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Project COUNTER Progress Update - 5 years on

- Become a COUNTER member now

If you work within a library or company that has anything to do
with the online delivery of published information, then your
organization should certainly become a member of Project COUNTER.
Libraries, consortia, publishers, intermediaries, and e-journal
and e-book vendors have a vested interest in ensuring the
accuracy and usability of usage data.  We are writing to ask for
your support for Project COUNTER so that we can continue to
develop the very best in community-agreed usage reports and tools
for understanding usage.

- Before COUNTER

Let us remind you of the bad old days before Project COUNTER was
established.  Publisher platforms would count any number of
different user behaviors as 'usage' and would report them in a
variety of different formats, such as 'double clicks' counted
twice for some and not for others.  Usage reports were not always
provided and, where they were, the numbers could not be compared
against each other.  There was no way to tell the respective
usage of different online information products nor to implement
in any meaningful way such concepts as 'cost per use', which
require comparable usage data.

Now, thanks to COUNTER, there is a universally agreed standard
Code of Practice for usage reports.  This ensures that all
compliant publisher platforms count the same units of usage,
apply the same data filters, and report usage in an agreed
format.  There are now over 60 vendors providing COUNTER
compliant usage reports for over 9000 full-text journals, as well
as for a growing number of databases.

- COUNTER - 5 years on

Since the launch of the first COUNTER Code of Practice in 2002,
libraries around the world have been able to compare and contrast
the usage for different journals and databases across different
subjects from different publishers.  A new discipline of usage
bibliometrics has developed and a great deal of work is underway
to try to establish 'value metrics' associated with usage, in
which the COUNTER compliant statistics play an increasingly
important role.

New reports have been developed for online book and reference
work vendors and recommendations have been made for reports for
legacy content.  Training on interpreting usage reports has been
provided at several workshops and this initiative will be
extended to North America in 2007.  COUNTER does more than just
set the standards for usage reports; we are cooperating with a
number of organizations to develop a range of usage-related
research and services.  In 2006 COUNTER carried out research,
sponsored by JISC, on the effects of publisher platforms on usage
and we are currently collaborating with UKSG on the possible
development of a new Usage Factor metric.  COUNTER has also
worked with NISO on SUSHI (Standardised Usage Harvesting
Initiative) to develop a protocol to facilitate the automated
harvesting and consolidation of usage statistics from different
vendors. The SUSHI protocol has been available in draft form
since mid-2006 and is already being implemented by vendors.

Richard Gedye, Chair of COUNTER, who has been a leader in the
movement to improve the quality of vendor usage statistics for
many years, says: 'Since its genesis in 2002, COUNTER has
transformed the quality of online usage statistics by setting
standards that are not only practical to implement but also
provide useful information on how online products are being used.
With a steadily growing number of compliant vendors, COUNTER has
also become central to the discussion on the value of online
journals and databases.  Further enhancements to the Codes of
Practice are required and planned.  The ongoing support of the
publisher, librarian and intermediary communities as members of
COUNTER is much appreciated.'

- Future objectives

In five short years, COUNTER has greatly improved the reliability
and usability of online vendor usage statistics.  There is still,
however, much for us to do, not only to help vendors further
improve their usage reports and to help librarians to make sense
of them, but also to keep COUNTER up to date with changes in the
online delivery of information.  Our future objectives fall into
three broad categories.  First, to improve the reliability of the
core COUNTER data and extend scope of the Code of Practice beyond
journals, databases and books.  Second, to continue to increase
the number of COUNTER compliant vendors.  Third, to work with
organizations such as NISO and UKSG to facilitate the
implementation of COUNTER and develop metrics based on the
COUNTER data that are of practical value to both librarians and

However, we can only achieve any of this with the support of our

Become a member of Project COUNTER now and support this important
work. You will be in very distinguished company - a full list of
current COUNTER members is available on our website at

- Benefits of COUNTER membership include:

* COUNTER is owned by its members, who can influence the
direction of COUNTER not only by their votes at the Annual
General Meeting, but also in other ways, such as participation in
member surveys and focus groups

* Regular bulletins on the progress of COUNTER

* Advice on the implementation of COUNTER

* For vendors, a discounted price for the annual audit

The following annual membership rates apply for 2007:

Publisher UK530 / $800
Intermediary UK530 / $800
Library UK265 / $400
Library Consortium UK355 / $530
Industry Organization UK265 / $400
Library Affiliate UK106 / $160

To become a member of COUNTER simply complete the online
application form here: http://www.projectcounter.org/member.html

For more information, please contact:
Peter Shepherd