Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rethinking Some Subscriptions

Every fall Jenny and I go through the magazine list to see what we might want to consider dropping due to price and use issues.

The first is an old friend that I never thought we'd ever want to be without--the NADA user guides. When I saw them in the list of subscriptions, I realized that I hadn't used either of them once all year, and even had a hard time remembering where we were keeping them (behind the reference desk). Combined the price is $159. All this info is online. In fact, I found out the rough trade in, average trade in, clean trade in and clean retail prices of my 2002 Acura adjusted for high mileage in about 30 seconds.
The next title is R&D, subtitle "Technologies & Strategies that Enable Research and Development." It's $117 for 6 issues. I know we have an audience for the scientific magazines, such as Nature, Science, Bioscience, etc., but this one maybe not. Take a look at it.
The next one is TDR: The Drama Review, subtitle "The Journal of Performance Studies." It's a whopping $199 for 4 issues. It is very academic--too academic? Too expensive? On the other hand, nearly all the larger public libraries in NJ have it.
Let me know what you think. If you wish to keep them, by all means, speak up.


Cynthia said...

This is hard--NADA, I give out often, especially on weekends. It is always to people who are not as comfortable using the computer. I would like to see databytes sessions specifically geared to seniors that would focus on finding consumer information (or medical) as a way of teaching computer use, so that we could move away from such print titles.

The R&D and TDR titles are indeed kind of wonky, but I think we should keep them. I would rather not carry titles like People or Glamour--titles whose lower price makes them much more easily accessed outside the library than drop such expensive titles that very few people in this economy could buy (if they could find them...).

Don't get me wrong, in a perfect world, I would love to carry People and Glamour and every other title we have. I am not being a snob. I am simply trying to determine what our patrons can find elsewhere at affordable rates.

Catherine Harper said...

It is surprising that people are still asking for NADA, what with all the info you can get from, and (Actually, they're almost always asking for the Kelley Blue Book. In my experience, most have never heard of NADA.)

But, like Cynthia, I have been asked for it (Kelley Blue Book, that is) a number of times in the past couple of years--most recently two days ago. It seems to be something that people just expect us to have (and they don't seem particularly bothered that we hand them NADA instead).

When I explained to the patron who asked for it this week that he could get the same information online, he thanked me and then went ahead and took the print version anyway. And this was someone who looked to be in his forties--not a Luddite and not a senior.

If we continue to keep it--and I agree with Cynthia that we should, at least for now--we could add value to it by keeping back issues. This would enable us to answer questions like "What was a 1990 Toyota Corolla worth in 2007?". NADA will do that for you, but they charge $30. Edmunds and KBB don't give that info away for free either.

I have no sense at all how much demand we have here for R&D and TDR. What about adding the current issue of each of them to our ever-expanding collection of periodicals kept behind the reference desk and seeing if anyone comes up and asks for them?

Jane said...

GS says: I think we can easily get rid of all three of them. Academic Search Premier has only the abstracts for TDR but if so many other libraries own this title and someone really wants an article, we can ILL it for them. With R&D, the only database that has full text is Factiva, so a patron wouldn’t be accessing this from home and we would have it if they came into the library looking for it. I have very few requests for NADA these days-nothing like in the pre Internet times. I say cancel all three and save the money or put it towards other magazines that will be more widely read.

JiHae said...

I say keep NADA and TDR and scrap R&D (but that just may be my distaste for the sciences speaking). Keep NADA b/c like Catherine says, I think people expect us to have it, just like they expect us to have Consumer Reports in print. TDR we should keep specifically for the reason it is not available in full text online. It would be embarrassing to ILL from another institution when it is so widely held.

mlh said...

Keep NADA. Today a patron had a request for titles like R & D and TDR as he was doing a project on "trade magazines" These possibly helped him but this is the first request I've had like it. Seems like things like this will not be available anywhere unless we have them but....

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Jane said...

Final verdict. We keep NADA and TDR. We get rid of R&D.