Type of site
|Online digital library|
Questia is an online commercial digital repository of books and articles that has an academic orientation, with a particular emphasis on books and journal articles in the humanities and social sciences. All the text in all the Questia books and articles is available to subscribers; the site also includes integrated research tools.
Questia offers some information free of charge, including several public domain works, publication information, tables of contents, the first page of every chapter, Boolean searches of the contents of the library, and short bibliographies of available books and articles on some 6500 topics.
Questia does not sell ownership to books or ebooks, but rather sells monthly or annual subscriptions that allow temporary online reading access to all 94000+ books, and 14 million + journal, magazine, and newspaper articles in their collection. The books have been selected by academic librarians as credible, authoritative works in their respective areas. The librarians have also compiled about 7000 reference bibliographies on frequently researched topics. The library is strongest in books and journal articles in the social sciences and humanities, with many older historical texts. Original pagination has been maintained. The Questia service also features tools to automatically create citations and bibliographies, helping writers to properly cite the materials.
A limitation to the Questia library is that new additions are available in a "beta" version only. Unlike Questia's earlier publications, these prevent users from copying text directly from the website, although one page from the publications can be printed free of charge. A charge is made for printing a range of pages.
Questia launched their Q&A blog on September 21, 2011. Q&A is divided into "Education news," "Student resources" and "Subjects" categories. "Subjects" is further broken down so readers can find specific content based on their academic needs.
Questia released an iPhone app in 2011, which was extended to the iPad the following year. Then in January 2013 Questia launched tutorials, including videos and quizzes, to teach students the research process.
Questia was criticized in 2005 by librarian Steven J. Bell for referring to itself as an academic library, when it concentrates on the liberal arts and treats users as customers rather than students. Moreover, Bell argues, Questia does not employ academic librarians or faculty. Although some of its employees have advanced library degrees, they do not work or collaborate with faculty to develop collections that serve distinctive student populations.
On November 24, 2020, Cengage sent email to Questia's subscribers - including those who had bought a lifetime subscription before Cengage purchased Questia - to the effect that Cengage would be closing down Questia as of December 21, 2020, thus nullifying all subscription contracts while continuing to offer the same sort of service directly through Cengage.