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Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
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Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform

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This presentation shares research on recent trends in usage of electronic content by platform, comparing patron usage at a publisher platform, Elsevier’s Science Direct, to patron usage of the same …

This presentation shares research on recent trends in usage of electronic content by platform, comparing patron usage at a publisher platform, Elsevier’s Science Direct, to patron usage of the same content at a locally hosted platform, OhioLINK’s Electronic Journal Center. From the data, this presentation will open up a discussion on whether there is a continued place for locally hosted digital collections in our libraries; as well as what the long term implications are for relying on publisher platforms for our collections.

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  • First, let’s go over the two platforms that this research covers. The first is the consortium OhioLINK’s Electronic Journal Center (EJC) platform, a platform created, developed and maintained by the OhioLINK for much of the e-journal content purchased consortially. The second platform is Elsevier’s ScienceDirect, where subscribers can access journals and content published by Elsevier.As you can see from the screen shots, the user experience at the EJC versus at ScienceDirect is slightly different, with ScienceDirect offering left-hand navigation panel for the volumes and issues, with the content of an issue in the body of the screen. The EJC simply has one screen for navigation, requiring users to click into an issue in order to view content.
  • Before getting into the research let’s look at the context and history of both platforms.ScienceDirect and the EJC both launched roughly around the same time, in the late 1990s. Both were developed in some way to address shifting user behavior and opportunities the online environment offered.By the year 2000, the EJC offered3,000 journal titles and over 1.9 million articles in the from some of the largest and most renowned academic publishers including Elsevier, Springer-Verlag, and Wiley, making the EJC one of the largest locally stored electronic journal collections in the United States.By the year 2009, ScienceDirect held 9 Million articles, 4,700 ebooks and served 11 Million researchers worldwide.In the year 2009, theOhioLINKcomputer disk storage system suffered a widespread, and supposedly not possible, failure affecting all major online services offered to OhioLINK users, essentially rendering the EJC and its content unusable. It is important to note that during this time, in order to enable users to access the consortially purchased content, OhioLINK worked with the publishers, including Elsevier, to allow users to access content on the publisher platform.A month later the EJC was fully restored, and today there are over 15 million articles in the EJC.
  • Given the history of these two platforms, I was interested in researching what the more recent trends in usage have been at each platform.Why did I chose ScienceDirect as opposed to other publishers platforms? For a couple of practical reasons. The first being I was able to obtain the OhioLINK wide usage data for ScienceDirect, meaning the usage data I retrieved is applicable for all users in the consortium, and not just one specific institution, such as Ohio State. Secondly, out of all the publishers that offered consortium-level usage statistics, the number of title held consortially from Elsevier is substantially more than the other publishers.Finally, because ScienceDirect and the EJC were developed roughly around the same time, I thought that looking at these two parallell histories would provide interesting context.Other important points to consider in the methodology is that the data reviewed is from 2007-2012, because 2007 is the earliest year I was able to obtain for the consortium-level usage statistics at ScienceDirect.Usage data was obtained at the title level, however the title lists between the EJC and ScienceDirect were scrubbed to match exactly. For example, there were a number of cases where a title moved to a different publisher and was no longer available at ScienceDirect, however the EJC still identified this title as an Elsevier title, when it really is published by someone else. When there were mismatches, the titles were removed.Finally, because the total number of titles has increased over the years, in order to compare usage over time, usage statistics are compared by usage per 100 titles. The table above shows that the title count has increased from about 1900 titles in 2007 to 2200 in 2012.
  • So what did I find:As you can see, there was a time when usage at the EJC outperformed usage at ScienceDirect. However, usage of content at the EJC has been in slow, but steady decline, whereas usage of the exact same journals at ScienceDirect has grown significantly since 2007.It’s not surprising that usage of ScienceDirect outperforms the EJC after the EJC failure in February 2009. However, what is surprising is that the point at which usage at ScienceDirect begins to outpeform the EJC actually occurs months before Februrary 2009.The intersection between the EJC trendline and the ScienceDirecttrendline actually occurs in August 2008.Finally, I’d also just like to point out the occurrence of an anomaly in the data. In April, May and June of 2012, one of the OhioLINK institutions experienced a security breach with ScienceDirect, which led to excessive downloading of articles. This huge spike in usage for all of OhioLINK has been caused by the excessive downloads at one institution.
  • As we know usage per month within an academic year is dependent upon what is happening within the academic calendar. Months around finals may experience higher usage while the summer months may experience significantly lower usage.In order to adjust for these known fluctuations in the academic calendar, I also calculated the usage data based on a 12-month rolling average. This graph more clearly shows the trend in usage, where today usage at the EJC hovers just below 6,000 downloads per month, whereas ScienceDirect has over 2 times the usage of the EJC.What I also think this chart better illustrates is that although usage at the EJC was in decline prior to February 2009, after the EJC came back online, in March 2009, usage has been almost flat.
  • So what does this mean and why does it matter? This is where I would welcome any feedback or thoughts on the findings, because I don’t necessarily have answers to these questions.-First, why does it even matter that users are going to ScienceDirect over the EJC when they are ultimately able to access the content they want? I’ve gone back and forth on this question, because utimately they are using the content, upwards of 20,000 downloads per month, which is huge.I do think it is important for us librarians to intimately understand what our users are doing, where they are going to access information, particularly when that information is found online in multiple platforms, and even more importantly if one of those platforms is something that is locally managed, meaning you “theoretically” may have more control over it. By understanding where users are going allows us to start asking the more difficult questions. Although the question on why is there higher usage at ScienceDirect is an obvious one to investigate, I think the more important question to understand is why do users continue to use the EJC? Although usage has declined, users have not abandoned the EJC entirely, so what is it about the EJC that is attractive to users?This leads to the questions on whether a local platform should be transformed to compete with a publisher platform? Whether it should transform into something else that serves a more specialized purposes, such as an archive? Or should it even be touched at all? Or do we leave it alone and continue to have it chug along as it has since 1998.Even if you may not have a platform like the EJC at your own library, the question of local versus commercial is still relevant when considering the types of user platforms that institutions are involved in today, such as institutional repositories, digital archives and data libraries. Like the EJC, all of these platforms are intended for long-term use. What will these look like in ten, fifteen years? What other available products will be on the market? And what will users want to use in ten, fifteen years. Finally, the questions raised today regarding the EJC, whether to transform it, or keep it at the status quo given the data on usage, are likely going to be similar questions we will have in five, ten years with these other types of local platforms we are developing today.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of collection usage at a locally hosted platform versus a publisher platform
    • 2. Juleah Swanson Assistant Professor, Acquisitions Librarian for Electronic Resources The Ohio State University Libraries swanson.234@osu.edu ALCTS CMS Collection Evaluation and Assessment Interest Group June 30, 2013 American Library Association Annual 2013 Chicago, IL
    • 3. Overview
    • 4. Context • 1995- Elsevier offered 1,100 of its journals in electronic form to subscribers • 1997- Elsevier launches ScienceDirect • 1998- OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center (EJC) goes live online • 2000- 3,000 journal titles and over 1.9 million articles in the EJC • 2009- ScienceDirect held 9 million articles, 4,700 e-books, for 11 million researchers in over 200 countries. • February 2009- OhioLINK & EJC system failure • March 2009- EJC fully restored • 2011- 15 Millionth article added to EJC
    • 5. Methodology Highlights • Why ScienceDirect? • Ability to obtain OhioLINK wide data • Substantial number of titles • Parallel history • Data reviewed from 2007-2012 • Title lists reviewed for matches • Usage analyzed per 100 titles Year Title Count 2007 1910 2008 2050 2009 2084 2010 2154 2011 2243 2012 2245 Number of matching titles
    • 6. Usage per 100 titles at the Electronic Journal Center and ScienceDirect EJC Usage February 2009 Usage per 100 titles ScienceDirect: y = 5.1748x - 198939 R² = 0.4997 Electronic Journal Center y = -1.2238x + 54936 R² = 0.2033
    • 7. Rolling 12-month average usage per 100 titles at the Electronic Journal Center and ScienceDirectUsage per 100 titles Science Direct y = 5.0881x - 196354 R² = 0.8238 Electronic Journal Center y = -1.1064x + 50314 R² = 0.6413
    • 8. Initial Findings, Thoughts & Implications • Does it even matter that users seek content at a publisher platform over a local platform? • Should a local platform be transformed into something that competes with a publisher/commercial platform? Or should it be transformed into something that better serves the remaining users? Or should it just stay the same? • What can be learned from the EJC to enhance other types of local platforms being developed today (institutional repositories, digital archives, data libraries)?
    • 9. Questions or Feedback? Juleah Swanson Acquisitions Librarian for Electronic Resources Assistant Professor The Ohio State University Swanson.234@osu.edu Twitter: @juleahswanson

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