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A Comparison of PsycARTICLES and PsycINFO as Offered by APA and Third‐Party Vendors

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When libraries purchase a database for their users it is usually based on a comparison with other similar sources using a number of factors such as content, searchability, and currency. When we chose a provider for PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES, we focused on the above factors but had not realized that the number and type of search results could differ between vendors of the same database. That is, until a student asked one of our professors why she found more articles at another university's library than she found using the same databases at our Library. Initially the assumption was that the student did not use the same search method at each institution. We replicated the search using two different providers and confirmed that the student's observation was correct—results did vary between the two vendors. We decided to compare search results from third-party vendors of PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES to each other and to a direct subscription to APA's platform (PsycNET). Even though we found that search results varied by as much as 30% between the providers, we also realized that it's more than just the numbers that should sway the decision to choose one provider over another.

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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