all the news that’s fit to print (but not find)

Man, speaking of techie patrons not liking an interface

Someone in a web community I frequent linked to a newspaper article, noting that you could only read the first bit for free and the rest was paywalled. I thought, hey, I *totally* bet you could read that for free online through the library site. So I looked it up, and I started to type something like:

First you go to the library home page, then you click on the “Research & Information” tab, then you log in, then you can click in the sidebar where it has the ejournals finder to search for which database has this newspaper, then…

And at this point I was bored of typing these instructions and realized that, honestly, no one on the internet would care. (And I hadn’t even gotten to the part where the information she provided wasn’t exactly the same as the title cite so if you used them keyword-style as search terms you would find nothing!)

Maybe there was a permalink that would’ve made this easy, but I just assumed not. Having been trained that way by experience with interfaces like this.


OK, new rule: people can complain that other people are having idea/research/information conversations that cut the library out of the loop, or they can adopt interfaces like this one. But they may not do both.

2 thoughts on “all the news that’s fit to print (but not find)

  1. That you have to log in to reach it pretty much guarantees that it isn’t permalinkable. Also: If there is one question I should never in a million years have to ask, it is, “Is your library in bugmenot?”

    It would never have occurred to me to look for newspaper articles on a library website. I hope libraries aren’t paying very much for that capability, given how badly they are communicating its availability…


  2. I have experimented; let me fill in the steps for you:

    log in to Minuteman
    discover that this does not log you into the databases section. Enter your 14-digit library card number again.
    Enter your 14-digit library card number again (???)
    Notice that you were not prompted for a password or PIN of any sort. How odd.
    Click on the first letter of the database you wish to access (often but not always the first letter of the publication)
    Click on the database. Get redirected to Gale.
    Enter a search term, find an article
    Discover that you cannot actually read the article, just an abstract.
    But hey, at least there’s a permalink to this useless page!
    Note from the sidebar that your city’s library is one of the listed sponsors. Consider never again taking seriously anything they say about budget tightness.
    Notice the low-contrast, small, cryptically named link, “Somerville Public Library Article Linker”
    Click it, get a popup listing various cryptic sources for the article, none of which you have heard of and all of which redirect to subtly differently branded versions of the Gale “no results found” page


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