31 May 2012

UKSG Usage Statistics Training Seminar / DCU - 30th May 2012

This training seminar represented a hands-on introduction to accessing, collating, utilising, presenting and marketing e-resource usage statistics. The focus very much revolved around COUNTER-compliant e-resource usage data.  

Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources is an international initiative serving librarians, publishers and intermediaries by setting standards that facilitate the recording and reporting of online usage statistics in a consistent, credible and compatible way. For a full list of COUNTER-Code-of-Practice compliant vendors refer to the register of vendors (Journals and Databases; e-books and reference works).

The COUNTER Code of Practice Release 4 is scheduled for December 2013.
For the full list of relevant Release 4 e-resource usage reports refer to Table 1 in the step-by-step guide for vendors.

To make the job easier, COUNTER reports can be harvested via SUSHI. For more information refer to niso.org. JISC offers a 'beginners', free, open source programme with a web-based user interface to support the downloading/retrieval of COUNTER-compliant SUSHI reports.

The morning session tackled the publisher (IOP Publishing) and library perspective (TCD) on the importance of e-resource usage data for information providers. Publishers use usage data to inform their editorial strategy, understand their user base (site design, measure effectiveness of technological change, understand discoverability and understand usage abuse), as well as their sales and marketing strategy.

Libraries employ quantitative e-resource usage data in order to:
  • evidence e-resource use
  • demonstrate value for money
  • help justify expenditure on a resource
  • benchmark
  • inform collection development decisions (which to cancel/retain)
  • influence subscription management processes
Key metrics include:
  • cost per use (total cost divided by total no. of searchers' downloads)
  • use/cost per staff/student
  • journal collections performance
  • top performing titles
  • resource performance by type (e.g. e-journals, e-books, databases) and discipline
  • types of use (on campus vs. off campus)

A representative from JUSP (Journal Usage Statistics Portal) introduced their role and service scope. JUSP is a usage statistics service provider, i.e. a "one-stop shop" for libraries to view, download and analyse their usage reports from NESLi2.

The following challenges in collating and utilising e-resouces statistics apply:
  • Meaningful analysis and collation of usage statistics is labour intensive
  • Merging/filtering COUNTER-compliant and non-compliant e-resource usage reports can be challenging (many vendors are still not COUNTER compliant; examples include Justis/Firstlaw, Financial Times, WARC etc.)
It must be noted that usage statistics do not say anything meaningful about teaching and learning.
Also, quantitative usage statistics should never be considered in isolation of qualitative feedback from users. In this sense, e-resource related management decision making is not an exact (number crunching) science.

After a good coffee-and-sandwich lunch, the practical element of the training kicked in. This was, from my perspective, very useful.

We were given a workbook (feel free to use it yourself) and a selection of dummy COUNTER reports to play with (go ahead and use those too):
Overall, the training represented an interesting peek into the world of retrieving and managing e-resource usage data.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent - thanks Alex. I had really wanted to get to this myself but was unable to. Thanks for sharing the workbooks also :)