Wednesday, September 10, 2014

PSA, maybe

So, that problem of needing access to scholarly databases to which your institution doesn't subscribe? I may have found a solution.

Register as a nondegree or nonmatriculated student at whichever local institution does subscribe. Obviously, not all universities permit students in this category--I imagine you can't be a nondegree student at Princeton--but plenty of places whose mission involves the surrounding community have programs that allow random citizens to take a class now and then on either a credit or audit basis. And in my experience at two institutions in two states (Cosimo's public R2 and now a private R1), all you have to do is fill out a quick web form, wait a day or two for approval, and then you get a student ID number and login.

And that gives you library web access.

Now, I can't promise that every institution would give you library access without your actually enrolling in a course--or that such access would last for longer than a semester or two--but in both the places where I've been a nondegree student, web access to everything was immediate, and not a function of being enrolled or paying one red cent.

I leave it to the enterprising among you to conduct further research.


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

What a fantastic idea! I'm going to try it.

Contingent Cassandra said...

Another option: find a local* university with an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (list here: ). At least at my institution, membership costs a few hundred dollars a year, is open to people of all ages (though the target demographic is definitely senior citizens), and comes with a university i.d., email address, and full library privileges (which, in the case of my university, means access to a local consortium of libraries as well). It's not free (and one would certainly need to ask about any terms and conditions that apply), but, at least to my thinking, it could easily be a better deal than adjuncting for library privileges, which is about the only reason I would be tempted to adjunct again. This is my backup plan should my academic job disappear before I'm eligible for emerita status (which also includes library privileges).

*I'm not sure whether there are any geographic restrictions on membership. If not, and if the primary goal is database access, one could shop around the various OLLI campuses for the best resources.

Tiruncula said...

Some colleges provide access via an alumni account, too. My undergraduate college provides alumni access to JSTOR not through a library account, but through a special alumni portal, and the place I did my Master's offers an alumni library account. It's worth checking with every institution you've ever graduated from.