Friday, August 1, 2008

Link Resolver statistics and Collection Building : one small step?

I've just been perusing the monthly SFX statistics that I've set up as automatic monthly emails and decided to actually try doing something with the stats rather than just record them. Great job for a Friday.

The particular stats I played with today are the 'Books accessed via SFX ranked by use'. These stats indicate which books were returned in searches (both within Metalib and in the database UIs we've embedded the SFX service) which in turn attracted a client's attention enough to click on 'Find It'. The stats show how many times this this happened for each ISBN.

I reasoned that this data could be a useful indicator of both the titles and subject areas clients are searching for which in turn would aid acquisitions decisions by:
  • Identifying high demand titles not in the collection
  • Highlighting subject areas under represented in the collection
  • Giving liaison librarians an insight into the information needs of their clients
What the report doesn't show is whether we hold the item in any format, so a manual check of the catalogue is required. The only identifying metadata for the title available is ISBN.

I decided to check all the ISBNs that had more than two requests and if they were not part of the JCU collection list the bibliographic details with a link to more information (either from a publisher, vendor or Google Books) which would further aid the decision to purchase or not.

Two side points:
  • About 40% of the requests had no ISBN, making them impossible trace just using the report
  • The clickthrough rates for books are about half what we get for journal articles
It's just a trial to gauge its perceived utility with the liaison librarians and a bunch of improvements could be made. For example, I'd like to either break it into faculties/schools.

I'm about to send it to the liaison librarians to see what they think. Maybe they'll even comment in this blog

1 comment:

Helen H said...

Hi Alan, don't want to debate on what is better amazon or google books but it is useful to get this list periodically to see what clients are looking for. If it can be sorted by subject areas all the better. What is the possibility of putting the upated list on the web on Just Us rather than a monthly email?

That means that liaison librarians can access the list at thier point of need, browsing in this instance would be better by subject and adding new entries for each month to the same list would be useful. Hope that makes sense.