Case Study Part 2: Apples, Oranges, and Pears

Case Study Part 2: Apples, Oranges, and Pears

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3238-5.ch004
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

Apart from the overall success of COUNTER Release 4 in further enabling e-book vendors to provide standardized usage reports, some major “roadblocks” remain. The fact that publishers and vendors of e-books deliver their products differently led to COUNTER's development of book reports to cover the diversity of e-book platforms. Consequently, COUNTER allows vendors to choose between BR1 and BR2, and other “alternatives.” What are the consequences when COUNTER provides vendors with choices among the standard book reports, while the “alternatives” are not quite the same? Chapter 4, the second part of case study, examines COUNTER data in detail. It explores the implications of the fact that vendors do not provide same COUNTER book reports and/or implement the COUNTER standards differently. The chapter identifies issues in interpreting vendor-provided COUNTER reports with examples and data illustrations.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Apart from the overall success of COUNTER Release 4 in further enabling e-book vendors to provide standardized usage reports, some major “roadblocks” remain (Pesch, 2011). The fact that publishers and vendors of e-books “define, structure and distribute” their products differently, i.e. some deliver e-books in a single file and others in individual chapters, sections, or entries, led to COUNTER’s development of book reports (such as BR1 and BR2) to cover both scenarios (Shepherd, 2006). Consequently, COUNTER allows vendors to choose between BR1 and BR2, and other “alternatives.”

In BR2, the concept of “section” as a counting unit has multiple implications. Although section is defined by COUNTER as “the first level of subdivision of a book or reference work,” the type of sections varies among individual vendors, depending on the structure of the content and delivery, and vendors’ interpretation. In reality, section types are diverse even among a single vendor’s products. As result, the definition of section type in BR2 may vary among vendors, or a single BR2 report may include multiple section types.

This chapter aims to examine the degree of credibility, consistency, and comparability of the COUNTER reports by ebrary, EBSCO, and Safari as pertinent to this case study. It focuses on the following issues and questions:

  • 1.

    Not all COUNTER standard book reports are available from all COUNTER-compliant vendors. What does this mean to their customers?

  • 2.

    COUNTER provides vendors with choices among the standard book reports. However, the “alternatives” are not quite the same. How will this work in practice?

  • 3.

    In BR2, COUNTER leaves the section type for individual vendors to define. What are the consequences?

  • 4.

    In BR2, COUNTER allows multiple section types but only the predominant type is to be listed in the report. What impact does this have on the customer who interprets the data?

Top

Ebsco Br1 Vs. Br2

The difference between BR1 and BR2 is that one counts usage at title level while the other counts at section level. As Friendly Guide to COUNTER explains, “[BR1] is only to be used when books are delivered in their entirety; where book sections are viewed separately, use BR2” (Mellins-Cohen, 2016, p. 10). The Guide also describes how data is recorded for each COUNTER book report. In both BR1 and BR2, usage is counted when a user requests a page. The difference between the two is that the request in BR1 displays or downloads a complete book while BR2 displays a book section.

Among the three vendors in this case study, EBSCO is the only vendor who provides BR1. For the 2015/2016 academic year, EBSCO’s BR1 listed 471 successful title requests over 252 titles. A random check of these titles against the library catalog found that most were indeed EBSCO e-books acquired by the library.

EBSCO’s BR1 provides essential and valuable information on e-books usage. The total number of titles is perhaps the most important usage data as it enables librarians to calculate the percentage of the library’s EBSCO e-books used in an academic year. The list of unique titles informs librarians what specific e-books were used, which can be valuable information for collection assessment. The total number of titles and title requests not only gives overall usage information but also allows librarians to compute the average use per title. The breakdown of figures by month and title gives further detail on how many times an individual e-book was accessed and in which month(s). This helps librarians analyze trends and patterns in e-books usage.

BR1 provides informative and useful data, although it does not show what each individual title request constitutes, nor to what extent the e-book was used behind each title request. For example, a successful title request does not reveal how many pages of the book the user reads, whether the user only reads the opening page, or if the user downloads the entire book. To measure the extent of usage behind each successful title request, the customer will have to consult the EBSCO standard report (i.e. EBSCO’s non-COUNTER e-book usage report).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset