Graduates Lose Off-Site Access to Library Databases

lockWe regret that the CUNY-mandated email and network account changes have interrupted graduates’ off-campus access to GC Library resources. Newly differentiated alumni network accounts now preclude all GC alums, not only those with lapsed GC accounts, from getting to licensed databases from off campus.

Publishers and their distributors license academic work to university libraries for well-defined, controlled audiences of current students and faculty, not alumni. Scholars lose access to academic literature if they lose university affiliation. This is a sad state of affairs. Restrictions on the distribution of academic work, and the high prices libraries pay to support this broken system, are compelling reasons to support open access publishing.

Some database vendors offer “alumni pricing” for a limited set of databases, at significant additional expense. NYU and Columbia offer their alumni a small set of off-campus resources; the GC Library does not currently license any databases for alumni access. Our partner institution, the New York Public Library, offers any card-holder free off-site access to 120 databases, here. Other NYC public libraries offer limited access from off-site, too.

GC alumni with a GC alumni photo ID are perpetually welcome in the GC Library. On-site visitors can get a free guest login for library computers with access to all GC licensed databases. GC Community wifi login enables access to library resources; GC Guest wifi login does not allow access to library resources. (UPDATE March 6: GC Guest wifi now allows access to library resources.) Alumni who continue to work as GC faculty research assistants may initiate a departmental request for limited-time GC network accounts, with off-site access to library databases.

Scholars seek the widest possible audiences for their work, and readers deserve to read anything, anytime, regardless of where they are employed. Our scholarly communication system disenfranchises many, as alumni painfully discover, from full academic citizenship. GC librarians sincerely regret the inconvenience.

About the Author

Prof. Polly Thistlethwaite is CUNY's Interim University Dean for Library Services.