Thomson Scientific and Healthcare Update

Given that you can’t be in several places at once, the next best thing is to attend a Thomson Scientific and Healthcare Update Meeting to get a press briefing on developments with ISI Web of Knowledge, Thomson Pharma, Thomson Data Analyzer, Derwent World Patents Index and Dialog.

Many readers may remember Dialog Updates – events where database producers competed for a small amount of audience time to present their latest feature or boast the arrival of the n millionth bibliographic record. Today, things are a little different. Now Dialog gets a few moments to reveal its developments under the even larger Thomson banner.

No less impressive for all that though. Tim Hamer, VP and Dir. of European Business development set the scene for this marathon 2.5 hour review of new services and enhancements with the vision that Thomson wants to be: “The global leader for integrated information solutions for the business and professional user.” The strategy to achieve that is to move from being purely a content provider to being a content and service and software provider.

Jim Pringle, VP Development, announced two new products: Web Citation Index and Journal Use Reports. Essentially, Web Citation Index integrates scholarly web content found in preprints, institutional repositories, open access journals, reports, dissertations and other gray literature into the Web of Knowledge platform. Appropriate web sites are selected for inclusion by analysts. 220 sites have been identified for the first phase, of which 34 are currently undergoing the editorial process. Pringle stressed the heavy level of involvement of seven institutional customers or partners in the development. The beta phase starts in January with a target of July 2006 for operational launch.

Journal Use Reports will provide a new means to measure the value of journals based on a combination of citation and usage data. This is aimed at library and research administrators who are interested in finding where research is published and how much it is used. The development is revealing a lack of standards in usage data and is driving Thomson into a standards advocacy role.

Thomson Pharma, launched at Online 2004, is the first Thomson service to draw information from its broad range of resources into a single workflow solution for those working in the drug development pipeline. New enhancements have been made possible by recent acquisions of Astrolabe, IDRAC and Newport. This may not be the place to go into great detail, but these additions allow new content options for the fields of pharmaceutical product management, regulatory issues and generic competition. Sixteen portlets are now available to push information to the desktop, but future developments are looking into more ways for the user to customise their own specialty portlets and alerts.

The update continued with news of the extension of the Derwent Analytics tool to the full range of databases and its consequent renaming as the Thomson Data Analyzer. In addition, Derwent World Patent Index will be reloaded with a new ‘version 8’ patent classification, while Dialog enhancements include new files, cross file chemical structure searching, various reloads and a new version of Dialog Link.

Many of the enhancements mentioned here will no doubt be covered in more detail elsewhere by Information Today. This short review cannot do justice to the volume of material presented, but the overall message from Thomson is clear – its future will rely on products and tools developed from across its range of existing and newly acquired resources; and furthermore, partnership with customers will be central in product development.

Jim Ashling
Ashling Consulting
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