Jinfo BlogInsight 2 from Research Focus - spend on premium news is shrinking

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By Robin Neidorf

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In the second insight from our Research Focus, "Define and manage value for current awareness", we explore how premium news databases are still important today but are definitely a shrinking element of current awareness provision.


Define and manage value for current awarenessJinfo's second insight in our Research Focus: "Define and manage value for current awareness" is that premium news databases are a shrinking variable in the current awareness equation. They are still important today - and will likely continue to be so for the foreseeable future - but smart systems incorporate a wide range of premium, non-cost and even internal sources for a truly robust system.

This trend is not new in 2017, but it has shown up with greater vigour than ever before: more than 57% of information managers responding to the Jinfo Survey "Needs and preferences for current awareness 2017"  reported that they incorporate individually licensed titles in their current awareness provision, and over 78% incorporate various non-cost ("free") sources not found in their primary databases.

What does this mean for you?

On the plus side, this trend emphasises the importance of your skills as an information professional: finding, vetting, managing and incorporating a wide range of sources into current awareness is a valuable component of what information services can and do provide. The more complex the information environment gets, the more valuable this expertise becomes.

On the minus side, however, this can be a time-consuming effort, and the more additional sources you need to manage, the lengthier your process for current awareness provision can become.

Ask the difficult questions

Amongst the key benefits of premium databases are their comprehensive nature and their integrated technology for advanced search, newsletters, alerts, visualisations and usage reporting. But it's time to ask questions:

  • What proportion of the dataset delivers the value we need?
  • Are there identifiable titles where, if we subscribed to them individually, we would get the bulk of the value?
  • Is the technology supporting our organisational goals for value?
  • How much extra time is invested in collecting, managing and curating other sources?
  • Is the product roadmap aligned with our needs for current awareness provision?

For many organisations, perhaps even most of them, the answers to these questions will continue to place premium databases at the centre of their current awareness provision. But some organisations have already moved away from this choice, and many others are getting more particular about the the size of the role premium databases play, opting to spend an increasing portion of their available budget on niche publications and content-agnostic platforms for streamlining workflow.

Regardless of the choice that's right for you today, this is a trend to consider carefully as you apportion your budget - and your time - for current awareness provision.


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Free: key insights

The main lessons learned in this three-month Research Focus, plus a thematic index to all content published, are listed in the "Insights and Actions" report for the Research Focus, "Define and manage value for current awareness".

Non-subscribers: request a free copy by registering your interest.

Subscribers: sign in now to download your copy and access all premium content.


The content in the current Research Focus, "Define and manage value for current awareness", analyses the marketplace for content and technology supporting current awareness.

Use these items from the Research Focus for specific guidance (paid subscription):

The following webinars will also be useful (paid subscription):


Join your peer group in Jinfo Community sessions to work on these issues (paid subscription, with Community option included):


Jinfo Consulting regularly consults on the full spectrum of products and resources to support current awareness provision, and how to align your investments with your organisation's changing needs. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

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