Webometric Thoughts

August 27, 2009

Ulrichsweb: Why is there no free equivalent?

Filed under: Ulrichsweb,periodicals,web 2.0 — admin @ 7:49 pm

For those who don’t know, Ulrichsweb is a rather large, very useful, but unfortunately expensive database of periodicals: journals, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters. The sort of information that is very useful to librarians, publishers, and writers. What I find bizarre is that there isn’t a free alternative, especially with such a highly skilled user base.

When I wanted access to this database a couple of days ago I had to travel all the way down to the British Library to access it! The University of Wolverhampton doesn’t have a subscription, and my Open University access is only useful on-site in Milton Keynes. Whilst I’m always happy to have a trip to London, it would obviously be more useful if it was freely available from home.

Delving into Ulrichsweb I’m always amazed at how many small and specialist magazines there are, journals that you are unlikely to come across unless you already know that they are there. My favourite find from this trip was the very interesting looking Artful Blogging. Too often we overlook usefully structured information in favour of the all powerful Google.

A web 2.0 approach to periodical directory/database seems like the obvious alternative to Ulrichsweb, especially as it would of particular use to librarians who already have access to so much of the useful information. Not only could such a database be made freely available, but it could be far more up-to-date; I found that many of the Ulrichsweb links no-longer worked, but rather than being able to change the records, they remained inaccurate.

Maybe I should put my librarian’s hat on and start a creative commons Dabble

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