Usage Statistics in the Real World: Two Perspectives

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Presented at the Great Lakes E-Summit (Dayton, Ohio) on October 11, 2012

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  • Something for everyone. We’ll be talking about e-resource usage statistics from start to finish. Some of you will already be familiar with everything I discuss and others may not. Our goal is to show you a variety of tools for stats collection and dissemination, and then share with you different ways of using the data that you collect. The reason I’m doing the getting started half of the presentation is because when I started in my present job in 2009, there were no usage stats. Whatever existed was on my predecessor’s hard drive and in her email and was gone by the time I arrived. Be prepared for a somewhat tedious process. Even with the tools that are out there to help you, getting started and maintaining this information is still a tedious process, by it’s nature. Starting the process of gathering statistics; what you need to know. Why: Who: identify audience and who will collect usage stats on back end What: Identify subscribed resources that provide COUNTER or non-COUNTER compliant statistics. When: identify what time of year stats are requested/needed; create schedule for those who collect statistics; how much time can you spend and how often? Where: identify where and how to get statistics from vendors
  • It would be so much easier if we could just ignore it, or if there was a way to completely automate the process of gathering stats. There are a lot of articles out there about the benefits and disadvantages of using usage statistics for decision making. In their raw form, usage statistics are useful for only a handful of decisions. However, once you begin amassing several years of data for multiple resources, you start to see additional ways to make use of the data. Analysis of the data in combination with other information, like materials cost, can also be very useful. Some basic calculations like cost per use can be used on a title level to determine if a particular title is worth buying. It may also be useful on the “big deal” or package level, to see if it’s worth continuing to pay for a huge number of titles. Usage can help with weeding decisions, renewal decisions, budget, and marketing. Nancy will be talking more extensively about how to use this data for these purposes. I’ll be focusing more on the workflow of usage statistics. Cost per use calculations Collection development Cancellation/renewal/purchase decisions Justify funding Identify marketing opportunities Benchmarking
  • Library selectors are my primary audience, with administrators a close second. Who collects stats is trickier, because it’s a time consuming job.
  • What: Identify resources What reports do people request? What reports would be most useful? Titles Databases/Packages Subjects Platforms Vendors Do you care about COUNTER compliance? http://www.projectcounter.org/r3/R3CV_Sept2012.pdf What formats will you focus on? E-journals, e-books, databases
  • When I first started, stats were requested for special projects and by individual librarians. Over time as I got more comfortable with my job, librarians began asking for stats more regularly. Stats requests regular throughout year? Only for special projects, only at renewal time? How often and how much time can staff realistically spend gathering stats? Think carefully about how often you will have time for stats. My original goal was to update monthly, but after a few months I realized how unrealistic that was. Quarterly has worked out well for me—I usually spend one morning and one afternoon each quarter updating all of my COUNTER reports. I also pull stats if someone has a special request—if it’s between quarters and a librarian is doing research or looking at usage for some other reason, it’s not a problem to update the vendor or platform list they ask about.
  • Each vendor or platform offers a slightly different method of acquiring your usage statistics, but there are a couple of standard methods. The process of notification and acquisition of stats has gotten more streamlined over time.
  • Email notifications with links. Most of the vendors out there offer email notifications to let you know that statistics have been updated at the end of a month. Often the emails contain a link directly to the site, so all you need to know are the log in details. Forwarding these emails to support staff so that they can retrieve stats is relatively simple.
  • Some of the large aggregator vendors offer the option of setting up a schedule that will e-mail a report to you each month. This is even simpler, and when forwarded to a support staff, just needs to be saved somewhere.
  • The large majority of vendors offer an online form within your administrative account to request (or download in some cases) COUNTER compliant usage statistics in a variety of formats. You can choose to have the report emailed to the administrator or to specific recipients. This would again be a good place to direct usage reports to a support staff email account.
  • My favorite method of gathering usage stats is via IP address authentication. You receive a URL and your stats show up on that site based on the IP address you’re accessing it from. This method is not as common--JSTOR used to do this and Readex still offers this.
  • Where to save/store Commercial tool Shared drive Cloud Where to post/present Wiki, LibGuide, Commercial tool
  • Some of these products are free and cloud-based; others may be available through your institution for free or low cost. Just because you don’t have a commercial system doesn’t mean you can’t find a place to store and post usage statistics reports.
  • There are now a number of commercial products around that handle usage statistics. You’ll hear more about some of these over the next day and a half.
  • Our solution has taken two different directions, due to budgetary issues. When I started, there was no money in the budget for a usage tool, so I found other ways to make our reports available. Because I helped to develop our technical services LibGuide, I had a pretty good idea of how I could post reports or links to reports on the Guide. What took some research was in finding a way to update the spreadsheets simultaneously, so that I wasn’t having to update the same report in three different places.
  • What I initially discovered was a product called OffiSync, which is unfortunately no longer available because it was sold to a for profit company. It was a Microsoft office add-on which allowed you to connect your Google docs account to Microsoft office. You could save a document simultaneously in word or excel on your hard drive and in Google docs. Because of our departmental LibGuide, we had already created a departmental Google account, and I was able to use that account to store our statistics reports.
  • When OffiSync disappeared, I discovered Google Cloud Connect, which works in a similar way. Each time you update the document after you sync it initially, it will be updated online, as well. Each time I open my COUNTER report and paste in the new data, I’m able to sync the new content in my Google doc simultaneously.
  • Tech services department Google account
  • In order to create a link to the report to post on my LibGuide, I use the “publish to the web” feature in Google docs. Using this feature, I can generate a link which will allow the user to click and download the spreadsheet in Excel format on their own desktop.
  • I then post my report links to my E-Resource Usage Stats tab on our LibGuide, where our selectors know they can go to find the updated reports. http://libguides.lib.muohio.edu/content.php?pid=101466&sid=1966575
  • More recently, we have been able to acquire the Ebsco Usage Consolidation tool. I won’t say a lot about this, since you’ll be hearing more about this later, but it has been interesting to compare using this to our more manual solution. This tool does streamline the process for those vendors that are SUSHI-compliant, though there is still a lot of work in doing the initial configuration. For vendors that are not SUSHI compliant, manual upload is possible. There is also a fair amount of clean-up involved in initial report loads, but this was expected. I haven’t heard of a method that doesn’t involve some manual labor.
  • My workflow: Set up usage consolidation tool to pull COUNTER reports from SUSHI-compliant vendors (monthly). Quarterly, go to vendor sites and download reports for update on LibGuide tab. Quarterly, go into usage consolidation tool and clean up SUSHI reports; manually upload reports from non-SUSHI vendors. Yearly, generate reports in usage consolidation and post to LibGuide.
  • Now we would like to invite you to participate in a workshop activity that will allow you to think about and discuss the workflow options at your own institution. For those that are already past the set-up stage, please feel free to share your workflows and solutions with others at your table who are in an earlier stage. After this activity, Nancy will talk about analyzing and using usage statistics at your institution, and there will be an exercise after her presentation, as well.
  • Usage Statistics in the Real World: Two Perspectives

    1. 1. Usage Statistics in the Real World: Two Perspectives Jennifer Bazeley, Miami University Nancy Beals, Wayne State University
    2. 2. Perspective I: Acquiring Usage Data http://www.flickr.com/photos/cushinglibrary/3876088472/in/photostream
    3. 3. Getting Started: Why• Why does my library need usage data?
    4. 4. Getting Started: Who• Who in my library wants/needs stats?• Who in my library will collect stats?
    5. 5. Getting Started: What• What resources do I need stats for? • What reports do librarians request? • What reports are most useful?• What vendors/resources are COUNTER and SUSHI-compliant?• What formats will I focus on?
    6. 6. Getting Started: When• When are stats requested?• How often can I harvest stats?
    7. 7. Getting Started: Where (Vendor)• Where are vendor stats available? • E-mail notifications • Scheduling for e-mail delivery • Online form submission/download • Online via IP address authentication
    8. 8. Getting Started: Where (Vendor)E-Mail Notifications
    9. 9. Getting Started: Where (Vendor)Scheduling Reports
    10. 10. Getting Started: Where (Vendor)Online Form Submission
    11. 11. Getting Started: Where (Vendor)Online via IP Address Authentication
    12. 12. Getting Started: Where (Library)• Where will you save and store stats?• Where will you post stats for users?
    13. 13. Getting Started: Where (Library)Free/Low Cost Products•Google Docs/Google Cloud Connect•Microsoft Excel/Access•OpenOffice•Dropbox•LibGuides
    14. 14. Getting Started: Where (Library)Free/Low Cost Products•CORAL (University of Notre Dame) (free)•ERMes (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)•PBWiki (PBWorks)•Course Management Software (Moodle, Sakai,Blackboard)
    15. 15. Getting Started: Where (Library)Commercial products•ScholarlyStats (Swets)•EBSCONET Usage Consolidation (EBSCO)•E-Stats for Libraries (Harrassowitz)•360 Counter (Serials Solutions)
    16. 16. Getting Started: My Tools• Excel – Google Cloud Connect – Google Docs – LibGuide• Commercial Tools: Ebsco’s Usage Consolidation • SUSHI • https://sites.google.com/site/sushiserverregistry/
    17. 17. COUNTER JR1 Report in Excel
    18. 18. Google Cloud Connect
    19. 19. Google Docs
    20. 20. Publish and Capture Link
    21. 21. Commercial Tools: EBSCO UsageConsolidation
    22. 22. Getting Started: How• Using available tools and staff, make a plan and a workflow
    23. 23. Perspective I: Workshop
    24. 24. Thank you Jennifer BazeleyHead, Collection Access & Acquisitions Miami University Libraries (Ohio)

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