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RE: Usage Statistics

I'd agree with Warren that statistics are useful to make a case for
popularity, budgeting, etc. BUT I find the statistics situation to be
extremely frustrating. There is no common standard, even to the basic raw
searches level--some major vendors provide 'search' statistics, and some
only 'logins' which is a quite different thing. Some provide number of
cites 'viewed', but some count cites resulting from searches (so that the
broadest, least thoughtful searches would roll up huge numbers of returned
'cites', a completely meaningless number.

Worst of all, many vendors only send statistics if you repeatedly plead
with them to do so...over and over. Britannica is certainly one...if you
receive statistics regularly from them that you don't periodically beg
for, I'd love to know how/why. Same is true for a few others. Ideal are
vendors such as FirstSearch and Ebsco who have sites set up that we can
log on and obtain our own statistics. Ebsco is really the ideal model...a
web site providing up-to-date statistics on sessions, searches done,
abstracts viewed, full text saved, printed or e-mailed. Use by journal
title, sortable! IAC at least reliably e-mails statistics, and includes
journal title use (but since articles printed through the web browser are
not counted, this is not a very useful number). Anyway, having more
vendors aspire to the Ebsco model would be my fervent wish! At the moment
it seems to be in general a very low priority item (after all, it
admittedly isn't a 'decision' issue) and the idea seems to be that any
number qualifies as statistics.

Carole Richter

At 12:19 AM 8/27/98 EDT, you wrote:
>List members,
>I am not a " bean counter " but I think we are still early enough in the
>electronic information resources game that we need some usage stats to
>convince the non-believers that our users want this access. I believe that
>we can use the usage stats to get more money from our administration to
>purshase both traditional and electronic products. I have used the usage
>stats from Britannica to convince other university libraries in the
>province of Ontario, Canada to join in making a consortium purchase of
>Britannica On-line making access cheaper for all of us. We are comparing
>usage stats to some limited stats that we have on the use of paper
>At the moment when I do get usage stats I prefer to get them monthly. At
>the University of Toronto we would keep access to within the library
>administration for now.
>Just my random thoughts.
>       Warren Holder
>Electronic Information Resources Co-ordinator
>University of Toronto Library
>Robarts Library
>130 St. George Street
>Toronto, Ontario