Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sign of the (New York) Times

Tomorrow morning, the New York Times begins its “digital subscription” plan. As the paper first announced to readers on March 18, online readers who do not already receive home delivery of the paper will be restricted to viewing 20 free articles per month. Readers who exceed that limit will be prompted to sign up for a paid “digital subscription,” whose regular prices range from $15-$35 per month (an unspecified special introductory rate will be offered starting March 28).

Here at Goodson Blogson HQ, we expect an increase in questions related to accessing this formerly-free Times content by users who have hit their monthly limits. Please note that we do not have a library-wide password to NYTimes.com, although the site’s FAQ indicates that “Libraries will eventually be covered under group accounts, which we are working to make available in the coming months.” Until that option is available, though, the Duke University Libraries do have e-journal access to the Times through a number of databases, which can be accessed by the “GetIt@Duke” button in the online catalog record. (For law students, LexisNexis and Westlaw also offer the full text of the New York Times.)

The gadget blog Gizmodo also highlights a loophole to the new policy in its article How To Keep Reading the New York Times for Free: articles linked via social media sites and blogs will not count toward the 20-article limit. As Gizmodo points out, since the Times itself features more than 250 Twitter accounts, it should not be difficult to find a link to the story you’d like to read.

This new site restriction also does not apply to home delivery subscribers, who receive unlimited access to the online content at NYTimes.com. Rather than sign up for the digital-only subscription, Duke students and faculty may wish to take advantage of the Education Rate, which offers a whopping 50% discount off the newsstand price and includes complete access to online content (for example, the Sunday-only delivery option is a mere $15.00 per month -- the same rate as the cheapest online-only subscription plan).

For questions about accessing the Times or any other online journal, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

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