Measuring use of licensed electronic resources

Dana Thomas (Collection Services, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Catherine Davidson (York University, Toronto, Canada)
Martha Kyrillidou (Association of Research Libraries, Washington, DC, USA)
Terry Plum (Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Publication date: 20 July 2012



Entering into its 11th year, the Ontario Council of University Libraries' Scholars Portal ( is in its second year of systematic evaluation of its content and services. This paper aims to examine this iteration.


This paper focuses on the 2010‐2011 results and provides a brief description of the differences between the two implementations.


This paper presents key findings from the OCUL data analysis that address the research questions proposed by the study. How does the use of consortial products compare to that of individually‐licensed content? What can we infer from those results about the profile and visibility of these collections? How are patrons discovering different formats such as e‐books? Who are these patrons, and why are they using electronic collections? The paper examines the implications of running the survey in mandatory and optional modes, the characteristics of the non‐respondents of web‐based, intercept surveys in the academic institution, the efficacy of surveying users through an open‐URL resolver and other issues that present themselves when attempting to survey a large user base across a consortium versus an individual institution.


The originality and value of this survey are the following: the use of SFX as the instrument for the intercept survey on a consortial scale; the use of the every nth sampling plan; the longitudinal comparison of results collected over time from a large research consortium; the purpose of use by consortium, by institution, and by top ten vendors; the examination of ebook usage by classification of user and by purpose of use; and the ability of this methodology to provide a continuous evaluation of the use of networked electronic resources.



Thomas, D., Davidson, C., Kyrillidou, M. and Plum, T. (2012), "Measuring use of licensed electronic resources", Library Management, Vol. 33 No. 6/7, pp. 374-388.

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