Downfall of Periodicals


A tweet led me to this concisely-written article analyzing the broken business model of journals. The very librarian lingo “periodical” caught my eye. Back in the 1990s, when I had a strong interest in journalism, I understood advertising, and not subscriptions, were the backbone of a newspaper’s revenues. This article claims that is still true today. If mainstream publishers are hurting for advertising, then niche publishers are trying to navigate a digital model in which they are a viable business. I think this gives librarians some insight into the other side, when negotiating subscriptions or renewals. I know we grumble about price gouging. But publishers are trying to find a model that leaves some profit on the table so they can continue to sell an information package, whether it be digital or print.

The author David Sleight is talking to web developers, but he could be talking to librarians and information professionals.  His call to arms about massaging data or adding value to data really resonated with me.

Data that’s turned into something actionable via included tools becomes a service.

As information professionals, the more insight we have on how information is produced, and packaging information to answer the unasked questions can only mean a polished value-added service, higher profile and greater job satisfaction.

– Brenda Wong


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