| By Jessica Bomarito, Product Manager, Gale |
When I graduated with an English degree, I was hoping to find a job I could be passionate about. I asked my favorite professor and college mentor if she had ideas and she suggested Gale, a publisher of reference material for libraries. In a stroke of good luck, several months later I saw a posting for an assistant editor at Gale for the series Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. I interviewed and, like in my own nerdy fairy tale, got the job. I found myself working with a team of seasoned editors and focused on my favorite literary time period.
That was 19 years ago. In that time, both I and the Literature Criticism series have come a long way. After working on the series for six years, I moved to Acquisitions, over the years focusing on K12, academic, and digital archives, and finally into product management for Gale’s literature program, coming full circle.
During my career, the Literature Criticism series I loved went from being produced in-house by a team of editors to being produced by a team helmed by scholars outside of Gale. It went from a print series, taking up whole sections of library stacks, to a digital resource. This transition made all 10 series accessible to a wider audience and cross-searchable, allowing for a wealth of new connections across centuries of analysis.
Now, I’m excited and proud to introduce a new evolution for this beloved series: Gale Literature Criticism. It consists of next-level analysis for today’s researchers. We know analysis remains essential to the study of literature and the humanities overall. But we also know that some students need more direction when researching online. To meet the needs of all researchers, we have now matched Gale’s level of curation and depth and breadth of content with a user experience that unlocks for all users the rich coverage of topics, works, and authors found in all 10 series contained in Gale Literature Criticism.
Gale Literature Criticism has always provided a diverse, inclusive range of content, but for the first time we’re providing that starting place so many students desire when searching databases with over a million articles. This brings expert curation to the forefront and expands access to more users.How are we doing this?
- Over the next several months, we’re adding more than 1,000 topic pages focused on frequently researched literary works and authors, as well as literary topics, movements, and themes. Over 500 of these are in product today!
- New browse functionality offers guidance to researchers and sparks ideas for further research.
- Curated topic pages provide access to overview material, related topic pages, and critical essays.
- With just under half the topic pages complete, we’ve added more than 30,000 new topical points of reference to individual criticism to help researchers efficiently find the most relevant essays.
- Researchers can now listen to documents in Gale Literature Criticism. Plain-text optical character recognition (OCR) is also newly available, providing greater accessibility.
- To support all learners, every customer is receiving this upgrade and will have access to this material regardless of subscription or titles purchased.
Working on this project has made for a sometimes challenging, but always rewarding, year. Meaningful conversations with librarians from all types and levels of institutions, students, and faculty have deeply directed and influenced this evolution of Gale Literature Criticism. This renewed interface not only provides a user-focused experience for students but offers new hooks into the content to be shared by librarians and faculty alike, making Gale Literature Criticism easier to include in LibGuides, course syllabi, and wherever students start their research.
In an era of job-hopping, I am grateful to have longevity at a company that has provided diverse opportunities and still encourages my passion for learning. While this launch represents a significant leap in accessibility and usability for Gale Literature Criticism, we will undoubtedly continue to evolve in close consultation with our customers and end users, making centuries of analysis sourced from all over the world available to the widest audience possible.