Introduction to the exibition
Catalogue of books
Catalogue of periodicals

Five Centuries of History of Elsevier in the National Library of Russia:
from Book-printing to an Information Provider

Revolution: From 1990 into the New Millennium

In 1991, Elsevier acquired Pergamon Press, the publishing house founded in 1948. Among its publications are many prestigious journals, for example, Tetrahedron (the NLR received it from 1957 (Vol.1) to 2006) and Tetrahedron Letters (it have entered our library since 1959) and major international reference sources: The International Encyclopedia of Education and The Encyclopedia of Material Sciences and Engineering. (The NLR held The International Encyclopedia of Education. Vol. 1-10. Ed.-in-chief T. Husen . Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1985-1989 .)

The renowned medical journal Lancet, establisheded in 1823 by the independent physician Thomas Wakely, has been owned by Elsevier since the same year. For its 160-year history, the journal has remained in the forefront of the publications on discoveries in medical sciences - from penicillin in 1940 to HIV infection in 1984. (The NLR has received The Lancet from 1864 to present.)

At the same time, Elsevier merged with the publishing company Reed. At the beginning of 2000, the famous publisher Cell Press founded in 1974, issuing the journal Cell, was included in the Elsevier group. This journal along with other publications in the field of biology have become a valuable contribution to the collection of Elsevier, and strengthened his reputation. Now, Elsevier also possesses such presses as Mosby (founded in 1906), Saunders (founded in 1888 in Philadelphia), Academic Press (founded in 1942 in the United States), Churchill Livingstone (established in 1728 in London), publishing books on medicine. The holdings of our library contain essential publications of all these companies, for example:

  • Gray's Anatomy: the Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. 39th ed. Ed. Standring S. Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2005 /) (first published in 1858);
  • The Harriet Lane Handbook: a Manual for Pediatric House Officers. / 17th ed. Ed. Robertson J. Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby, 2005 / ;
  • Harriet Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Desease. / 7th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders, 2005 / ;
  • Cecil Textbook of Medicine. / 22th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2004 /

After a period of restructuring, Elsevier changed into a major international publisher with a single structure, combining not only resources but also knowledge and experience. At the end of the 1990s, Elsevier made a technological breakthrough that was called "the second Gutenberg revolution": it started publishing electronic editions.

From 1991 to 1995, Elsevier managed the TULIP project, aimed at the electronic distribution of journals to universities. Initially the project delivered 42 journals, which were published by Elsevier and Pergamon Press, to nine U.S. university libraries, but the number of titles grew to 80 by the end of the experiment. It was an innovation, which subsequently led to the creation of databases: Elsevier Electronic Subscriptions and then the modern ScienceDirect. Designed in 1997 to meet the needs of the scientific, educational, commercial and government organizations for multi-thematic information, the platform ScienceDirect offers comprehensive coverage of literature from all areas of science, providing access to more than 2500 titles of journals and more than 6000 books from the collection of the publishing house Elsevier as well as the vast number of journals published by prestigious scientific associations. In addition, the system CrossRef facilitates the links between content of materials from Science, Technology and Medicine disciplines, issued by more than 1000 other publishers.

The intuitively comprehensible interface provides researchers with access to more than 9.5 million full texts in PDF and HTML, and provides hyperlinks to a number of scientific, technical and medical articles on platforms of other publishers. Today, ScienceDirect is available in more than 70 countries worldwide. Several million articles are downloaded every month, the content of the platform is updated daily. ScienceDirect is the most effective and complete electronic interactive system that allows users to find and analyze high quality scientific, technical and medical information.

Elsevier has recently launched a new electronic product Scopus, the largest abstract and reference database in the world, covering more than 36 million records. Approximately 2 million records of publications, more than 17 000 scientific, technical and medical journal titles from about 4000 international publishers are added to Scopus each year. The daily updated database includes the content of journals from the leading scientific publishers back to the first volume or the first issue. It provides unparalleled support in the search for scientific publications and provides links to all published citations from the vast amount of available articles.

More than 300 researchers and librarians from over 20 institutions worldwide were involved in creating this research tool. Designers and builders of the database responsible for its content had to explore a vast range of sources to select only the highest quality scientific literature, including publications in open access, works of scientific conferences, as well as materials that are available only in electronic form.

But it is clear to the publisher that the second revolution of Gutenberg has just begun: an innovation is already outdated before it is even introduced, so it is necessary to seek for new solutions. Elsevier's objective is to experiment and move forward.

Today, Elsevier is the world's largest publisher of scientific, technical and medical literature, with its headquarters based in Amsterdam. The publishing house employs 7,000 people across 24 countries. Its publishing products and services, including books, magazines, electronic versions of publications, and databases, amount to over 20 thousand.

© The National Library of Russia, 2010