Of the two most frequent questions librarian Jennifer Carroll hears from UNH alumni, the first is "Can I still borrow books?" (Yes.) The second is "Can I still use EBSCO?"
EBSCO, an online collection of databases, contains thousands of peer-reviewed academic journals and other periodicals. It's one of the most highly used resources by students. But students lose access to the online databases once they leave UNH.
In 2008, Tim Collins '85, president of EBSCO Publishing, negotiated a special discount with UNH specifically for alumni access. It meant any UNH alum could log on to the alumni website (www.alumni.unh.edu) to access the databases' full-text articles and indexes. Several years later, budget cutbacks meant the school was unable to afford even the reduced price. "I had to tell alumni that as of graduation, they were cut off," says Carroll, an electronic services librarian at Dimond Library.
Danielle Grant '01 was a database user, but in early 2011, when she was working on her business plan as a semifinalist in the N.H. Start-Up Challenge, she realized she no longer had access. She wrote to UNH about it and was told the alumni option had been dropped for lack of funding. "Researching my industry had been so valuable," she says. "I was really disappointed."
Now, the databases are back. Earlier this year, Collins decided to make alumni access to the databases a gift. Now, what other schools pay an annual $25,000 for, his alma mater gets free.
Supporting UNH comes naturally to Collins. His Ipswich, Mass.-based company, which employs 1,300 people worldwide, is one of the largest employers on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Almost 30 years ago, he and his stepfather founded a magazine-abstracting service, which was eventually purchased by EBSCO Industries of Birmingham, Ala. In the years since, he has often turned to UNH to test new products—and find fresh talent. "We're always working with UNH, trying to uncover folks who would want to work with us and help us grow," Collins says.
From print to CD-ROM to personal Internet access, the company has been in an ideal position to grow, adapting with available technology into the multi-faceted resource that libraries, hospitals, universities and government agencies use today. In fact, Collins says, he's currently in hiring mode (software development and quantitative analytics), although sometimes he hires "the best player" based on his or her talent and figures out the position later. It's a luxury, he says: "You can do that when you're growing."
Alumni access to the databases includes Academic Search Alumni Edition, with full text for 3,350 journals as well as indexing and abstracting for 8,200 more; Business Source Alumni Edition, with 1,540 full-text business magazines and journals, including 780 that are peer-reviewed; and a new addition, Business Book Summaries, which provides concise but comprehensive summaries for more than 700 of the top business books from the last 20 years.
The book summaries are particularly valuable to professionals who don't have time to read business books or who want a quick synopsis to decide whether to buy or download them. ~
To access the alumni version of the EBSCO databases, go to https://alumni.unh.edu/library/