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Re: Ascertaining issue usage (Was: RE: Quit Checking In Journal Issue s?) David Goodman 15 Aug 2002 20:57 UTC

Jeanette, as far as I know everyone has problems with this. The
comparability of the data for print and electronic journals and the
different purposes of the two formats, are major concerns, and we are
all thinking about it.

Watch this list, and elsewhere, for further discussion (and there will
be a post-conference of journal use at the Charleston Conference this
October-November, where I expect this and many related issues will be
discussed. There will also be a session on the meaning of "use" at the
Fall ASIST meeting in Philadelphia.)

Personally, I'll summarize the preliminary results from Princeton:
given the choice, everyone prefers to look up an article and if
necessary print it from a electronic version rather than print. Given a
journal one wants to actually read through (completely or partially),
print is still much used--the clearest examples are journals like Nature
and Science.

But I suspect that Chuck meant merely that, to a large extent, the major
journals are available in electronic format and the ones that aren't are
increasingly the marginal ones.

"Skwor, Jeanette" wrote:
> ***Forgive my ignorance - how do you ascertain
> usage of the electronic collection?
> You say your average print issue is reshelved .5
> times while it is shelved in Current Periodicals.
> How many times is the average electronic issue hit,
> and for what period of time are you counting?
> Or, how are you comparing usage?
> ***As for your statement,
>         "Of course, "use" may be defined differently
>         in the print and electronic realms -- if you
>         do an online search that turns up a list of
>         300 articles, have you "used" each article?"
> ***my thought would be that if you do so, you also need
> to count every issue on the shelf that was touched/moved/
> glanced at to find the one you were looking for.
> ***This is a fascinating discussion; thank you all.  :-)
> Jeanette L. Skwor
> Serials Dept.
> Cofrin Library
> University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
> Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
> (920) 465-2670
> ***Rick Anderson said:
> Actually, what I said was that the print journals constitute the least-used
> 20% of our journal collection, not that they account for only 20% of the
> use.  But in fact, I would guess that they account for much less than 20% of
> the use our journal collection gets.
> I base that guess on three facts:
> 1. Our online journals are used very, very heavily
> 2. Our print journals are used very, very lightly (a recent usage study of
> our print collection indicated that the average journal issue is reshelved
> .5 times during its stay in the Current Periodicals area -- that's _.5_, not
> 5)
> 3. 80% of the journals we offer are online, while 20% are print (though
> there is some overlap between the two categories).
> So our situation can be summarized this way: since 80% of the collection is
> online and 20% is print, both formats would have to get equal levels of use
> in order for print to account for 20% of that use.  Of course, "use" may be
> defined differently in the print and electronic realms -- if you do an
> online search that turns up a list of 300 articles, have you "used" each
> article? -- so interpretations may vary.  What is clear to me is that the
> print journal collection in my library is increasingly marginalized, and
> that a policy of focusing all of our attention on print while essentially
> leaving online to fend for itself is an absurd one.
> (snipped for bandwidth)

David Goodman
Research Librarian and
Biological Science Bibliographer
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-7785
fax: 609-258-2627