EBSCO Information Services

EBSCO Information Services, headquartered in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., the third largest private company in Birmingham, Alabama, with annual sales of over $3 billion according to the BBJ's 2013 Book of Lists.[1] EBSCO offers library resources to customers in academic, medical, K–12, public library, law, corporate, and government markets. Its products include EBSCONET, a complete e-resource management system, and EBSCOhost, which supplies a fee-based online research service with 375 full-text databases, a collection of 600,000-plus ebooks, subject indexes, point-of-care medical references, and an array of historical digital archives. In 2010, EBSCO introduced its EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) to institutions, which allows searches of a portfolio of journals and magazines.[2]

EBSCO Information Services
Subsidiary of EBSCO Industries
IndustryInformation services
HeadquartersIpswich, Massachusetts, United States
Key people
Tim Collins (President)
ProductsEBSCO Discovery Service, EBSCOhost, EBSCO eBooks, EBSCO Health, DynaMed Plus


EBSCO Information Services is a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., a family owned company since 1944. "EBSCO" is an acronym for Elton B. Stephens Co., founded by Elton Bryson Stephens Sr. (1911–2005).

According to Forbes Magazine, EBSCO is one of the largest privately held companies in Alabama and one of the top 200 in the United States, based on revenues and employee numbers.[3] Sales surpassed $1 billion in 1997 and exceeded $2 billion in 2006.

EBSCO Industries is a diverse company which includes over 40 businesses. EBSCO Publishing was established in 1984 as a print publication called Popular Magazine Review, featuring article abstracts from more than 300 magazines. In 1987 the company was purchased by EBSCO Industries and its name was changed to EBSCO Publishing. It employed around 750 people by 2007.[4] In 2003 it acquired Whitston Publishing, another database provider.[5] In 2010 EBSCO purchased NetLibrary and in 2011, EBSCO Publishing took over H. W. Wilson Company.[6][7][8] It merged with EBSCO Information Services on July 1, 2013. The merged business operates as EBSCO Information Services.[9] In 2015 EBSCO acquired YBP (Yankee Book Peddler) Library Services from Baker & Taylor, and later renamed it GOBI Library Solutions.[10][11] As of 2017, the President is Tim Collins.[12]


  • Databases: EBSCO provides a range of library database services.[13] Many of the databases, such as MEDLINE and EconLit, are licensed from content vendors. Others, such as Academic Search, America: History & Life, Art Index, Art Abstracts, Art Full Text, Business Source, Clinical Reference Systems, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Education Abstracts, Environment Complete, Health Source, Historical Abstracts, History Reference Center, MasterFILE, NetLibrary, Primary Search, Professional Development Collection, and USP DI are compiled by EBSCO itself.
  • Discovery: This product is used to create a unified, customized index of an institution's information resources, and a means of accessing all the content from a single search box. The system works by harvesting metadata from both internal and external sources, and then creating a preindexed service.
  • eBooks: EBSCO provides ebooks and audiobooks across a wide range of subject matter. EBSCO reports that their database includes over a million ebooks and 90,000 audiobooks from over 1500 publishers.[14]
  • DynaMed Plus is a clinical reference tool for physicians and other health care professionals for use at the point-of-care. DynaMed Plus ranked highest among 10 online clinical resources in a study in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology[15] and also had the highest overall performance in the disease reference product category in two successive reports on clinical decision support resources by KLAS, a research firm that specializes in monitoring and reporting the performance of healthcare vendors.[16]
  • It provides DRM-protected audio and DRM-protected audiobooks through its subsidiary NetLibrary, which was purchased in 2010 from Online Computer Library Center. It competes in this market with OverDrive's Digital Library Reserve.

Green and philanthropic initiatives

EBSCO has two large solar electric arrays, is converting its corporate fleet of cars to hybrids, has established a "Green Team" at its headquarters, and has released GreenFILE, a free database designed to help people research the impact humans have on the environment. EBSCO was awarded a 2008 Environmental Merit Award Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office and was honored by the Special Library Association as "Green Champions" as part of the association's "Knowledge to Go Green" initiative on Earth Day 2009.[17]

EBSCO philanthropic initiatives include efforts to bridge the digital divide (between the industrialized world and developing nations) and work with the Open Society Foundations to provide essential research databases for universities in 39 developing countries.[18] In 2012, the Stephens were recognized for their philanthropic work.[19]


In 2017, an anti-pornography organization, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as "Morality in Media") criticized EBSCO because its databases, widely used in schools in the United States, "could be used to search for information about sexual terms."[20] The group said that some articles from Men's Health and other publications indexed by EBSCO included articles with sexual (but not pornographic) content and asserted that other articles in the database linked to websites that included pornography.[20] EBSCO responded by saying that it took the complaint seriously, but was unaware of any case "of students using its databases to access pornography or other explicit materials" and that "the searches NCOSE was concerned about had been conducted by adults actively searching for graphic materials, often on home computers that don't have the kinds of controls and filters common on school computers."[20]


  1. "Birmingham's largest private companys". Birmingham Business Journal. 2012.
  2. "The New and Improved EBSCO Information Services". Information Today. 2013.
  3. "The Largest Private Companies". Forbes. November 9, 2006. Archived from the original on May 9, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  4. Brynko, Barbara (2011). "Collins: EBSCO's Mission of Growth".
  5. "EBSCO acquires Whitston Publishing Company". Library Technology Guides. 24 September 2003. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  6. "EBSCO Publishing and The H.W. Wilson Company Make Joint Announcement of Merger Agreement". hwwilson.com (Press release). June 1, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  7. Barrett, William P. (December 29, 1997). "Mousetrapped". Forbes. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  8. "H.W. Wilson Company". The New York Times.
  9. "EBSCO Publishing and EBSCO Information Services merge" (Press release). EBSCO Industries. May 22, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  10. "EBSCO acquires YBP". The Bookseller. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  11. "GOBI Library Solutions". EBSCO. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  12. "About: Leadership". EBSCO Information Services. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  13. "Title Lists". EBSCO Information Services. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  14. "EBSCO eBooks and audiobooks". Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  15. Prorok, J. C.; Iserman, E. C.; Wilczynski, N. L.; Haynes, R. B. (September 10, 2012). "The quality, breadth, and timeliness of content updating vary substantially for 10 online medical texts: an analytic survey". Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 65 (12): 1289–95. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2012.05.003. PMID 22974495.
  16. "Clinical Decision Support 2013: Sizing up the competition". KLAS Research. December 2013.
  17. "A Small Company with Big Ideas for the Environment". Business & the Environment with ISO 14000 Updates. 2007.
  18. "EBSCO: A Plan for All Seasons". Information Today. 2011.
  19. "Outstanding Philanthropists: James 'Jim' and Julie T. Stephens". Birmingham Business Journal. 2012.
  20. Jackie Zubrzycki, Do Online Databases Filter Out Enough Inappropriate Material?, Education Week (July 14, 2017).

Further reading

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