Pyramid showing comparative depths of intermed...
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Last night at the SSP IN meeting, the group I was with was discussing the disintermediation of librarians and others in the traditional value chains, yet reflecting on the fact that intermediaries (e.g., Google, blogs, and apomediaries enabled by Facebook, Twitter, and the like) still exist and provide value. It led us to coin a new word to reflect the times — “diffintermediation,” to stand for differently intermediated.

The world we live in is diffintermediated. You’re reading about the SSP IN meeting because of a blogger with a compulsion to write. You participate in webinars and other distance learning. You check your phone, email, and feeds for news rather than relying on newspapers and magazines.

Diffintermediation speaks to the changes we’re experiencing as intermediaries ourselves. Does peer-review hold the same value as it used to? Is it changing? What does apomediation portend for us? Do the sources we rely on want speed and distribution differences we are struggling to support?

Diffintermediation also speaks to the chance to manage the change. Disintermediation suggests a helpless stance, an absolute, binary loss. Diffintermediation suggests change and the ability to respond and remain relevant and useful.

So, remember — intermediation isn’t vanishing, it’s changing. And that’s “diffintermediation.”

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


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