To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Building on sand? Using statistical measures to assess the impact of electronic services

Angela Conyers (Evidence Base, UCE Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 1 January 2006



This paper sets out to consider the importance of statistical measures for any study of the impact of electronic services and to describe how relevant statistics can be collected and analysed.


It is based on the results of two complementary research projects at evidence base, the first, the e‐measures project, working with UK higher education libraries on establishing a set of national and local measures for electronic services, and the second, a study and analysis of usage statistics for four publisher deals within the NESLi2 initiative.


The e‐measures project has demonstrated some of the issues involved in the collection of reliable usage statistics, while the NESLi2 study has developed a framework for analysis which can be applied more widely. The successful introduction of COUNTER compliance has created a more reliable statistical basis for this analysis.

Research limitations/implications

The NESLi2 study covered only a limited time period (January 2003‐June 2004) and its findings remain confidential. The study is now being extended to cover the whole of 2004 and it is hoped that agreement will then be obtained to publish some of the major findings.

Practical implications

The NESLi2 report contains a number of recommendations that are designed to help higher education libraries with the management and analysis of statistical measures. These, and other initiatives, are discussed.


The paper is of interest particularly to higher education libraries that wish to gain a more accurate picture of their use of electronic services. The methods of analysis described will also be relevant to other types of library.



Conyers, A. (2006), "Building on sand? Using statistical measures to assess the impact of electronic services", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 37-44.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited