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Presented at QQML 2013: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries International Conference. Rome, Italy.
Academic libraries in the United States typically reference proxy server and/or COUNTER statistics to describe the usage of their electronic resources, but we know that a “use” is arguably more than a resource accessed or downloaded. This article employs social network analysis to bridge the typical ways of talking about usage statistics, to provide a context-specific perspective about the mediated use of electronic resources. The article reports on an analysis of data gathered at the Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, California) using traditional statistics as well as library reference encounters with patrons during which an electronic resource is mentioned. We use the reference encounters in a social network analysis to examine the relationship between a patron, a librarian, and an electronic resource to more fully describe the use of the resource. This research provides a conceptual model for comparison between traditional COUNTER statistics, proxy server statistics, and the social network analysis perspective. We transform qualitative data into quantitative data in order to develop a grounded theory about the mediated access to library electronic resources.