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Open Access Alternatives to A&I Databases

How to function in tough times was certainly a major theme at the conference. And the ideas and tips from many presenters were well received by the many librarians struggling to cope with tighter budgets and restrictions of all kinds. Peter Jasco, a well-known expert reviewer of abstracting and indexing databases gave his suggestions for sources that can be used as alternatives.

Peter noted that most librarians are reluctant to cut back on salaries, personnel, journals, etc., but a good option can be to cut back on subscriptions to indexing and abstracting services. “Make use of what you have and what is OPEN ACCESS.” He then announced that he would show how they could get free access to some 80 – 100 million articles.

Many databases from U.S. government agencies are available for free and offer a high percentage with abstracts, such as Agricola, ERIC, NTIS, PubMed, NCJRS, and others. No need to search these on expensive online services—go direct and save. Many associations, societies, and international organizations offer free abstracts, for some as the OA part of their fee-based digital archives. Some of the largest commercial publishers also offer huge OA subsets of bibliographic records and abstracts, including SpringerLink, Elsevier, Wiley, Sage, and many others.

Of the digital facilitators, HighWire Press is his personal favorite because of their free full-text articles. Others are MetaPress, Ingenta Connect, and Atypon. His facts, figures, and review comments were all quite compelling.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.
Editor, NewsBreaks

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