Need a library card number to access online databases
February 2, 2008 9:57 AM   Subscribe

I need a library card to access online databases, in particular JSTOR, OED, Author databases and generally the more the better. My state library sucks so I guess I need to buy an out of state card. San Francisco, New York City and Boston seem to have a decent database selection. Any reccomendations for an affordable out of state library card?
posted by stbalbach to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Did you go to university? You might be eligible for a free alumni card that would give you a huge number of databases.
posted by saucysault at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2008

Looking into it, it looks like you can get a free NYPL Access card for the online databases regardless of where you live. But it looks like you have to go in person.
posted by saucysault at 10:06 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

saucysault, that page says you need a $100 Branch Libraries card to use online databases from home.
posted by grouse at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2008

Wow! Learn something new every day. Had no idea you could buy out-of-state library cards. Then I assumed it was a rarity, but go NYPL.

I'm pretty sure the BPL does not allow out-of-state users (see their eCard and Library Card pages -- many libraries will have similar policies posted on the web.) It looks like SFPL also does not allow out-of-state users.

(I'm only half-helping you, by ruling out places. Do you have a big public university nearby? They are typically open to the public with walk-in database access. You may already be aware of that option.)

Er, on preview: maybe not, NYPL? I have to admit, the out-of-state user seems like they would be funky to write into the database license. This fascinates me.
posted by lillygog at 10:20 AM on February 2, 2008

To me it looks like you can do it through the NYPL but it is $100, not free. There might be some provisos I don't understand though.
posted by grouse at 10:25 AM on February 2, 2008

BPL will let you get a library card if you can provide a Boston address. They gave me one even after telling them I was only there for a few months and the address wasn't mine. I'm sure you could get some Bostonian to fill out the application.

Just checked, and my BPL # lets me into the BPL databases, including JSTOR.
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:26 AM on February 2, 2008

You can get into JSTOR using Bugmenot. Reliable passwords come and go but I've been accessing it for a while now.
posted by fire&wings at 10:33 AM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]

You could also try your state university system rather than state public library system, which is what I took you to mean. State universities often offer free or relatively low cost cards to state residents, and you would have the double benefit of the stacks and inter-library loan as well as JSTOR.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:50 AM on February 2, 2008

Alumni cards rarely including access to online database products, as they're very expensive and licensed on a per-user (with various levels of granulariy) basis. Adding all the alumni to these subscriptions would be prohibitively expensive.
posted by onshi at 11:13 AM on February 2, 2008

This MetaFilter thread may be of use to you.
posted by LarryC at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2008

I echo hydropsyche. Try a local univeristy. Chances are they will allow free access on site (plus access to reference help) or you might be able to purchase a community borrower/extramural type library card.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:50 AM on February 2, 2008

grouse, maybe I am reading the page I linked to wrong (it has information about both cards side by side), but it looks like a "normal" branch library card is $100 but the ACCESS cards are "free to all researchers, regardless of their place of residency." And is specifies that it provides access to the online databases. If that is true, it is an awesome deal.
posted by saucysault at 12:44 PM on February 2, 2008

No saucysault, it looks like I was confused when they said "a Branch Libraries Card is needed to borrow circulating items, use online databases from home and renew or reserve books. An ACCESS card is used to request materials in any of the readings rooms of the Research Libraries." It looks from that that an ACCESS card will not let you use online databases from home. Of course, later it says you can. Sorry.
posted by grouse at 12:52 PM on February 2, 2008

I'm sure you could get some Bostonian to fill out the application.

I'm all for sticking it to The Man. The Boston Public Library is not The Man.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:03 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

Popped back in to say: if you pay for a special card from a university, just be sure it includes the remote access piece. Licenses are not always written to include remote access for special borrowers (alumni, community, etc.) The more I ask around, the more I think the out-of-state public library card is relatively rare, so as others have said a university might be your best bet.

And props to The corpse.
posted by lillygog at 9:06 PM on February 3, 2008

I was told the other day that one does not have to live in CA to get a Los Angeles public library card (one does need it to get validated parking at the main branch...GRRR!).
posted by brujita at 3:34 AM on February 5, 2008

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