Let’s Call an End to the War between Print and Digital?


Stockholm Public Library. Image via Pixabay.

There’s no doubt that the 21st-century library is gradually transforming from an information hub into a digital learning environment, and with this change, there has been a trend of architectural renovations to accommodate digital natives. To create room, libraries are moving massive print collections from their shelves into remote storage, compact shelving or automatic retrieval systems. Naturally, this has resulted in the usage statistics of print resources dropping, whilst digital usage continues to rise exponentially.

Now, as a digital magazine platform, you’d probably expect us at Exact Editions to be rubbing our hands together in glee, but that’s not the case. We are strong believers that print and digital resources exist in a symbiotic relationship. Of course, some readers prefer the print copy, and others prefer digital, and that is their prerogative. Perhaps we are being romantic, but a library without shelves of books just doesn’t seem right.

This leads us back to the original point of the article. Why are libraries investing huge sums of money on building renovations when digital collections require no physical space? Especially considering those digital resources can be accessed anywhere and anytime on any device by students and staff. That is one of the primary USPs of digital resources — the unlimited accessibility. So what’s the impetus for change? I think there is a sense of apprehension in the library industry, that the physical building is being replaced by a digital construct, and so they are trying to attract people with study spaces.

This departs from the emphasis on content which was so central to libraries in the past. Instead, the industry is leaning towards providing collaborative work areas, encouraging group study and creative sessions, rather than being a place for students to find information. Again, we are not against the development of library-provided technology (such as 3D printers, recording studios and group study rooms), but must the shelves be sacrificed? Why can’t these areas be located elsewhere in the university, or in a new building?

There is a dangerous trend of libraries thinking they must replace the shelves with digital-friendly workspaces, when in fact they risk ripping out the heart of the library. This does not need to happen, there is a choice. Digital collections are designed to supplement print resources, think of them as the left atrium, which exists in the cloud, beating in tandem to support the library system.

We’d like to see libraries turn their focus back to content acquisition, and providing their users with the widest range of information possible. There is certainly a demand for a productive learning environment which must be met, but libraries should not depart from their roots. Libraries are intended to connect people with content, not replace content with people.


How digital magazines are facilitating new strategies for learning in schools


Image via Pixabay

We are now at a stage in our history where the vast majority of students are digital natives and find their information online. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate and education must evolve with it by developing new learning strategies and resources. Many magazines are now offering a digital version which can be purchased on an institutional basis, providing access to all the students and staff. But why go digital?

Seven reasons for schools to consider digital magazines

  1. Extensive Archives
    Many digital magazine providers will aim to offer subscribers access to archived back issues. These archives offer a window into the history of a subject, mapping out the development of cultural trends and understanding. Librarians can be confident that students are getting information from specialised, respected sources, rather than surfing the web where information is often not subjected to quality control. The digital format is also advantageous as school libraries are often more limited in capacity when compared to universities, as such, the ability to possess extensive archives without the requirement of physical space is very useful.
  2. Classroom Teaching Tools
    Not only are digital magazines great for independent study, they can also be used as excellent tools in the classroom. Available on a designated website, they can be projected onto interactive whiteboards, with pages and articles becoming focal points of classroom discussion. This practice prepares students for further education where they will be encouraged to engage with and comment on current research.
  3. Search Functions
    Many digital magazine archives come equipped with a search function so that specific areas of research can be found quickly and efficiently. This removes the difficulty some students face in finding relevant material for their studies.
  4. IP authentication
    IP authenticated access means that all staff and students in the school can use the resource without being required to log in with a username and password. The benefits of this system are obvious; it allows an unlimited amounts of users to access the resource simultaneously, as well as encouraging discussion and usage because of the availability.
  5. Remote Access
    Students can access the resources outside of the school, allowing teachers the flexibility of setting digital reading as homework, safe in the knowledge that the resource will be available to all of the students. This removes the risk of handing out large quantities of textbooks and ensures that students have equal access to information.
  6. Sharing / Group-Learning
    Students have the ability to share links and tweet references whether working on-site or from a remote location. This function will allow for groups to work together on projects regardless of distance, and encourage the sharing of knowledge.
  7. Usage Statistics
    Finally, increased power for librarians. Digital resources offer librarians the opportunity to view accurate usage statistics, affording them newfound control over decisions about which resources to keep, to remove, or to acquire more of. This insight can be invaluable for schools with a limited budget who want to ensure they are spending money on the correct resources.

Hopefully, this post has shown that the advantages of using digital resources in education are manifold. We must prepare students for life beyond school which increasingly involves being adept in technology. Professionals should be able to identify reliable sources of information and conduct efficient research, and by implementing these values in early education we would be offering students useful skills for the future.

Exact Editions 2017 — It’s a Wrap!

First set

With a new year on the horizon, now is the perfect time to kick back, relax and bunker down for winter. But before you do that, it’s worth thinking about how much you’ve achieved this year and what you can do better next year.

Exact Editions can look back at 2017 fondly as a record-breaking number of libraries around the world are now accessing magazines and their archives using the platform. We have been exceptionally busy from January to December; acquiring a plethora of new and diverse titles (which we’re showing off in this post), developing extensive archives, adding useful technical features; and, of course, starting this new blog stream for librarians!

Second set

As you can see, there has been an increased focus on engagement with our users and improving the user experience. For example, check out our blog detailing the best ways to make the most of your Exact Editions subscription: The Holy Grail.

third set

Some of our 2017 highlights:

  • Perpetual Access — Several more magazines are now available to purchase with Perpetual Access. Exact Editions offer a uniquely comprehensive product for libraries, with purchases including the complete archive of the magazine as well as all future issues.
    The full list of participating publishers can be found here: https://institutions.exacteditions.com/showcases/perpetual
  • Library Board — This year, Exact Editions have enlisted the wisdom of several leading librarians and industry experts, who will be consulted on a bi-annual basis to offer thoughts on two or three important topics.
    You can read the introductory blog post here.
  • K-Bart — With improved metadata offerings, Exact Editions are continuously working to ensure that our content is becoming increasingly straightforward to find within library management systems. We’re doing whatever we can to make your lives just that little bit easier!

fourth set

So, what’s in the pipeline for 2018?

  • MARC Records — MARC Records are available for all our titles and can be requested from the start of 2018. This should improve Exact Editions’ catalogue compatibility and discoverability, which in turn should raise usage statistics and content visibility.
  • COUNTER Compliant Usage Statistics — Speaking of usage, another primary goal of 2018 will be to make our stats available on COUNTER. We are aware this is a favoured platform for librarians, and we are keen to migrate our statistics over to COUNTER so that we can offer as much transparency as possible.
  • Library Q&A thread — We will be conducting brief interviews with librarians to talk about periodicals, the growth of digital resources and what they hope for in the future. Would you like to participate? Get in touch with us to give your opinions on the industry.
  • RA21 — Exact Editions very recently attended a conference about the RA21 project, which aims to optimise institutional access to online resources, with a particular focus on remote usage. We will continue to keep updated with potential alternatives to IP-authentication in 2018 and will post any news on our blog.
    Read more about RA21 here: https://ra21.org/index.php/what-is-ra21/
  • Content Acquisition — As always there will be a strong drive for new content on the site across a variety of subjects. If there’s a particular magazine you’d like to see on the platform in 2018, why not recommend it to us via: institutions@exacteditions.com.

We’ll be back in 2018 with regular updates.

From everyone at Exact Editions, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

fifth set

Exact Editions – IDPD17

This year brings us the inaugural International Digital Preservation Day, organised by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and supported by digital preservation networks, institutions and universities world-wide. The commendable drive behind IDPD17 is to encourage institutions and individuals to celebrate resources which have been preserved and to encourage initiatives to be taken for the future.

Exact Editions works to build, preserve and deliver complete online archives for libraries and individual subscribers. The aim is to make every magazine on the platform fully searchable, easy to access and as readable as the print version, serving to secure objects of cultural importance for future generations.

To read more about the cultural importance of magazines, and why they should be preserved, take a look at this post: https://blog.exacteditions.com/2017/11/28/preserving-magazines/

The digitisation of an archive involves numerous challenges such as; creating a fluid platform on which to view the archive and maintaining a perfect digital standard through quality control. At Exact Editions the production team has mastered this process so that thousands of pages are now safe, saved from their perilous paper existence.

To see all the work which goes into digitising an archive, look out for our forthcoming blog to be released on digital preservation day!

When we heard about IDPD17, Exact Editions, and our publishing partners, were very keen to join the digital celebration — and we know you can’t turn up to a digital preservation party without bringing your own bytes to eat. So in the spirit of this digital fiesta we’ve opened up 36 issues to the public for a one month period. Twelve of our publisher partners have kindly allowed us to open three issues from their beautiful magazines.

You can browse these windows into cultural history here: https://institutions.exacteditions.com/showcases/idpd2017

Every single page, issue, year, decade and archive is fully searchable by keyword on the Exact Editions platform. So make sure to explore the free issues in their entirety and have fun with the platform. For example; the 1999 issue of New Internationalist which covers the Radical Twentieth Century surely must mention Che Guevara, right?


Search results for ‘Che Guevara’ in the January 1999 issue of New Internationalist

Make the most of our easy-to-use toolbar which is located at the bottom of every page on the website. Share your favourite pages on social media channels, and be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us in any pages which catch your eye!


Moonlight feature from the March 2017 issue of Sight & Sound

Jokes and freebies aside, Digital Preservation is a potent issue in the modern world. We have the unprecedented opportunity to preserve our history and culture for the future, and Exact Editions is proud to participate in an event dedicated to crystallising our digital legacy.

If you want to hear more from us, follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/exacteditions

To see what other magazines we work with, visit our shop pages:

Individual Shop: https://shop.exacteditions.com/ 
Institutional Shop: https://institutions.exacteditions.com/

Make the most of your Exact Editions subscription

Hi, so you’ve started your Exact Editions subscription, what next? The platform is packed with useful features created to help you explore the magazine, here are some tips on how to get started:

IP Authenticated Access
Exact Editions institutional subscriptions work using IP authenticated access, so viewing magazines is as simple as clicking a link. Make sure to share this link with your users so they can access the magazine, ideally this should be highly visible on your site to encourage usage. If you are unsure about which link you need for the resource, or would like some advice on increasing usage, please contact us via: institutions@exacteditions.com

Searching and Browsing
Perhaps the most powerful feature of the Exact Editions platform is the ability to search complete archives by keyword, as well as supporting Boolean search. The search function of Exact Editions is designed to enhance the content of the magazines, providing a superb research tool for specific research topics.

To search a magazine, simply type in your term on the search bar and let the magic happen. For example; a reader of Creative Review may want to search for the influence of technology in the world of art. As you can see in the screenshot below, there are over 200 results for technology in the archive, which you can sort by relevance or date.


Search results for ‘Technology’ in the complete Creative Review archive

You can then click the entry which you wish to view, and the word you searched for will be highlighted in the text, see example below:


Search results for ‘Technology’ in Creative Review, February 2005, Page 40

Issue Stacking
The Exact Editions platform automatically stacks issues into chronological format, organised by the year in which they were published. This may seem like a small feature, but don’t be fooled — looking for sources on a specific era of music, historical event or artistic movement has never been easier.

The stacking feature combines perfectly with the searching function as users can search for specific terms across the entire archive, specific decades, years and issues.


Issue stacking for Sight & Sound from the 2000’s


Another excellent feature of the Exact Editions platform is that every page has its own unique URL, meaning that it couldn’t possibly be easier for students to cite their sources (so now they have no excuse!). Unique URLs also mean it is possible for users to bookmark specific pages for future browsing — which could be useful for academic research or for using the resource in a seminar/presentation.

The toolbar located at the bottom of every page offers several options to share pages by email or through Social Media channels, as well as the ability to save individual pages in PDF format for offline use.


Image showing the Unique URL, and the toolbar which is visible on every Exact Editions page

The Exact Editions App
All magazine subscriptions are available to view on Web, iOS and Android devices. This can be done by downloading the Exactly app and connecting to the institutional wi-fi. If the user is within the IP ranges provided by the institution then the magazine will appear automatically without any need to login.

The app allows users to save entire issues for offline use, making Exact Editions magazines highly portable and accessible wherever you are. Pages can be bookmarked and the search function works in the same way as the Web versions.


iPad version of Granta, including the in-app toolbar

So there you have it — a whistle stop tour of Exact Editions!

If you have any questions our subscriptions team are available at: institutions@exacteditions.com