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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Magazines Online

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, July 20, 2014

Once a year, the Library System renews the magazine subscriptions for all of our locations.


Each year, there seems to be several magazines which disappear as they “go out of business” or merge with another publication.


The prices continue to increase, while the size and scope of many publications shrink as competition from online services impacts the print publications.


In years gone by, libraries would select magazine based on whether or not the title was indexed in “Readers Guide to Periodical Literature.”  If it wasn’t indexed, libraries wouldn’t subscribe to it!


With that index now gone, libraries are subscribing based entirely on demand.


The other challenge is that most libraries now circulate magazines instead of keeping them in-house since they are now longer used for research purposes.


Some people like that, some don’t as the days of going to the library to browse has ended and been replaced with online services.


The Library System has two products online that are used to obtain magazine articles, both of which can be searched online with your library card.


“Academic and Professional Journal Databases” is one of our EBSCO family of databases which provides 520 education journals, as well as 640 journal titles, all available in full-text.


These are publications that a public library would likely not subscribe to the paper edition, but people might be searching for a specific article within the publication.


Our newest offering in the online database field is “General OneFile,” which is a product of the Gale Cengage Learning Corporation.


It includes more than 8,000 full-text titles with back files to 1980, including five major newspaper indexes.


OneFile is the largest collection of full-text periodicals available online in the world with 100 million records at your fingertips at any one time.


The specifics of OneFile are amazing to a librarian and include the New York Times from 1985 to the current date updated daily, and the Financial Times from 1994 to date.


500 Fodor travel guides, including the very latest available are online with OneFile as well as 20 reference sets such as the “Encyclopedia of World Biography.”


You can also cross-reference the “Gale PowerSearch” and connect to eBooks in the “Gale Virtual Reference Library” platform.


There is more to OneFile including a full collection of NPR audio programs as well as video transcripts from “The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press.”


The next step in magazine management is an online database of the more popular current magazines, which will allow the public to browse current issues using an iPad.


This will return the “come to the library to look at all the current issues” that disappeared with online services and depleted titles of magazines.


Librarians used to point –with-pride at the number of books in their library collection, but now we point to the billions of bytes of data that we can connect to with our online services.


Exciting to me is that these materials are provided by your Library System at your home, or office, as well as the Main Library or our Dillonvale-Mt. Pleasant Branch Library.


The Library adds the human factor to this pile of information, in that you can use it yourself, or you can ask one of the library’s 67 staff members to assist you with the process.


The Library is the “value-added” to your information search; try to call Google for help.