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I’m frustrated

Your Archives Are Frustrating to Use

I had a number of problems with your Archives. First, I used to be a Beta Tester for Proquest, so I am very familiar with how to use them and what they contain. Since I no longer have free access to them, I am fine about purchasing some articles, and I needed to get some from the Baltimore Sun. But I found the experience really frustrating, and feel I have NOT gotten my $49.95 worth. For one thing, more than 60% of the articles have NO abstract or free view of the first sentence or two, so how is a researcher supposed to know whether the article is relevant without purchasing it? I lost about 4-5 articles that way-- turns out they were not what I needed, but I was charged anyway. And then there's the OCR issues. Whoever digitized the collection didn't check to see if it's readable. Many of the free abstract views come out in garble, which again, tells me nothing about whether I should buy the article. For example, I clicked on the article "EXPLAINS HOW PICTURES ARE SENT BY RADIO," about the pioneering inventor C.F. Jenkins. But the free view read: "How rny. ..f lishf. tlioin'olvrs mostly invisible lo tlu. hummi .*>' '- mny bv nj-r-ii in niPoi Iiuman nrrcls mul .l.'>itt"~ w.> f.Nplttinofl by three M/i-Miti-Ms nt thr Lyric !:ii-t nicht to mcml-Pf. nf the Amcri-.vm fliem.rn. At-sftciittioi). lioMinc th-'ir -ixty-nintli si's-sion licrr." Umm, that is supposed to help me to decide whether to purchase the article? The site also has an interesting bug, which it had ten years ago and still has. If you click on a bunch of articles (as I often do when researching), about every 8th or 9th one says "That page cannot be displayed, check to see if your connection is correct," or something like that. But if I page-back to my search and try it again, the article usually displays just fine. I could go on, but I must say this has been an incredibly difficult experience. I doubt Proquest (or you) will fix any of this, since I assume there's no money in fixing the archives. But I did want to share with you some of the problems I encountered and tell you why I feel that to some degree, I was unfairly charged. That said, I did find some good stuff and I am grateful. It just should not have been such a hassle.

Donna L. Halper, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication
Lesley University, Cambridge MA
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