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Re: electronic resources usage statistics Webb, Paris 30 Oct 2009 16:24 UTC

At the end of 2008 and again at the beginning of 2009, I sent out the questions below.  After looking at the responses, reading accounts about what others were doing at their locations, and assisting with the decision about our own direction, I've summarized below what was learned.  I think I would actually like to ask the third question again as this application was still so new to everyone at the time.  Actually, it still might be.

I would like to expand and study this more in the future; however I know I might run the risk of re-inventing the wheel as one respondent was doing a presentation at NASIG this summer about this very topic, including SUSHI.  I was not able to attend the conference.  Hopefully some of you were.

Thanks for your patience if you were among those who were looking for these results in July.  I was still reading and collecting data for our decision before the end of the FY and then the semester caught up with me!

Best regards,

Paris E. Webb
Digital Resources & Systems Support Librarian
DL 203, Marshall University Libraries, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755 / 304-696-3511 /


Report on Electronic Journals Usage Statistics - COUNTER vs. Vendor Reports
Dec 2008-Jan 2009

I. Out of (12) respondents, (5) wanted survey results only and (7) returned information in response to the questions below.

	1. Is there anyone who could share information on what types of statistics they generally use?  COUNTER, vendor reports, both, other?

	2. Which of these, if any, do you use to make purchase and retention decisions?

	3. Is SUSHI as user-friendly and efficient as it appears?

II. Question number (1) - Response summary:

If both types of reports were available, most respondents said they preferred COUNTER as they are easier to compare from vendor to vendor due to the consistency of the categories being measured.  However, if COUNTER reports were not available, they used vendor reports.  COUNTER and/or vendor reports were gathered in order to get cost/usage data which was usually included in retention decisions if not solely then in conjunction with other information.  One respondent stated they were just beginning to gather usage statistics and were learning about what was available.

Stated Preference of Report Type

Counter = 4
Vendor = 0
Undecided = 1
Not Identified = 2

III. Question number (2) - Retention decisions were based on the following:  (paraphrased responses; words in [brackets] added for clarification)

1. Number of students in the program that the online database supports compared to cost per search [Report type not identified]
2. COUNTER statistics indicated electronic version was not being used enough to continue print + online subscription price.  Cancelled in favor of print which had high in-house usage.
3. COUNTER and Vendor statistics [when only type available] used to decide to cancel print in favor of electronic version.
4. Use COUNTER statistics whenever possible and calculate cost per use for retention decisions.
5. Any data we can get, but COUNTER preferred.
6. If a journal costs less than $100, and the usage is about 10 times per year, we will still subscribe it. If a title costs about $1,000, and the usage is about 10 per year, we will consider to be canceled. Of course, the subject is another element for consideration. [Titles with lower usage] we still have to subscribe it if it is for the subject the university is teaching.  [Report type not identified]

IV. Question number (3) - SUSHI?

In brief, at the time of the survey, December 2008 - January 2009, (3) respondents had not implemented; (2) did not respond to this question; (1) respondent had begun implementation; and (1) was currently using SUSHI, but did not describe their experience.

V. Summary
Most people who responded preferred COUNTER to vendor reports due to the ease of comparison across different platforms.  COUNTER made categories of measurement consistent regardless of the platform on which the journal or database was offered - which means this initiative is doing what it was intended to do.

Most respondents were using their COUNTER-based reports, (or vendor reports if COUNTER was not available), to gather cost/usage statistics to use solely or in conjunction with other data in order to make retention decisions.

SUSHI has not been implemented by most respondents.  It is apparently still relatively new for many vendors and most users.

Many have asked what we are doing at Marshall University in regards to these questions.  As of July 1, 2009 we made the decision to go to COUNTER reports completely and, like most other respondents above, supplement with vendor reports if COUNTER was not available, or if there were other questions or categories we needed for institutional reports or additional questions.  We use COUNTER to gather cost/usage statistics which we use in retention decisions and reports.  While I prefer COUNTER reports for our cost/usage statistics needs, I still like the availability of vendor reports which in some cases have more in-depth information about the way our users are using our e-resources or a particular e-resource.

For example, EBSCO offers a number of vendor reports including Session, Hour, Database, Title, IP, and Interface that offer information on individual databases beyond COUNTER such as number of sessions with average length of session; sessions by the hour; use of abstracts, smart link and custom link usage; IP range access which tell us where our users are (on-campus, off-campus, one of our several branches, etc.); use by title in a particular database; as well as which interface(s) the user employed.  Any or all of these are potentially valuable in helping us to improve service to our patrons.

We have not begun to implement SUSHI.   Our current concern is fully implementing our Triple I Millennium ERM (Electronic Resource Management) System which now integrates SUSHI into the system.  No time frame on this yet, but our hope is to eventually have SUSHI automatically harvest all available COUNTER reports through our ERM system so we can have up-to-date cost/usage statistics readily available for our e-resources.