claims actually solved, the proportion dealt with within a pre-agreed time frame, and so forth.

A selection of new services

SwetsWise Title Bank

Launched in August 2004 and further enhanced in February 2005, SwetsWise Title Bank enables users to customise their entire list of print and electronic subscription links whether they originate from external databases, publisher web sites or SwetsWise Online Content. The service assists customers in maintaining optimum control of their resources and providing maximum awareness of all titles by allowing automatic updates of subscriptions via Swets. Additional enhancements include the automatic tracking of databases and full text collections, the ability to browse title and subject lists, conduct title and subject searches, and consult title-level usage data. Downloadable management reports and customisable subject lists also guarantee improved user-friendliness.

SwetsWise Linker

Launched in November 2004, SwetsWise Linker is an OpenURL link resolver that provides users with a cohesive search environment for thousands of e-journals and more than 500 e-journal aggregators and secondary databases. SwetsWise Linker enables libraries to integrate all of their resources in one intuitive and customisable interface, providing seamless, context-sensitive linking from one article's bibliographic information to another's full text. Based on Openly Informatics' proven 1cate technology (short for '1-click access to everything'), SwetsWise Linker dramatically reduces the number of steps needed to move from one resource to another.

Multilingual SwetsWise

To maximise its global presence, SwetsWise has further extended its user reach by offering new Japanese, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese and Spanish interfaces to its existing menu in English, French, German, and Swedish.

Still to come in 2005 and 2006

SwetsWise MetaSearch will let users perform multiple searches simultaneously through as many diverse information sources as necessary. A single query can search internal documents, intranets, partner extranets, web sources, subscription services and databases, syndicated news feeds or intelligence portals, returning all the results to one straightforward list.

Revamped DataswetsConnect will be fully integrated into SwetsWise to provide customers with faster search times, a user-friendly interface and new features. We are drawing heavily on our customers' expertise to ensure that what we build offers a genuinely significant time-saving for the library - and instantly provides the key information required.

Update on services for publishers

Gateway to China

In our ongoing drive to innovate, Swets has further developed special services for publishers. One example is the unique 2004 deal forged by Swets with CERNET, the China Education and Research Network, linking Chinese universities and academic research institutions directly to SwetsWise Online Content. Our 'Gateway to China' package not only offers publishers rapid access, but also a distinct sales and marketing channel for targeting Chinese libraries and consortia - a fast growing market expected to expand by a further 40 per cent over the next three years. During the past year, the Gateway to China project has enabled publishers such as EDP Sciences, IOS Press, and CSIRO PUBLISHING to offer the Chinese scientific community rapid, reliable and cost-effective broadband access to a large selection of valuable e-journals. Swets has been active in the Chinese market since 1997 and has an established Beijing office, an extensive sales infrastructure and strong relationships with all of China's major libraries, agents and consortia.

ALJC awarded 'Best STM Information Product for 2004'

To our great delight, the ALPSP Learned Journals Collection (ALJC), in partnership with Swets, was awarded the 2004 International Information Industry Award for 'Best STM Information Product' this past December. The ALJC is a unique online collection of 433 journals from 44 diverse publishers, which enables small and medium-sized publishers to sell directly and effectively to consortia and other library customers by packaging their journals in a single collection with a single umbrella license, pricing model and delivery platform. The ALJC was devised by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) as a solution to the problems faced by small, not-for-profit publishers and commercial publishers of high-quality journals, who increasingly find themselves squeezed out of library budgets by 'big deals' from the larger players. In 2003, ALPSP selected Swets as its partner to coordinate the complex licensing and legal structure and to serve as a worldwide sales, marketing and access channel for the collection. The ALJC offers libraries the benefit of a single negotiation while offering users the possibility of accessing high quality, full-text e-journals directly via SwetsWise Online Content. ALJC titles are available both in the full collection and in sub-collections covering medicine and life science, science and technology, and the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Forecast

Without a doubt, Swets has made great strides in 2005. A core re-engineering of processes and organisation, shortened reporting lines, and improved collaboration are bringing us closer to the market. All in all, I believe that with our ongoing E-Journals Management Drive, Swets is well positioned to foster its pivotal role in the world of online content and information exchange.

Arie Jongejan was appointed Swets' chief executive officer in March 2005. Recognised for his extensive expertise in e-business models and his ability to manage complex international organisations, Arie joined Swets from an impressive career at Elsevier where he held a range of senior management positions. As CEO of Elsevier's science and technology division, Arie was also responsible for the commercial and technical innovation of ScienceDirect and Scopus, developing them into Elsevier's core business.

contact details

Yvonne Campfens
Email: press@nl.swets.com
Tel: +31 (0)252 435 111
Web: www.swets.com