Press Releases

4 December 2003 

xrefer wins Freepint award for Innovative Customer Service

xrefer, producers of the online reference library xreferplus, were delighted to be named winners of the award for Innovation in Customer Service at the gala dinner presentation of the first International Information Industry Awards on December 3rd 2003 in London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel.

Sponsored by FreePint (, the online network for information researchers, the award is designed to be presented to the customer support team who have demonstrated an exceptional knowledge of the products that they are supporting, and a strong and consultative approach to customer relations. Nominations for the award were invited from FreePint’s 65,000 members worldwide and a judging panel reviewed all entries.

William Hann, Founder and Managing Editor of FreePint said: “xrefer are deserved winners of this year’s award. They have demonstrated that customer service is all about acting upon customer feedback throughout the whole organisation and keeping all employees and customers in the product development and support loop”.

For more information about the International Information Industry Award Winners, see the FreePint announcement.


25 November 2003 

xrefer wins the CILIP electronic reference award

xrefer is delighted to announce that its premier online reference service, xreferplus, has won the prestigious Besterman/McColvin medal for outstanding works of reference published in the UK, electronic category. The award was presented at CILIP’s Gala Awards presentation day at the Landmark Hotel in London on 21 November 2003.

The Awards are organised and administered by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information professionals, with generous sponsorship from Nielsen BookData, the market-leading bibliographic information provider.

Dr Anthony Hugh Thompson, Chair of the electronic panel said, “xreferplus is an information expert system! It contains the content of 150+ well-known reference books from major publishers, brought together online and cross referenced. It is easy and fun to use, intuitive, lots of links, fast even when downloading pictures of which there are currently 66,000 in the database. An even larger number of sounds are also included, currently in the form of pronunciations of terms from a number of the dictionaries. It is a librarian’s dream and a student’s delight.”

More information about the award is available from the CILIP website.

21 October 2003 

xrefer Names John G. Dove Chief Executive Officer

xrefer, announced today that John G. Dove has been named chief executive officer of the company.

John has 35 years of experience in information-based businesses including financial services, management consulting, electronic publishing and education. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer of SilverPlatter, where he oversaw the company’s worldwide sales, content and market development, technology, electronic publishing operations and Internet services.

John started his career as a software developer and systems architect at Interactive Data Corporation, later served as Vice President of Product Development at Computer Corporation of America, taught in an MBA Program in Shanghai, and was a vice president of Symmetrix, a management consulting firm serving Fortune 500 businesses.

Most recently, John has been working with the e-Government Executive Education Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, which focuses on strategic and change management issues relevant to e-government initiatives worldwide. John has been instrumental in initiating their eGovernment Compass, a Web-based enhancement to their executive education program for strategic computing.

xrefer’s Managing Director Adam Hodgkin has been named President, and will focus on content acquisition and business development. “I am very pleased to have John Dove join xrefer”, said Hodgkin. “John’s knowledge, experience and energy will help xrefer as we embark on our next phase of growth and continue our mission to provide libraries and their users with the best online ready reference service available. He will be invaluable in helping us serve the key constituencies of a successful business: customers, employees, business partners and shareholders.”

John said, “Adam and his team at xrefer have built a compelling product and business concept. For any user frustrated with searching through page after page of data to find definitive, authoritative answers, xreferplus is indispensable. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this capability to a much larger audience.”

21 October 2003 

xreferplus shortlisted for 2003 CILIP reference award

xrefer is delighted to announce that its premier online reference service, xreferplus, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Besterman/McColvin medal for outstanding works of reference published in the UK, electronic category.

The Awards are organised and administered by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information professionals, with generous sponsorship from Nielsen BookData, the market-leading bibliographic information provider. Eligible works are those published from 1 January (the previous year) until July (in the year of the award). The judges will assess the authority, scope and coverage, arrangement, and currency of the information, quality of indexing, adequacy of references, physical presentation, originality and value for money.

Besides xreferplus, other candidates for the award are the BMA’s ‘BNF 45: British National Formulary’ and Elsevier Mosby’s ‘Dermatology Online’. The winners of the competition will be announced at CILIP’s Gala Awards presentation day in London on 21 November. Last year’s medal was won by University of Wales Press for its CD ROM ‘The Visual Culture of Wales: Imaging the Nation’ by Peter Lord.

More information about the awards is available from the CILIP website.

29 September 2003 

xrefer Releases Version 2.0 of xreferplus

Enhanced online ready reference service offers information visualization, unit conversions and additional new content

xrefer, the online ready reference service that provides full-text, aggregated content to academic, public and corporate libraries, announced today that it has released version 2.0 of its xreferplus service, which includes improved information visualization capabilities (a new “Research Mapper”), a host of new content and unit conversions.

The Research Mapper is a visual map that displays how search terms and topics in xreferplus are interconnected. Users can access the Mapper from any set of search results, enabling them to quickly explore the links among topics within the area they’re researching.

The Research Mapper leverages xrefer’s proprietary “xreference” technology, whereby added xreference links enhance the content by seamlessly connecting related entries. Unlike traditional cross-references, which connect related terms within a single source, xreferences cut across topics, titles and publishers, as well as text, audio and image files. The 1.25 million entries, 66,000 images and 76,000 audio files in the service are xreferenced, providing an integrated user experience. The Research Mapper displays all of the xreference links that are included in a set of search results in an interactive and easy-to-use format that illustrates how – and how closely – the search results are connected to other xreferplus entries. Research Maps can guide users to the most relevant information related to their research, and can lead users to areas that warrant further exploration.

In addition, xrefer continues to add to its content offering, increasing the number of titles in xreferplus by 80 percent in 2003 alone. Recent additions include The Bridgeman Art Library Archive, Webster’s New World™ Computer Dictionary, Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary and The Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology. The company continues to add new titles regularly, focusing on robust content that includes image and audio files in addition to full text entries.

xrefer has also added Unit Conversions to its reference library, which will enable users to compare and calculate measurements of area, distance, energy, speed, volume, weight and more. The conversion calculator simultaneously displays all units of measure within a given category, and is fully integrated with xreferplus.

“We’re very pleased to offer these enhancements to the xreferplus service,” said Adam Hodgkin, Managing Director of xrefer. “With the new Research Mapper, such huge growth in our offering of prestigious content and the launch of unit conversions, we are fulfilling our mission to provide libraries and their users with the best online ready reference service available.”

20 September 2003 

Marc records introduced for all xreferplus content

xrefer is delighted to announce that UK Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) records are now available for all the titles in its xreferplus digital reference library. The service currently contains 150 titles in total, with new reference works being added on a regular basis. The inclusion of this feature in the xreferplus service comes as a response to the strong demand for it from the library community in the UK.

By downloading the MARC records for each of the titles in xreferplus, subscribing libraries in the UK will now be able to integrate their xreferplus collections into their online catalogues using this common format, which provides a simple and streamlined processing system. More information about Marc records can be found at

9 August 2003 

Singapore National Library Board purchase xreferplus license

xrefer is delighted to announce that the National Library Board of Singapore ( has purchased an annual subscription to xreferplus, the online reference library. Under the terms of this license agreement, all residents of Singapore will be able to gain access to the reference service on a 24/7 basis in public libraries, at work or in their own homes via the library board’s eLibraryHub website (

Benefits of the NLB Singapore/xreferplus license include access to hundreds of dictionaries, encyclopedias and thesauri for any individual who holds a valid library card for any of Singapore’s public libraries.

The National Library Board has over 2 million library members nationwide, and the network includes 20 community libraries and 33 community children’s libraries. Via the eLibraryHub, it offers access to more than 4 million English language titles, as well as a vast number of Chinese, Tamil and Malay books and resources.

Adam Hodgkin, Managing Director of xrefer, said of the new partnership: “This is an exciting development for xrefer, and we hope that the residents of Singapore will enjoy using and exploring xreferplus. We are pleased to be working closely with such an innovative library organisation.”

8 July 2003 

Congratulations to our ALA Contest Winner!

Marcia Cheney, of Utah State University, won a $250 Amazon gift certificate from xrefer at the ALA in Toronto. Marcia used xreferplus to correctly answer all of the questions in our Toronto quiz. Congratulations, Marcia!

Our quiz was all about Toronto, in honor of the home of the summer 2003 ALA. Here are the questions and answers:

1. By what name was the city of Toronto known, prior to 1834?

2. Which Toronto-born pianist made his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the age of 14?
Glenn Gould

3. Who was the Toronto-born founder of chiropractic medicine?
Daniel David Palmer

4. What does the color red in the Canadian flag represent?
Canadian lives lost during World War I

5. Which University of Toronto-educated author won the Booker Prize in 1992, and for what book?
Michael Ondaatje, for The English Patient

6. Which Pulitzer Prize-winning American author once worked as a journalist in Toronto?
Ernest Hemingway

7. What is the connection between Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry and rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix?
Gehry designed The Experience Music Project, an interactive music museum and a homage to Jimi Hendrix

30 June 2003 

Bridgeman Art Library images added to xreferplus

xrefer is delighted to announce that a collection of some 16,000 digital images from the celebrated Bridgeman Art Library
( is now being added to xreferplus, the company’s flagship online reference service. The addition of these images brings the total number of images available in xreferplus to 66,000. The Bridgeman collection is the first database to be included in xreferplus, which comprises over 150 reference books including atlases, dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Van Gogh, Velasquez and Gustav Klimt are just some of the 4,800 artists whose works feature in the Bridgeman collection, which is equivalent in size to a ten-volume art reference book. The collection includes images of paintings, sculpture and other works of art, and will be available to all institutions holding an xreferplus subscription.

As an integrated xreferplus resource, the images will be fully available to search and browse within the service. The resolution for each image will be optimal for screen display and quick reference.

The Bridgeman Art Library represents museums, galleries and artists throughout the world, providing a central source of fine art for image users. Its images can be licensed for use in print and on the web.

Adam Hodgkin, Managing Director of xrefer, said of the new partnership: “The Bridgeman collection, when added to the existing art historical reference material in the service, makes xreferplus a formidable reference resource for the study of art. We are delighted to have begun this collaboration with the prestigious Bridgeman Art Library.”

10 June 2003 

xreferplus Talks

xrefer adds over 76,000 audio pronunciation files to its online reference service; to debut new feature at American Library Association Annual Conference

xrefer, an online reference service provider that offers full-text, aggregated and integrated content to corporate, academic and public libraries, announced today that it is adding over 76,000 audio MP3 files to its online reference service, xreferplus. The spoken-word files are being added to aid researchers in the pronunciation of medical, scientific and technical terminology, as well English-language words in general.

xrefer will be on hand at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada, June 21-24 (booth #3304), to meet customers and to showcase xreferplus’ new audio enhancements and other features.

xreferplus is the company’s subscription-based online reference library, which features content from over 150 reference books and 27 publishers. Using proprietary cross-referencing technology, its 1.25 million entries, 5 million cross-reference links, 20,000 images and 76,000 audio files cut across topics, titles and publishers, providing users with contextual and multi-sourced answers to their research needs.

“While Shakespeare is estimated to have a vocabulary of just under 30,000 words, and tabloid newspapers get by on less than 3,000, xreferplus will shortly have a spoken vocabulary of 76,000 words”, said xrefer’s Managing Director Adam Hodgkin. “We’re very pleased to offer this new addition to xreferplus to our library customers and their patrons, as we strive to provide the most comprehensive online reference resource for our customers worldwide.”

MP3 files are currently available at xreferplus for Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary and will be available for The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language and the Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology by the end of June. Additional sound files will be added as they are made available from xrefer’s partnering publishers.

08 April 2003 

NHS choose xrefer as their reference service provider

xrefer, a leading provider of innovative and dynamic online reference services for libraries, today announced that the National Health Service, UK has signed a three year agreement for selected xrefer medical reference books, to be delivered via its online National Electronic Library for Health (NeLH). The new agreement was signed following a one year pilot agreement between xrefer and the NHS.

According to the terms of the new agreement, xrefer will deliver references via the NeLH’s Medical Dictionaries search service, using content from both Black’s Medical Dictionary and the Royal Society of Medicine’s ‘Medicines’ guide. The search service is available entirely for free to all users of the NeLH site, and can be accessed at

Ben Toth, Director of Knowledge Management at the NHS Information Authority, said of the new agreement:

“Medical Dictionaries are a key part of knowledge provision to NHS staff and patients alike, and I am delighted that xrefer will be providing this service on the NeLH website”

Carl Roach, Technical Director at xrefer Ltd, said:

“The NHS have done an excellent job incorporating xrefer’s XML reference service into their site. Although the content and search engine sit on xrefer servers the level of integration achieved makes the end-user experience seamless.”

3 April 2003 

Richard Charkin appointed chairman of xrefer

xrefer, a leading provider of innovative and dynamic online reference services for libraries, today announced that Richard Charkin, Chief Executive Officer of Macmillan publishers, has been appointed its new Chairman. Richard will take on the role of Chairman of xrefer in addition to his continuing duties at Macmillan. Adam Hodgkin, who until now has been both Chairman and Managing Director of xrefer, will continue as Managing Director, running the company on a day-to-day basis from its offices at Paddington, London. Adam said of this development:

“Richard has been involved with xrefer since the launch of the company, and has been extremely helpful as an adviser and supporter of xrefer’s vision right from the start. In fact his encouragement predates the company and I remember discussing with him in the early days the advantages which should come from a collection of reference works on the web which could be interlinked, through software. His visibility in the publishing world is a great help to us, and I am thrilled that he has agreed to join us in an official and public capacity.”

Richard Charkin said of his appointment:

“I have been a long-time supporter of xrefer as it has built itself into the world’s leading online reference service based on innovation, functionality, dependable technology and high-class management. I am delighted to have been invited to be Chairman.”

For more information, please visit

06 March 2003 

xrefer sponsor new blog from Internet pioneer Peter Scott

xrefer, a leading supplier of institutional digital reference services, has announced that it is providing sponsorship and support for a new weblog from internet pioneer Peter Scott. The daily blog will provide timely and useful information for librarians and is sure to become a popular and highly respected information resource for the information professionals worldwide.

Peter’s new blog will cover a range of issues of importance to the wired information professional including databases, conferences, library services, software and vendors. The blog also includes a wealth of industry-related links, including listings of new books, journals and conferences of interest to librarians. Plans to increase the editorial and technical scope of the blog are already under consideration; Peter intends to add interviews with leading information professionals as well as including increasing amounts of interactivity to allow users to submit information and comment on existing stories.

Peter Scott is a renowned internet pioneer who has been involved with the Internet since its pre-web days, when he created a tool called Hytelnet that allowed users to easily connect with remote computers (often library catalogs) through telnet. Since then Peter has been involved in numerous projects including the creation and maintenance of Libdex, the Library Index, Library WeblogsPublishers CataloguesWeblogs Compendium and Peter was also an early exponent of blogging, starting in earnest back in November 2000 when he recognised its potential for the dissemination of information of use to information professionals in a quick and timely fashion. Peter was previously responsible for the popular library weblog, Library News Daily. Peter is currently the Internet Projects Manager in the University of Saskatchewan Library and a consultant for Northern Lights Internet Solutions.

Adam Hodgkin, managing director, xrefer said of the weblog: “We’re delighted and proud to be closely involved with Peter’s new blog. We’re sure that it will prove to be an invaluable resource for information professionals everywhere, and we’re pleased to be able to help give something back to the information community.”

For more information, please visit

25 February 2003 

New xreferplus content selection system gives choice and flexibility to librarians

xrefer, a leading supplier of institutional digital reference services, today announced that the new content selection system for xreferplus, its acclaimed and popular digital reference library, is now available to all subscribers. The new content selection system will allow customers to choose the titles included within their subscription, giving libraries the choice and flexibility to meet their own individual information requirements. xrefer’s decision to move away from the traditional product-led approach of information suppliers to a more customer-led model is the result of a long-standing series of consultations with the library and information science community.

Subscribers to xreferplus currently receive access to a set collection of 100 reference books provided by a 24 leading publishing brands. With the release of the new content selection system, xreferplus customers will be able to select the subscription option and content selection that best suits their needs. Two options will initially be offered; xreferplus100 and xreferplus125 which will allow subscribers to select 100 or 125 titles from an expanded content roster. This new era of flexibility and choice doesn’t stop here: subscribing institutions can also change their content selections throughout the lifespan of their subscription, allowing them to take advantage of new xreferplus content offerings and to adapt their subscription to meet evolving information requirements.

Daryl Rayner, marketing director, xrefer said of the new content selection system: “We’ve always found it strange that information providers tend to treat libraries as one amorphous entity, as our experience has shown us that libraries have highly individual and specialised information requirements. xrefer is always consulting and working with the library community to ensure that we deliver the services that they want, and we’re pleased to be able to offer a service that provides librarians with the choice and flexibility to enable them to do what they do best: serve their patrons with the information that they need.”

For more information, please visit

30 January 2003 

Andrea Plaid, Graduate Student, GSLIS Simmons College Boston
Library Journal, January 2003, Volume 128 No.1

“What xreferplus excels in is searching. The beautifully simple search page will be a welcome sight to a generation that has grown up on Google. At the top is an empty search box and blinking cursor for searching the entire database.”

The ability to perform cross reference searching among a large reference collection is liberating and powerful. xreferplus knows how to do it with ease and grace and expanded content will only make this a better product. As it is, both public and academic library users will appreciate access from xreferplus from the desktops.”

Congratulations to our competition winners!

We ran a competition to win a Sony Clié PDA at the Mid-Winter ALA in Philadelphia. Entrants had to answer five tricky questions in order to enter. The winner was Vickie Kline of York College of Pennsylvania. Congratulations!

Congratulations also to Amanda Roberts of Nova Southeastern University who won a hamper of goodies.

15 January 2003 

Visit xrefer at booth #1648 at the Mid-Winter ALA and you could win a Sony Clié

xrefer, the digital reference specialists behind xreferplus, are inviting all librarians attending the ALA Mid-winter Meeting & Exhibits in Philadelphia later this month to pit their wits against us in a special Philadelphia themed Brainteaser. All the questions are Philadelphia-related, and if you get stuck at all here’s a hint: all the answers can be found within xreferplus. And if you’re not already a subscriber, why not sign-up for a free trial to help complete the quiz.

Copies of the quiz questions will be available on the xrefer booth (#1648), alternatively download the questions (.pdf), fill in the answers and hand in your entry at the booth. Please note, only entries handed in at the xrefer booth at the ALA Mid-winter meeting 2003 will be accepted.

And if the quiz isn’t reason enough to visit us, why not drop by just for a chat. We’re always happy to demo the service, talk about your needs and listen to how we can build the service that you want. And as an extra incentive, drop booth #1648 to find out about the innovative new content selection system for xreferplus that lets you choose the titles that make up your subscription.

We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia!



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