The Wonder Years in STM
MarkLogic’s customer base includes a large number of Not-For-Profit and membership-based organisations – Societies, Institutions and others. These companies are STM (Scientific, Technical & Medical) publishers but not commercial STM publishing organisations. They therefore share some similar challenges when it comes to information sharing and content publishing but they have a different set of priorities and goals.
I wanted to find out more about this important section of the marketplace and learn about how to help this type of company with their organizational missions. Who better to ask than James T. Wonder, a 22-year veteran of the space? James is currently a technical manager at MarkLogic but he came to us after more than 18 years at the American Institute of Physics where he was one of our customers. He understands the ways in which we may be able to help our customers help their researchers, educators, students and members. James also has a distinguished public speaking record at events such as the Council for Engineering and Scientific Scholarly Executives (CESSE) so he is a well-known speaker in the STM space.
Kate: “So James, after many years at AIP, what made you decide to move to MarkLogic?”
James: “Well it was time for a change and I had been a MarkLogic customer for a number of years. I was very interested in the core technology and believed that there were a lot more companies like AIP that MarkLogic could enable to help their own customers more effectively. It seemed like a great way to combine my sector knowledge with my enthusiasm for technology.”
Kate: “What approach do you think that MarkLogic needs to take in order to be in a position to assist more of the Not-For-Profit and membership-based organisations around the world?”
James: “First of all, we need to remember that they are different than the commercial STM MarkLogic customers like Wiley, Nature.com and others, and that they approach their “business” problems from a different angle. Then we need to demonstrate that we understand their ecosystem and that although we are a commercial organization, we are like-minded because we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can help our customers deliver benefits to their customers. Finally, once we have earned the right to be regarded as their trusted advisor then we can show how a number of the issues they are facing can actually be seen to be opportunities to better achieve their mission.
For example, profit is not their end-goal but generating profit from their content and its delivery means that they can better fulfill their organizational mission and help more of their members. At MarkLogic we take what we have learned from our commercial customers and show Societies and Institutes how to become more efficient, make better use of their subscriptions and funding sources and provide a better service back to the communities they serve.”
Kate: “Can you give an example of one of the issues that they face which could become an opportunity for them?”
James: “Well take Open Access – some publishers are panicking but it really could be a great chance for them to do things differently because it is not an “all or nothing” matter. If, due to government mandate, you are told you have to give the full-text of an article for free then of course you must do so. But a PDF-image version will meet that requirement and then, for those that want more (and by more I mean Search, References, a non-image version, annotation capabilities etc) then those features become chargeable.”
Kate: “How does MarkLogic help with those types of features?”
James: “To a publisher the best way to convey what MarkLogic does is to say that it is a flexible, schema-less content repository (also known as an Enterprise NOSQL Database) with Search and an Application Server on top. It will enable them and their third-party stakeholders to lots of different things with their data, making it fully discoverable and they can choose which of these capabilities they want to charge for so it gives them control over their content and its usage.”
Kate: “What are the key interest areas that you see as relevant for this type of organization right now?”
James: “There are a number that I talk about to industry peers and which come up in conferences. These include eBooks; Content Enrichment; Linked Data; Author and Institution Disambiguation and others. It would be interesting to undertake some research in some of these areas and discuss it with clients to see if it resonates with them too.”
Kate: “James, thank you so much for talking to me – what does the future hold for you?”
James: “We have a lot of great projects going on at MarkLogic and I’m enjoying helping our customers to gain the best out of it so I’ll be here for a while yet. Longer term though my heart is in STM after so many years in the space so maybe someday I’ll make the leap back!”
We’ll be running a webinar on Flexible Content Use later in the year that James has kindly agreed to speak on so you can learn more about relevant STM customers and how they have achieved their goals to help their members and constituents at that session.