Gale/Cengage: Combining Past and Present in New E-Resource Products
"We have a substantial business in providing reference materials to libraries and ... students. And those are more and more being combined, ... where students can read a standard text ... and immediately move across to up-to-date reference material," Ron Mobed, then president of Cengage Learning's Academic & Professional Group, told Book Business for its May 2010 issue feature "Embracing a Different Publishing World."
Mobed added, "We have products such as our 'Global Economic Watch,' standard economics textbooks that suddenly have been challenged to explain the recent economic crisis, and we've ... [supplemented them] with reference and late-breaking material from our reference and news sections."
The company now seems to have taken the idea of integrating current news and information into historical reference a step further.
Yesterday, Gale, part of Cengage, announced the launch of Gale World Scholar: Latin America and the Caribbean, the first in a new family of regional studies-based electronic resources that combines historical and contemporary reference and archival materials with current events in a contextual manner. So, in other words, it paints both a historical and contemporary picture of that particular region with searchable, digital content on its past and present, its cultures, traditions, people, and more.
Some interesting inclusions are maps, documents being available in several languages, audio and video, and "an interactive statistical modeling tool using figures from more than 25 international organizations, giving users the ability to visualize data and analyze trends on economics, health, demographics and other topics," according to the company press release announcing the launch.
In addition, "Users can select specific variables, such as growth rate of GDP per person, unemployment rates, or other indicators, to create customized charts and graphs, which they can download and use in presentations or assignments."
A new product category for libraries, Gale World Scholar is designed for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in a multitude of disciplines, including programs in area studies, history, political science, international relations, anthropology, sociology, economics, environmental studies, cultural studies, literature, music, the arts and religion. It includes primary source content from a network of U.S. and foreign libraries and institutions.
"Gale World Scholar delivers essential content—primary source documents, academic articles, journals, newspapers, secondary analyses—and places them in a digital, online library designed specifically to meet the needs of students and researchers," said Jim Draper, vice president and publisher, Gale. "Online libraries and databases are an important component to learning. Of students surveyed in last year's Cengage Learning/Eduventures survey, 87 percent believe they have had the most significant impact on their overall learning."