A history of enterprise search 1938-2022: the latest title to be added to the Sheffield Pressbooks Network

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new open access book on the Sheffield Pressbooks Network.

A shot of bookshelves in Western Bank Library, taking up the whole frame.

A history of enterprise search 1938-2022  is by Martin White, Visiting Professor at the Information School at the University of Sheffield, and Managing Director of Intranet Focus Ltd.  It's free to read online or download, and is published with a Creative Commons BY-NC licence.

The book is a chronological history of the development of enterprise search applications on a decade - by - decade basis from 1938 - 2022 starting with the use of punched cards to search through enterprise collections of scientific information and ending with the transition to the integration of artificial intelligence models into search applications.

The Sheffield Pressbooks Network has been established to facilitate the creation and adaptation of open educational resources (OER) by members of the University. OER are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open licence, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others. (UNESCO)

For more information see the White Rose Libraries OER Toolkit or email oer@sheffield.ac.uk

Continue reading for a blog post in which the author reflects on his experience of publishing with the Sheffield Pressbooks Network:

Changing the publishing landscape: reflections of a Pressbooks author

The Sheffield Pressbooks Network recently published A History of Enterprise Search 1938-2022 by Martin White, founder of Intranet Focus and Visiting Professor at the Information School, University of Sheffield. The book is open access with a CC BY-NC licence. In this post, Martin reflects on his latest publication, and his experience of using Pressbooks.

“I’m not quite sure how I’ve fitted in the authorship of ten books over the last forty years. The first was ‘Profit from Information’ in 1981, and that is pretty much the focus of my career. None of the books has made any substantial contribution to my bank account! I write them as a way of making sure that I really do know what I am talking about when working on complex information management assignments for multinational organisations. 

I have had the honour of being a Visiting Professor at the Information School since 2002 and have always taken a keen interest in the development of the University Library. When I saw the news item about the Pressbooks initiative I was immediately interested as I am always walking around with a couple of book ideas on my to-do list. An initial video call with Maria Mawson and Helen Moore was very productive and we were soon discussing ideas for book titles. We settled on A History of Enterprise Search 1948-2021 that I had written as an Intranet Focus Ltd report as this would provide a core text for an initial book. In the event I extended it back to 1938, revised much of the text, put all the citations in a standard format (thanks to my proofreader Val Skelton) and added some thoughts on the future of enterprise search.

The first task was to carry out the transfer of the Word file into Pressbooks and this worked very well. The Pressbooks platform turned out to be very easy to use as far as adding and revising text and clearly the application has been developed by people with a very good background in book publishing. One of my previous books was written on an authoring platform developed by a commercial publisher and it was full of bugs and support was poor. By comparison Pressbooks was a delight to use, and although there were challenges with some aspects of the functionality, between us we were able to overcome them.

This was always seen as a pilot project for the Sheffield Pressbooks Network, and without doubt all three of us learned a great deal from the experience. The outcomes overall were very positive and I am now working on another book about the causes, impacts and consequences of workarounds in organisations. 

Overall I would encourage anyone to consider Pressbooks as an open access publishing platform. My only piece of advice would be to remember that the production process from final text to published book can take both time and commitment, but that is the case with any book project. It was a great pleasure to work with Maria and Helen and you can be assured that they are a very supportive and skilled team to help to convert your book vision to book reality.”

The Sheffield Pressbooks Network has been established to support the creation and adaptation of open educational resources (OER) at the University of Sheffield. If you would be interested in using the platform, please email oer@sheffield.ac.uk. Further information about University Library support for OER is available on the Library website. 

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