Monday, September 15, 2008

NewsBank Trial

This week we're going to take a look at the NewsBank database to which we have a free trial until 10/15/08.

As you know, the Newark Star Ledger is no longer supporting the interface through which we received the Trenton Times archives (along with a number of other New Jersey newspapers). These have been sold to NewsBank.

Go to The user name and password are both prinpl (although I didn't have to log in). Click on "America's Newspapers," then check New Jersey. The available newspapers for New Jersey will come up. We can get just the Trenton Times or any combination of the newspapers listed here.

They can be searched all together, or you can choose to search several or just one, by checking the desired titles. Clicking on the individual titles will give you the metadata for each, most importantly the dates of coverage.

NewsBank has entered into a partnership with EBSCO which provides two very desirable features. First, the user can search by issue just as in EBSCO. The most recent issues come up when you click on a title, and clicking on any one of these will give you all the articles. There is a drop down box beside this that allows the user to choose another month. The second is the fact that any of the newspapers we choose here can be searched along with any or all of our EBSCO products.
The scope of the coverage mimics Factiva coverage--full text of all articles, but no images, charts, tables, advertising or score columns.

The rep has not given me a price as yet, but I do know that is will be considerably more than the $420 we were paying for the interface we received through the Star Ledger. As soon as I know prices, I will let you know.
In the meantime, play around with it, and let me know which of these titles, in addition to the Trenton Times you would like to have (in the best possible world). I really want to hear from you on this one!


Cynthia said...

I have used this a few times, with about a 75% success rate. We do get many requests for local obits, but without the Star Ledger, I am not sure how helpful it would be.

DK said...

Based on my (somewhat foggy) memory of patron requests for articles and obituaries, I'd recommend having access to the following titles through NewsBank: Asbury Park Press, Courier-Post, Record, Star-Ledger, Trenton Times, Trentonian.

There's nothing slick or beautiful about the NewsBank interface, but it's easy to use and functional enough. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I'd definitely much rather search it than most of the awful newspaper web sites out there.

Catherine Harper said...

Having taken another look at Factiva's coverage of New Jersey papers (it's better than I remembered—have they added new titles recently?), I'm not sure it makes sense to subscribe to Newsbank for anything other than the Trenton Times and Trentonian, which are not on Factiva (Trentonian was dropped in 2001). Of the nineteen titles offered by Newsbank, there are only six, besides the Trenton Times and Trentonian, that we can't get on Factiva: The Advertiser News (Sussex County area), Burlington County Times (an area also covered by the Courier-Post, which Factiva has), Herald News (Passaic County), Toms River Observer-Reporter (Monmouth County), The Township Journal (Andover, Stanhope, Newton), and the West Milford Messenger.

For those papers that are in both databases, Newsbank's coverage is deeper in most cases. Here's the comparison of start dates:

Factiva Newsbank
Asbury Park Press 1/1/03 1/1/99
Courier News 1/1/02 1/1/99
Courier-Post 2/1/03 1/1/99
Daily Journal 1/1/02 8/25/99
Daily Record 1/18/99 1/7/04
Home News Tribune 3/1/02 12/19/02
The Record (N. NJ) 1/1/96 1/1/85
Star-Ledger 1/1/91 1/1/96

There's no question that a full subscription to Newsbank would expand our coverage of news sources around the state—especially the extreme northwestern counties and Monmouth County. But given how much we're already getting from Factiva and how infrequently we are asked for information about regions of the state not represented by Factiva's coverage, I'd recommend we not spend the extra money (which I suspect would be considerable) and limit our subscription to the Trenton papers—adding others, (particularly the Toms River Observer-Reporter) if it would only add a few extra dollars to the price.

JiHae said...

Everything CH has said makes sense. However, I'd love to be able to search all of the NJ papers simultaneously. This is when JB's bargaining talents come into play. Perhaps if you mention we have access to these other papers via Factiva, they'll offer to throw in the whole shebang for a nominal fee? I know, I'm a dreamer...
It would be nice to have the extended coverage that Newsbank offers (thanks for the comparison CH).

JP said...

Jane, would the NewsBank subscription be available to customers from the website, outside of the library? If so, to expand Factiva's limited licensing provisions, that might be an argument to justify the cost.
The simultaneous searching across newspapers is a nice feature.

Kristin said...

To be brief, I am in complete agreement with Ji Hae.

Romina said...

Not the best interface, but it gets the job done. I agree that if it replicates the information we have available in FActive it doesn't really make sense to buy the subscription. But agree with Janice that if this is available from home it would be better for our users.

ternels said...

Oh, boy! I agree with everybody, sorta.... Catherine's work is really helpful. Thanks, CH! I must say, though, I've never had reason to look for anything in or about Toms River. If we went beyond the Trenton papers I'd like those extra years for the Record (significant difference) and perhaps the Star-Ledger (5 more years). CH is also a better Factiva searcher than I. NewsBank is not fancy, but it's easy. Ji Hae said something like what I said to Jane: perhaps we might be good enough advertising that we could swing a bit of a deal? And I don't remember about remote access from the demo, but that would be a HUGE plus! Terri

mlh said...

Go for the bargaining chip to see how many we can get. Trenton Times and yuk the Trentonian are a given. Whatever else we can drag into the deal is gravy. The obituary coverage is essential. mlh

Jane said...

So we've finally gotten the pricing on this--and it's quite high. For the Trenton Times
(3/16/93-)and the Trentonian
(4/5/2000-)together the price is $4860 per year. Keep in mind that the entire NYT archive back to 1851is $3905.

The price for the entire NJ package is $7934. So, let me know what you think. Another option would be to get only the Trenton Times. I will get a separate price for that, but my guess is that is will be in the area of $2300 per year.

mlh said...

Won't bother me if we have to lose the Trentonian but we do need to keep the Trenton Times. mlh

Jane said...

I got the quote for the Trenton Times--it's higher than I thought. $3240!! What do you think?

Jane said...

GS says: I think the cost for Trenton Times and the Trentonian is prohibitive at this time of watching our finances. Do we really use these papers enough to justify the cost? It would almost be cheaper to send one of us to another library to do the searches we need or see about negotiating with another library to get remote access to their subscription on a pay as you go type deal. I do find I occasionally need New Jersey newspapers to answer QandANJ questions but the subscription to Newsbank is more than 25% of what we get paid to be the backup. I think this is something that should be provided by the qanda folks or NJKI. Maybe if we hold off, the price will come down.

Catherine Harper said...

These prices are way too high for our reference budget. If Trenton Public and/or Mercer County want to pick up the Trenton Times, I think we should just refer people to them. If TPL and MCL are also balking at the price, then maybe we can work out some sort of cooperative buying arrangement with one or both of them.

Catherine Harper said...

Never mind what I just said. I can't imagine what kind of arrangement would work. (It's almost closing and I think I'm starting to lose it.)

barbara said...

The NJKI would be an appropriate venue for at home access to these newspapers. Maybe we have more negotiating power as a laaarge audience. I would hate losing the Times of Trenton although my success rate on their database is iffy. For obits I use NJ Obituaries from
I hope that's not going away. As you mention the asking price for the database is extorionary (if that's a word.)

JiHae said...

I think we should cough up the 8K for the total package. haha. Just Kidding. This is a clear case of exhorbitant pricing, and I would reject all of these quotes. Let's see if they react. If not, we can measure our need with the cost at a later time.
JB, if we decide to drop S&P Stock Reports, does that mean those funds are available to spend immediately or is that reasoning too simplistic?

Jane said...

So the story on NewsBank--we're not paying these exhorbitant prices and that's the end of it. It will sometimes be a nuisance not to have the archives of the Trenton Times, but not a $3240 nuisance. I know it is good to have access to the obits, but, say, we look up 6 obits in the course of a year--that's $540 an obit! Ridiculous. Thanks for all of your input.

Fatimah said...


I'm Fatimah from Indonesia. I have been informed that Newsbank position themselve as a research tools not a light news searching platform. So, for those that is not really have a core research studies usage, just ignore this database.

This is because, if you try to surf through other newspapers / other publication materials (such as magazines, journals, etc)(I'm not sure whether your organization trial access provide full package), you will find the articles is actually just the abstracts not the full text or exactly like the hardcopies of newspapers.

In short, when you subscribe to Newsbank, you still need to subscribe/purchase the hardcopies as well, seems the database does not covered the whole sections.

I highly recommend to look through their website to learn other packages as well. This will helps your organization to choose any package that relevant to the users.