Aggregators are among the most important content providers for libraries, and libraries have been working hand in hand with publishers and aggregators for many years. Library patrons want a seamless, integrated service that allows them to link quickly and effortlessly to content they need. Until comparatively recently, there were service providers which perhaps could be accurately, if somewhat clumsily, described as ‘licensed full-text content aggregators’, enabling access to full text content which was licensed to them expressly for that purpose. Therefore, to the user, the term aggregator was taken to mean the service provider conducting aggregation of full-text content. This kind of aggregator made their collections available as pay-per-view or subscription to libraries, as a secondary publishing function. Increasingly now, aggregators such as EBSCO, ProQuest and Summon have become not just the primary hosting platform for full text content, but also serve as web discovery services, allowing users to segue seamlessly between hosted content and content which is indexed on their platforms. Ingenta Connect is a prime example – it hosts content from small to medium sized publishers such as Policy Press, and indexes content for major academic publishing houses such as Karger and Wiley.

In almost all cases there is an annual cost involved to subscribe to the company concerned – aggregators are understandably opaque about what these fees are, but according to a blog by William Denton at York University,  they can range upwards from $30,000 annually, a substantial slice out of a library budget. Ingenta Connect, (previously “CatchWord”), hasn’t charged any library for its discovery services in the eighteen years since launch.

Both individuals and institutions, can use Ingenta Connect for browsing. Once they have registered for free, they can download the subscriptions they have access to, purchase PPV articles or freely download open access content.

Until November 2016 we had a service called Connect Complete which, along with our limited Alerting facility, was popular in terms of features, but expensive. Both Alerting and Connect Complete have now been replaced by a single service, the Library Membership scheme. This offers most of the features of the former services plus additional benefits, including externally-provided services such as Athens and Shibboleth, for a single annual payment of £250. There is no obligation to join – we still do not charge to register with Ingenta Connect, or use the regular features that we ourselves provide, such as subscription access control and Counter statistics.

Uniquely, we’re also negotiating a range of member-only discounts on a range of products from other technology providers such as Kudos and Redlink Library Dashboard.

Personalisation is a way of creating a more individual experience for users, and Members can add their institution’s logo, links to institutional departments and library-supported facilities, and include customised text on the body of the home page.

Alerting is of vital importance and Members have unlimited personalised alerting, for both published and pre-published material, customised by title and keyword. Alert messages can be customised – that personal touch again – to make them appropriate for patrons. RSS feeds for new issues complete the Alerting package.  Reporting is further enhanced with SUSHI and the option to export data for subscribed titles in MARC format – something the current version of Ingenta does not do. We are also adding ORCIDs to the platform so users can search for authors affiliated to their institution. We have enhanced support services for Members, allowing not just email but Instant Messaging so urgent queries can be handled even faster.

The new Library Membership Scheme is now live.

Byron Russell

Head of Ingenta Connect