Monday, June 23, 2008

Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media


This 5 volume set comes out yearly and costs approximately $1100 per year.

Volumes 1 and 2 are what I have always used the most. They contain all publications alphabetically by state, and within state, by city (including Canada). Each entry contains contact information, description of content, circulation figures (when known), and price.

Volume 3 is the index volume. I have always used the Master Index the most. This is very helpful in tracking down publications by name when the place of publication is not known, for example The Record, which we all know is a relatively large newspaper in northern New Jersey, but where? There are other indexes here as well, such as 350+ page newspaper and magazine publishers index. There is also an index of daily and and community newspapers, which is good to have, but in checking daily newspapers for New Jersey, both the Star Ledger and Home News are omitted. In fact, they are not included in the New Jersey section and in the master index are listed as "unable to locate." (Yikes!?) Subject indexes to magazines and radio station formats are very incomplete and have little use.

Volume 4 is a Regional Market Index which lists newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations by general area of the country, such as Great Lakes States, Middle Atlantic States, etc. The newspaper and magazine sections of this volume list in descending order the major publications for these areas, and would be very helpful if there weren't so many errors, for example, in the Great Plains States section the St. Louis Post Dispatch is omitted, and the Philadelphia Inquirer is listed with Northeastern States, rather than Mid Atlantic States where all other Pennsylvania publications are. The radio and TV sections are sketchy and totally useless.

Volume 5 is the international volume. It is arranged just like Volumes 1 and 2 (alphabetical by country, then alphabetical by city), and includes the same kind of information. For some countries, such as the UK, the information appears fairly complete. But a quick look at Buenos Aires showed that none of their major newspapers were listed.

What's your opinion? I'd be interested to know if others have found as many errors as I have.

12 comments:

Janie L. Hermann said...

Leaving my comment early as I am off to ALA tomorrow and you will likely be on to the next resource by the time I get back.

I have had at least two people that I can think of ask for this by name and one other person who was thrilled when I showed it to them. These must all be within the last year or so.

That being said, I am shocked at the errors and omissions you found. I have used it several times in years gone by and not noticed mistakes such as these.

The cost of these volumes gives me pause, esp. given what Jane found. I would vote for keep but only get new volumes every other year.

JiHae said...

I just received a sign from above. Just now, AS i was perusing the directories in question at the reference desk, I received a phone call requesting a complete list of all publications based out of Princeton. So, I photocopied the Gale listings and faxed them off. One problem. They omitted 'Town Topics' from their list. Whoops. They have 42 publications listed, including 'Integrated Ferroelectrics' magazine, but not 'Town Topics'. Still, I think that this is definitely one of our more popular ref titles.
Okay... so i guess it's a mixed sign from above indicating that we are destined to go back and forth on this one. Should be interesting. Will post again if I come to an actual opinion. Oh yeah, "ouch" on the $1100 price tag. Who knew? (Besides JB, I mean.)

Catherine Harper said...

This is one of those old warhorses that I’ve used countless times, so it’s disturbing to hear that its accuracy can no longer be depended on. Gale (not Gayle) has always counted on libraries paying their hefty prices for quality reference books, but it would now seem that its time to take a closer look at the competition. For DPBM, a good alternative may be the Bacon’s directories: Radio/TV/Cable Directory and Newspaper/Magazine Directory (see http:us.cision.com/products_services/bacons_media_directories_2008.asp for descriptions). With the exception of coverage of foreign media, they appear to have content very similar to what's in DPBM. Arguments in favor of Bacon’s include its popularity among our users—many of whom have asked for it specifically (unlike, Janie, I don't recall ever being asked for DPBM) and its reputation for accuracy. My husband’s company, one of the major New York public relations firms, relies on Bacon’s exclusively for media contact information. What’s more—and this was a surprise to me—the combined price for the two Bacon’s directories (just under $1,000) is less than we're paying for DPBM.
I’d recommend that we at least try Bacon’s for a year. We can always switch back to DPBM the following year.

barbara said...

Leaving out Town Topics is an egregious error. The index index lists it but says they were unable to locate it. even the NJ Media Guide (2007-2008)has an entry for TT.
Although the Gale Directory of Publications..., formerly Ayers has been a much used and requested reference, maybe it's time to try a different product. I vote for the Bacon's directories.

Jane said...

LCA says: I was surprised at how lacking this reference source seems to be. Having used it for years, I thought it was one of the good ones. Checked Lisbon (Portugal) a city I lived in and am familiar with some of the major newspapers. The listing of publications was a joke. Certainly we don’t need to purchase on an annual basis.

Jane said...

GS says: Appalling though the omissions are (the Pennington Post is not in there either), I can’t imagine where to send someone for a list by place that even comes close to matching this publication, particularly for the international titles. As Ji Hae pointed out, people call or come in for this particular title and I think it is one of those that folks expect to find in the library. As to the omissions, when it comes to business directories, we tell patrons that no one directory has every New Jersey business and they should use more than one source. I think this directory is similar-it doesn’t contain everything but may have enough. Where else are you going to find a Princeton list that includes Hesperia, International Journal of Powder Metallurgy and Physics of Plasmas? For newspapers, I prefer Editor and Publisher, which has both Pennington Post and Town Topics (though our copy is way out of date).

Kristin said...

I think it would be an absolute joy to have Bacon's instead of Gale. I worked in public relations (no doubt on a much smaller scale than Catherine's husband), but Bacon's is the media directory bible. If we can drop Gale and go for Bacon's, I am sure it would be a tremendous service to anyone involved in the media.

mlh said...

I agree that this is a warhorse but maybe not worth our $$$ since we have an alternative. Checking the listing for the Princeton Packet I noted that in the main listing there is no mention that it is the parent company of Lawrence Ledger, Windsor Hights Herald and other assorted community papers in central NJ. The individual listings for those papers do mention that PP is the parent company. This is a small glitch but I guess indicative of some sloppiness.

Cynthia said...

The price seems high for a source with so many errors. It does seem it is time to try something new--Bacon's is a good source. However, I thought this was as well. I am not sure if I just never noticed the problems, or if they were new.

Jane said...

Decision time. I can't justify paying this amount of money on a product with this many errors. I like the idea of trying Bacon's and will give this a try for 2009, because I think we do need a source like this.

Jane said...

I got pricing from Bacon's today. For their 2 volume set (one magazines and one newspapers) the price is $595. I will get the 2009 ed which comes out in Sept, and I cancelled the Gale directory.

Jane said...

Just a postscript on this. We got Bacons, and the newspaper volume promptly disappeared! It reappeared a few months later, much the worse for wear. So someone found it very useful. This was kind of backwards way of letting us know that we made a good decision here.