WiLS March 2017 Vendor Partner Interview: James Jacobson, EBSCO
At WiLS, we want to bring valuable information to our library partners, including information about the missions and big ideas of the vendors they may already do business with. Each month, WiLS interviews a vendor partner in order to bridge the gap and open the door to valuable collaborations. This month, we are delighted to share insights from James Jacobson, Regional Sales Manager at EBSCO.
Tell us about your company’s background.
EBSCO has been providing high quality and trusted materials and services to libraries for more than 70 years. My division, EBSCO Information Services, provides industry-leading databases, learning tools like Learning Express, and innovative content delivery and discovery platforms to help libraries connect with their audience. We are the leading discovery service provider for libraries worldwide with more than 8,000 discovery customers in over 100 countries. EBSCO Discovery Service™ (EDS) provides each library with a comprehensive, single search box for its entire collection, offering unparalleled relevance ranking, speed, quality, and extensive flexibility. EBSCO is also a trusted provider of online research content including hundreds of databases, historical archives, and learning tools including Learning Express. EBSCO is a leading provider of electronic journals & books for libraries, with subscription management for serials including e-journals.
Libraries play a crucial role in our future. The importance of truth in information has never been more apparent.
Why do you, personally, choose to work with libraries?
The library has always played a big role in my life. Whether it was the fun and friends found in my summer reading program, trying to find the perfect debate information, or citable content and details for a mid-term research paper, the library has always been there for me. So it makes it exciting and personally satisfying to work with both community schools and public libraries. Libraries play a crucial role in our future. The importance of truth in information has never been more apparent. For classroom activities, whether they are helping students learn to read, develop research skills, or help teachers find curriculum-based materials to ignite the passion of learning in today’s student, EBSCO and I can help. It’s great to be part of an organization that is on the forefront of technology empowering students, assisting teachers, and energizing librarians to provide both content and access to the most vetted, accurate, and trusted information available. And in today’s world of questionable news sources, our products and services are becoming more important and valuable to information seekers every day.
What do you like to know about the libraries you work with? What helps you better understand their needs?
Simply put, are you happy with your digital content usage? If not, what would you change? Library staff is faced with a number of challenges when serving their communities and delivering on their mission. My role is to help bring in the right people and resources to create the experience you envision for your patrons and students. We have teams of librarians and specialists that work with you to gain a solid understanding of your vision and challenges, identify key goals and objectives, and implement a plan to bring your vision to life.
My role is to help bring in the right people and resources to create the experience you envision for your patrons and students.
What big ideas are being worked on at your company? What problems are being solved?
EBSCO is constantly working on new and innovative services to help libraries accomplish their mission in many areas. The FOLIO and Linked data movements will grow with EBSCO continuing its leadership role. One of the biggest and most concerning issues is connecting the “questioning” audience with the answers they seek. Our EBSCO Discovery Service help connects trusted information to those who need it when looking to their library or media center for answers. Making your best information easy to find, fun to explore, and simple to access is a challenge, as usage reports can attest. Our Discovery Service (EDS) provides a single search box to explore all your institution’s collections and electronic resources, an experience that today’s tech-savvy users expect. If it’s not there, they tend to leave and many may not come back. EDS is the best solution to bridging this usage gap and offering unparalleled results.
How can librarians become partners in product or training development?
EBSCO understands that different users require different research experiences. Creating solutions that are based on an understanding of your needs and needs of your users is at the heart of EBSCO’s mission. We partner with you, making you an active participant in our research and development. We organize study groups who give us feedback in our social media and blog segments, and e-mail also offers important dialogue. We employ librarians who really understand and work with our library customers when developing products and systems. Since many of our solutions are customizable, we will also work with staff on-site to create the best user experience. Our focus on user research brings us back to our core mission—helping our customers serve their users.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share here?
In my role, I serve both the public library and K-12 markets. There is a great synergy between these two groups when we all work together. With school resources specialized for students and teachers, EBSCO can help close the gap between the library and the classroom. The high-quality, curriculum-appropriate content in EBSCO’s school databases engage your students’ evolving information needs and strengthen your library’s influence. This engaging experience can then be consistently reinforced at the community level through the public library. With collections of useful resources for all ages and interests, EBSCO can help you reach patrons while increasing your institution’s visibility and bring 21st-century information technologies into the curriculum.
This interview is part of a series of interviews with both WiLS library and vendor partners. Your feedback is appreciated. If you have any to offer on this article, or suggestions for upcoming interviews, contact Andrea Coffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.