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 — Library Blog

Welcome to the inaugural blog post in a new library-focused series by Exact Editions. The frequent posts will be covering any Exact Editions news relevant to librarians, including; technical developments, new content releases and thought pieces on issues within the library community.

The Library Advisory Board

Exact Editions are a provider of digital magazine and book subscriptions to academic, public and corporates libraries around the world. Operating within such a dynamic field requires an in-depth knowledge of the industry in order to best serve the library community. At Exact Editions, we figured that the best way to understand the fast moving library landscape both on a technological level and on a business level, was to ask the librarians. So we enlisted the wise counsel of several leading librarians and industry professionals to create the Library Advisory Board. The board is made up of nine members, who will be consulted on a bi-annual basis to provide their thoughts on two of three specific topics.

The Members

Bill Maltarich, Collection Management Librarian at NYU

Ian Robson, Head of Collection Development at University of Waterloo

Liisa Mobley, Electronic Resources Unit Supervisor at Cornell University

Peter Brantley, Director of Online Strategy at University of California, Davis

Rick Anderson, Associate Dean for Scholarly Resources & Collections at University of Utah

Gary Price, Editor at Infodocket

Hazel Woodward, Director at Information Power

Jill O’Neill, Educational Programs Manager at NISO

Judy Luther, President at Informed Strategies

The Story So Far

Exact Editions share the same objective as libraries and librarians; to preserve and distribute written material with the intention of educating future generations. The aim of the Library Advisory Board is to use the expertise of the members to assist Exact Editions in making informed decisions regarding policy changes. Through this relationship we hope to augment our pre-existing knowledge of the industry, with a particular focus on technology, accessibility, preservation and future challenges. Questions will be asked on a bi-annual basis, and will focus on issues particularly potent for Exact Editions at that period of time. We hope that the process will be mutually beneficial for both parties, as librarians will be able to vocalise their needs and contribute to a service which is ultimately designed for them, and Exact Editions will benefit from the advice offered by individuals working inside the industry.

Feedback from our first round of questions has been incredibly useful, and we are already working on implementing suggestions concerning discovery and visibility of resources. Exact Editions titles are now mostly integrated into the major discovery tools commonly used by librarians, making us easier to find. In an effort to assist the decision making process regarding new purchases, we are offering 30-day trial subscriptions for all of the titles on our website, to allow librarians to explore the platform and magazine content before committing resources.

You can expect blog posts in the near future about our progress regarding MARC Records, Perpetual Access and Exact Editions usage statistics becoming Counter compliant. Furthermore, we have a wave of new content across a vast range of specialised subject areas in the pipeline, which will be of interest to libraries looking to improve their online resource offerings.

Finally, Exact Editions would like to say that we are very grateful for the contribution of time and effort by the Library Advisory Board members. We are always searching for ways to improve our services and to have direct contact with professionals in the library community is extremely helpful.


Network Subscriptions: Institutional Access Just Got Smarter

Hurrah! App Access is now part and parcel of our site-wide subscriptions, thanks to the latest upgrade from our tech team. They’re called network subscriptions.

Forget being tied to a computer: a network subscription allows an entire site roaming access to a title’s app on your own iPad or iPhone.


For those of an academic persuasion, this will mean an end to wandering round the library, unable to snag a computer for your research. Students with an iPad or an iPhone won’t have any need to hover uncomfortably close to that person who’s about to leave (we’ve all been there).

Network subscribers can take advantage of the apps’ mighty search function, bookmarking feature, social media sharing capabilities, and even sync issues for offline use.

So how does it work? If you’re within Wi-Fi range and you’ve got a subscription, you’ve got access. Download the app, open it up, and…that’s it! Simples. The app automatically recognises that you’re in Wi-Fi range.

Snazzy, right?

Network subscriptions can be used to provide access for all sorts of occasions: events, corporates, planes, hotels, coffee houses. The sky’s the limit, with a resource like this.

The beauty of it is that we’re able to tailor the digital offering to each client. If, for instance, Glastonbury festival-goers wanted get their hands on a digital copy of The Wire or Dazed & Confused, the organisers would be able to hook them up in advance.

Or if you were holding an environmental conference and wanted to grant access to, say, Resurgence & The Ecologist to all attendees, or Le Monde Diplomatique for an international conference, we’d be only too happy to set that up.

Our Chairman, Adam Hodgkin delves deeper into the possibilities for network subscriptions in his post on Network Subscriptions and Lufthansa.

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The WireResurgence Purple