Access to Digital Research Literature
If you’re truly an information maven, you’ve probably assembled a toolbox of tactics to get access to journal articles containing the info you want to consume (without paying the often outrageous per article fees). Kevin Kelley over at Cool Tools offers a description of another tool to add to your arsenal: the digital library card.
In most states, you can get a library card from a public library
outside of your county of residence — as long as you can prove state
residence (true for the San Francisco Public Library). Often you will
have to go the actual state library in person to pick up your card, but
once in hand, you can access the library from the web. Fanatical
researchers are known to have a wallet full of library cards from
numerous public library systems within their respective states. Some
states, Ohio and Michigan being two of the better known, have statewide
consortiums of private, corporate and public libraries, which allows
you access to the combined services and databases licensing power of
If your local library system does not provide free online access to
digital content databases, the cheapest way to get into these expensive
databases is to pay for a library card from the New York Public Library.
If you’ve never heard of Cool Tools, you should consider subscribing to the weekly digest — its a great and fun resource.
Getting access to scientific and medical literature can be a real pain
in the neck. Luckily there are organizations like PLOS and folks like Peter
Suber over at Open Access News working to change this state of