September 05, 2008

What determines usage?

I'm in my first week of my new job as Electronic Access Librarian at a University in Maryland. So, far the job is off to a very good start. It has probably been one of the best welcomes to a job that I have ever had. After my previous job, I'll admit, I was probably a bit paranoid.

One of my first projects is too look at and update the electronic resource usage stats. If you've read this blog before, you'll know I'm terribly intrigued by usage statistics. This project also allows me to become familiar with the holdings of my new library.

Over the past few days, I've come to realize that what I started out looking for, Searches, doesn't necessarily answer the big usage question. What I'm seeing more of, especially for products which host electronic journal subscriptions, is fewer searches than sessions. I've come to realize this is probably from the SFX linking (which I didn't have at my first library job) and accounts for how folks can hit the system but not search. So, now I try and look at the statistics for both Searches and Sessions. I don't think I can truly define a products usage anymore by the volume of searching; those "hits" coming in from the article linker also need to be included.