Hello there, could you briefly tell us what this new READ service is all about?READ is an OECD publication consulting service. It allows users to read all our free publications from a computer, tablet or cell phone.
The OECD already publishes content on the Internet, doesn’t it? So, why this new service?In fact, we already have several websites dedicated to publicizing our publications. Site traffic is constantly increasing on these sites. However, the READ system can reach new audiences and be served for new purposes. The first thing to mention here is that it’s totally free to access and therefore highly accessible to a wide audience. It is very simple to navigate and allows users to consult it whilst on the move – tablets are particularly useful in this context. Finally, it ensures integration with and direct links to our publications is facilitated, especially via social networks.
And is integration with these networks a priority for you?The OECD can already boast a very strong reputation throughout the professional world, the research industry and within teaching. However, we would also very much like to make ourselves available to a less specialized audience. To reach these new readers, social networks can be a highly effective solution. For example, today, every time we publish something, the news is spontaneously broadcast across Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Our goal is clear: we want to democratize access to our work and address new audiences – those people who do not spontaneously visit our most traditional sites.
There are already free portals for publishing documents. Why not use them instead?In fact, we already use some of them, and our publications are already available on platforms such as Google Books and Scribd. Nevertheless, we must remain in control of our publishing process. Some publications can deal with very sensitive subject matters. We must be in control of when and how they become available.
Have you received any initial feedback on the success of READ?An initial version of this system was put online in 2012. Within just a few weeks we were receiving more than 100,000 visitors per month. This new consultation method has been praised by our users – especially those who want to be among the first readers of a publication. It also serves as a relay to our other sites and creates a kind of virtuous synergy in terms of visitors. Every day hundreds of documents are added and/or updated in our READ system.
Was the system complex to set up? The OECD is highly experienced in terms of IT-related publishing. With READ, we relied on an expert from Keepeek. We had to address a range of challenges. Firstly, we had to develop a “responsive design” web document consultation app. Secondly, we had to find a way to manage a significant amount of content (over 100,000 documents). Finally, we needed to ensure the treatment of highly heterogeneous files hailing from different document production modes over the years.