I've complained about these "full-text indexes" before. Here's a short of list of their offenses:
- many libraries subscribe too many of them and the overwhelming number of choices hurts our users' ability to decide what they should use
- many of these databases are filled with titles of dubious quality and are never read. In a study of interdisciplinary database use in 14 undergraduate institutions, "4% of titles accounted for half of downloads, and these were largely popular titles; articles in 40% of full text journals were not downloaded even once"
- articles designated as fulltext are frequently missing crucial elements such as charts and illustrations or are missing altogether for reasons unexplained
- most faculty do not use aggregators in their own research. (Many librarians are guilty of implying otherwise to students)
- most students have come to the university with hours of positive experience using the Internet for research and consequently our arguments for using closed-gardens databases fall on deaf ears
- the majority of our students will never have access to these databases once they leave school
- Most journals' table of contents can now be found online
But the most troubling aspect of libraries who are depending on collection access through corporate third parties is by doing so it negates our ability to say that we are preserving our collection for future generations with any confidence. Just ask run through this scenario in your mind: what if Google buys Proquest and carries out what they tried to do with Paper of Record?
With so many drawbacks to aggregators, its worth asking ourselves why do most libraries outsource their serials collection work to them.