COUNTER: Basics and Resources

COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) is an organization and a set of standards to report usage of library electronic resources by vendors and publishers.

Why understand COUNTER reports?

When database vendors and publishers use different methods of counting and reporting usage of their platforms and items, it is difficult for librarians to determine accurate use counts (and rejections).  Thus, it is hard to calculate the cost-per-use.  Different figures often make database comparison difficult when deciding between the value of two similar products.

COUNTER provides a way to standardize and compare database usage statistics across vendors and time.

COUNTER reports can also show demand for titles not owned by reporting access denied to books (BR3) and journals (JR2).  These reports can be helpful for library resource acquisition decisions.

The Basics

COUNTERThere are four types of item-type usage reports each with their unique statistics:

  • Books – Electronic or print monographs, including reference works.
  • Journals – Serials including conference proceedings and newspapers.
  • Media – Non-text items such as images and video.
  • Databases – Collections of online data.

The Title report is a combination of book and journal counts.

The Consortium report counts all usage across a group of institutions.

COUNTER Report Request Screen
COUNTER Report Request Screen

COUNTER statistics are reported on a monthly basis and reports can typically cover any custom time period in addition to calendar year.

Reports are distributed electronically.  Sometimes they are available from vendors as immediate downloads, but other times they must be requested and emailed.  “COUNTER reports are available in two formats: delimited files, which are readable using Excel and similar spreadsheet tools, and XML, which is delivered using SUSHI.”  The two types of delimited files are comma-separated value (CSV) and tab-separated value (TSV) files.

Download an example COUNTER report.

If the vendor allows, you can avoid the manual running and downloading of COUNTER reports.  COUNTER offers an automated way to accomplish this using  the SUSHI protocol.  “The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) protocol is designed to simplify the gathering of usage statistics by librarians, and it uses a series of XML schemas to do this.”

The current version in widespread use is COUNTER 4, however some vendors still offer archived usage statistics using version 3.  COUNTER 5 is available and we will see vendors moving to it gradually.  EBSCO just announced that it is making its usage reports available in COUNTER 5 format.

While version 5 is the future, COUNTER 4 is still by far the most common version offered by vendors today.  Below is a list of all COUNTER 4 reports with a brief description of each.  Vendors, depending on their size and content, usually offer a subset of these reports.

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2019 Library Conference Schedule

It’s a new year and we are looking forward to the 2019 annual library conferences. The list below covers large library technology conferences as well as the major conferences where technology will be discussed.

January #hashtag
25-29 ALA Midwinter Meeting, Seattle, WA #alamw19
February
19-22 Code4Lib 2019, San José, CA #c4l19
March
3-6 14th Annual ER&L Conference, Austin, TX #erl19
4-6 Designing for Digital, Austin, TX + Online #d4d19
20-21 Library Technology Conference 2019, St. Paul, MN #LTC2019
26-28 Computers in Libraries 2019, Arlington, VA #CILDC
May
17 UNT Open Access Symposium 2019, Dallas, TX #UNTOA19
June
2-6 ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries 2019, Urbana-Champaign, IL #JCDL2019
14-18 SLA Annual Conference 2019, Cleveland, OH #SLA2019
20-25 ALA Annual Conference 2019, Washington, DC #ALAAC19
August
24-30 IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Athens, Greece #wlic2019
October
19-23 ASIS&T Annual Meeting 2019, Melbourne, Australia #ASIST19
November
TBA Charleston Conference, Charleston, SC #CHSConf2019
February 2020
25-29 PLA Conference 2020, Nashville, TN #PLA2020

For more comprehensive lists, see Douglas Hasty’s Library Conference Planner website.

Library Websites Analysis

Drexel University Libraries Website

We analyzed 100 academic library websites.  To select the libraries, we used the U. S. News & World Report‘s Best Colleges National University Rankings.  For those 100 prominent universities, we found the website of the main library and looked at its homepage navigation, organization, terminology, and search tools.

We looked at trends in these areas:

  1. Navigation menu items to understand terminology and site organization.
  2. Discovery and search tool tabs.
  3. Headings for sections of most-used links.
  4. Headings for News carousels and links.

Continue reading “Library Websites Analysis”

Library Websites for the Top 100 Universities

Duke University Libraries

Sometimes, when evaluating your library’s website or services, you’d like to see how things are done at other institutions.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Maybe you just need some inspiration; seeing another’s layout or reading alternative wording can spark a brilliant idea.  Or you might just copy something that works.

U. S. News & World Report’s Best CollegesIf you find yourself wanting to browse other academic websites but don’t know where to start or how to choose them, this list of links can help.  This is not a list of the top 100 academic library websites.  Rather, it is a list of the library websites for the top 100 institutions in the U. S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges National University Rankings.  Use it to check a handful of sites or all 100.

Continue reading “Library Websites for the Top 100 Universities”

2018 Library Conference Schedule

It’s a new year and we are looking forward to the 2018 annual library conferences.  The list below covers large library technology conferences as well as the major conferences where technology will be discussed.

February #hashtag
9-13 ALA Midwinter Meeting, Denver, CO #alamw18
13-16 Code4Lib 2018, Los Angeles, CA  #c4l18
March
4-7 13th Annual ER&L Conference, Austin, TX #erl18
5-7 Designing for Digital, Austin, TX  #d4d18
14-15 Library Technology Conference 2018, St. Paul, MN #libtechconf
20-24 PLA Conference 2018, Philadelphia, PA #PLA2018
April
17-19 Computers in Libraries 2018, Arlington, VA #CILDC
June
3-6 Joint Conference on Digital Libraries 2018, Fort Worth, TX #JCDL2018
3-6 UNT Open Access Symposium 2018, Fort Worth, TX #UNTOA18
9-13 SLA Annual Conference 2018, Baltimore, MD #SLA2018
21-26 ALA Annual Conference 2018, New Orleans, LA #ALAAC18
August
24-30 IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia #wlic2018
November
5-9 Charleston Conference, Charleston, SC @chsconf
9-14 ASIS&T Annual Meeting 2018, Vancouver, Canada @asist_org

For more comprehensive lists, see Douglas Hasty’s Library Conference Planner website.