Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Clarivate acquiring ProQuest: Remember the days before all of the consolidations?

It is now old news that Clarivate is acquiring ProQuest. According to Marydee Ojala, Claravite can trace its roots to 1864 (Zoological Record) and ProQuest to 1938 (UMI). Marshall Breeding notes that this deal is worth $5.3 billion.  Because Clarivate and ProQuest do not have overlapping products, this does not decrease the competition.

Below is ProQuest's acquisition activity from Library Technology Guides. This does not capture, for example, Dialog's history of being acquired by other companies, so the landscape is even more complex.

People have different opinions about whether this is good or bad for libraries.  Having lived through library vendors' mergers and acquisitions (M&A) since the late 1980s, I know that these do eliminate jobs, provide fewer vendors to have booths at library conferences, and can put important decisions in the hands of fewer people. I wonder how these M&A's impact:

  • the diversity of who works for one of these companies
  • the diversity of thought and problem-solving approaches in the companies
  • how welcoming these larger companies are to new and perhaps radical ideas

BTW I suspect that Clarivate's workers are more diverse than its leadership, based on the photos of its executive team and the location of its regional offices.

Think I'll pour myself a cup of tea and stroll down memory lane as I stare at the chart below...If you have thoughts on this, please leave a comment and share them. Thank you!

Image from Library Technology Guide of ProQuest's acquisitions

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Report: Creating Solutions Together: Lessons to Inform the Future of Collective Licensing

Velocity of Content logo
The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) commissioned Creating Solutions Together: Lessons to Inform the Future of Collective Licensing, which reviews " a quarter century of development in collective licensing for text publishing." The volume was commissioned to commemorate "the 25th anniversary of the final appellate decision in the case of American Geophysical Union et al. v. Texaco Inc." Christopher Kenneally interviewed one of the authors of Creating Solutions Together, Lois Wasoff, for the Velocity of Content podcast. Velocity of Content is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

I enjoyed listening to the 18-minute podcast interview with Wasoff and hearing her take on licensing. I have not yet read the report, but have done a quick skim of her portion.  She seems to take a narrower view of how Fair Use can be used than I would.  That is her viewpoint and supported, I'm sure, by the CCC. That's fine, but I think we should be willing to exercise Fair Use more and push on its boundaries a bit.

If you read this report and have an opinion in it, please drop a comment on this post and share your thoughts. Thanks!