20 Feb 2024

Libfocus Link-out for February 2024

Welcome to the February edition of the Libfocus link-out, an assemblage of library-related things we have found informative, educational, thought-provoking and insightful on the Web over the past while.

Various images show: book cover with the title gender queer, man taking selfie in the library, petrie dish, illustration of hand controlling puppet strings beside people sitting and talking by a table, woman reading outside with a dog on her lap, a redacted document headed government of Ontario and Sunlight project, a graphic with a megaphone that reads library marketing for library marketers
Images featured in this month's link out articles

Books and looks: gen Z is ‘rediscovering’ the public library.
This Guardian article by Alaina Demopoulos investigates why Gen Z and millennials are using public libraries at higher rates than older generations. Libraries have become community hubs for these groups, but will they help libraries with the challenges they face?

Investigative Journalism Bureau and University of Toronto Libraries release new public repository of Ontario freedom-of-information requests.
The Sunlight Project is a database of the freedom-of-information requests made to Ontario's provincial government since 2014. The project allows anyone to discover the existence of the revelatory data and documents contained in records that have already been released and file their own requests to obtain them.

Reading: It Can’t Be About the Numbers.
How many books do we read per year? And does that matter? The author asks how we should understand “reading.”

Paper Trail.
This article explains how tens of millions of dollars flow to the paper mill industry each year, damaging research integrity in the process.

‘The situation has become appalling’: fake scientific papers push research credibility to crisis point.
Robin McKie looks at the influx of fake research papers entering online journal databases, with 10,000 papers retracted by academic journals in 2023.

Do disappearing data repositories pose a threat to open science and the scholarly record?
Research data repositories play a vital role in ensuring research is reproducible, replicable and reusable. Yet, the infrastructure supporting them can be impermanent. Drawing on a new dataset Strecker,  Pampel, Schabinger and Weisweiler, explore how common data repository shutdowns are and suggest what can be done to ensure data preservation in the long-term.

Cast as Criminals, America’s Librarians Rally to Their Own Defense.
As libraries become battlegrounds in the nation’s culture wars, their allies are fighting to preserve access to their collections and keep themselves out of jail, or worse.

Library Marketing for Library Marketers.
This is an informal library marketing podcast for library staff who do all things marketing, communications, public relations, outreach, and more. Join your host, Katie Rothley, as she chats with various experts, library staff, marketing professionals, and other library marketers who share tips, tricks, tools, insights, and more.

Libraries and the need for AI ethics.
Research has shown that most university librarians have a moderate understanding of AI concepts and principles and formal ethics training is required.

Report on the European landscape of institutional publishing.
The EU funded DIMAS (Developing Institutional Open Access Publishing Models to Advance Scholarly Communication) provides a clear picture of the European landscape of institutional publishing and ways to further strengthen such initiatives.

Decolonising and diversifying the Library through student partnerships.
This case study looks at the work to develop initiatives to diversify Warwick University Library’s collections, spaces and services, carried out in conjunction with our key student partners, Warwick’s Library Associates. It explores the origins of the voluntary Library Associates scheme, with an emphasis on working in true partnership with students, to deliver library improvements in line with their priorities and those of their peers. It examines the process of co-creating interventions to aid diversifying and demonstrates the role of the students as drivers for the initiatives. It discusses the ongoing work to be done to meaningfully diversify the Library and involves the student voice in the reporting of the project.

Building Community: Supporting Minoritized Scholars through Library Publishing and Open and Equitable Revenue Models.
With the growth of open access (OA) journal publishing, a myriad of funding models has emerged to serve as an alternative to the traditional subscription model. Models that impose author facing charges are inequitable, favouring well-resourced authors and institutions, and continue the dominance of publications from the Global North. This exploratory study critically examines the current state of funding OA journal publishing and the disruptive role of library publishing programs. We conclude with a discussion of the potential of the LYRASIS Open Access Community Investment Program as a tool to support library publishing programs to sustainably fund inclusive OA journal publishing.

14 Feb 2024

UCD Library's experience with the Celus usage statistics tool

This article is co-authored by John Paul Kiernan (Acquisitions Librarian) and Catherine Ryan (Collections Support Librarian) in UCD Library.

Illustration of a computer screen showing graphs and statistics
Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay

UCD Library has looked into several usage statistics tools over the years including products like JUSP and EBSCO Usage Consolidation. We were impressed with their functionality and reporting features. One drawback at the time, and this has likely improved since, was that the tools did not work with a majority of the publishers we had subscriptions with, and this would have resulted in us undertaking a substantial amount of data harvesting and analysis ourselves. Funding issues also prevented us from trying one out.

Not having a tool to undertake even some of the work related to usage gathering and analysis created many challenges:

  • Collecting usage reports across a multitude of publisher platforms, either manually or through local configuration of automated harvesting protocol (SUSHI) was very time-consuming.
  • Providing usage statistics for the annual Sconul Return in particular, was a significant burden on e-resources staff.
  • Our management team did not have all the data they needed for evidence-based decisions about our collections.
  • An in-house solution for gathering and tallying data had limited reporting capabilities and required ongoing maintenance and recurrent investment of time.
  • Tracking and understanding usage across a broad range of resource types and formats, and of non-COUNTER compliant resources was difficult.

Our interest in usage statistics tools was again piqued in May 2023, when the IReL consortium invited members to an introductory webinar on Celus. The consortium is using Celus to manage and report on IReL usage statistics, and to facilitate IReL member access to this data.

Celus (
https://www.celus.net/) is a tool for automated harvesting and analysis of COUNTER and non-COUNTER statistics. It was created by Big Dig Data, a private company registered in the Czech Republic, in cooperation with the Czech National Library of Technology. Big Dig Data is also an active member in Project COUNTER's Technical Advisory Group.

Following the webinar and some engagement with the Celus team, we could see the potential benefits of using the tool.

  • One platform for all our usage statistics, current and historical – COUNTER, non-COUNTER, local subscriptions and IReL – would provide an overview that has eluded us thus far.
  • The tool’s integration with the COUNTER Registry would reduce workload associated with SUSHI configuration.
  • Availability of deeper analytical tools would help inform collection management and development decisions, publisher negotiations, and help to monitor trends over time.
  • The tool’s intuitive dashboard for running reports would facilitate wider access to data by library staff and help improve our communications about usage to the University.

A business case was made, and funding approved, enabling UCD Library to become the first IReL member to adopt Celus to manage and report on its own institutional data in June 2023.

Implementation was relatively straightforward and completed by the end of Summer 2023. As a first step, Celus provided a spreadsheet template for us to complete with our SUSHI credentials. They had pre-populated this template with credentials for publisher platforms already set up for IReL, so we had to add our credentials for UCD’s subscribed/purchased platforms only. We had these to hand as we had spent some time collating our credentials during Autumn 2022 and many of these were still working. In all, over 100 publisher platforms were set up on our Celus instance, representing most of our subscriptions and purchased content. Celus then created accounts for colleagues who would require access. Once our instance and was set up, we decided to harvest our data back to 2021.

To evaluate the tool and to become more familiar with it, we set ourselves the goal of using it for our Sconul Return usage statistics submission. We had some further training with Celus to specifically address how best to approach the Return, given it requires us to report on the ebooks and journals that UCD Library pays for only (i.e. excluding IReL).

We experimented with the tool’s tagging feature, tagging individual titles and collections to see if we could identify and report on UCD usage only. However, we quickly realised it would require a lot more time to set up fully and would require ongoing maintenance of title lists that we weren’t willing to commit to at this time.

In the end, we used the tool to run separate journal and ebook reports to capture all Total Item Request data and Unique Title Requests by platform. We exported these reports to Excel and then did the rest of the work outside of Celus. Within Excel, we were able to annotate each publisher platform as being either IReL or UCD. For those platforms that had both IReL and UCD resources, we had to do a deeper dive on the COUNTER Reports to isolate usage for UCD's resources only.

The tool did most of the heavy lifting for us in terms of gathering and tallying the data required for the Return, and the manual work in Excel was not too onerous compared to what we had been doing in previous years.

The tool is now gathering our data monthly, and the dashboard alerts us to any data retrieval issues for specific publishers, allowing us to respond to and resolve these issues promptly.

Our next objective is to obtain a more complete picture of our ebook access denials/turnaways. We’ll also revisit the tagging feature as we’d like to obtain data on our individual journal subscriptions. The tool also has the ability to process a number of unmodified non-COUNTER reports from publishers, so we’ll be looking into that too.

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 | Categories: