Economics and Usage of Digital Libraries: Byting the BulletSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Staffing. Obviously, shelving decreases when journals are no longer physically stored in the library. Bound journal re-shelving has been reduced by 40 percent and re-shelving of current journal issues is down over 20 percent over the past two years. At Drexel, the collection of print journal re-shelving statistics is only partly automated. Shelvers track use by title as they shelve bound volumes and current issues. Fewer journals to shelve also translates to less time collecting print re-shelving statistics.
Electronic Use Statistics. In theory, it is easier to collect use statistics and richer, more accurate demographic and search information for electronic journal usage because data collection can be automated and expanded. In reality, at this time it is very difficult and labor intensive to obtain useful and comparable title-by-title use data for electronic journals and compile them in a way that is helpful for making management decisions. Activity measures and, in particular, comparable activity measures across journal vendor services are frustratingly difficult to come by. Mercer (2000) describes the problems encountered in trying to collect and analyze the vendor information to use it for service evaluation and decision-making. Among the statistics reported are session length, number of searches, journal title hits, page hits, types of pages hit, top XX titles accessed each month, "turnaways," form and type of articles downloaded, and number of unique IP addresses using a service or journal title.
Since the data for print volumes are not strictly comparable, they must be interpreted carefully. Our print statistics represent volumes or issues re-shelved rather than actual articles copied or read, while the e-journal statistics below represent articles accessed which may or may not have been read. The print use data is somewhat under-reported because, even when asked not to, users re-shelve journals after they look at them. Even so, from preliminary data we can say confidently that our users are accessing the electronic journals in numbers far exceeding our print collection.
Photocopying. Since our statistics have decreased so dramatically for print journal usage, it is only logical that photocopier use would also decrease since this is one of the primary uses of our library photocopiers. Photocopy use has decreased about 20 percent since electronic journals were introduced.