Jstor for the Masses?
November 22, 2005 9:14 PM   Subscribe

I pine for access to Jstor. And my life would be perfect if I could use the Archive of Americana. Does anyone know of an academic library with subscriptions to either of these services that allows non-affiliated folks to buy a library card and access their subscription databases?
posted by LarryC to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I looked it up out of curiosity once, and the NYU library sells library use for $225 per year. I don't think that includes offsite use of the databases, so you'll probably have to look for one that does or find a local library. If NYU does it, I can't imagine no one else does.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:02 PM on November 22, 2005

Some professional-society memberships include personal jstor access, or at least have an option to purchase it cheaply.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:04 PM on November 22, 2005

Jstor is crappy anyway, man. Their layout (one page at a time scans) sucks. I dread having to use them.

As you're a prof (or a liar with little ambition), you might want to call them up and ask. I've found database publishers to be pretty forthcoming about access. Further, though I'm not familiar with that journal, there are a lot of libraries that will do inter-library loans of journals if there's specific stuff you want.
posted by klangklangston at 10:09 PM on November 22, 2005

Do you have any friends in academia who would be willing to give you access to Jstor's databases by proxy?
posted by Rothko at 11:03 PM on November 22, 2005

Look into becoming a "friend" of a local university's library. Library friends often get full access to materials, including database use, for a fairly small fee ($30 at MSSU, which based on your profile page seems to be the nearest). Plus, helping out libraries is nice.
posted by fidelity at 5:44 AM on November 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

Actually, many state affiliated institutions of higher education have either free, or affordable, use of their services. You might have to go there and use JSTOR on site though.

I agree with klangklanstron, about it being sucktastic, and every institution has a different level of subscription, so you never know exactly what you can get through JSTOR or not at any given library.

As far as ILL'ing journal material, most institutions won't do it unless you're student/staff/faculty because it's expensive for them to do so. The library requesting the loan is charged for pulling the piece, copying it, and postage.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:39 AM on November 23, 2005

If you're willing to go to the library, you might not need any particular affiliation, especially if it's on the campus of a land-grant university. Part of our library's mission is to serve the citizens of the state, so once you're in the building, you can access any databases, etc, without needing an id or login. Looks like you're about 250 miles away from me, but there's probably a closer library with a similar policy. Try Pittsburg State if MSSU can't help you - it looks like MSSU only provides access to JStor through a federated search (all the databases combined), which isn't probably what you want.
posted by donnagirl at 6:46 AM on November 23, 2005

While JSTOR may not be the best, let me tell you: in the world of full-text databases, it's better than average. One thing it has going for it is that it allows for full downloads of articles. Another is that its OCR/keying is pretty good, so hits tend to actually return what they're supposed to.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:30 AM on November 23, 2005

I should have made clear--I am a professor at MSSU, and we don't have subscriptions to either database. I was hoping to find a university that does, and that would permit me to get a "community patron" card that would give me online access to the databases.
posted by LarryC at 1:01 PM on November 23, 2005

klangklang - you don't have to go a page at a time. I normally download the whole article, which is quite simple.

LarryC- does the company itself sell individual memberships, or are those exorbitant?

I'm actually in a similar position - I've just found out that a nearby library (by not my uni) has a rare book I need by electronic access, while I'm sitting in a library in another country to read it.
posted by jb at 4:19 AM on November 26, 2005

Jstor does not sell individual subscriptions, though they say it is in the works. Membership in my professional organizations does not include Jstor.

What I am trying now is emailing libraries in the region that have subscriptions to the Archive of Americana and asking if they have community patron cards and if those cards would provide access. I will let you all know what I find out.
posted by LarryC at 2:55 PM on December 1, 2005

OK, three different librarians have told me that part of their contract with Jstor prohibits them from making the database available online to anyone not affiliated with the university. Looks like I'm SOL!
posted by LarryC at 7:59 AM on December 2, 2005

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