Legal and business information can be very expensive. That’s why I’m a big believer in taking advantage of subscription databases available from your local public libraries. The library has already paid for them so you can use them for free. What a bargain!
Don’t have time to trek all the way down to the library, you say? You may not have to! Just enter your library card number on the library’s web site and you’re in. Access databases containing an index to legal periodicals, full-text journal & news articles, business directories, medical info, recreational reading guide. Each library’s collection of databases is unique.
- Madison area (So. Central Library System)
- Milwaukee Public Library
- Wisconsin State Law Library – LegalTrac
Usually the only stipulation to using a library’s databases remotely is that you hold one of their library cards. Each library imposes certain restrictions on who can obtain a card, often based residence.
However, I just learned of a library in Middletown, CT that allows anyone to register for a card, regardless of where they live. For a $35 annual fee, you can obtain a Godfrey Memorial Library “Scholar’s Card” which entitles you to access the library’s subscription databases.
The sources include newspaper archives (NYT, LA Times, Washington Post, etc), Marquis Who’s Who, ProQuest’s HeritageQuest Online, Columbia Gazetteer, etc. They might just have some databases that your local libraries do not.
Thanks to my UW Madison Libraries colleague, Nancy McClements for the tip.