eMagazines – for Research or Reading?

Someone comes into the library asking if he can access Consumer Reports from the library online. Your easy answer could be “Why yes! There’s even an easy link on the eRec page!” But what if he wants to read it on his smartphone? Or what if he just wants to browse the most current issue at his leisure? Perhaps he’d be better served to view it through RBdigital. The main question here is, is this for RESEARCH or READING?

Certainly EBSCOhost allows for Boolean searching and finding specific topics, which would be much harder (or impossible) in RBdigital. If I mine down to the bedrock of why this person wants to access Consumer Reports to discover he wants a specific issue or article (i.e. the most recent writeup on washer/dryers before he buys one) I would then point him to EBSCO and show him how to search, find, read, and print.


If, however, I find he just likes to read it every month, or wants something to browse while he’s waiting at the laundromat, then RBDigital it is! MUCH more readable, browsable, colorful, and mobile-friendly for the casual reader. (Although in this case, RBDigital unfortunately only has back issues of Consumer Reports…)


So my rule of thumb when answering the question, “Can I access a magazine online?” (especially when I know it exists in multiple places) is to find out: Is this for RESEARCH or READING?

Heather Auman
Western Allegheny Community Library