COUNTER-compliant stats for electronic resources

HowManyWindows
How many windows do you count?

How do you count things?

If I asked how many windows your residence has, how would you answer? Would you count the little windows to the basement? Windows in the garage? Separate panels within a multi-part window? What about a window within a door?

If we compared the window counts of our residences, we would probably want to be sure we were counting the same thing. Otherwise, we'd be comparing apples to oranges. The same is true for online resources (electronic databases and the like). If we're counting, we want to use established standards. COUNTER helps us do just that.

From the COUNTER website...

What is COUNTER?

COUNTER is a non-profit organization supported by a global community of library, publisher and vendor members which provides the Code of Practice that enables publishers and vendors to report usage of their electronic resources in a consistent way. This enables libraries to compare data received from different publishers and vendors.

Why use COUNTER?

Libraries spend considerable amounts of money licensing different types of online content to support their users' needs. Libraries need to assess user activity, in relation to this content, to ensure that this money is spent as productively as possible.

The COUNTER Code of Practice helps librarians demonstrate the value of electronic resources by facilitating the recording and reporting of online resource usage stats in a consistent and credible way.

The implementation of the Code of Practice helps publishers and vendors support their library customers and provide statistics comparable with those of their competitors.


The takeaway

  1. Standards help ensure accountability
  2. COUNTER's Code of Practice is a standard used to measure the usage of electronic resources
  3. Measuring usage in a consistent way allows for comparisons across libraries and vendors

COUNTER and SCLS

Historically, SCLS has provided usage statistics pulled from our authentication scripts. These stats are not COUNTER-compliant and are really only a rough estimate of how many users requested a resource, not if/how they used the resource once they arrived there (think "gate count" as opposed to "checkouts"). In upcoming months, we will be modifying our authentication system to try to get better, COUNTER-compliant statistics for member libraries and for the DPI annual reports. Watch for more information about this on the SCLS Technology News blog.

Photo by Travel-Cents on Unsplash

It never hurts to double-check

Many libraries subscribe to online databases like NoveList Plus, Chilton, AtoZ Databases, and others. If access to a subscription isn't working, hopefully the library's staff or patrons will report the problem to the library, and the library will spring into action to fix the problem (for SCLS libraries, by letting the SCLS Help Desk know about it).

However, sometimes nobody catches the problem until it's been a problem for quite a while. For this reason, I'd like to suggest that a couple of times a year (especially in late January after yearly subscription changes are made), library staff double-check access to the library's subscriptions just to make sure everything is working like it should be. Check from an in-library computer, and also give a check from a computer not at the library to make sure remote access is working, too. Lion2

SCLS Electronic Resources

If access to one of your library's Electronic Resources isn't working like it should, please contact the Help Desk.

Original lion photo by Lemuel Butler on Unsplash

What do you know about BadgerLink?

BadgerLink is a service provided by the Department of Public Instruction which provides Wisconsin residents with licensed content not available through regular search engines.
BadgerLink
Some of the resources BadgerLink provides include LearningExpress Library (practice tests and tutorials for students and adult learners), EBSCO databases (everything from auto repair to articles on business, health, and general topics), HeritageQuest Online (genealogy resources), to name just a few. We link to some of the BadgerLink resources from the SCLS System-Wide Resources webpage for easy access for SCLS residents, and the full collection resources is available from the BadgerLink website.

Here are some more interesting tidbits about BadgerLink.

Did you know...

Although I use BadgerLink resources all the time, I had never known exactly how BadgerLink is funded, who is behind the scenes, and how BadgerLink came to be until I read "Behind the Scenes at BadgerLink." It's worth a look!

Info Sheets for BadgerLink Resources

BadgerLink recently announced they've added "Info Sheets," short and easy-to-digest training materials for educators, librarians, and the general public.  The Info Sheets give a quick overview of the navigation of each resource and also provide information about full-text availability, how to access a permalink, if there is an automatic citation feature, and copyright information for the resource.

Access NewspaperARCHIVE info sheet (p.1)



The Info Sheets and many other types of training materials can be found on the BadgerLink Training page.

More information about the Info Sheets can be found in this  "Announcing Info Sheets and Training Survey" post on the WI Libraries blog.

Flipster support for patrons & library staff

EBSCO offers support options for Flipster digital magazines, by clicking the Help link on the Flipster website:

Flipster

Since these options are available on the same screens that all users see, they are reachable by library staff and patrons alike—though the contact form does helpfully advise, "The librarian or administrator at your institution can best handle your inquiry."

Reading Rolling Stone (and other titles) on your device

RollingStoneDo you read magazines? Do you wish you could read popular magazines on your computer, tablet or phone?
Flipster is a digital magazine service provided courtesy of the SCLS libraries. Flipster can be accessed online using a computer or mobile device. Offline viewing is available via the Flipster app for iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle Fire tablets.

Help using Flipster can be found in EBSCO's Flipster User Guide or, if you prefer videos, in these EBSCO videos on YouTube. SCLS Director Martha VanPelt also shared information about Flipster in this 5-min spot on CW57's "Talk of the Town."

Promoting Flipster
You can find Flipster promotional materials on the SCLS website. You can also link to Flipster using this URL which goes through SCLS authentication: https://www.scls.lib.wi.us/cgi-bin/libauth.cgi?connectto=FLP.

If there are certain titles you'd like to promote, you can link to those too.  The key is to be sure to use the URL that goes through SCLS authentication.  Here's how to find it:

  1. Search for the Flipster title in LINKcat (searching for "Flipster" should bring up all Flipster titles)
  2. Click on the desired title
  3. On the details page, right-click the "Click here to access" link and copy the URL/link/shortcut (different browsers use different terminology) 
  4. Paste the link you copied into your tweet, Facebook status update, email, etc.

An example
I'd like to promote People magazine in Flipster. I did a LINKcat search for "people flipster" which took me right to the record.

Flipsterpeople

Right-clicking on the "Click here to access online" link and copying the URL gives me this: https://www.scls.lib.wi.us/cgi-bin/libauth.cgi?connectto=TIFLP&bquery=HJ%20PEO.  Because the URL is going through the SCLS authentication script, patrons inside the library will go straight into Flipster, and patrons outside the library will be prompted for their barcode to access the subscription.
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Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) is currently conducting a survey for the public about digital magazines to help in guiding the development of Wisconsin's Digital Library. Please continue on with the survey regardless of whether you have or have not used digital magazines, as you still have valuable information to share. The survey will take less than 10 min. to complete and is available through March 9th.

Digitization/Oral History Interest Survey Results

Recently we surveyed SCLS member libraries about a topic that is getting attention*: digitizing materials and collecting community members' oral histories. With 25 SCLS member libraries providing substantive responses, the survey had a response rate of 47% and included libraries from all counties in SCLS.

Screen shot of survey summary resultsFindings in brief:

  • 92% believe it would be somewhat to very useful for SCLS to provide equipment to digitize historic print materials and/or capture oral histories.
  • A more detailed summary of survey responses is available.

Printed Materials:

  • 92% are somewhat to very interested in digitizing local printed media.
  • Photographs were the type of print material with the greatest number of respondents indicating a strong interest in digitizing (18).
  • For each aspect of the printed material digitization project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with equipment needed by the greatest number (20).

Oral Histories:

  • 80% are somewhat to very interested in interviewing community members to gather oral histories.
  • For each aspect of the oral history project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with audio editing software needed by the greatest number (18).

Thank you to all the library staff who completed the survey! SCLS staff will use this feedback as we plan future programs and services.

* For example, Wisconsin is joining the Digital Public Library of America, WPLC has a work group on Collaborative Digitization, there was a full-day digitization workshop offered at WiLSWorld 2015, and it's been discussed by SCLS's Library Innovation Subcommittee and Digital Content Work Group. (And those examples are just from sources I monitor consistently. What else am I missing?)

EBSCO Explora

By June 30th, EBSCO's new Explora interfaces will replace Searchasaurus, Kids Search and Student Research Center. The three new interfaces (Explora for Elementary Schools, Explora for Middle & High Schools, and Explora for Everyone) use the same great EBSCO databases, just displayed in a new and improved interface. They are accessible through the SCLS EBSCO account, courtesy of BadgerLink.

Explora for Elementary Schools
Explora for Elementary Schools is the replacement for Searchasaurus and Kids Search and features colorful pictures and school subject categories for easy browsing. More info and training is available through BadgerLink.

Explora for Middle & High Schools
Explora for Middle and High Schools is the replacement for Kids Search and Student Research Center and features an easy to use interface and updated functionality like the cite button. More info and training is available through BadgerLink.

Explora for Everyone
Explora for Everyone is a new interface for the general public that simultaneously searches 20 EBSCO databases for an easy one stop search. More info and training is available through BadgerLink.

Learn more about Explora in this short YouTube video (3:20):

more SLP

The first 2 of Jean's posts to help you develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers) are available:

  • Ancestry Library - Get the low-down on this fantastic genealogy resource!
  • NoveList - Learn more about the ultimate Readers Advisory tool for all ages and genres!

Each post includes an overview of the online resource, a short exercise to become more familiar with it, and a 3-4 question quiz (optional) to check your work. There are also links to additional training materials should you want to explore the resource even more -- for example, the Ancestry Library resources mentioned in the post included everything from their online Learning Center to "5 Minute Finds" YouTube tutorials to hour-long SCLS training webinars.

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Ancestry Library is one of my favorites. I love to pull up the original census records and see who was living in the household, how old they were, where they were born, their occupations and more. Later in the summer, Jean will also cover another of my favorites, NewspaperARCHIVE, which is a another great genealogy resource. Combine these with the new SCLS slide and photo scanning kit and think of what genealogy fun you could have!

Develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers)

We've heard lots about the "Summer Slide" and how the Summer Library Program helps to prevent this.  

This summer, Jean will be introducing a 12 week program for librarians on the Know More blog to enhance and improve their SLP (Super Librarian Powers). Starting June 1, she'll highlight a variety of online resources (aka databases), searching tips & tricks, and more. Each week's post will also include a short activity to help you to become more familiar with the resource, and links to additional training and help.

Sounds like fun, right? You can follow the Know More blog via RSS or email (sign up is on the right side of the blog under "Subscribe"). If you're not already familiar with all the great online resources or you just want to brush up on them, here's an easy way to do it!