Sunday, June 23, 2013

#blogjune Post 24 - Pondering Library Subscription Frustration

Last week I read this blog post: What Librarians Lack: The Importance of the Entrepreneurial Spirit.

I have to say that I somewhat agree with what Anthony writes.  I get frustrated with library vendor products - which means I get frustrated with library vendors.

For example, we subscribe to a great product - Zinio eMagazines (please note that this is not a pick on Zinio post).  But to show a library member how to access this excellent product almost requires a degree in itself. 

First create an account, then select a magazine from the list, then get diverted to another page, then create another account, then log in and then view your library, then maybe download another bit of software or app, then log in again, then with some luck you might be able to access your magazine that you originally selected but sometimes you have to go back through the process again.

Let's be honest here and say that it is not only Zinio that present this problem.  Most library subscription databases/collections require more than a library card number to access.  Most require the user to create an account and use both library card and user name and password to access.  Then sometimes there is the requirement of downloading a piece of software so you can finally access what you were trying to access.

However, if you were an individual subscribing to this service (I know that not all library subscription services have an option for an individual to subscribe), it would not be as clunky to access what you had subscribed to.

I understand that a certain amount of secruity is required to ensure those that haven't "paid" for the service can't access it, but really there has to be a better way.

The amount of library members I have provided one-on-one instruction on how to access these services/collections to and then they have been put off because all this creating accounts is confusing is quite high.  I know that there are a high number that have conquered this speed hump but there are a lot that haven't.

I know I have mentioned to a few library vendors when I have the pleasure of meeting them at conference exhibitions, the frustration of access issues.  And they do listen, but don't have a solution.

Should we be creating solutions to these problems?  Is it our responsibility to do so?  Or is it a matter of working more closely with vendors?  Or are their hands as tied as ours?

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