Monday, June 30, 2008

Discovery at Safari Books

Jeff Patterson, CEO, Safari Books Online LLC spoke at the O'Reilly Tools of Change Conference on Valuing Content in a Web-enabled World
To effectively market their wares, publishers need to understand how their content is valued by the audience. With the web turning traditional distribution models on their head, easy searchability and access to a variety of free and paid resources must be considered. Jeff Patterson shares research on the information seeking habits of his client base of IT professionals. As users weigh the worth of information in exchange for their time, money and attention, publishers must grasp not just what is sold, but what is read, used and reused....

Money is one part of the equation, but time, and willingness to share personal details, are also important forms of currency. Patterson's studies posed a number of scenarios which revealed different behaviors depending on the urgency of the information seeking. Subscribers researching a long term question tended to start with paid resources such as online subscriptions or print books. Those with urgent business questions were more likely to use search engines as their first tool. These different behaviors bring home the point that products must be discoverable within a sea of available options. Information consumers will place a value on different resources depending on their context. The burden is now on the publishers to understand how their information is being used.

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