Keeping up with your professional reading

My Story: Professional and Industry Reading on a Budget

contributed by Tamara Wilhite

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When you work in a niche industry or ever-changing profession, remaining in touch with the industry is essential. Medical professionals need to know about new laws and medical advances. Legal professionals must know about current case law and pending legal changes. Technology and engineering professionals need to know about new technical standards, advancing technologies, and the legal implications of both. Remaining up to date seems to require subscriptions to many professional publications that cost hundreds of dollars a year, attending expensive seminars, or downloading individual standards and white papers that are costly due to their relatively low demand. However, there are ways to reduce the cost of professional and industrial publication and information sources.

  • Are you a member of a professional society? The organization's magazine is often included in the annual membership fee or available for a slightly higher cost.

  • Many legal and accounting industry publications are available through local libraries, since they are so frequently referenced.

  • Private company libraries and their stacks of industry magazines are declining in number. However, corporate access to industry standards, professional white papers, and job-related publications are often available to employees. Don't pay for a subscription when your company may already have access to the information online for those who demonstrate a need for it.

  • Software vendors offer free white papers and online courses for users of their software. Research free classes for software customers before you pay for training.

  • Industry standards such as the IEEE, ASME and ANSI cost money to access. However, a very detailed synopsis is available on standards' organization's website in most cases.

Before you spend hundreds of dollars to buy the standards document, look it up on the owning organization's website.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to

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