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RE: COUNTER posting from Peter Shepherd

As a member of the Counter Executive Committee from its 
beginnings, I do not share Peter's confidence in the current 
procedures, nor do I agree with his interpretation of Phil 
Davis's results.

Phil showed that the variation in counts between publishers was 
greater than could be explained by html/ PDF variation. While the 
greater uniformity in interfaces has reduced the html/PDF 
variation between different publishers, it does not affect any 
other factors. Phil's study shows a nine-fold variation; the 
maximum effect of html/PDF is two-fold, thus leaving the majority 
of the difference unaccounted for.

Peter says , correctly, that the results between different 
publishers are more comparable than prior to Counter--and indeed 
Counter did play a role in getting one particularly important 
non-profit publisher to change its interface to diminish the 
html/pdf variation. That does not mean that the results are even 
approximately comparable overall. There is not the least data to 
show they are, and there is Phil's data to suggest that they are 

It has been decided to defer the consideration of these problems 
until the first round of audits has been completed, which is 
probably a realistic decision. But the audits measure only the 
accuracy of reporting from a known test script at a site known to 
the publisher. What the will evaluate is the accuracy of this 
report. They will not evaluate the accuracy of reporting under 
library conditions in general, and certainly not from any 
particular library. They will not audit comparability between 
publishers, nor will the determine whether there is any 
consistency between results being presently reported and those in 
the past.

Were I still collecting, I would continue to rely primarily on 
the one reliable measure we have, even though it does not measure 
all aspects of use--local citations.

David Goodman, Ph.D., M.L.S.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hamaker, Charles" <cahamake@uncc.edu>
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:34 pm
Subject: RE: COUNTER posting from Peter Shepherd
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu

> I disagree with Peter's conclusion that:" There are many 
> reasons why PDF/html ratios may vary from publisher to 
> publisher (archive formats; different practices in different 
> subject fields, to name but two) and not too much should be 
> read into them."
> My experience is that faculty and researchers citing articles
> generally need pdf. I don't believe html is a substitute when it
> comes time to cite an article in formal publication. This
> experience suggests to me we should anticipate differences in
> usage patterns are meaningful.
> Chuck Hamaker
> Associate University Librarian Collections and Technical Services
> Atkins Library
> University of North Carolina Charlotte
> Charlotte, NC 28223