ER&L 2010: Usage Statistics for E-resources – is all that data meaningful?

Speaker: Sally R. Krash, vendor

Three options: do it yourself, gather and format to upload to a vendor’s collection database, or have the vendor gather the data and send a report (Harrassowitz e-Stats). Surprisingly, the second solution was actually more time-consuming than the first because the library’s data didn’t always match the vendor’s data. The third is the easiest because it’s coming from their subscription agent.

Evaluation: review cost data; set cut-off point ($50, $75, $100, ILL/DocDel costs, whatever); generate list of all resources that fall beyond that point; use that list to determine cancellations. For citation databases, they want to see upward trends in use, not necessarily cyclical spikes that average out year-to-year.

Future: Need more turnaway reports from publishers, specifically journal publishers. COUNTER JR5 will give more detail about article requests by year of publication. COUNTER JR1 & BR1 combined report – don’t care about format, just want download data. Need to have download information for full-text subscriptions, not just searches/sessions.

Speaker: Benjamin Heet, librarian

He is speaking about University of Notre Dame’s statistics philosophy. They collect JR1 full text downloads – they’re not into database statistics, mostly because fed search messes them up. Impact factor and Eigen factors are hard to evaluate. He asks, “can you make questionable numbers meaningful by adding even more questionable numbers?”

At first, he was downloading the spreadsheets monthly and making them available on the library website. He started looking for a better way, whether that was to pay someone else to build a tool or do it himself. He went with the DIY route because he wanted to make the numbers more meaningful.

Avoid junk in junk out: HTML vs. PDF downloads depends on the platform setup. Pay attention to outliers to watch for spikes that might indicate unusual use by an individual. The reports often have bad data or duplicate data on the same report.

CORAL Usage Statistics – local program gives them a central location to store user names & passwords. He downloads reports quarterly now, and the public interface allows other librarians to view the stats in readable reports.

Speaker: Justin Clarke, vendor

Harvesting reports takes a lot of time and requires some administrative costs. SUSHI is a vehicle for automating the transfer of statistics from one source to another. However, you still need to look at the data. Your subscription agent has a lot more data about the resources than just use, and can combine the two together to create a broader picture of the resource use.

Harrassowitz starts with acquisitions data and matches the use statistics to that. They also capture things like publisher changes and title changes. Cost per use is not as easy as simple division – packages confuse the matter.

High use could be the result of class assignments or hackers/hoarders. Low use might be for political purchases or new department support. You need a reference point of cost. Pricing from publishers seems to have no rhyme or reason, and your price is not necessarily the list price. Multi-year analysis and subject-based analysis look at local trends.

Rather than usage statistics, we need useful statistics.

NASIG 2008: Using Institutional and Library Identifiers to Ensure Access to Electronic Resources

Presenters: Helen Henderson, Don Hamparian, and John Shaw

One of the perpetual problems with online access to journals is that often, something breaks down on the supply chain, and the library discovers that access has disappeared. The presenters seek to offer ideas for preventing this from happening.

Henderson showed a list of 15 transactions that take place in acquiring and maintaining a subscription to a single title. There are plenty of places for a breakdown. Name changes, agent changes, publisher changes, hosting platform changes, price changes, bundle changes, licensing changes, authentication changes, etc.

OCLC’s WorldCat Registry maintains institutional information for libraries, which is populated and augmented by libraries and partners. Libraries can use it to register their OpenURL resolvers, IP addresses, and to share the profile with selected organizations. OCLC uses it to configure WorldCat Local, among other things. Vendors use it as an OpenURL gateway service and to verify customer data.

Ringgold’s Identify database and services normalizes institutional information for publishers. It includes consortia membership information and the Anglicized name, as well as many of the data elements in OCLC’s registry. Rather than OCLC symbol, they have an identifying number for each institution.

Potential interactions between the two identifiers includes a maping between them. The two directories do not have as much overlapping information as you might think.

Standards and identifiers are becoming even more important to the supply chain with the transition to electronic publication. Publishers need clean records in order to provide holdings lists to libraries and OpenURL resolvers, among other things. Publishers use services like WorldCat Registry and Identify to improve their data, service, and cost-savings that gets passed on to subscribers.

ICEDIS is a standard for the exchange of data between publishers and agents. It is old and has been implemented differently. They are hoping to develop an XML version by 2010, which will include the institutional identifier. ONIX is working on developing automatic holdings reports that will be fed into ERMS.

Project TRANSFER will create a way to exchange subscription information using a unique identifier. KBART is another initiative looking at a portion of the solution. I² (part of NISO) is looking at standardizing metadata using identifiers, beyond just for library resources. CORE is a project in the vendor community working on communicating between the ILS and the ERMS.

Standards will help ease the pain of price agreement between publishers and agents, customer identification, consortia membership and entitlements, and many of the other things that cause the supply chain to break down.

Libraries should include their identifier numbers in orders. The subscription agents are too overwhelmed to implement the kind of change that would require them to look up and add this to every record. Ringgold & OCLC are in communication with NISO to create a standard that is not proprietary.

getting behind and catching up

I seem to be perpetually behind on reading liblogs. I transferred all my liblog subscriptions over to Google Reader, which works well for keeping everything threaded nicely by date posted, rather than separated by source as Bloglines does it. This won’t work for everything I read, but it suits the liblogs perfectly. I set aside some time this afternoon to work on getting caught up with the 100+ entries since the beginning of the month. After an hour and a half, I made it to April 5th. I’ll continue on with the rest some other time, but I needed to stop and give my brain a rest, as well as take some time myself to write something other than a review.

My work for Blogcritics and BC Goodie Bag has taken over most of my writing time, and Twitter has fed my need for telling someone, anyone, what I am doing. This leaves me with the question of what to do about eclectic librarian. The answer is to get back to it! I have things to contribute to library land, so I’d better get off my duff and contribute them.

sleep patterns

On Friday night, I stayed up much later than I usually do. I’m not sure why — I wasn’t feeling well all evening and had decided to stay home rather than going out as planned. Somehow I managed to find things to entertain myself until 2am, although aside from the crossword puzzle, I can’t remember what those things were.

My cats — specifically Alex — woke me up at 7am. I was not happy, but I was just rested enough that by the time I fed them, I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep. In any case, the live feed of two of my favorite podcasts would be coming on around 9:30 or 10, and I didn’t want to miss the start. I knew that if I went back to sleep then, it would be for at least three more hours.

I was pretty sluggish for the rest of the day, but I kept on going. I figured I’d get to bed early that night and be back on my regular sleep schedule. However, by 6:30pm my body informed me that a nap was in order. So, I took a nap. A refreshing, four hour nap. So refreshing, in fact, that I could not make myself go back to sleep for the night.

Three hours later I was finally tired enough to go to bed. Again. The cats woke me up at 7am. this morning. Again.

I think they’re trying to get me on their sleep cycle, but until I’m allowed a siesta at work, it isn’t going to happen.

yup, it’s monday

A long story about my Monday from hell.

I figured it was just a typical Monday when I woke up two hours late. Little did I know that this was only the beginning. I was house sitting out at the farm this past weekend, so by the time I got everyone fed and the car loaded, it was around 8:30, 1.5 hours after I should have been at work. I hit the gas station at Georgetown at 9am, put about 5 gal in and called my boss to give her the ETA. At that point, I figured I could get home, drop off the cat and my stuff, and be to the office by 10:30-ish. Late, but with enough time left in the day to get something done.

At around 9:30, I’m cruising around Lexington on I-75, listening to WRFL and thinking about what I was going to work on today. I noticed a SUV pull up on my left side, and the woman in the passenger seat is trying to get my attention. I look over, and she mouths something like “flat tire” and points to my rear wheel. I don’t think much of it at the time, since I have a full load in the car and sometimes that makes my tires look a little low. I decide to wait until I get to Richmond (25 mi away) and check the tires then. That was a mistake.

About 10 mi down the road, I’m getting close to the bridge over the Kentucky River. I thought that my engine seemed to be louder than normal, but I wrote it off to being hyper-sensitive. Generally, I don’t notice anything mechanical about my car unless I’m worried that something may be broken. Suddenly I hear a pop and the road noise gets really loud. I make my way over to the side of the interstate and discovered that my driver-side rear wheel is flat.

I’ve never had to change my tires before, so I’m a little freaked out, but I know what I need to do. I pull out the jack and the spare from the trunk, and get to work. A few minutes later, I have the car jacked up on that corner and the hub cap is off, but I can’t get the bolts to loosen. I’m starting to get really freaked out and very frustrated. I know that my cell phone battery is very low, so I pray that I have enough juice to call Progressive roadside assistance and get someone down there to help me change the tire. I do, and the automatic confirmation a few minutes later relates the unwelcome news that it will be an hour and a half before someone can get there.

Thankfully, while I was waiting for the confirmation call, a Kentucky State Trooper pulled up and got out to assist me. He was able to get the bolts loosened (put the emergency brake on, lower the car so the wheel is on the ground) and replaced the tire with the spare for me. Turns out that I had run over a screw at some point this morning which caused a leak and then the blow-out. I’m thankful it didn’t happen while I was on the bridge.

Limping along at my 50 mph limit, I get into Richmond and stop by my tire place. They have a replacement in stock and they can get to me today. I head on to my house from there to drop off the cat and my stuff, then I return to the tire place. At this point it is 11:30 am, so I call my boss to let her know that I don’t know when I will be at work today. Then I settle in a comfortable chair in the waiting room and watch an episode of the Brady Bunch followed by The Love Boat. I was going to read, but I really needed the bad TV just to get my mind off of worrying about my car and how I was going to pay for the repairs.

Around 1 pm, the service guy comes over and tells me that my rear brakes are very thin and probably should be replaced. He also shows me my wheel bearings, and it looks like those may need replacing soon, also. I’m not thrilled with this surprise, much less the estimate price tag that came with it. However, it can wait a little while longer, so I decide to have this work done some other day soon.

About 25 minutes later, all the work is finished and I’m back in my car. At this point, I have a half an hour before I need to leave for Lexington for my regular Monday afternoon on the radio. So I swing by the library, relate my story of the day so far, and show of my new laptop (more on that later), and then head on up to Lex. Not much else eventful or disastrous happened after then, but as my boss said, I’ve had enough of a Monday to last me for a while.