In a money-saving move, the Evanston Public Library has switched vendors for online news databases to one that does not include the city’s traditional weekly news source, the Evanston Review.

The library recently switched from NewsBank  to ProQuest. Library Director Mary Johns says ProQuest offers a more robust product overall, with more complete content, including photos and graphics for some publications. She said the overall cost saving amounts to between $4,000 and $5,000 a year.

Reference librarian Margaret Schatz said the library still does have bound volumes and microfilm copies of the newspaper from its launch in 1925, as well as a partial card index of news stories from 1972 to 1999.

Alternatives available

Folks interested in researching local issues online do have some alternatives.

Free access to summaries of Evanston Review news stories from 1996 to the present is available on the website of the Pioneer Press publishing group. But getting the full text of a story there will cost you $2.95. 

If you have time for a trip to the library, you could use the free summaries to look up the full text of the stories in the library’s bound volumes.

Other, newer, Evanston news publications provide more extensive free access to their archives. For news since early 2006, you can get full free-text access to stories here on Evanston Now

The Evanston RoundTable provides online access to its stories since late 2008, TribLocal since mid 2009 and Evanston Patch since September 2010.

Future option

Johns says the library is also exploring technology that would scan microfilm copies of newspapers and create searchable computerized indexes from the film.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Cost of the Branches

    This is very unfortunate and is exactly why maintaining the branches is a bad idea. To save money we have lost access to a resource that is essentially irreplaceable. Having access to a paper edition of a newspaper with an inadequate index is no substitute for online full-text searching. I’m extremely disappointed that the library has made this decision.  

  2. Thanks Branch Friends!

    Your desire to be able to walk to a branch [which is probably once a year] has helped bring us to where even the Evanston Review is cut, a 50% reduction in periodicals and cuts in new books that if it continues will make EPL second class—if that.

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