Gale Group: Breaking Through Content Barriers

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ECONTENT: That is rich. That's very good stuff indeed.

PASCHAL: And it falls in line with the critical-thinking skills that are needed and being taught today.

MORTON: Just layering on top of what Allen said, again, on the authority file and vocabulary: If you use World War I as an example, what we've done at Gale over the decades is create one file that recognizes "World War I," "WWI," and "The Great War," and a variety of other names to represent the same event, so that the databases that are being searched-whether they're European periodicals or American periodicals-will come up with the same answer.

Layered on top of that, lastly, is a lot of machine-aided indexing that can be done for one level of quality of content available to others for resale, but, as Allen was saying, we have people in a variety of locations around the world who are doing indexing, very thoughtful indexing. They're reading, and they're making judgments that, for instance, if you say an article makes reference to the Big Three-it's about cars-it doesn't actually say Ford, [but] the human who is reading that will index that article to Ford because they know that the Big Three includes Ford. Machine-aided indexing would never pick that up.

ECONTENT: When you sell to a customer, a reseller, I take it they ask for certain parameters of information. They don't want your entire files, but once the parameters are set, how do you price information?

PASCHAL: Well, there are many parameters, but some key ones are the depth of data that they want, the timeliness, whether it's only licensed content and/or our copyrighted material and/or microform, and there are different prices for all that. It depends on whether they want it indexed and by which type. We also consider how much market they want distribution rights for-and the larger, the higher the price.

Some of them take a big pot-think of it as water-some of them take a big pot of water, and they do all the organizing of it themselves. Others just get a narrow feed that's a high-pressure hose, and there are all varieties in between.

ECONTENT: A question on branding: When you sell through a reseller, does the Gale name come into play?

MORTON: Generally, yes, at a secondary level. Like a customer of Dialog knows that they're a customer of Dialog first and then they might know the PROMT name, or they might think of it as file 9 or file 16, and some of those are called Gale databases.

ECONTENT: Do you think you will continue to try to emphasize the Gale brand?

PASCHAL: Well, we emphasize it where we can, but when we're going through a reseller, who is not selling to the same core markets that we target with our sales force, it's not as critical to us. Our stuff is all over the open Web, being paid for by certain Web sites. They pay us a fee, but people don't necessarily know it's our content behind there.

ECONTENT: As you're increasing the number of outlets for your content are you keeping in mind the value that is attached to that?

PASCHAL: Yes, we're very picky and specific about who gets our content. It's not all over the place. It's very controlled. The pricing is very controlled, even to the end-users, [so] we are assured that both ourselves, as publishers, and our publishers that we work with jointly are getting a fair return for their investment. We're not in the business of giving away information for free. The enhancing that we do is very costly.

ECONTENT: Earlier in our discussion we talked about selling direct, and you said that, by and large, you do not do so, but supposing a large corporation, take Ford Motor, which has a corporate intranet with about 90,000 seats, and suppose they came to you and said we'd like to have Gale content on our intranet. Would you then respond and sell directly to them?

PASCHAL: Typically, we wouldn't. We would refer that to Dialog or someone else in the Thomson family who would be better equipped to service that customer.

ECONTENT: Okay, so this is a matter of corporate division of labor, so to speak?

PASCHAL: Yes, and we support institutional markets.

ECONTENT: But you do sell directly into public libraries or public library consortia, that sort of thing?

PASCHAL: Yes.

ECONTENT: Part of the catalyst for this discussion was the implication that you guys are entering some new markets, and I think the deal with ECNext was indicative of that. Are you going after new market potential? It seems as though there's a group of folks there at Gale who are sort of thinking up new opportunities like the ECNext deal. Anything you can comment on in that sense?

PASCHAL: Well, that's what Chris' group does. We're always thinking: Where can we leverage our content? Or where is there an opportunity for us to use our skill sets-our editorial and our technology skills that we apply to information and create new data sets-[so] that we either open up new markets or new users? Chris and his group are constantly doing that and looking at that. And certainly there are some new paths that we've entered into. I think LookSmart is a great example of that. Chris, you probably can give them a couple of others.

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