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2008 Usage Statistics: Journal, Database and E-book Update

By Chan Li, CDL Library Data Analyst

2008 annual UC systemwide aggregated and campus-by-campus usage statistics for selected major Tier 1 and Tier 2 journals, databases and e-books are now available on the Inside CDL website at

Besides the two types of reports provided during the past few years, ejournal article downloads and database searches and sessions, CDL has begun to include e-book section download reports.  For Springer e-books, the first systemwide e-book pilot, usage reports are included by campus and subject.  Usage can be viewed by Springer subject categories. As new Tier 1 and Tier 2 e-book packages become available they will also be included in these reports.

Last year, several large publishers had problems reporting usage data for their content.  Elsevier ScienceDirect usage downloads were overstated by about 13% for the months of August 2008 to December 2008 for the UC libraries.  This made the 2008 ‘full year’ Elsevier usage statistics overstated by about 5%.  The reports are in the process of being corrected and have not yet been included in the 2008 annual usage reports.  Wiley has not yet provided July-December 2008 usage data for their Blackwell content.  CDL is working with these publishers to resolve the problems and will post the corrected reports when they are available.

One of the observations from reading the 2008 usage reports is that there are wide variations in some reported statistics.  Some of the changes may reflect actual usage trends and some may result from anomalies in the data. Below are some possible reasons for the usage changes:

  • New content or backfiles have been added
  • New features or links implemented on the interface associated with full-text access
  • Data mining activities
  • More external entry points for the full-text content, e.g., Google Scholar
  • Greater use of Google Scholar and other search engines instead of A&I databases, resulting in usage declines for those databases
  • Research interest changes on the campuses

In addition, some publishers are now providing and end-users have begun using software that allows users to easily download multiple full-text articles simultaneously.  For example, since September 2008, Elsevier has partnered with Quosa, a document download software company, to allow users to download up to 20 PDF versions of full-text research with only a few clicks.  CDL will be monitoring the effect these new tools may have on UC usage reports.

CDL will continue to monitor resource usage for identifiable trends and investigate those databases and journals with unusual usage patterns.

For more information, contact Chan Li (