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Students this is why you should use the library

  1. Sep 10, 2007 #1
    Here are some examples of the costs of some of the journals (price lists that I have on hand) and databases available in most libraries.

    Sample of 1 year subscription cost of select journals:

    Inorganic Chemistry- $2953
    Journal of the American Chemical Society- $3589
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry- $2073
    Journal of Organic Chemistry - $2426
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry A/B- $5850 (ea.)
    Organometallics- $2783

    1 year subscription cost of example database:

    scifinder scholar- $75,000 for access for 5 people.

    I bet physics/math/bio journals all cost just as much if not more than the ones I just listed. Libraries typically also have dozens of other search engines/databases that cost close to $100,000 as well.

    Students wonder why their tuition costs so much, well the above is one big reason why. Its funny to see how many students would rather get all their info for their reports from wiki and google rather than going to the library to use the journals and databases that they are paying a hideous amount for.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2007 #2
    Thanks gravenewworld, you just saved me $25524.
  4. Sep 10, 2007 #3


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    You should be aware, however, that those are institutional subscription rates based on access to many users. The individual subscription rates, depending on the journal, can range between $50-$250, and often comes bundled with membership in the professional society that sponsors the journal. But, nonetheless, when divided over the number of users, those journals are only costing a small fraction of the individual subscription rate for each person using them. This is also why libraries evaluate usage from time-to-time (Ever notice there are times of the year when they tell you NOT to reshelve bound journals? That's so they can keep track of which ones are being actively used), and if they aren't being used often enough by enough people, they'll drop the subscription because then it ends up cheaper to just pay the per-article fee or obtain a copy from another library on the rare occassion someone wants an article from that journal.

    At most institutions, there's absolutely no need to even walk into a library anymore. All those journals are available in electronic format and can be accessed from any computer with a university login.

    Though, for searching journals, those of us in the biomedical fields use PubMed, which is available free to everyone and run by NIH. Your tuition money doesn't pay for that one...your tax dollars do. :wink:

    Unfortunately, not all students get taught about the existence of these journals and how to search them early enough in their academic career. I was lucky because I had a small course in my freshman year where the professor arranged to spend one class at the library where we were taught how to use the databases and index to abstracts (this was before there were very many electronic databases available and we still spent hours poring over bound volumes organized by keyword searching for relevant papers). Most people don't have this shown to them until they hit grad school. I kind of think library tours explaining these resources should be a mandatory part of the freshman orientation.
  5. Sep 10, 2007 #4
    My dad has a liscence for Sci Finder because he works at Pfizer so I'm all set :).
  6. Sep 10, 2007 #5

    Yup. Think of how many 1000's of journals though a library at a university has to subscribe to though in order to cover everything ranging from philosphy & political science to environmental science & and psychology. Almost all journals are going to average $1000 or more which means university libraries can easily spend millions on just journal subscriptions alone.

    While it is true that you can access most journal material from your dorm room instead of having to physically be in the library, your library must still have to pay the fees for it to be accessible online. Also many journals only go back only 10 years or so online, the rest are still on paper. And like you said, most students don't even have a clue about most of the journals that exist out there and how to even search through them in the most efficient way--which is why you should go to the library. A reference librarian only takes a half or a quarter amount of the time it takes students to find the same exact info.

    If students really knew how much they were paying for all the info in the library I bet they would definitely be using the library and all of its available resources much more.
  7. Sep 10, 2007 #6
    Wow, I had no idea universities pay that much! And they have sooo many journals too! I thought most of the fees went to the buildings, electricity, paying lecturers etc.
    Problem is, I have no idea how to use the journals, how to find anything, even the electronic ones.
  8. Sep 10, 2007 #7
    Hmm thats interesting. I practically live at the library anyways. Its the only place I can get away from the other 30,000 students that frequent campus.
  9. Sep 10, 2007 #8


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    As gravenewworld pointed out, you can walk up to the bored looking person behind the desk known as the reference librarian and ask for a brief tutorial on how to use the journals (this is even easier if you walk in with a research topic and ask how to find things on that subject, since they can then show you using your assignment as an example).

    Libraries are for more than just comfy chairs for naps between classes.
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