Higher Education

ProQuest Announces Plans to Revamp Library Acquisitions and Services Under One Platform, Rialto

By Henry Kronk
November 06, 2018

On Tuesday, academic database, publisher, and title vendor ProQuest, along with its partner company Ex Libris, announced they’d be overhauling the library selection process and combining services under a new platform, called Rialto.

Librarians today don’t have the easiest job. Just in terms of managing their collection, they need to determine which books and titles their readers will be interested to read and which their readers can’t find elsewhere. Then, they need to make sure their readers will be able to find, reserve, and cite those titles. In addition, both librarians and readers might be interested in how their collection matches up to others’ both internationally and regionally, using digital tools to aid in larger-scale research projects, accessing archived material, accessing collections, and more. As things stand, there are numerous digital services that handle these tasks—many of which are provided by ProQuest and its subsidiaries—but they remain largely siloed within the library system.

ProQuest Answers with Rialto

Rialto will present an effort to combine them all in one platform.

“This is about reimagining how libraries select and acquire content in ways never before possible, solving longstanding pain points and inefficiencies in the library,” said Oren Beit-Arie, ProQuest Chief Strategy Officer, in a release. “Rialto is focused on addressing library and user needs. Its comprehensive marketplace enables the selection of non-ProQuest and ProQuest content of all types, putting choice in the library and aligning with our core value of supporting openness.”

Rialto will allow libraries to purchase their own curated selection of material, which provides greater freedom compared to bundled deals.

To land on that selection in the first place, Rialto will provide numerous data points, including a text’s popularity, its regional availability, user reviews, information from the publisher, and more. It will also bring together ProQuest offerings with non-ProQuest titles in the same database.

Development Partners

The company is just now embarking on the development process. To do so, they’ve partnered with 10 universities. In the U.S., Boston University, Northeastern University, San Jose State University, Southern Methodist University, University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Windsor have signed on. U.K. partners include Imperial College London, Northumbria University, the University of Edinburgh, and University of Leicester.

“We know there are a lot of inefficiencies and a lot of things that just get tied up in manual processes when we’re doing selection and acquisition work at our library,” said Sarah Haight Sanabria, Head of Collections and Technical Services, Southern Methodist University, Texas according to a company page. “When we learned there was a new product that might be able to solve some of those issues, we figured this is the next generation of the products we’re going to be using day in and day out for the next 10, 20, 30 years. I decided I’d like to be involved in making sure that works for libraries. I look forward to testing it.” 

In early 2019, ProQuest is also hoping to expand this development team to institutions in Australia and New Zealand.

“The problems ProQuest and Ex Libris are addressing by creating Rialto are very real to us at Imperial, and I’d imagine to every library,” said Katherine Rose, Head of Content and Discovery, Imperial College London. “We want a seamless, end-to-end selection and acquisitions process where as much as possible takes place within one system, with far less need for copying and pasting, back up spreadsheets and multiple systems open at once on multiple screens. We need one user-friendly system which makes it easy for our liaison librarians to find the best content for their subjects, and offers an intuitive and efficient workflow for our Acquisitions team, making full use of data and analytics to help us supply and use material. We hope Rialto will deliver this and more, helping us realize potentials we haven’t thought about yet. That’s why we’re excited to lend our expertise to ProQuest as development partners, and we know both parties can learn a lot from each other.”

Featured Image: Susan Yin, Unsplash.