Lean Library was acquired by the SAGE Publishing Group in 2019. As part of the Technology from SAGE division, it is managed as a separate business unit from the publishing arm of SAGE, whilst benefiting from the financial stability and continuity of SAGE’s private ownership and long-term view.
How do Lean Library products and services engage with publisher content?
Lean Library is primarily a browser extension that helps libraries deliver their services and resources directly into user workflows. The browser extension offers two capabilities to libraries and their users that are relevant to publisher content:
Streamlining and simplifying access to library-subscribed publisher content
This capability is available to all Lean Library customers.
Lean Library integrates with the library’s holdings information and its authentication infrastructure. We do not store library holdings information, but we are able to call on it via integrations. As a result of these integrations, when a library user browses to a publisher domain our browser extension redirects them to the proxied URL. To achieve this simplified access, we do not need any direct integrations with publishers and all publishers are treated in exactly the same way.
Embedding relevant publisher content in user workflows to enhance discoverability and the PWI
This capability is only available to Lean Library customers on our premium packages such as Lean Library Futures.
Lean Library is also able to embed relevant publisher content into a user’s workflows, via our browser extension. Preview content can be embedded directly onto any webpage, with URL links to relevant publisher pages for further information. Lean Library does this through the PWI (Patron Workflow Integration) standard, which outlines a consistent framework for integrating any content product or library tool with our browser extension. Detailed information regarding PWI for publishers, library service providers and their product and development teams will be published openly on our website soon. In the meantime, please email email@example.com.
Briefly put, the PWI simply requires a list of keywords/titles, content associated with these keywords (e.g. definitions, or summary of videos), and specific publisher URL link/s. Whenever our browser extension detects one or more of these keywords/titles, the user is then able to trigger the presentation of associated content against those terms – with direct links to explore more content on the publisher’s domain. Libraries decide which URLs the browser extension should be active on to achieve this. E.g. it could be limited to Wikipedia or Google Scholar, or it could also run on YouTube, Google and other sites.
These content integrations are generally most appropriate for thematic collections or encyclopaedia-style reference databases. In our experience, broader journal or eBook portfolio integrations are often not as appropriate since library users will prefer to search through this content via open search engines or library discovery services. However, we do have a number of integrations of this kind and we are always open to discuss this with publishers and would respond to any such requests from our library customers.
Particular publisher integrations are only available to library users if the library expressly configures it. I.e. there is no scenario in which Lean Library makes these integrations available to library users at its own choosing, or would interfere to privilege one publisher integration over another.
How is this achieved technically?
There are two ways this capability is achieved technically.
1. Via bilateral integration, Publisher-Lean Library.
2. Via unilateral set-up, configured by the library itself.
Whenever a Lean Library customer requests a specific publisher integration that is not yet available, Lean Library will approach the publisher to establish a direct, bilateral integration, often achieved via API/s. We do this to ensure the best possible integration and user experience. We will work with the publisher to work with their API/s, or identify another means of integration if that is not possible. We will also work with the publisher, and library customers, to make appropriate modifications in the ways in which the content is embedded to ensure the experience is optimised for the content type. We want the publisher, our libraries, and the end user to be delighted with the experience.
If you are a publisher and would like to discuss setting this up with Lean Library, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To ensure scalability of this capability, we also give libraries the ability to set up content integrations themselves, without the need for any involvement from Lean Library or the publisher. All they need to do is assign specific URLs to a list of keywords and our browser extension will iFrame the content from those URLs whenever these keywords appear in a user workflow, and the user triggers an action to prompt the iFrame.
Who decides which publishers are integrated with the browser extension?
Whenever a library requests a particular publisher integration, we will do everything we can to make it work. We don’t need to wait until a library requests a particular integration though and are happy to respond to publisher requests to integrate. We are confident that these integrations can be turned around quickly, with the capabilities and resources we have. If that changes at any point, either because the publisher’s API cannot be adapted to our requirements, or our resources cannot accommodate the volume of integration requests, we will be transparent about how we prioritise particular integrations. We would take a customer-centric approach here and prioritise according to customer demand. Any complaints on this process could be emailed to email@example.com.
Who decides which content integrations are available to library users?
Whether the integration has been made available via direct integration with the publisher, or unilaterally by the library, which integrations are made available to library users is entirely at the library’s discretion.
What happens when a user comes across a webpage with keywords that map to multiple content integrations?
In this instance, the user can choose from a dropdown menu of publisher content available for that particular webpage.
How is usage tracked?
There are two primary types of usage when it comes to these content integrations.
Whenever a user triggers the delivery of a particular content integration, we track each time they hover over a keyword to see the preview content. We consider these ‘Investigations’. We are working on integrating this usage type with COUNTER and the relevant publisher. In the meantime, this usage is available in the library’s Lean Library dashboard. We can only make institution-specific usage data available to the publisher if the library gives us permission to do so. If the global usage data we have is sufficiently broad to avoid any inadvertent identification of institution-specific data, we are happy to share this with the publisher.
Whenever a user clicks to be redirected to the publisher domain for more information, we track this. Currently, we are only able to track the redirection itself, not considering to which specific content page the patron gets redirected to. For easier metric collection on the client’s side, we are happy to add a specific parameter to the redirection upon request.
Subsequent usage on the publisher domain is captured by the publisher in the usual way.
What does Lean Library do with the usage it tracks for publisher content?
Lean Library does not share usage data outside of the relevant library customer, unless approval is granted to do so. Data is aggregated and anonymised both for the private institution reporting and also for the publicised global usage reports. This data is stored and secured using managed cloud services. All of Lean Library’s cloud services and infrastructure are separate from the publishing arms of the SAGE Publishing group of companies and are managed entirely by the Lean Library team.