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COUNTER in Context

COUNTER in Context

Presentation to Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians' workshop on "A Dive into Data: Using Counter and Tableau"

Scarlet Galvan

June 06, 2022

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  1. COUNTER in Context Scarlet Galvan | Collection Strategist Librarian Grand

    Valley State University Libraries Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians | June 2022
  2. I’m Scarlet I’m the Collection Strategist Librarian. At GVSU this

    means I’m responsible for the library’s negotiation frameworks, reinvestment priorities, strategies around the collection and services, developing policy, and assessment projects.
  3. Institutional context: Grand Valley State • R3 • Public •

    About 23,000 students • “Teacher-scholar” model: many faculty researching praxis, assessment, and using a variety of pedagogies. • ILS from Sierra → FOLIO in June 2021.
  4. A picture in need of a frame • COUNTER is

    usually a starting point, not an end point for decision making. • COUNTER requires context.
  5. COUNTER as a diagnostic tool Connectivity between systems. Snapshots of

    activity. A starting place for return-on- investment analysis.
  6. Three scenarios, three takeaways Each institution has different values and

    goals. Each library encountered different questions using COUNTER data.
  7. Scenario 1 • Small public liberal arts college. • Many

    alumni pursue graduate degrees. • Library has a relatively flat organizational structure where information sharing is used to understand strategy and decisions.
  8. COUNTER alone: • Use of American Chemical Society journals quadrupled

    in one year! • No institutional memory of this happening before.
  9. Takeaway Not all unexpected use is fraudulent use. It might

    be a couple of researchers with time to get caught up on reading.
  10. Scenario 2 • R1 with a medical school, residency program,

    and several specialized centers for research. • University cut millions of dollars to the library’s collection budget.
  11. COUNTER + ILL: • A prestigious medical journal has almost

    no use according to two years of COUNTER data. • No requests during the same period for interlibrary loan on this title.
  12. What might be the cause? Is it a case of

    “needing” a resource? Was there an issue with discovery or the knowledge base? What’s going on in the learning management system?
  13. Competing stories • “Data is data and therefore unimpeachable” vs

    “Something is happening with the data.” • “Faculty must not have participated in the process” vs “Sometimes data can be given nuance through individual experience.” • “Going after the most expensive subscriptions is the best way to absorb the cut” vs “Resources are complex and often not as straightforward as on or off.”
  14. Scenario 3 • A new colleague in the liaison group

    wants to know how to best direct their time and capacity. They ask about resource usage in their disciplines to learn more.
  15. COUNTER + LibGuides: • COUNTER shows high investigations of resources

    in the disciplinary areas your new colleague is covering. • “Generalist” and intro guides get very little use in this subject area. • Class-specific guides get the highest use. • COUNTER investigations are high, but requests are low.
  16. What might be the cause? Users may be skimming search

    results and headlines to stay current. Uneven levels of collaboration between teaching faculty and library. First and second year students may use other resources.
  17. Other mitigating factors • Many providers unlocked content during initial

    Covid shutdowns in 2020. • Many providers migrated from COUNTER 4 to COUNTER 5 during this time as well. • Remote teaching, learning, and working may influence statistics depending on local configurations.
  18. A final consideration • COUNTER has limitations. Those limitations should

    not be justification to engage in limitless surveillance. • From an ethical standpoint, I only want to know the minimum necessary in order to improve services and make collections decisions.