SpringerLink is a platform for eBooks, journals and reference works totalling over 4.8 million documents. The service has just launched a re-design, with new semantic linking features that enable users to access related content across eBooks and journals.

The semantic linking feature displays links to related content from SpringerLink's archive. It's similar to the 'see also' feature on ReadWriteWeb and the related entries functionality on many other news web sites. What's interesting about SpringerLink's implementation is that the related content is from book chapters and journal articles.

SpringerLink is focused squarely on the academic market. According to the company, it currently has nearly 40,000 eBooks and more than 2,250 scientific and specialist journals. It also makes available for searching about 20,000 online protocols in life sciences and biomedicine. The company behind SpringerLink is called Springer Science+Business Media, a publisher of scientific books and nearly 500 academic and professional society journals.

What is Semantic Linking?

On certain documents, there is a 'Related Documents' section that is populated using a "digital fingerprinting process." This process analyzes the source document and compares it to all other documents in SpringerLink. It "determines which documents are most similar to that article or chapter," the company states.

This is a vague description of "digital fingerprinting." Regardless, the feature does expose researchers to new documents they might otherwise have not seen.

What Else is New

SpringerLink has also added a revised subject hierarchy and a new PDF Preview feature.

SpringerLink now covers 12 major subjects - including mathematics, computer science, medicine, engineering, economics, law, humanities and social sciences.

The PDF Preview feature provides all readers with a free look inside eBook chapters. Subscribers to the service will also be able to explore the entire book and download specific content that they need.

SpringerLink is a good example of how books and academic articles are being changed by the Internet. It's encouraging to see semantic search being used in the eBook domain. Let us know in the comments if you're aware of other examples of semantic technology in eBooks.