In the age of the Internet, the amount of information available at the click of the mouse is staggering. But much of the best information is from professional journals, and accessing those kinds of articles on the Web usually isn’t free — unless you are accessing the journals through your local public library.
In one of the best deals since they started free book lending, residents of Mississippi can access literally thousands of periodicals for free on the Internet. And, unlike with books, a trip to the library is not required. MAGNOLIA (Mississippi Alliance for Gaining New Opportunities Through Library Information Access) can be accessed from a home or office computer.
MAGNOLIA was funded by the Legislature and is a combined effort from the Council for Education Technology, the Institutions for Higher Learning, the Mississippi Library Commission and libraries throughout the state.
“Any citizen in Mississippi can go to their public library and access these databases,” said Francis Coleman, dean of libraries at Mississippi State University and chair of the MAGNOLIA steering committee. “This was established in August 1997, and it has really benefitted the teaching and research opportunities for all of Mississippi. We have been appreciative of the Legislature for continuing their support of this project.”
Coleman said that by all the libraries and schools banding together, the state is able to get discount consortium prices on databases which are beneficial to all of the entities involved. Since the cost of periodicals is increasing 9% to 10% per year, and budgets are tight, the costs savings add up.
“This results in cost savings to every library in the state,” Coleman said.
In order to access the data base, it is necessary to call your local library. Each library has a slightly different Web address. For example, the Web address for the Jackson-George Regional Library is www.jgrl.lib.ms.us. You will also need to get a user identification number from your local library.
Once you hit the site, you’ll find a large range of different data bases to select from. You can search for a certain topic within one or a variety of the different data bases at once. MasterFILE Premier provides full text for nearly 1,960 periodicals covering nearly all subjects including general reference, business, health and much more.
The site that might be of most interest to Mississippi businesses is Business Source Elite, which provides full text for nearly 960 journals covering business, management, economics, finance, banking, accounting and much more.
Click on and you’ll find Newspaper Source, which provides selected full text articles from 143 U.S. and international newspapers. The Serials Directory provides up-to-date and accurate bibliographic information and pricing for over 155,000 U.S. and international periodicals.
ERIC provides citation and abstract information from over 750 educational journals and related documents from the Educational Resource Information Center and educational symposium report literature dating back to 1967.
Health Source Plus provides full text for over 280 health periodicals, over 1,000 health pamphlets and 23 health reference books. USP DI Volume II, Advice for the Patient, provides patient-oriented drug information in lay language. Monographs are organized into the following sections: Brand Names commonly used in both the United States and Canada, Description, Before Using This Medicine, Proper Use of This Medicine, Precautions and Side Effects. Clinical Reference Systems provides over 7,000 reports, in every-day language, describing symptoms, treatments, risks and after-effects of a vast array of medical topics and conditions.
Another data base is Academic Search Elite, which provides full text for nearly 1,250 journals covering the social sciences, humanities, general science, multi-cultural studies, education and much more. For younger Internet browsers, or parents and teachers of young people, Middle Search Plus provides full text for over 120 magazines covering general topics appropriate for middle and junior high school. Primary Search covers 90 children’s magazines and over 300 children’s pamphlets, designed for the elementary school student.
MAS Online Plus provides full text for over 330 general interest and current events magazines. EBSCO Animals provides in-depth information on a variety of topics relating to animals. The database consists of indexing, abstracts and full text records describing the nature and habitat of familiar animals.
And if that isn’t enough, the MAGNOLIA also provides free access to Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia with more than 25,000 encyclopedic entries. The online encyclopedia is searchable by subject or keywords within the entry.
In addition to libraries, MAGNOLIA is available to K-12 schools, community and junior colleges and universities. MAGNOLIA was organized in 1997 after the Legislature appropriated $568,030 for the resource sharing cooperative.
Some might argue that you can access tons of information simply by going to one of the Internet search engines, so why do you need MAGNOLIA? The answer is that many Web sites are not unbiased or objective, and may have an ulterior profit motive. Accessing reputable periodicals is a much better choice for getting accurate and up-to-date information.
It’s also a whole lot easier than running down to the library looking for a periodical that may have already been stolen. And much cheaper than ordering copies of periodicals online.
For more information, call your local library or visit the Web site www.lib.usm.edu/~magnolia/magnolia.html.
Contact MBJ staff writer Becky Gillette at email@example.com.