A Living Library? Springer Introduces New Reference Website

Physical libraries are constrained to the real-world process of information dissemination: research, review, publishing, and shipping of reference works. One advantage of the Internet is the instantaneous delivery of information, but this instant gratification goes hand in hand with some well known drawbacks (such as the questionable accuracy of Wikipedia). Here at Intellogist, we’re always looking for reliable sources of patent and non-patent literature. After all, we’re a wiki that strives for factual and accurate information!

To that end, the recent announcement of SpringerReference.com piqued my interest. Read on to find out what SpringerReference.com is, and how this new site looks to construct a living online repository while maintaining factual accuracy.


Springer is a well known scientific publisher and provider of search platform SpringerLink (among others). The SpringerLink pedigree gives users a level of expectation for any new Springer online reference project, since SpringerLink has seen continual improvement over the years, including semantic linking, revised subject hierarchy, and an ever-growing database of source material.

SpringerReference.com looks to add value to the world of online reference solutions by focusing on live updates to the vast knowledge repositories that the system hosts. To quote the press release sent out by Springer:

It offers living editions of Springer’s eReferences well in advance of their print editions across every subject. Through the platform, scientists can submit updates to articles whenever they want or deem necessary to keep up with the demand for the most recent scientific developments. SpringerReference.com thus offers a way to quickly publish major reference works which need to be constantly updated with the most up-to-date research findings.

The especially encouraging stipulation to this feature is that the “live updates” from authors and researchers must be likewise vetted and peer reviewed in a similar fashion to the original material. In theory, this should ensure that all of the data can be more timely than a source that relies on printed materials such as journals alone (which is the vast majority of non-patent literature sources, online or off), while still valuing accuracy.

If Springer can pull off this value-added combo, SpringerReference.com will be an interesting subscription-based source of prior art. Being a publisher, the data that Springer can provide will always be the strong point of their online offerings, and launching SpringerReference.com with access to “146 major reference works, corresponding to about 185,000 articles and 220,000 pages” is a great start.

SpringerReference.com advanced search

Although only in Beta, SpringerReference.com has advanced field searching available, comparable to many of its competitors.

Have you checked out SpringerReference.com? What do you think about this model of “living library?” We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!

Patent Information from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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5 Responses

  1. what happens if you reference one of those articles to illustrate a particular point, and later revisions are no longer relevant?

  2. Good question. I would imagine that you could download the article/section and show that (along with the date).

  3. There is a history section on each article with the previous editions for references and citations. (The featured articles on the homepage are free.)

  4. [...] bibliographic and full-text data about journal articles and other media published by Springer.  A past Intellogist Blog post reviewed the continuously updated SpringerReference resource, and the publisher also provides the [...]

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