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Making the Most of your Subscription

Hello! 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:

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 log in with a username and password.

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 version.

Granta iPad

Granta on iPad

Promotion on your site

Our tech team have developed a rather cool tool to help you promote Exact Editions resources to your library users. The Sample Code feature provides ready-made HTML to allow you to display the latest issue cover on your site. Users will be able to click this thumbnail to read the latest issue or search for relevant results in Dazed — perfect for recommended reading pages, new resource profiles and subject guides!

Exact Editions Sample Code

Sample Code is available in your administrative account.

If you would like some advice on increasing usage or marketing materials, 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, streamlining research for information-hungry students.

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.

Exact Editions Search Technology

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:

Exact Editions Text Highlighting

Issue Stacking

The Exact Editions platform automatically stacks issues into a 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 individual issues.

Exact Editions - Stacking Feature

Referencing

Finally, every page on Exact Editions has its own unique URL, meaning that it couldn’t possibly be easier for students to cite their sources (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.

Exact Editions - Sharing Tools

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

The Power of the Publisher

When it comes to selling subscriptions to institutions there are several key factors to consider; the quality of the product, the pricing of the product and how to spread the word about the product. A strong marketing strategy can go a long way in securing subscriptions which will continue to renew year in, year out, providing a consistent and welcome revenue stream to publishers.

In this symbiotic relationship, the publisher brings the food and wine (content); and Exact Editions provide the dinner plate (online platform), the cutlery (search functionality, usage statistics, etc) and the table service (technical support for libraries). We use our industry experience to assess the best price bracket for the title and create dedicated marketing campaigns to attract new subscribers. This strategy works well, made evident by the 25% rise in sales during the 2017–2018 financial year; however, we are always seeking to improve and have found that a dual-approach made in tandem with the publisher is extremely powerful.

Why is that the case? Publishers can talk with their existing customers with a forwardness and potency which is difficult to replicate as a third party platform. This largely stems from the brand strength of the magazine. Librarians will be aware of The Times Literary SupplementGeographical and Creative Review and also know that Exact Editions offer a reliable, cutting-edge platform with excellent customer service. It is inevitable that some academics and librarians will head to the publisher’s site to check for the availability of institutional subscriptions, which is why it is essential to clearly advertise on both sites, see below for an example.

Banipal’s website clearly advertises the institutional subscription.

There is a clear correlation between the strongest performing magazines in the institutional market and the willingness of publishers to flex their muscles of influence. Banipal, Neural and The Wire were among the top performers during the 2017–2018 purchasing period.

Banipal — 25% increase
Neural — 40% increase
The Wire — 15% increase, not including perpetual access sales

They each acquired numerous new institutional subscribers who will now be a continuous stream of revenue through renewals. The common thread between these magazines (who massively differ in terms of content) is that they actively approach their contacts in the academic sphere such as contributors and print subscribers. Alongside this, they make the option clear on their websites and collaborate with us on marketing campaigns.

For more on this, see our case study on The Wire: http://static.exacteditions.com/casestudies/the-wire-case-study.pdf

What else can publishers do to drum up sales? Think about the copy on your dedicated institutional pages. Is it tailored to the institutional market? Could you contact influential people/academics to get testimonials for the magazine? Even better could you have someone write a review for the site? — see the example below.

TPM Site Page

TPM benefits from having a review and strong institutionally focused copy

Finally, another source of revenue which should be considered by all publishers is the desire for Perpetual Access in academic libraries. To briefly explain, a set budget will be allocated for serials and this is usually very tight, meaning librarians have to think carefully before committing to a magazine. There is, however, often a pool of money set aside which librarians will use to buy resources in perpetuity. This is a potentially very lucrative opportunity for publishers, as proven by The Wire who made several high-value sales at the start of 2018. If you would be interested in hearing more about this, do get in touch.

We hope this gives publishers food for thought and we are always available to chat via publisher@exacteditions.com

Why Read Magazines? — The Value of Magazines as News Resources

To briefly introduce ourselves, Exact Editions is an online platform that works with numerous publishing partners to produce the digital versions of their magazines, so we like to think we know a thing or two about why they’re so important.

For over a decade now, we have advocated the strength and uniqueness of magazines compared to other sources of information. A large part of this has involved making significant headway into the academic library market by building archives of immense cultural value and offering them with site-wide access. Many of these archives speak for themselves, e.g. Gramophone and Sight & Sound, because of the depth and quality of the specialised content. The role of Exact Editions is to make this content as accessible as possible for users, by offering advanced search functionality, dedicated app access and other technical features, we facilitate audience growth and introduce new revenue streams for publishers.

We support the content.

So, why magazines? What makes them so special?

Quality Control

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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

As you are reading this blog, I will assume that most of you are users of social media, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Reddit. Many of you will find the latest news via these sites, whether you follow specific individuals, or global brands such as the BBC, CNN or Al Jazeera. There are undoubtedly many benefits to the increased availability and freedom to information, however, there are also severe downsides. Take Twitter as an example, it is exceptionally easy to create an ‘echo chamber’ around yourself, by following only those whose views align with your own, many of us do this unconsciously without considering the consequences. Now let’s say that you do endeavour to seek out a variety of news sources — where do you start? The sheer volume of information being generated every second is enough to make heads spin. This oversaturation has multiple effects: increasing the use of buzzwords in articles to attract attention, reducing the attention span of readers and lowering the quality of journalism in favour of quantity.

Magazines address this problem perfectly.

Magazines crystallise the culture of the time, succeeding where social media fails. They are released on a regular timeline, affording them a nimbleness unmatched by book publishers and an orderliness absent in social media. This regularity ensures that magazines have a contemporary focus, offering prudent commentary rather than reactionary headlines. The editors act as guardians of information, they filter through the white noise to find the important voices and events. They then thread these voices and stories together to form cohesive, well-informed arguments that challenge readers to think rationally and deeply. Not only is this useful in the modern world where we fight against a tide of fake and fleeting news; it is also useful for preserving the defining moments and influential figures of each generation for future generations. Combine this with the growing accessibility of complete archives of magazines and you realise that magazines provide us with a reliable thread back through history. Think of them as Ariadne, offering you, Theseus, a spool of thread as you make your way through the labyrinth of the internet in search of dependable news.

Political Bias

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Why read magazines to find news when we have newspapers? I hear you cry. Well, with political allegiances rife and visible, many newspapers are no longer able to legitimately claim a stance of neutrality. Magazines largely fall outside of that category as they are typically focused on specialist subject areas. This sharpening of the lens affords them the freedom to explore topics without having to worry about the overarching views of the brand they represent or the political view they advocate. This can work both ways; for example, Geographical benefits from viewing issues in terms of their global relevance, whereas Tate Etc. is focussed purely on the interpretation of art.

The point is that although magazines inevitably interact with and are influenced by politics; they are not shaped by politics.

*Of course, there are political magazines out there with agendas, and politics filters down into almost every aspect of life, however, magazines do operate in their own journalistic sphere which is less subject to outside influences and more content-oriented.

Again, I would also like to return to the problem of ‘echo chambers’. By and large, newspapers appeal to those who agree with the news they publish. Only the most dedicated follower of the news will actively purchase different newspapers to widen their perspective. Magazine readers, on the other hand, are often forced to chew on articles that don’t necessarily align with their political or cultural views. This encourages a broadening of the mind and is healthy for readers.

Style / Design

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This one is simple. We all love great visuals and design. Our brains are hardwired to enjoy neat edges, fancy fonts and sprawling high-quality double page spread images. Magazines offer visceral imagery that is missing in books and academic journals. We should not only consider this in aesthetic terms, but also in terms of academic value. Photos have the power to take the reader directly to the political situation in Libya, or to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest, they encourage engagement and make content easier to digest.

There is more to design than meets the eye.

In some fields, design isn’t a luxury, it is essential. Magazines that cover topics such as; modern art, architecture, ceramics and fashion are obvious supporters of the magazine format. But the need for style stretches far beyond these topics. Think poetry, think science, think business. They need specific formatting, diagrams, infographics. Magazines afford publishers the freedom to be creative and to devise new ways to inform their readers. With digital technology now able to replicate complete archives with pinpoint accuracy, magazines should be go-to resources for academics and rational readers.

MARC Records are go!

Just a quick update from us! … We are excited to announce that MARC Records are now available for institutional subscribers to download with the click of a button. This comes as part of our ongoing efforts to increase the integration of Exact Editions titles into library systems.

In the past, we received many queries requesting MARC Record data for the titles we support, so it’s great to be able to offer this option to our institutional subscribers. Our tech team have developed a streamlined D.I.Y. process for acquiring MARC Records for your specific subscriptions.

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Download your MARC Records with a click of a button

Downloading the relevant MARC Records for your magazine subscriptions is super simple. Log in to your Exact Editions administrative account, click preferences, then you should be taken to your account page where you’ll see an option to download your MARC Records. After that, the cataloguing world’s your oyster; adding new signposts to your system means more usage and increased discoverability for your subscriptions.

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Example records for Resurgence & Ecologist, Geographical and Opera

We like to see this as another hurdle jumped in the creation of the perfect magazine reading platform — as we continuously strive to make Exact Editions as user-friendly as possible.

Do you have any further suggestions for improving our site?

Please get in touch via institutions@exacteditions.com

A useful guide to MARC Records: https://www.loc.gov/marc/umb/

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

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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.

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