Online subscription services are expensive for individuals. Online access to Encyclopædia Britannica is $69.95 per year. A subscription to Grove Music Online is $295.00 per year. With costs like these, it’s a bit challenging to build up your virtual resources.
But there are ways that you may be able to access these services and more . . . for free.
Go to the library!
Many of the online subscription services are really geared to institutions rather than individuals. Their pricing certainly is. And you may already be affiliated with an institution through which you can access online subscriptions for free. Examples of institutions that have such things available include universities, colleges, K-12 schools, public libraries, and museums. And you can’t even participate in ARTstor or JSTOR or Gale Cengage databases unless you are affiliated with a participating non-profit institution
The appearance of a public terminal in libraries so that people without a computer or Internet access could gain the benefits of computing happened some time ago. Now some libraries have multiple computers, and many have added services that you can access.
Better yet, with off-site access, which at least some libraries and education institutions offer, you may be able to access all the resources from home, or wherever you happen to have Internet access (though this may require a VPN—virtual private network—set up). This may depend on your having a library card (a small price to pay). Go to a specified website, type in the password, and away you go.
So, you may be able to access these services through your local library, a school you are attending, a school your child is enrolled in, your alma mater, or a school where you are teaching, even part-time.
I discovered that I actually have three ways to access:
• My public library offers access to a selection of services through Cengage as well as infoAnytime, a 24/7 reference service
• University of Chicago, my alma mater, offers access when I’m on campus, either at the Regenstein library or using Wi-Fi in campus buildings.
• And because I’m offering a summer course through Continuing Education at University of Vermont—EDCI 200 Intro to Writing Across the Disciplines with Technology—I have access to a more impressive array of online subscription services through the Bailey/Howe Library website.