The Benefits Of Working In Academia

Lots of New York Times readers were disappointed when the Times took away free access to editorials and commentaries and turned it into the subscription-only TimesSelect. Well those of us working in higher education are getting a break from the Times. They recently announced that as of March 13 students and faculty with an “edu” email address would be eligible to get free access to TimesSelect. From the press release:

Beginning on March 13, subscriptions to TimesSelect will be available for free to all registered college students and faculty with a .edu in their e-mail addresses. TimesSelect is NYTimes.com’s paid offering that provides exclusive access to 22 columnists of The Times and the International Herald Tribune as well as an array of other services, including access to The Times’s archives, advance previews of various sections and tools for tracking and storing news and information. Current student subscribers will receive pro-rated refunds for their previously paid subscriptions. College students interested in registering for free TimesSelect subscriptions should go to www.nytimes.com/university for more information.

Take note that it doesn’t say anything about free for librarians – and who the heck is actually buying all the New York Times content anyway. Talk about being disrespected. Anyway, if you want to get free access to TimesSelect you’ll have to adhere to the idea that librarians are practically faculty. When you fill out the form you have to choose student or faculty. When I first tried to register the form kept forcing me to identify my graduation date – even when I indicated my status was faculty. Dumb form! When I tried the form again the next day it did let me register as a faculty member. You may want to spread the word on your campus. It’s not exactly the “benefits of membership”, but something like that. Let’s see how long this stays free.

8 thoughts on “The Benefits Of Working In Academia

  1. I need to check this out – does it include backfiles, including the Proquest Historical New York Times content we purchased at huge cost? In which case, I’m going to be p-o’ed big time. (And I would be, too, if I were Proquqest.)

    As a Times subscriber, I already get to view up to 100 pdfs a month from the 1851-1980 files – a change that was quietly made a few months ago, shortly after my library paid big bucks for the Proquest product.

    Before we dump on the Times, though, consider how OCLC in a sense does the same thing. In order to be part of the web-accessible free version of Worldcat, libraries have to subscribe to the old version, apparently to pay the bills. And libraries who don’t subscribe are stripped from the free version – which doesn’t explain that it may be inaccurate when it tells you the nearest library that owns a book is 73 miles away. It may be in your local library, but your local doesn’t subscribe.

  2. As a reference librarian, I have to say that this is great news. I just heard about the new Times Select program the other day, and I’ve already used it to help a few students. What a boon for history students looking for primary sources!

    I agree with Barbara’s comment that ProQuest has a right to be peeved. The Times is giving away, for free, the content which universities would normally have to pay ProQuest a lot of money to access.

    That said, I’m sure that the Times is looking at this as an experiment with one possible model for long-term survival. Instead of charging a lot of money to a few institutions (the library database model), it’s trying to get a little bit of money (via advertising?) from a much larger audience.

    I wish them well in the experiment. Anything which helps more people get easy access to information is a good thing. :-)

  3. The free TimeSelect accounts for people with .edu e-mail accounts just got a little bit less useful.

    When I initially tried it out in mid-March, the free account included access to articles from the New York Times back to 1851. This made it a great resource for History students searching for primary sources, and a direct competitor to ProQuest Historical Newspapers (an expensive online database which includes the New York Times back to 1851).

    Now, when I try to find older articles through TimeSelect, I get the following message:

    “Please note: your complimentary university subscription to TimesSelect does not provide access to articles published before 1981. You may be able to access this material through your university intranet or library.”

    Looks like it was too good to be true.

  4. I showed the 1851-1980 archive search for to a student who wrote about it in our student newspaper last Friday. This week she’ll likely be writing that the Times removed access to the full archive without explanation over the weekend.

  5. I feel crappy about this. I certainly didn’t want them to turn off the access. But then, this is the organization that pulled content from databases rather than settle with freelancers after the Tasini decision.

    And I love reading the Times.

    Sigh.

  6. “you’ll have to adhere to the idea that librarians are practically faculty”

    Congratulations! Going through a couple of years of MLS is “practically” the same as finishing a PhD, doing a postdoc, getting a highly competitive tenure track position and then getting tenure 7 years later after tons of publications.

    I have seen stupid things in the world, but this is one of the stupidest. When I was a grad student just a few months ago, librarians were very smug in looking down on us grad TAs in maintaining that we were “just students” who should feel rosy about making enough food to eat. Guess it feels like a slap on the face when someone tells you right away that you are lower than them.

    Face it: librarians are support staff and are not exactly an academic component of the university. They just make academic work at the university possible. I have a PhD and I am working my rear end off as a postdoc and I don’t still fully qualify as faculty and you want to be considered faculty with your MLS?

    I love it when some of the “oh so proud…we are employees…you are students” crowd in the university who spat daily on grad students are reminded that they are NOT academics. Now think how I felt when the library advertised a position that said “Grad student reqd, must be able to carry heavy loads and be familiar with MsWord”.

  7. Face it: librarians at around half of higher education institutions hold faculty appointments and have the same requirements for tenure and promotion as faculty in other departments.

    I’m very sorry you get spat on. That must be extremely unpleasant.

  8. I’d also like to point out that I know a number of librarians who have PhDs (and not just PhDs in LIS.) And, as Barbara points out, many librarians have the same requirements for tenure and promotion as do faculty members elsewhere. Many lbrarians conduct research and publish and are required to if they are on a tenure track.

    AND, not all non-librarian faculty members have PhDs. Where I work, administrators, such as admissions officers, have faculty status, as do coaches. I know that doesn’t prove anything – you might say (and probably rightly so) that those people should not have faculty status, either.

    Actually, as a librarian, I tend to agree that we should not have faculty status, unless the institution is very liberal in granting faculty status. AND (as much as I hate to say this) I agree with you about the attitudes some librarians have. I have seen it over and over again, both while I worked in the libraries of two different Ivy League institutions, and while a student in my MLIS program. Many librarians are both bitter and smug and look down on all the students, and even look down on the faculty members… they like to think that they somehow have rare skills the faculty members don’t have or couldn’t easily attain, and like to talk about how “stupid” the faculty members are. (I’m not talking about a couple comments people have made, I am talking about a fairly pervasive attitude.) And this attitude is unfortunate. But not ALL librarians are like that. I enjoy my job. I’m smart, and went to one of the top 3 liberal arts college for undergrad, and to the top university in Canada for my MLIS degree. I COULD have gone and gotten a PhD, but that wasn’t the path I wanted to lead. I don’t think those with PhDs (like so many of my friends) are any BETTER than I am, or any smarter – they just chose a different path. There’s a lot more to my job than most people think – it’s not just a “support staff” position. But, it’s NOT the same as what faculty members with PhDs do.

    But, AB, your comments are rude and obnoxious and suggest that YOU feel above the librarians just because of your academic credentials. And this IS how many faculty members feel, and treat the librarians dismissively and without respect. I think that attitude causes some librarians to develop their own “superiority” complex as a sort of defense mechanism.

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