Latest News from JUSP

I have two pieces of information from JUSP. The team has been very busy over the past few months and two items have come into fruition. We did some interviews earlier in the year about e-book statistics. You may recall that I blogged about “the trouble with ISBNs”, and that post was due to my work with the e-book statistics project.

We wanted to know what challenges were faced by the teams and individuals whose roles include the collection and reporting of e-book usage statistics. We did some case study interviews that included a cross section of publishers, librarians, aggregators and  library consortia, from the UK and other countries. We not only asked about the challenges, but also about how they overcame them and what recommendations would they give for the future collection of e-book statistics.

We discovered that one major problem was the lack of a standard for what was termed a section of a book. This means that if you are counting the number of times that a book section has been downloaded, you cannot be sure whether that is a whole chapter, a page, or even one dictionary entry. Surprisingly, we found that there was a lack of relevant common identifiers – hence my thoughts on ISBNs. Again, in this age of machine automation, we found that many of the solutions to challenges meant a great deal of manual work and manipulation.

The project and the recommendations that resulted from the work have been written up as an article in Insights and as a full report.

The second news item is that the e-book portal in JUSP will no longer be called the e-book portal. This is because that portal will contain COUNTER reports of databases as well as e-book reports, starting on 4th September. The portal will be re-titled “Books and other”. The team are working towards including other reports on that portal as well, such as multi-media. As always, the team are speaking to many publishers and with the addition of more COUNTER reports more publishers will be joining JUSP. You will find a little more information about this in the JUSP newsletter and look out for further details as the team make the changes to the portal.

Advertisements

COUNTER

I was a bit confused when I heard to term COUNTER compliant statistics because the word COUNTER has so many meanings. Could it be to do with those round disks you have use to go up ladders and down snakes in the board game?

roman gaming counter

“Glass mosaic counter or inlay” by Roman via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

 

Statistics is about counting, so that makes some sort of sense. It could not be a shop counter then,

lego counter

“View of counter” by Takanori Hayashi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

or a ticket counter, these are types of counter that help people to access something.

ticket counter

“Ticket Counter For Foreigner s” by Barney Moss is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

or how about a kitchen worktop, some people call those counters. They are things to facilitate tasks. In the kitchen.

butterflycounter

“Butterfly on a counter” by Helena Jacoba is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Or indeed, counter also means against, opposed to, so counter compliance must mean that it is statistics that is not compliant.

No, I reasoned, it must be something to do with counting.

clicker counter

“Counter” by Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

So after all my speculations I gave in and searched Google. I discovered that COUNTER is an acronym, as many things are these days. It stands for Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources. It is a standard code of practice that facilitates exchange of the usage data of e-resources. So, in plain terms, it means that when publishers count the number of views or downloads of a journal, book or database has had, they should save and organise that data in a standard format that can easily be shared with libraries that subscribe to the journals or have purchased a book. These are simple examples of a rather more sophisticated system.

According to the COUNTER Code of Practice the data are also arranged in standard reports, for example JR1 is a statistical report of all the views, downloads or attempted downloads an individual journal has had over a period of time – basically how many people have access the webpage for that journal. Similarly, BR1 is the statistical report of the number of views, downloads or attempted downloads of a book. There are a variety of other types of report as well.

Overall, COUNTER compliant statistics are a way of libraries being able to understand whether the e-resources that they have purchased or to which they subscribe are being actively used. In the day before electronically automated systems when physical books were stamped as they were borrowed, you could easily tell which were your most borrowed items. So, COUNTER is doing the same job, but better, because you could never count the number of times a book was looked at, a reference noted, a photocopy taken and returned to the shelf.

To learn more about this, visit the COUNTER project website where it explains things in more detail in a much better way.  However, I don’t think I was entirely wrong about COUNTER, it does include some of those other meanings. It counts people who are trying to read an article or book, it facilitates the work of librarians and publishers, it gives librarians access to data that they need to improve their electronic collections. It doesn’t serve cake though, which is a bit of a shame…

cake counter

“Sweet Counter” by terren in Virginia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

IRUS-UK Community Survey 2017

IRUS logoAnother of Evidence Base’s regular tasks is to compile and send out the IRUS-UK user survey. IRUS-UK is a Jisc community driven resource for Institutional Repositories in the UK. When a repository becomes a member of IRUS-UK the IRUS team collects the usage data of items that have been deposited in that repository and processes the data into COUNTER compliant statistics. I have promised to write a blog about COUNTER and I apologise for not doing it yet, in the meantime follow this Link to find out more about the project and the code of practice. The benefit to repositories is that they then have validated usage data about the work that has been deposited which can be compared  with other standardised data.

The annual survey ensures that the IRUS team are developing IRUS-UK to suit the needs of the Institutional Repository community and a great deal of attention is paid to the feedback that is received. Sometimes it is not possible to implement a suggestion, sometimes it takes time to make a change, but each suggestion in considered thoughtfully and steps are taken to impblue surveyrove the website and the service.

This year we found out that IRUS-UK is mostly used for identifying trends and patterns of usage. It is used least for SCONUL reporting. Other uses for IRUS-UK include:

  • Awareness raising
  • Checking records
  • Tweeting about statistics
  • Advocacy with researchers

I particularly like the idea of tweeting about the statistics. It is good to boast on twitter that a certain document has been accessed. Especially as I have just found out through IRUS-UK that one of my articles has been downloaded 185 times.

The IRUS-UK community consider that the most useful reports are Repository Statistics and Item Reports. Most people thought that IRUS-UK provided value because of the reliable and accurate counter compliant statistics, because it helps benchmarking and reporting and it helps to compare data. Moreover, it saves a lot of staff time.town clock

Some of the best things about IRUS-UK are:

  • It is easy to use and access
  • It is good at archiving Statistics
  • The community support is great

There were some requests for some new features such as some quick guides to reports, some more case studies and some bite sized videos to demonstrate how to use the reports. Members also wanted more data visualisations -sometimes only a picture will tell the story – and there was a request that IRUS-UK becomes Mobile friendly.

These and other suggestions are now under consideration by the team . Keep looking at IRUS-UK to see how it develops. And Thank You to the institutional repository staff out there that took the time to complete the survey.

JUSP Community Survey 2016

JUSP logo

One of Evidence Base’s bread and butter jobs is to conduct the annual user survey for JUSP, which is the Jisc specialist resource for university or further education college librarians. JUSP tells them about the use of on-line journals or e-books that they have purchased or to which they have subscribed. By using JUSP a librarian can find out whether a certain journal or e-book has been used and how many times. In the old days, when everything was paper it was easy to work out if books had been taken out of the library, and if journals were looking well thumbed, or still in pristine condition because no-one had looked at them. E-resources are a different, with all sorts of possible metrics available you can find out if something has or hasn’t been downloaded, and from which IP address. Of course, it does mean that someone, somewhere has to collect and collate that information. Briefly, JUSP works by using SUSHI to harvest COUNTER statistics and it will then give you reports about the resources used by your institution. Currently, JUSP has a “Journal” portal and an “e-book” portal. If you have no idea what SUSHI and COUNTER mean, don’t worry about it, they are simply a means to an end and I will devote whole posts to explaining them in the future. Meanwhile, back to the survey…

survey

We finished the JUSP community survey at the end of last December, and the full report is now ready to read here: http://jusp.jisc.ac.uk/news/jusp-community-survey-2016-report.pdf . The results of the report showed that JUSP is a much wanted resource for university and college librarians which adds value to their service, provides them with reliable data and saves them time (somewhere in the region of 7 hours work a month). One commented JUSP has a “hugely positive impact on staff time… freed up for analysis rather than finding and downloading data files”.  Many respondents thought that JUSP was vital to their service because without it they would have to take staff away from other tasks; one even thought that they would not use usage statistics any more if JUSP did not exist.

Of the journal statistics that JUSP can calculate, the most vital one appeared to be “Journal Report 1 (JR1)” which can tell you the number of requests there has been for one specific journal per month, over a period of time which you can select. Users of JUSP use the Journal portal statistics for a range of tasks:

  • Ad-hoc reporting
  • SCONUL reporting
  • Considering subscription renewals
  • Answering general enquiries
  • Finding evidence to prove access rights
  • General annual statistics
  • Evaluating deals with publishers
  • Benchmarking against organisations
  • To put a list of “top ten journals” on the website
  • To search for anomalies in their data

E-book portal is less used, it is still in development and does not contain statistics from many e-book suppliers used by many of the libraries. Librarians can get the statistics that they need directly from the publishers. However, respondents did think that e-book statistics are important and the ones who do use JUSPs e-book portal (just less than half the respondents) use Book Reports 2 and 3 (BR2, BR3) in order to find out the number of times an e-book has been requested per month over a selected period of time (BR2) or the number of times access has been denied to an e-book (BR3). When a library users asks for a certain e-book, only to discover that they cannot access it indicates that the library does not subscribe to or has not purchased that e-book. Librarians like to know this so that they can understand what their customers want. So, our respondents tolde-book us that they use e-book statistics for:

  • Collection development
  • Choosing which subscriptions to renew
  • To see how the full collection is being used
  • To make purchasing decisions
  • To calculate cost per download

Overall, the JUSP users were satisfied with the service that it provides and they praised the JUSP team for the support that it gives to users. Some very appreciative clients there, so university and  college librarians out there who are not using JUSP, take a look at it, you may benefit from its use.