Thomson Gale, the book and electronic reference publishing division of Thomson Learning, is eliminating 181 jobs, approximately 14% of its worldwide workforce of 1,300. As part of the downsizing, the company's New York office, which houses some Macmillan Reference operations, will be closed; those functions will move to Gale's Farmington Hills, Mich., headquarters. Some New York employees will be given the opportunity to move to Michigan, said a Thomson spokesperson. In addition to its U.S. operations, Gale has offices in the U.K., Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Malaysia.The cuts are being made primarily in Gale's editorial and technology departments, and are expected to be completed by February 6. All affected employees will receive severance and outplacement services. Despite the cuts, the spokesperson said, Gale's title output will not be reduced and the company will continue to operate all of its imprints. "These are strong brands," the spokesperson noted. Among those imprints are Macmillan Reference, Charles Scribner's Sons and Thorndike Press, which were part of Macmillan Library Reference USA. Thomson bought Macmillan Library from Pearson in June 1999 for $86 million.

The spokesperson attributed the downsizing to the soft library market and to the decision by the company to shift some of its resources from the library market to the k—12 market, as well as to increase its electronic publishing efforts.

Last month, Gale named Ray Lowrey chief technology officer. He had been v-p of strategic product technology at Thomson Learning, where he oversaw that company's development of the electronic infrastructure that supports the development and sale of new electronic products. One product that Gale is high on is the new Gale Virtual Reference Library, featuring a collection of Gale e-books.