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Universities working to revolutionize the press

Posted: April 14, 2014 - 4:06pm

Digital resources or “eResources” have taken universities by storm. These digital treasure troves of information are a scholar’s dream. Most popular among these databases are EBSCO, and ProQuest. These resources link students, faculty and staff to a wonderland of education with services ranging from e-books, music downloads and same day magazines, but where has news gone? Three universities in Arkansas have asked the same question and have answered with a digital revolution.

The University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas State University, has made a digital commitment to offer news sources to their university community via PressReader, previously known as Library PressDisplay.

PressReader allows these universities to access “more than 2,000 newspapers and magazines from around the world,” said a spokesperson for PressReader.

Access is the name of the game for most university databases. PressReader and PressDisplay have a unique function. It is not only accessible classically on a computer, but additionally with a smartphone or tablet with a university login.

“Within the last two to three years the reliable availability of academic eBooks has led almost all university libraries to greatly increase the number of eBook titles available to their campus constituencies. Online resources, including eBooks, are now the backbone of collections of most academic libraries,” said Jeff Bailey, Library Director at Arkansas State University.

Electronic resources librarian at Arkansas Tech University (ATU), Carol Hanan was on the committee to subscribe to the service, which gives students access to headlines locally, nationally and internationally. She explains that it is her responsibility to review new electronic products and report to other librarians at ATU on the benefits a certain product may have.

“I think right now it is mostly used to read the state papers, and the international students are reading papers from their home countries. I would hope it will help students become more aware of news headlines throughout the world,” said Hanan. ATU has subscribed to PressReader since August 2013.

PressReader offers another unique function. Content can be translated into 14 languages. This is an attraction for many universities with international students. “Arkansas State has a substantial number of international students from around the world, and providing access to daily and weekly newspapers from ‘home’ is a service that we are happy to provide,” said Bailey.

ATU has also granted access to the database to community members in Russellville. “Community members can come into the library to access the database,” said Hanan.

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