Welcome to this end-of-summer report on Collection Assessment, an exciting Gottesman Libraries initiative to harness the power of data! This blog explores the research performed this summer by the library’s Acquisition and Materials team in two areas of library analytics: collection holdings and collection usage.
The objective of our summer research was to gather and analyze data to assist the library team in making informed decisions about our Electronic Resource acquisitions and subscriptions of eBooks and eJournals, as they come up for renewal. Our goal is to spend library dollars as wisely as we can, while acquiring a niche of top-quality scholarly education resources, and to maintain the resources that will best benefit our patrons, on the terms (e.g., prices) and subject to the conditions (e.g., contract length) most advantageous to our college community. Compiling usage statistics helps inform our collection development strategy, as we acquire and maintain the resources that will provide our patrons with the greatest utility. It also helps inform our decision to deaccession resources.
For the summer project, we were seeking a summary of what we have, how much it costs, and the usage, in an easy-to-understand format. We started by studying the 2014 audit and its methodology. Building upon it, we considered various approaches to organizing and analyzing the data. New information was challenging to collect, summarize, and analyze. Notwithstanding the establishment and enforcement of electronic resources standards by Project COUNTER, each publisher, while COUNTER-compliant, still seems to define and report usage statistics in slightly different ways, using a variety of format types. More detail follows. Included in this report are several spreadsheet excerpts, as well as newly created sample tables, inspired by the analyses we performed. Hyperlinks to select journals and databases referenced in this blog are provided at the end.
New Acquisitions: The Taylor and Francis (T&F) Education Collection: As announced on the Gottesman Libraries website, the recently acquired Taylor and Francis Education Collection offers new and expanded access to 220 education journals from around the world, including Action Learning: Research & Practice, Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, and Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, among others. This acquisition was supported by an in-depth summer study of Teachers College’s current education journal holdings, access dates, and overlap with Columbia University. I was generously invited to take an original approach to organizing the information, something I just happen to love doing. The results proved to be a comprehensive, while concise, foundation upon which to build further study. Below is an excerpt of the final T&F Education Collection spreadsheet. Highlighted in blue is one of our new journals!
An excerpt from the T&F Education Collection spreadsheet
Further, below, is a sample of the education journals from around the world to which the recently acquired Taylor and Francis Education Collection offers new access to our patrons, as well as to the greater Columbia University community. Hyperlinks to these journals are provided at the end of this blog.
Cost per use analyses to assess our major database subscriptions: We also analyzed cost per use data this summer, to assess the value of our major database subscriptions.
The Swap out: The first of two Cost per Use analyses compared and contrasted the value to our patrons of specific journal subscriptions based on cost and use. Below excerpts the column headers organizing the Current T&F Holdings Sorted by Usage spreadsheet:
Current T&F Holdings Sorted by Usage: the spreadsheet column headers
This analysis enabled a favorable swap out of one journal [Title C] for another journal in our subscription package that is of comparable cost, but in greater demand. The table, below, samples the results from the key Taylor and Francis Holdings study that sorted usage from lowest (pictured) to highest (not pictured). Usage data is based on "Successful Full-Text Article Requests" for sixteen months from Jan 2019 - Apr 2020. Note that the table does not reveal the actual journal titles associated with the contract costs listed.
A Sample of Current T&F Holdings Sorted by Usage
The Contract renewal analysis: The second Cost per Use analysis we prepared this summer assisted us in negotiating a cluster of database subscription contract renewals at the best rates and the most advantageous terms with WALDO, a not-for-profit consortium supporting the procurement and administration of electronic information services for libraries. The analysis employs number of Searches as the primary usage measurement. Searches was one of a wide array of usage statistics we encountered in the course of this second Cost per Use analysis. The table, below, illustrates the breadth of usage statistics we gathered from various publishers for the two years we studied, 2018-2020. As can be seen, types of usage statistics include Searches, Requests, Record Views, and Full Text Downloads. Note that the table does not reveal the actual usage values associated with the databases listed. Hyperlinks to select databases are provided at the end of this blog.
A Sample of Database Usage Statistics
In conclusion, our summer efforts led us towards a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to how we can look at resource usage.
We are so proud of our collections! We invite you to click on and browse, below, a selection of the databases and T&F journals referenced in this blog:
EBSCO MEDLINE: A bibliographic database of life sciences and biomedical information.
Ebook Central and Ebook Central - Academic Complete: ProQuest databases providing access to more than 145,000 books.
TeachingBooks: A database for children's books and teen literature.
Selected journals from the new Taylor and Francis Education Collection: