Americana Exchange publisher Bruce McKinney announced a free trial subscription for library personnel is now available on request. He said that the offer is good through September 2, 2012, the date of AE’s tenth anniversary.
After a decade of building the world’s most comprehensive data base of book, manuscript, and works on paper auction records, McKinney thinks: “It’s time to celebrate.” What better way than by introducing AE to librarians, curators, heads of special collections and others in the library world “who may not know about us yet.”
A 30-day trial subscription is available free on request to any individual who fits that description. It allows access to AE’s database (AED) consisting of over 3.4 million current and historical book auction and bibliographic records, the largest archive of this kind in the world. The company name notwithstanding, all types of material are included in the database, not just “Americana.” A wide variety of other services, including notices of upcoming auctions worldwide, come with the package.
“The free trial is a way libraries can become familiar with our resources,” McKinney said. “If they like what they get, we will extend and expand their access to include their entire department or institution for another 60 days at no charge.”
Those who opt to extend will be able to connect to AE without the need for a password. That way anyone who is qualified to use their library -- including students, faculty, staff and patrons -- can easily access the AE database and other services. “In that configuration it’s always on -- 24/7,” he said.
The first to accept the invitation was Trinity College’s Richard Ring. He is head curator and librarian at the Watkinson Library, the special collections department at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut – www.watkinsonlibrary.org. Ring also blogs frequently at The Bibliophile’s Lair http://commons.trincoll.edu/watkinson.
He has already used AE to price check the values of books the library is considering for acquisition. Later this year he will teach a course on book collecting and thinks his students will find the information they can obtain from AE of great value in their studies.
Another positive response came from Beatriz (Bea) Hardy, Ph.D. She was second librarian to take advantage of the free trial. Dr. Hardy is director of Special Collections at the Swem Library at Virginia’s College of William and Mary – http://swem.wm.edu/about.
“It seems like a powerful and highly useful tool,” she said. “It will make figuring out what’s a reasonable price to pay much easier.”
McKinney was not surprised that these early adopters seem to like Americana Exchange. “We follow 185 auction houses around the world and simultaneously add older auction records as well. We are simply more thorough. The goal has never been to be good enough. It is to provide a complete and unparalleled account of rare and collectible works on paper over time. In direct comparison to searches with other databases we tend to provide eight times as many records. The reason is simple. Our records are complete.”
“In addition to prices realized, our members are able to locate a wealth of information on upcoming individual auctions and individual lots that may have material they desire. Not only can they search our records and find out what these books have sold for in the past; they can also stay abreast of what’s coming up.”
Perhaps most importantly, he said, “AE has a unique feature that instantly estimates current dollar value of specific items and also calculates the length of time (frequency) before such material might be offered again.”
Records are updated almost immediately. Auctions that occurred last week typically become part of the historical record within a week. “To be maximally effective we believe we must be both complete and always current.”
After the free trial period ends (a total of 90 days), library personnel have the option of becoming regular subscribers.
McKinney said membership fees range from $265 for individuals to $750 per year for large institutions. Departments and smaller institutions pay an intermediate amount. System-wide access with IP recognition is available.
Library staffers interested in taking advantage of the offer please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and put the words: AE LIBRARY FREE TRIAL in the subject line. Please include name, title, phone number and email address.
Susan Halas writes frequently for AE Monthly. Reach her at email@example.com