Wednesday, March 17, 2010

OCLC shedding NetLibrary division - Business First of Columbus:

OCLC shedding NetLibrary division - Business First of Columbus:

The Dublin nonprofit that electronically connects library collections around the world is letting go of one of its divisions.
OCLC Inc., formerly the Online Computer Library Center, on Wednesday announced a deal to sell its Boulder, Colo.-based NetLibrary Inc. unit to research database giant EBSCO Publishing for an undisclosed sum. The NetLibrary unit makes digital copies of books from hundreds of publishers worldwide and makes them available through member library sites.
Buyer EBSCO Publishing is a subsidiary of Birmingham, Ala.-based EBSCO Industries Inc., a more than $2 billion company with about 6,400 employees.
OCLC CEO Jay Jordan said in a release that the deal will open up new avenues for library members as electronic books grow as a part of their collections. For OCLC, shedding NetLibrary allows it to sharpen its focus on its flagship WorldCat database, which provides online cataloguing, reference and resource sharing to tens of thousands of libraries around the world.
“We are focusing our resources and investments on WorldCat services and on building a range of new Web-scale services for libraries,” he said. “We are transitioning out of the role as reseller of vendor content.”
OCLC acquired NetLibrary in 2002 when it offered $10 million for the company as it was seeking protection from creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Colorado. EBSCO Publishing President Tim Collins said in a release that the acquisition was in part a response to demand.
“Our customers have been encouraging us to enter the eBook business as their users want to search eBooks on the same platform they are using to search leading full-text databases such as Academic Search and Business Source,” he said.
In addition to NetLibrary’s online platform and its Colorado operations, the deal with EBSCO includes rights to license some vendor-owned databases available through OCLC’s FirstSearch service, an online tool that allows users to connect to WorldCat content and other bibliographic databases. OCLC said NetLibrary content will continue to be available through WorldCat after the deal closes.
OCLC is one of the largest employers in Central Ohio, with 770 area workers and more than 1,300 worldwide, according to Columbus Business First research. The nonprofit recorded $240 million in 2008 revenue.


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