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Thanks to all who responded…there was a split
consensus.  Half of the respondents considered it a
staple and couldn’t live without it, others didn’t
think so. Also, we all seem to be paying different
prices.  While the HW Wilson Website says the Current
Biography Yearbook is $110, many lm netters said they
pay anywhere from $65-$95 – I double checked and my
invoices says $295.  Thanks for the input!  Here’s the

Last year I used the online version of Current
Biography because it was cheaper than filling in all
of the missing volumes in the collection. It didn't
get used all that much and any more you can find most
of the information in other online sources as you
mentioned. I don't have it now and it hasn't been
missed. you will get some responses from older
comrades who will probably say it is a must have. I
agree with you that it is dying away.

I feel it depends upon your school. My high school
uses the print current biographies all the time. But I
also only have 10 computer work stations in the
library. I am able to help more students with the
print available.

I don't know about a waste. Dollars are precious, but
our students use them for so many different research
projects that we couldn't do without them. You know
your students though...

I would think this would have been a topic of
discussion in a Reference class. I find that it is
impossible to find AUTHORITATIVE bios of world figures
for free. Our set of Current Biography is complete
from 1940- and used regularly (particularly for
international figures)--just a little less than
pre-internet. In addition, we pay $1500 a year for
online Biography Resource Center. While there are a
number of bio sites with bits and pieces, many of our
teachers won't accept .com as a source and require
that the site be evaluated if used.
Your call for your school, but if you've all the back
volumes, you may want to reconsider.

I personally do not buy these as they are so expensive
and cut drastically into my library budget. I have
found that the students can get just as much, if not
more info, off the internet.

My renewal was $114 for the volume and we use the set

Current Biography is a staple. Do you have an Internet
connection every day, at all times? Or is it down
often. Do you have enough terminals? I believe in both
electronic and print sources. Ease of copying and
pasting when research is going on is also a concern.

Current Biogralhy has been indispensible for me at my
high school, but I believe the price is $95.00, not

I've gone the other way - no online database, and I
will cancel the monthly subscription at the end of the
school year, and buy *only* the single book each year.
To each their own, I guess.

It is useless if you don't use it. In my library we
use it all the time. There may be a time where you
will have a need to research people and then not have
the resources. Think hard before stopping something. I
had no problems stopping National Geographic, Guide to
Periodical Literature and Book Review Digest, but
Current Biography is one I will continue to keep no
matter what.

the yearly current biography book is only about $60.
Look again at what current biography you are looking

I received a flier from Wilson & it listed the price
of each yearbook as $110.00. Maybe you should check
with Wilson. Their website is Hope
this helps.

Before cancelling the renewal, I would check to make
sure of the following.... 1. None of your teachers
utililize this resource in their curriculum 2. You are
not tested over this resource by your local/state
standards - such as the CRT

I know some people swear by Current Biography, but I'm
with you. In fact, I took all of the old ones off the
shelf two 1/2 years ago and no one has even noticed!

I would agree with you. Students has not used my set
in 5 years and unless you are flush with money I would
not renew.

Can you get this online at the same price? Have you
checked to see how far back the online material is
archived? If so, then you don't need the current
issues, just the ones to fill in where the online
can't provide. Do you have access to anything
comparable- at a lower or similar price that you use
more? Then you don't need it at all. No, you have not
failed, if you can make a good decision to not have
something that is either redundant or unnecessary and
you can use the money for something that you really

You really need to keep getting it. It comes in really
handy for searching people. Even the old years of it
are valuable. I can assure you that you will refer to
it again and be glad that you have it.

I find it to be one of the most useful resources I

Of course you should buy the book... <grin>. Consider
a few items. You're not going to find the same quality
of work in the free sites, and stuff could disappear
overnight. More students can use the books at one time
than on the workstation pcs in the library. The online
version is more expensive. And $295 for the book
sounds a bit high. See our current prices on our
webpage at
Finally, I've been able to send information to
librarians here in response to some of the recent
queries about people who have *not* been found on
Websites, but have been in Current Biography. Dan
Robinson HW Wilson Company Bronx, NY

i haven't got one since the year 2000 - students don't
use when can
on and other sources - can always buy
later at usually a
reduced cost

How many computers do you have that are available for
students to use in the library media center? Are these
computers dedicated for research purposes or do you
use other applications - such as book report tests,
etc? Do you have problems with your server and/or
network connections. I can remember a few times when
it was good to have the print copies of reference
materials specifically because of the reasons listed
above. In other words, if a teacher brought a class in
to use the Current Biography online subscription,
would there be enough computers open and available for
them to use? Or would there be other students using
them for online card catalog purposes or book report
testing? Logistics is always a concern, especially
towards the last day of the month because book reports
are due at that time.

It depends if your students have a need for this type
of biography. Personally I like it because I don't
think the students should always rely on the Internet
as I like to show them that books are still valuable
resources. We do use ours as several different
teachers require biography reports of current people.
Just my thoughts. PS I do agree that it is getting
pretty pricey as I am in a very small school district
with budget cuts coming which will make books at this
price need to be valid use books.

I stopped our subscription some time ago because I
couldn't justify the continued expense.

This is my third year, and I have not purchased it.
All of the same info is available on WilsonWeb and
GaleNet. In addition, there are other electronic
sources for the same information. Be strong, spend the
$300 on some good fiction!

I don't get it, and don't miss it. The only advantage
it has is that a student who can't use the computers
can use the book.

Billie Esser
Library Media Specialist
Meriden, KS  66512

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