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Fee-Based or Subscription Web Sites

Not all information on the Web is available for free; some sites are restricted to paid subscribers.

University/Organization Subscriptions


Often, universities and other organizations, such as law firms and businesses, subscribe to specialized databases that are available through the Web. These databases can only be accessed by members of a selected community.

Example: Most of the electronic databases provided by the Contra Costa College Library are only available to the campus community. CCC pays for students and faculty to have access to these databases. Most of the information provided by the databases is not available for free elsewhere on the Web. As a student, you can access these databases by signing in. 

screenshot of Contra Costa College Library Database List


Individual/Personal subscriptions

Just as CCC pays to access research databases, individuals can also pay for subscriptions to fee-based Web resources.

Example: Consumer Reports is an organization that conducts product tests and writes indepth, unbiased reviews and reports for consumers to use. Individuals can pay for a subscription to access Consumer Reports

Subscription link on Consumer Reports Web site


Many newspapers and magazines require customers to pay for a subscription if they want access to the complete full-text of their issues on the Web. Some will provide free access to some of their stories and content and require a paid subscription to view additional stories on their Web site. Others require free registration to read stories they have posted on the Web.

Example: The Wall Street Journal is only available online by subscription.



Commercial services, providing customized information to individuals, are also available, for a fee.

Example: One such service is Hoover's, which provides company profiles useful for those conducting business and industry research.


Hoovers Subscription Information webpage
Chapter 6 — Page 7