University News

Facing pay wall, Library to offer digital Times

By
Features Editor
Thursday, March 24, 2011

The University Library will continue to provide students with full same-day online access to New York Times articles after the paper erects its pay wall March 28, though the format for reading articles will be different from the Times’ website.

Students will be able to access current issues — including supplemental material such as the magazine and book review — through the NewsBank service, which the University acquired Friday. Students will also continue to have access to other archived issues available through several databases linked from Josiah. These services are already available with a Brown Secure login and can be accessed off-campus through software provided by Computing and Information Services.

The online NewsBank version of the Times is “a digital, full-color image of the paper,” David Banush, associate University library for access services, wrote in an email to The Herald. It is searchable through a navigation bar but resembles a scanned version of the print edition rather than the Times’ website.

“We recognize that this is not an ideal replacement for the website, but it is what we can do now to ensure that complete access is not interrupted,” Banush wrote. The Times does not currently provide group or institutional access to its site, but may do so in the future, Banush added. “If and when that option becomes available, we will investigate it.”

NewsBank does not offer any device-specific support and the web page itself is “unlikely to be very readable on a phone,” Banush wrote, adding that it might function better on a tablet computer.

Nikilesh Eswarapu ’12 said he currently reads the Times through an iPhone application, but he would use the NewsBank service on his computer. Though he subscribes to other print media such as the Wall Street Journal, he said he is not willing to pay the Times digital subscription fee — at least, not as a student. In the future, he said, “It’s something I would pay for.”

Katherine Blessing ’13 said she did not “like the sound of” the new pay wall system but was less upset upon finding out that she could access unlimited online content through her parents’ print subscription. She said she found the NewsBank version less “user-friendly” than the Times’ own website. “You can’t click on any links,” she added.

“I think it’s kind of disappointing,” Adrienne Tran ’14 said of the NewsBank version. “I like looking at the ‘most-emailed’ (list).” She added that though she appreciated the new option, the interface is “just not as clean.”

Home delivery subscribers — a subscription for print delivery to campus costs $14.80 per week — will continue to enjoy full digital access. Digital subscriptions range in price from $3.75 to $8.75  per week, depending on access level. When the pay wall is launched, all online readers will have free access to up to 20 articles or other media features each month.