What Is COUNTER and Why Is It Important?

What Is COUNTER and Why Is It Important?

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3238-5.ch001


Electronic usage data serves an important purpose for librarians who need to assess user activities with electronic collections. Comparing usage reports by different vendors requires sorting out the various types of reports that are available and assessing how and if they can effectively be compared. This book attempts to investigate what makes vendor usage reports compatible or incompatible, and to what degree. It includes a case study where the authors analyze and interpret their institution's data in order to provide others with possible strategies for productively engaging with e-book usage reports. Chapter 1 gives a brief account on Project COUNTER (Counting Networked Electronic Resources). COUNTER supports the process of collection assessment by providing standards for vendors and publishers to follow in delivering usage data to libraries. The COUNTER Code of Practice aims for usage data to be credible, consistent, and comparable, three core principles. This chapter describes the purpose of COUNTER, its underlying principles and core standards, and more importantly, who will benefit from the COUNTER standards.
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Main Focus

Usage reports are important assessment tools for librarians when making collection development and cancellation decisions. Understanding and using report data effectively may be facilitated by gaining additional insight into the types of reports that are offered by various vendors. The purpose of this book is 1) for librarians, to make sense of usage reports provided by e-book vendors to determine what data are available and how the data can be interpreted, 2) for library science students, to serve as an introduction to the benefits and challenges of vendor-produced usage reports, 3) for vendors, to help them understand librarians’ perspectives and provide feedback on using vendor reports, and 4) for the standards community, to offer observations and share findings resulting from this case study.

In writing this book the authors aim to introduce readers to the types of usage reports available, including COUNTER and non-COUNTER reports; recognize unique data offered by each type of reports; examine inherent challenges with interpreting usage data; and discuss potential solutions for the problem of comparing “apples” with “oranges” in usage reports. The primary focus will be given to COUNTER reports. The goal of this book is to help librarians better understand how COUNTER works and interpret usage data from vendor-provided reports.

By analyzing and comparing usage reports in a case study, the authors will assess vendor COUNTER reports against credibility, consistency, and compatibility, the three COUNTER principles.

This book will:

  • Examine and/or verify:

    • o

      Whether the data presented in vendor COUNTER reports followed the COUNTER standards;

    • o

      Whether the data are credible, consistent, and compatible, and to what degree;

  • Evaluate vendor non-COUNTER reports against the same principles;

  • Identify potential issues and challenges in interpreting data;

  • Explore the root of issues and seek possible resolutions;

  • Attempt to consolidate vendor COUNTER and non-COUNTER reports, finding strengths of both while seeking solutions to overcome disparities, inconsistencies, and incompatibility among reports from different vendors.

Readers will:

  • Learn about the COUNTER standards;

  • Understand how data are delivered or presented in COUNTER and non-COUNTER reports by publishers and vendors;

  • Discover unique data offered by both types of vendor reports;

  • Recognize and overcome challenges with interpreting usage data.

Complete Chapter List

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