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Ask.com Blog

You will be happy to know that most public libraries in the U.S. and many other places offer FREE full text access to hundreds of databases. All you need is a library card for the specific library. The dbases are licensed for personal use.

Each library offers a different sets of resources. Here is just one example. Btw, in many areas it's possible to get more than one library card.


or in Mass:

Also, many libraries offer 24x7x365 reference help via chat, phone, email, etc. Examples:
+ http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/

+ http://www.massanswers.org/


Unfortunately, the alumni office may not be able to help with opening access to the research databases. Most of them are governed by license agreements that limit access -- and especially remote access -- to current students and staff. If any of the vendors were willing to expand that access, it would probably come with a very large price tag (thousands of dollars per database, per year).

I don't mean to suggest that you shouldn't write your letter, but I did want to explain why it generally works that way at this time. In most cases, the library would love to be able to share access with everyone, from anywhere.


I have to agree with hhw above on the alumni issue. We get that question a lot here from alumns, and that is the basic answer. Off-campus/distance access is for students (currently enrolled)/staff/and faculty. It is based on licensing agreements with the providers, and from the looks of it, not something about to change anytime soon. I won't discourage you from writing the letter, but there may be little an alum assoc. may be able to do in that regard. However, lucky for you, you do have your spouse, but you can also do what Gary suggests about public libraries, who often do give distant access on the basis of your library card. I know they do here at my location.

Best, and keep on blogging.

P.S. Found this post via the Free Range Librarian

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