Oxford Islamic Studies Online: A Perfect 10

Check out this flattering review of the MarkLogic-based, Oxford Islamic Studies Online offering from Oxford University Press. With 3000 entries, 1000 biographies, 138 images, 233 “chaptered works” and ~160 primary sources, Islamic Studies Online is a great example of what I call “silo busting” in publishing.

What do I mean? Most publishers have silo-ed organizations and silo-ed products. Oxford is cutting across these silos of content to create new online information products. And the beauty of this approach is that once you put the basic infrastructure place, you don’t create just one product, you create many.

For example, Islamic Studies Online is a sister product to Oxford’s African-American Studies Online; I’m sure that content about people such as Malcom X is sourced from multiple Oxford works and then the same content is delivered to both the Islamic and the African American Studies products. That’s content repurposing in action.

You can see a demo of the product, here. And here are a few excerpts from the Islamic Studies Online review in Library Journal:

The main page functions as both a search interface and a study center. The title of the file is clearly and boldly identified at screen top, with a simple search box to the right and an action bar below it that includes links to Search, Browse, Qur’anic Studies, Timelines, Learning Resources, a Qur’an Verse Lookup system, and a date converter between Western and Islamic dates.

[…]

The Browse feature is a great way to discover the scope of the content here but a rotten way to get a review done: after an hour and a half of browsing through the Chaptered Works and Primary Sources, I was staggered by the depth and breadth of information available but hadn’t written a word about it!

[…]

HOW GOOD IS IT? Content: 10. Design: 10. Navigability: 10. Usability: 10. It’s solid, and, yes, it’s a 10.

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