or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


#PLA12 NewsBank Database Usage Study

   March 15th, 2012 Brian Herzog

NewsBank has been conducting a study with 100+ libraries of various sizes, to look closely at how library databases are used. Here are my notes on the presentation, and the short discussion afterward.

  • As daily newspaper shrink (in page count), archiving shrinks as well (many newspapers are posting more to their websites than they put in print, and they are not archiving that content)
  • The trend of investment is going to "first-to-web" systems model, mobile and social network integration, and paywalls and metering systems
  • Library databases appear to be ~80% remote usage
  • Majority of use is for older content, not current news - 80% of articles accessed are more than 90 days old. Of that 80%:
    • 18% = 1-4 years old
    • 32% = 5-9 years old
    • 50% = >10 years old
  • Majority of searches are for local news: people names and local topics (political issues, crime, businesses, development of schools, etc)

As a bonus, the local NewsBank rep explained how to properly order a Philly cheesesteak:

  1. Specify the quantity you want
  2. Specify your cheese:
    • Wiz = cheese wiz
    • American = American cheese
    • provi = provolone
  3. Specify fried onions or no:
    • Wid = with onions
    • Widout = without onions

So, an order for one cheesesteak with cheese wiz and onions would be:

One - wiz - wid



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Most Popular Computer Ebooks (at my library)

   September 22nd, 2011 Brian Herzog

Safari Computer EbooksSince getting back to work this week, I've been trying to get caught up on emails and feeds.

Stephen's Lighthouse linked to the top 25 most downloaded titles on Overdrive - which reminded me that I had recently done our year-end database usage stats, and compiled highest-access titles for our Safari Computer Ebooks database.

Our top 12 most-accessed books were:

Title, Author Accessed
Sams Teach Yourself Java in 24 Hours, Fifth Edition, by Rogers Cadenhead 706
CISSP Exam Cram, Second Edition, by Michael Gregg 684
CISSP Study Guide, by Eric Conrad, Seth Misenar, Joshua Feldman 677
The Green Screen Handbook, by Jeff Foster 577
Java: A Beginner's Tutorial, by Budi Kurniawan 462
Adobe InDesign CS5 On Demand, by Steve Johnson - Perspection, Inc. 358
SAP MM HANDBOOK, by Kogent Learning Solutions, Inc. 356
Microsoft Excel 2010 Step by Step, by Curtis D. Frye 340
Sams Teach Yourself Android Application Development in 24 Hours, by Lauren Darcey, Shane Conder 305
Beginning iPhone and iPad Web Apps: Scripting with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, by Chris Apers, Daniel Paterson 278
Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial: Learn Rails by Example, by Michael Hartl 270
IT Systems Management, Second Edition, by Rich Schiesser 220

The Safari stats interface doesn't make it really easy to identify this. Finding the number of sessions isn't too bad*, but we have to report the total number of "circulations" for these ebooks - which to me means the number of times each one was accessed.

I was able to run one report that seemed like a master total usage report, which I think indicated that 433 of our ebooks have been "hit" a total of 12,256 times.

Also interesting, if I'm reading these reports right, those 433 books are only about 1/8 of the collection, meaning 7/8 never got touched even once. Also, of those 433, 250 were accessed five or fewer times (totaling 410 circs), and the top twelve books (which all had >200 "hits") have a combined total of 5233 circs. Which means that 12 books account for a little under half of our total activity.

That is shocking, but also should be a fairly good indicator of what the leading technologies are right now (at least for my patrons, and among the selections available in our Safari catalog) - and a good reason to supplement our Safari access with print copies.

 


*Incidentally, we had 963 patron user sessions for FY11



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