Thursday, January 15, 2015

BPN 1701: In the year 1980: start of Dutch information industry

Young generations most likely are not aware of the existence of a Dutch information industry before the introduction of internet in 1994. The run-up to the commercial and public start of the digital Dutch information industry started in 1967 and 13 years later in 1980 the Dutch information industry went life with databases, videotext services and teletext information services, produced by existing and new companies.

The run-up to 1980
The digitisation of publishing information started with the automation of the typesetting process and storage on magnetic tapes. The process was figured out by Excerpta Medica and its sister company Infonet. Scientific publisher Excerpta Medica started phototypesetting and offline and online distribution, resp. on magnetic tapes and by host organisations such as Dialog since 1974. The expertise of Infonet was used by the reference team producing the Grote Spectrum Encyclopedie (GSE) and the national library system.  
In 1975 the management of Kluwer visited legal publishers such as Westlaw in the USA and started to discuss setting up a Dutch legal database. By 1977 Kluwer Legal was in the process of building up databases and having demos of the first legal databases.
In 1976 videotex was researched for introduction in The Netherlands. The Dutch state owned telco PTT expressed interest in videotex. A year later the Dutch public broadcasting company NOS started to study the variant of videotext, the text television service teletext.
The 1978 the consumer electronics fair Firato was the decision point to get serious about electronic services or stay behind. So in 1979 NOS decided to start experimenting with the official text television service Teletekst. PTT took the decision to start introducing a videotext service; also the Dutch publisher VNU set up a videotext consultancy service TVS (Toegepaste Viewdata Systemen). So two state companies and three private companies were preparing to go resp. public or commericial.

Race for digital information
The year 1980 started with firecrackers. VNU launched a media laboratory named VNU Database Publishing International. It was founded to research the digital opportunities in the business sector.
On April 1, 1980 two introductions happened. The public broadcast system started the television text service Teletekst, excluding the newspaper sector from this service. On the same day Kluwer Legal launched its Legal Database service commercially.

On August 8, 1980 the Dutch PTT started hosting the videotext service Viditel with VNU being one of the largest information providers with Jobdata, Teletips and Distrifood and several third party clients. In the same year Elsevier bought the US Congressional Information Service (CIS) for 43 million guilders; it considered the service to be a stepping stone for a comparable service of the European Economic Union (EEU).

It was clear that the race for digital information had started. Elsevier was far ahead with experience in the online database field worldwide and in the US. Kluwer had started the legal service as a new distribution channel for the legal information it owned. VNU set up a media laboratory in order to find its way in the business sector, but it failed as it did not own content and lacked a real policy. The two state companies just started the Teletekst and Viditel services on public money. However it was clear that the race for digital information distribution had started in The Netherlands. All three companies aimed at 30 percent of the turn-over coming from digital services and products in the year 2000.

Digitisation as part of the internationalisation
The race for digital information was not just limited to Dutch territory. All three publishing companies also got explicit on internationalisation policies. Elsevier had expanded already internationally with its scientific division. Kluwer started to look around in the scientific and professional sectors. VNU started its journey from Haarlem to Harlem at the business sector by buying the US service Disclosure and starting VNU Business Publications in London (UK).

Looking back after 35 years, we can conclude that Elsevier and Kluwer are great in the digital information industry and have established an international footprint. Elsevier is big with information services like LexisNexis, Science Direct and Scopus. Kluwer has specialised in law and health care and offers digital services. VNU is no longer since 2007, when its name was changed in Nielsen Corp.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

BPN 1700: Liberated from Facebook

Just before the end of 2014 I have deactivated my Facebook. I have not done this as I will be 70 years this week. I did not do so in order to get rid of the dog and cat photograhs and stories. If people love pets, fine with me, but do not force them upon me. But the way that Facebook is pushing  the boundaries of privacy and wants to usurp copyrights should be halted. Some FB account holders have made statements of their own arguing that copyright is theirs. That kind of statements do show displeasure, but still Facebook is being used. Besides Facebook will not be impressed. NO, YOU MUST VOTE WITH YOUR FEET AND STEP OUT OF FACEBOOK.

 Yes and then? You can look around for a similar service. I've looked at Ello, but  the site is too arty-farty.I also checked  Brewster but this site does not realise its promise.

Of course it is a pity to lose your contacts. I had about 300 contacts. And yes that's a shame to lose them. No longer you are informed about relatives and friends as well as business acquaintances. In my case I lose the necessary contacts in the World Summit Award (WSA) circuit. So I will now have to put more effort in it in order  to keep up with that circuit. Before Facebook, you had to keep an eye on the relevant sites for information, but now you must keep the social media. Well I still have contacts through the business LinkedIn, where you do not encounter  dogs and cats pictures and stories. And  I can see and communicate through Twitter, nice and short and pointed.


Talking of liberation. On the occasion of my 70th birthday I received this vase, the so-called liberation vase from 1945. The vase belongs to the series orange vases, made on the occasion of a Dutch royal event. This vase is dated 1945 and designed by AD Copier, master glassblower from the Leerdam Glass Factory to celebrate the liberation of The Netherlands. The vase is not blown with the mouth as opposed to the other orange vases, but machine-produced. The series has a variety of vases orange coloured glass as there was a  limited glass supply in 1945.



I wonder what I will happen without Facebook. Is it a liberation? Will I have free time? Now I can no longer place an announcement for a new blogposting through Facebook; only on LinkedIn and Twitter, and in some cases by special groups on LinkedIn, as Heritage 2.0. Does this affect the reading stats?

So my communication channels for 2015 are LinkedIn and special groups within LinkedIn, Twitter Yjabo) and Skype, but you can also follow me on my blogs:
- Http://  (in English);
And of course I also have an email address (the same for 20 years, this year).

What am I going to do with that free time? In early February I go to Abu Dhabi for the World Summit Award Mobile. A series of nifty apps, including the app Touch Van Gogh of the Van Gogh Museum, will receive their awards.

And on July 1 our company Electronic Media Reporting will celebrate its 25 years. It was founded in The Netherlands in 1990 as one of the first consultancies, specializing in content strategy. The anniversary will be commemorated with the launch of an interesting archive, whch is presently under construction.
Electronic Media Reporting wishes you a prosperous 2015!