Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rethinking Some Subscriptions

This is the time of year Jenny and I go through the Cox subscription list to add or subtract titles. This year, I want us to reconsider some big ticket items.

The first is the Official Airline Guide. This is one that you are going to have a hard time convincing me to keep. The cost is $669 per year. It is a monthly guide to flight schedules worldwide. However with the availability of online travel services like Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline, I doubt if it is being used much, if at all.

The next item is USA Today Newsview, a small newsmagazine of approximately 16 pages and no advertising published by the Society for the Advancement of Education. The price is a whopping $240 per year (probably because of the lack of advertising). According to OCLC, it is a very widely held publication, particularly in school libraries. But how much do you think it is being used here? Is it worth the price?

Weatherwise is $111 per year for 6 issues. It's a neat magazine and I will have a hard time giving this up. Nevertheless, that comes out to $18.50 per issue. What do you think?

Accra Cost of Living Index is a catalogued subscription (REF 338.528 Ame) which comes out twice per year. The cost is $137 per year. It gives the relative price levels for consumer goods, housing, health care, etc., for participating areas. This information is very interesting, however the operative word here is "participating areas" because not all areas are covered. For example, Princeton/Mercer County, which in my experience has been what most people have asked for, is not covered.

Jenny needs to get the updated subscription list to Cox by 9/8, so give me your opinions before then.


Jane said...

GS says: It’s hard to believe that the OAG in paper may become a thing of the past when it used to be one of our most requested items. I haven’t looked at it in years so decided to try to find a flight using it. After using online sites from airlines and the travel sources, I can’t see why anyone would want to use this book. Not only is it difficult to use (compared to a typical airline site) but it also doesn’t give you fare information, no last minute deals, no way to compare fares between flights at different times, etc. So I think this particular source can go. However, the Supplement has great information about visas, passports, travel requirements, airport information including names of nearby hotels, local transportation options from the airport, lots of handy info. But again, most of this information is available online (some even from the site), just not as conveniently since you have to look up each individual country’s travel or airport info. I was not even aware of USA TODAY NEWSVIEW and really haven’t ever looked at Weatherwise before and have never been asked for them by name. Weatherwise is available in Academic Search Premier, full text, in PDF, so you get the nice color pictures. So even if we got rid of the magazine copy, we could still access the contents. The Cost of Living Index I have been asked for in the past though have not used it recently.

JiHae said...

We need to move with the times. Nix everything except for the Cost of Living Index. They offer free comparisons of cities on their website, but I think it's beneficial to keep a hard copy of years past and present for those random reference questions.

ternels said...

I've never used any of them, so I won't miss them. Took a look at Weatherwise contents online. Nice, but not nice enough to spend money on. The latest issue (Sept/Oct 2008) is fully accessible through Academic Search Premier. Terri

mlh said...

I say get rid of everything but the CLI. We should have gotten rid of OAG a long time ago. It can be used online anyway. mlh

Cynthia said...

I like the weather magazine and have used it twice, but I think much of the information is available on-line.

The OAG is amazing to me--I never even knew that something like this existed. All things airlines related are so web-available now, I guess library school felt no need to tell us about this one!

I have not used any of the others.

DK said...

My experience with these publications is very limited. I've used the Official Airline Guide and the ACCRA Cost of Living Index just once; I didn't know that Weatherwise and USA Today Newsreview existed until today.

I find the OAG punishing to use, and since there are free online sources for flight information, I won't mind if it disappears from our radar. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is worth keeping, I think, despite its lack of information about Princeton and Mercer County.

Weatherwise is quirky and interesting, but since we have full-text access through Academic Search Premier, I'd vote to drop the print subscription. USA Today Newsreview is mildly intersting, as well, but only because its contents are so lifeless that they seem to be entirely computer-generated. I'd vote to drop that one, as well.

Romina said...

Never used any of these--if the information is avaiable online or through academic search premiere I say get rid of them. I see the value in keeping the CLI.

Kristin said...

I agree with the lot. Keep the cost of living index, toss the rest.

JiHae said...

I feel compelled to mention that an elderly gentleman just asked me for the OAG at the reference desk.
Of course, we can offer to do these searches for those who are uncomfortable using the internet, but there are people who value their privacy and enjoy being self-sufficient. Just food for thought.

JiHae said...

one additional note: it's very weathered looking which would indicate high usage.

Catherine Harper said...

I agree with everyone that the only item here worth keeping is AACRA.

I’m sure we must have had a good reason for subscribing to USA Today Newsview, but I can’t think of what it might have been. I can see that it could be useful for the youth audience, so maybe they’d be interested in it upstairs.

I might have voted to keep Weatherwise, but since it’s available full text on EBSCO (thank you, Gayle), having it in hard copy seems unnecessary. If it turns out that there are patrons who regularly browse the magazine, we can always reinstate our subscription.

As for OAG, I have had requests for it, but no more than two or three times a year, tops, and it’s quite possible that it has always been the same older gentleman Ji Hae helped today who has asked me for it. With so little usage, it’s hard to justify spending this much for it, and I’m all for dropping it. We just need to make sure that the next time the patron comes in we take the time to thoroughly acquaint him with the web sites—even offer to print out information for him if he seems totally at a loss.

Everyone seems to be in agreement on AACRA, so I won’t go into a long spiel. Suffice it to say that I think it’s a valuable source, and especially useful for people who are thinking of relocating to another part of the country—for a job, to be closer to grandchildren, to find a more affordable place to retire, etc. I don't know of anything else out there like it, and it seems reasonably priced.

Janie L. Hermann said...

I personally think all four can go, but can see the case for keeping the Cost of Living Index so I would be fine with that.

Jane said...

Thanks for all of your input. We will drop all but AACRA.

CH--I vaguely remember dropping Weatherwise once before only to have someone ask for it. We'll see if that happens this again. If so, we'll reinstate.

JHJ--I also have noted that the condition of the OAG seems to indicate heavier use until I found out from Terez that they usually come to us that way since they use the cheapest method of mailing.

DK--loved your comment about the computer generated content of USA Today Newsview.