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

72236-1-jsmcpg-lxqjrgqbe_yuqw

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

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

8f9dd-1fnpnmdi55tirlzu6_rdp1q

Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

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.

How digital magazines are facilitating new strategies for learning in schools

classroom-1910014_1920

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.

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.

asd

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:

asdasd

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.

asdasdasd

Issue stacking for Sight & Sound from the 2000’s

Referencing

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.

asdasdasdasdasdas

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.

adasdsadadsdadadassdasdad

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

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.

 

Transition Free Press joins the Apple Newsstand

We’re thrilled to announce that Transition Free Press has joined the Exact Editions webstore, and is now making it’s debut in the Apple Newsstand.

TFP-Hztl

Transition Free Press is a quarterly newspaper, built around the idea of sustainable communities and towns, with emphasis on the environment and community spirit. The focus is always on solutions, so if you’re looking for a positive and inspiring break from the standard doom-and-gloom press, this is the title for you!

TFP-Vert

The app incorporates all the features you’ve come to expect from Exact Editions (comprehensive search, offline bookmarked content and social media sharing, to name a few) and also comes with ground-breaking ByPlace™ technology enabled.

Available on the App Store