Thursday, January 8, 2009

Marquis Who's Who on the Web

This week we are looking at a database. Marquis Who's Who on the Web costs $1195 per year. We also still get the paper copy which costs $354 per year. This database is only available within the library. There is no remote access.

As usual, the question is, do we use this enough to make it worth the price? And when we do use it, does it retrieve informtion that answers questions? Is there enough unique information here that is not available in the paper copy? Can we give up the paper copy?
Usage stats are as follows: Jan 4; Feb 8; Mar 11; April 5; May 25; June 15; July 1; Aug 3; Sept 15; Oct 3; Nov 26 (when KF was researching it for her biographical databytes). Unfortunately the way the stats only record searches; they do not record if information was retrieved in the search.
In this year of cutbacks, is this a critical and necessary database? For your information, I have just renewed the Gale Biographical Resource database at the whopping cost of $ 3098 per year (however this does have remote access). At KF's biographical databytes it was generally agreed that this is a critical and necessary database.

10 comments:

Jane said...

CH says: Thumbs down.

Terri said...

My thumbs are WAY up!! It's my preferred biographical database after African American BD, and I find things there that aren't in the others. Recent question about a chemist for QandANJ -- HS student needed wife's and children's names. Sure enough, Marquis had it.

Catherine Harper said...

I'd like to retract my off-the-cuff remark to Jane. Chalk it up to our economic woes and the fact that the last few times I've tried it, the person I've been looking for hasn't been there. But Terri's right. We should keep it. What I have found it most useful for is the contact information, which is often asked for and sometimes difficult to find elsewhere.

Cynthia said...

I threw in a few of today's high profile names: Warren Buffet, Caroline Kennedy, and Henry Paulson. The information provided was minimal and easily found for free on the web. For all, our database Biography Resource Center had far more information. Therefore, I feel that it is too expensive to keep during a period of cost cutting when we have a much cheaper paper copy.

Kristin said...

This is not a database to go to necessarily for extensive information about well-known people. Information on higher profile folks can definitely be found using other sources. It does serve more as a directory with streamlined factoids on a broader scope of individuals - some hand-picked for inclusion, others solicited. This is a resource to turn to to find some information on people like Terri referred to - a chemist and his family info.

Where else would we discover that Henry Burger, a "vocabulary scientist", anthropologist and writer discovered the branchability of processes (corresponding, for materials, to the periodic table of elements)? (Yes, I'm smiling as I type this.)

Be that as it may, I vote that we cancel the online, but keep the paper subscription.

JiHae said...

This was kind of fun to play with. I was unaware that so many prestigious people live in my neighborhood (sarcasm intended?).
I'm all for convenience which is why I'm loathe to scrap a useful online tool. However, $1300 is a lot if it's not being used that often. If anyone has been using this consistently, speak now or forever hold your peace. I don't fully trust those use stats, btw. They seem too low to be true.

mlh said...

Given our budget constraints I vote to keep the paper copy and ax the online. Sometimes these business decisions are hard. We can always renew when our special wealthy benefactor departs this world and leaves the dept. a bundle. mlh

Janie L. Hermann said...

I have used this database several times doing questionpoint questions,but not so much for our patrons.

As long as we have the paper copy then I say we can temporarily let go of online until the economy improves.

Jane said...

I plan on not renewing until we know for sure if we will have the money, which won't be until June at least, when we know how much how any possible cutting of NJKI funds will affect us. We can always resubscribe if the cuts are less than expected. We are also in the process of allocating money for the microfilming of PP and TT, and since we have accumulated a backlog, the initial cost will be high.

Jane said...

GS says:
I never really use this database but I do use the print version. I looked up a bunch of people I know and also by my zip code and even though I found a number of interesting people, I found major errors in the descriptions, misspelled names of parents and children, children left out, many other misspellings. It would be helpful if the entry would tell you when it was last updated instead of click here to see what publications the information appeared in. I would like to know how often the entries are updated online, assuming that would be a selling point for a database. Barack Obama’s entry was updated but ordinary folks don’t seem to be.