Tag Archives: Ashley Moye

Law Libraries, Looseleafs, and Print – Oh My!

Source: Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Few law librarians these days are sheltered from the battles of print vs. electronic waging war across our lands.  A common site for skirmishes is the “Land of Looseleafs” – do we get an adequate return on the investment we make in these materials? Take a look at what our neighbors north of the border at Slaw have to say about the pains and gains of loose-leaf publications in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital:
For a more in-depth look at what North American law libraries are currently spending and plan to spend on print materials, including loose-leafs, you can order the Primary Research Group’s recent publication “Law Library Plans for the Print Materials Collection”.
Incidentally, the sample sets of statistics provided in their press release caused one DePaul law librarian, Mark Giangrande, to make an interesting observation: “We in the academic business try to prepare students for the tools that they can expect to use in practice. If law firms are buying less print… why are academic libraries still buying at a much higher percentage?”  Why indeed, Mark? Why indeed?

~Ashley Moye~

TSLL TechScans is “a blog to share the latest trends and technology tools for technical services law librarians.”  This content was originally posted on TSLL TechScans and is reprinted here with permission.

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The Charlotte Law Library Joins Perma.cc

The Charlotte Law Library has recently become a partner of the Perma.cc service.

Perma.cc is a service that helps scholars, courts and others create web citation links that will never break.

When a user creates a Perma.cc link, Perma.cc archives the referenced content and generates a link to an archived record of the page. Regardless of what may happen to the original source, the archived record will always be available through the Perma.cc link.

To learn more about preventing link rot using Perma.cc, check out the “Preventing Link Rot with Perma” tabs on the library’s Student Publishing Guide or Research & Scholarship: A Faculty Guide.

~Ashley Moye~

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Revisiting Charlotte Chamber’s 3rd Annual Technology Summit

The Charlotte Chamber’s 3rd Annual Technology Summit convened on Friday, August 28, with attendees ranging from CIO’s and technologists to business and non-profits leaders.  Adding to the diverse cross-section this year were two CharlotteLaw librarians: Tracie Krumbine, Library User Experience (LUX) Technology Librarian, and Ashley Moye, Metadata & Digital Initiatives Librarian.

Steve Hagood, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Ingersoll Rand, began the day with an overview of the state of technology in the Charlotte region and set the framework for the day’s panel discussions – analytics, cybersecurity, and developing technology talent.

The first panel, focused specifically on data analytics and moderated by Janet-Lee Hatt, Managing Director Southeast Region at Genesis 10, featured Dr. Michael Dulin, Director of Research and Evidence Based Medicine at Carolinas HealthCare System, Dr. Tim Chartier, Associate Professor Mathematics and Computer Science at Davidson College, and Chris Dziekan, Executive Vice President at Pentaho.  One of the driving points during the analytics segment was the importance of deriving value from data and not just gathering data for its own sake.  Similarly, the panel emphasized the need to spend less time gathering data and more time creating value from the data to gain insight.  For example, Dr. Tim Chartier, broadly discussed some work he has done with analytics for basketball teams to show efficiencies of using a particular five-man lineup versus another lineup.  His discussion of math analytics in the sports world offered a new perspective on use of math in a much broader context.

The second panel, focused on cybersecurity and moderated by Brian Cummings, Consultative Client Partner at Tata Consultancy Services, featured Dr. Mary Lou Maher, Department Chair – Software and Information Systems at UNC Charlotte, Betsy Wille, Senior Director – Information Technology Risk & Information Security at TIAA-CREF, and Colleen Moss, Cyber Agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation as panelists.  This all-woman panel offered a wonderful overview of policies, practices and precautions all businesses and technology positions should be aware of.

The third panel featured CIOs and was moderated by Stephanie Sadowski, Managing Director of Accenture.  Chris Heck, Chief Information Officer of Duke Energy, Josh Jewett, Chief Information Officer of Family Dollar, and Elizabeth Austin, Chief Information Officer of Systems Maintenance Services, all participated in an informative conversation about a wide spectrum of topics, ending by taking questions from the audience.

The final panel focused on building our technology talent pipeline and was moderated by Dr. Cheryl Richards, Chief Executive Officer & Regional Dean of Northeastern University – Charlotte.  Panelists Dan Russell, Senior Vice President Global Delivery of TEKsystems, Michael Rapken, Chief Technology Officer of Press Ganey, Dr. Bojan Cukic, Chair – Department of Computer Science at UNC Charlotte, and Dr. Valerie Truesdale, Chief Information Officer of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, added valuable perspectives about ways we can help prepare our future workforce, from primary school to secondary school and beyond.

The Charlotte area features an astounding number of information technology professionals, and the region is adding jobs at an extraordinary pace.  Overall, this conference allowed attendees to gather a wealth of knowledge in addition to invaluable connections and resources from the public, private and non-profit sector leaders, and gave participants a chance to become a vibrant part of the continuing conversation and technology movement in the Charlotte area.

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Database Usage Statistics and Challenges of Determining the Value of Electronic Expenditures in the Legal Realm


In my last column, we left off with how Project Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) is transforming the usage statistics landscape, making usage reports a simple and effective tool for comparing and contrasting patron behavior and preferences in databases across the board. A great weakness in legal databases, however, is the lack of COUNTER-compliant reporting, and sometimes the lack of any reporting at all, leaving us with a big question. How can I take the statistics available to me, regardless of compliance, and transform them into a viable assessment tool, especially in regards to the subscription cancellation decisions that currently haunt the landscape of law librarianship?

There are obvious difficulties in choosing whether to cancel or keep databases when usage data is not standardized. Unless reports are COUNTER-compliant, there is no way of knowing if “Searches” on one report is equivalent to “Searches” on another report, much less how to compare “Searches” to completely dissimilar terms. What about “Visitors”? Are these the total number of separate accesses, the number of “unique” visitors, or something else entirely? One of the first steps during and after gathering your usage reports is to identify the definitions of particular words. If you cannot find definitions for the terms on your report somewhere in an FAQ or a Help link on the database site or administrative portal, then reach out to customer service or your own school’s representative and find these definitions.

But, an even more practical step is gathering the reports to begin with. Some databases have usage reports available in an administrative portal, others have a portal dedicated specifically to usage reports, others have an interface built in to the database itself, and still others require you to directly contact your representatives. The best options are those which let you create custom reports or at least run standardized reports yourself on demand, from both off and on site; contacting representatives presents its own brand of unique challenges. Any time your representative changes, either your interim or replacement representative will need to figure out how to complete your request, and this may produce a set of entirely different reports. If you have a particular way you are accustomed to seeing the data, send that to your new representative when making requests. This tactic can also be useful with older reps if you only ask for this data annually and want to ensure consistency.

While your institution can run monthly statistics and create a variety of visually appealing comparison charts, at the very least, you should gather and compile available usage statistics for each database at least a month before renewal. When COUNTER reports are available, some of the most popular and useful reports include Journal Report 1, which contains successful full-text article requests by month and journal, and Database Report 3, which contains searches and sessions by month and service. COUNTER 4 compliant sites offer Platform Report 1 instead of Database Report 3, containing total searches, result clicks, and record views by month and platform. Turnaways are useful when you’re assessing potential ways to grow your collection, as they demonstrate what content your patrons are trying to access that is unavailable with your current subscription. When COUNTER reports are not available, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with each database’s unique capability and assess your preference individually.

Here are some of the major players in law schools and how to access their reports. I cannot claim that this is a completely accurate list, as it has grown, morphed, and changed over the years to reflect database capabilities. Despite all of my efforts to stay current, I’m always learning things I didn’t already know could be done or my representatives weren’t aware could be done. If you have anything to add or information on other databases that would be of interest to law librarians, please send it to amoye@charlottelaw.edu and I’ll add an update to my next column, as well as my own personal records!

  • Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) – BNA requires contacting the representative directly, and reported usage is broken down by quarter, including email alerts, visits, and page views. The cumulative quarterly report makes it challenging to add BNA into any sort of comprehensive monthly database usage report. Bloomberg BNA does not have usage reporting capabilities at this time.
  • Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) – With CALI, you must contact your representative directly, and you can obtain the total number of lessons accessed by month.
  • Commerce Clearing House (CCH) – CCH has changed over the years. When I first started my usage statistics journey eight years ago, reports came through your representative. Then, there was a separate interface where, after requesting access, you could create your own reports. At this point, CCH again requires you to request reports through your representative. Representatives can create a variety of reports, so I usually send our preferred report when I send in a request; this report indicates page hits, users, days, and devices, all separated by month.
  • Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) – CHE has a link for reporting (http://chronicle.com/campuswide/reports/, requires login), and it gives you a HTML summary of page views, searches, and visitors by month.
  • Chicago Manual of Style – You can request these statistics directly at cmoshelpdesk@press.uchicago.edu or access the report yourself at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/reports/index.epl (requires login). The linked report shows successful title requests by month.
  • eLibrary – This database has a variety of options available at http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/reports (requires login), such as database activity and document usage, as well as a handful of reports in COUNTER format. It’s important to note that eLibrary is COUNTER-compliant to the 2003 code of practice, not the current code, meaning that even comparisons with a current COUNTER-compliant report from another database are flawed. eLibrary also allows you to schedule regular delivery of specific reports directly to your email inbox.
  • HeinOnline – You can request usage statistics directly from techsupport@wshein.com, and they are also delivered automatically in quarterly installments. Statistics reported include hits, articles, page views, visits, and searches by month. Unfortunately, HeinOnline does not separate by library within their statistics, making it impossible to support cancellation decisions within the database using these reports. These reports also provide a good example of the difficulties of matching reported terms with COUNTER-compliant terms for comparison across databases. A natural inclination would be to match Page Views with Record Views, due to similarity in language, but “Page Views” counts each and every page view. If a user reads three pages of an article, it counts as three page views. However, these Page Views are from the same article, creating a single “Article” count, which makes “Articles” more consistent with the concept of “Record View” under COUNTER 4 compliance.
  • JSTOR – Historical JSTOR usage reports, running through 2009, are available at http://stats.jstor.org/. Access newer usage statistics directly from your individual JSTOR login. In order to be set up as an administrator of the system and have the “Usage Statistics” feature available to you, contact JSTOR support at support@jstor.org. COUNTER 4 reports are available from January 1, 2015, and earlier reports are compliant with COUNTER 3 standards. In addition to the COUNTER reports, you can run a variety of other custom reports, and you can schedule your reports for automatic delivery to your email inbox.
  • Gale (includes LegalTrac, Making of Modern Law, United States Supreme Court Records & Briefs) – Reports are available at http://admin.galegroup.com/ (requires login). Be sure to click on “Location” instead of “Institution” to get your full range of admin features, including reporting. Reports are COUNTER 4 compliant, and additional reports are available as well. Gale also links to helpful resources, definitions of the reports, and more; and you can schedule automatic reports.
  • ProQuest – You can access usage reports and schedule reports to run automatically at http://admin.proquest.com (requires login). Some reports are currently COUNTER 4 compliant, while others are COUNTER 3 compliant, and you have a variety of other reporting options, including frequency format. ProQuest also has an informative LibGuide on gathering usage information for ProQuest libraries (http://proquest.libguides.com/gis_usage). One tricky facet of these reports at my institution is that certain data is broken up by library. While it reports the number of regular searches and federated searches consistently across collections, result clicks and record views are specific to the portion of the database clicked and viewed. In cumulative reporting, we total these values for the entire database.
  • LLMC Digital – Statistics are available at http://admin.llmcdigital.org/public/usagereport.aspx, and you can choose a date range for your report. The reports break down activity by events such as Advanced Search, Citation Search, Download, IP Login, and Volume Search. Definitions of these activities are available at http://admin.llmcdigital. org/public/Client_Usage_Report_Definitions_new.pdf.
  • Oxford Products, such as the Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Scholarship Online – Reports for usage of online resources are available at https://subscriberservices.sams.oup.com (requires login), and https://subscriberservices. sams.oup.com/report/counter.html (requires login) links you to COUNTER 4 reports for usage dating back to January 2013. Access usage reports specific to journals through http://access.oxfordjournals.org/oup/login/local.do.
  • LexisNexis & Westlaw products – These reports create a special challenge for law schools because they bill student accounts and law firm accounts differently, and it is rare for law schools to debate cancelling these products in their entirety. Students typically need to be familiar with both products, as they don’t know which platforms their future employer may have available to them. In addition to providing access to our students, my institution also provides legal resources to the public through a public patron account at Thomson Reuters. For this account, our representative gathers total usage annually, patrons’ monthly usage, and warning screens for content outside the plan. We also request usage statistics of specific academic products, such as the West Study Aids collection, by emailing our West Academic representative directly. These reports contain document views by month, unique visitors by month, top functionality, unique students accessing or favoriting, and the top five document views by series. For Lexis products, I contact our representative for reports on document views, searches, alerts, Lexis.com links, printouts, and Shepard’s. It’s important to note that usually the representative is getting these statistics from someone else at the company, so it’s a slow process. Contact them far enough in advance of your deadline to avoid being stuck in a crunch without the data.

At my institution, we not only use these reports internally, but we also compare our statistics to the other schools within the consortium. We have a Best Practices group for Electronic Services, and one of our deliverables is a quarterly report for our consortia Library Best Practices team, comparing usage of shared databases such as HeinOnline, Gale, and ProQuest across the databases and across the consortium. We also include data on our schools FTE (full time enrollment) and the costs of databases, which may be drastically different for each school and should be accounted for in summary statistics. A bonus of sharing data, either formally or informally across schools, is tracking usage trends and marketing practices. Certain schools may have higher usage on specific products due to marketing initiatives or training provided through the library, and the group can discuss best practices on promotion. Members should house and maintain shared spreadsheets on a system such as SharePoint, Google Docs, or Dropbox, where all members using the report can drop in their data at their own convenience.

For those libraries offering federated searching through the catalog, please note that certain reports do not separate out federated searching from their statistical reports. These searches may inflate hits and accesses, so pay close attention to metrics available that indicate patron usage of the information. Again, the key to using reports successfully is identifying what available activity metrics are best at reporting the true value of the database to your patrons.

Web Access Management Reports and similar reports, available to you through your integrated library system, usually track every page clicked. Keep in mind that clunky or difficult to navigate databases, and even users working in the database that are not particularly savvy at searching, can inflate these statistics easily. Despite their problems, Web Access reports are more useful than not having any metrics at all, and they provide unique supplemental data to traditional reporting, especially if you can track specifics about the patron types accessing information.

Database costs are a simple way of turning the numbers you obtain in these reports into measures of value. Take the amount you pay for the database each year and divide it by the number of searches, giving you a cost per search metric to compare across databases. Again, when you’re trying to compare usage without COUNTER compliance on both sides, do your best to define equivalents in terms and be transparent and mindful about the assumption of equivalents when weighing out your numbers.

If no similar equivalents exist in usage reports between two databases you wish to compare, take a look at the statistics available and isolate which one is the best measure of value. Take this factor and calculate “cost per x.” Supplement this value comparison with qualitative data, such as direct surveys of patrons and experience testing from staff and faculty.

Finally, take a look at training materials and database support available. Perhaps you could cancel an expensive database with middling usage and use it as an opportunity to market a similar, lower priced product, thus increasing its usage and value. At that point, any increase in your usage and value statistics supports the value of the database itself, as well as the value of your efforts.

You can then use these increases in usage statistics to prove the value of the library staff to leadership. For example, after subscribing to West Study Aids at my institution, we did a marketing campaign including regular blog posts highlighting specific subjects, digital signage throughout the school, promotional bookmarks in printed study aids, a dedicated LibGuide, and more. Within the first semester, ninety-nine percent of our students had logged in to the Study Aids, giving us powerful statistics demonstrating the value of the librarians and staff that assisted in the promotion, especially when compared to usage of students at other schools who did not engage in similar promotions.

Overall, the legal usage statistics world is behind the curve in many ways. However, we can still transform the usage data we do have available to us as law libraries into an effective tool for assessing and proving the value of our expenditures, our resources, and sometimes even our own activities.

~Ashley Moye~

 Technical Services Law Librarian (TSLL)  is an official publication of the Technical Services Special Interest Section and the Online Bibliographic Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.  This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue and is reprinted here with permission.

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Database Usage Statistics and Challenges of Determining the Value of Electronic Expenditures in the Legal Realm


Since the shift to the digital age, libraries must manage not only their traditional print collection, but also their ever-increasing electronic offerings. Electronic resources are appealing options, as they generally require less time to initially process, maintain their currency with little effort, allow you to enhance your collection free of physical space constraints, and often allow multiple patrons to use them at the same time. However, print materials are not without their own unique merits. I’m steering clear of the soapbox on the print versus electronic debate, though. Instead, I’m going to talk about another part of the puzzle, one which is remarkably challenging in the legal realm—finding a way to balance the costs and benefits of our expenditures on electronic offerings by leveraging available usage data. This is a task that becomes even more difficult as budget lines shrink and cancellations are necessary.

Legal database and print material costs are sky-high, and both keep getting higher. Additionally, legal materials require a standard of currency, regardless of whether they are in an academic, public, or private setting. Once you’ve decided to invest in a particular resource, keeping it up-to-date is rarely an optional fee, if you want your original investment in the materials to maintain its value to your patrons. To add insult to injury, if the updates jump in price, you have little recourse—you must simply find the money somewhere or cancel the material and have it begin to lose value. I’ve seen times where it’s far cheaper to buy a brand new up-to-date set of materials every few years rather than pay the update costs continually; assuming, of course, that slightly out-of-date print materials can meet the needs of your patron base.

Obviously, electronic versions of legal resources don’t require updates like loose-leaf releases, advance sheets, pocket parts, and supplements. While you’re still responsible for the cost of maintaining access to the resource and are beholden to price increases there as well, the staff time it takes to check in the materials, process them, and update them in a timely manner can help push any cost-benefit analysis in favor of the electronic resource. Cheaper and faster and more up-to-date is often the mantra of electronic resources.

There are a few things to beware of, though, when debating investing in electronic resources over print resources or even when choosing which electronic resources to purchase. Databases can be full of bells and whistles that seem exciting to your library staff, but which your patrons may not use. There could be a cheaper option with an interface that appears limited to you, but which easily meets your patrons’ needs. Databases have practically unlimited cloud storage, so it’s easy to pad title counts that may impress you, but which your patrons never even notice. Oftentimes, materials are available on multiple database platforms or through open access, freely available online. Isolating specific user actions within databases and tracking the total amount of activity in a consistent manner can help us be sure that our investments are worthwhile and the cost-benefit analysis is accurate.

It’s not as easy as it seems, though. In the print world, you can measure the ‘usage’ of a book by tracking check-outs and developing a simple method to approximate in-house usage for materials which cannot be checked out, such as asking for books not to be re-shelved. This allows librarians to formally track data on books pulled off the shelf, and it provides valuable informal usage data through observation of patron behavior.

However, patrons can use electronic materials outside the physical space of the library where it is impossible to gather informal information through mere observation, and the two basic ideas of check-outs and in-house-usage tracking are replaced with a cacophony of terms, such as page views, record clicks, downloads, hits, article views, users, sessions, searches, and more. Each database defines their own terms and their own “usage statistics,” and databases aren’t required to provide you with any statistics at all. Some may offer no way of quantifying your specific patron group’s user behavior, and you’re left to fill in the blanks as best you can with surveys, user experience testing, and ILS tools such as Web Access Management systems. These measure access, not necessarily activity, and thus have their own set of limitations.

Enter Project Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER). COUNTER is an initiative which focuses on setting consistent, credible, and compatible standards for both recording and reporting online usage statistics for online journals, databases, books, and reference works. COUNTER has also worked with the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) on the Standardized Usage Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI), a protocol that allows tools to automatically retrieve and consolidate usage statistics across vendors. COUNTER-compliant databases use the same definitions for their metrics, count things in the same way, and report them in identical formats with consistent report names. I always like saying it gives librarians a chance to put two databases next to each other and compare apples to apples, instead of apples to yellow. COUNTER reports also give you a chance to create consistent return-on-investment measures, such as cost per search or cost per session, which allows you to compare the value of these databases to your patrons across the board.

Without a doubt, Project COUNTER is a stroke of brilliance. However, vendors are not required to be COUNTER compliant any more than they’re required to provide you with usage statistics. And in the legal realm, where a few big players run most of the show and monopolize your budget lines, only a few vendors offer COUNTER reports. This factor makes navigating the world of gathering and comparing usage data across platforms especially challenging. While usage data may not be the only thing that you use when deciding whether to cancel or keep an electronic resource, it can be an incredibly valuable tool. The challenge is finding ways to effectively quantify our return on investment without the luxury of COUNTERcompliant reports.

In my next column, I’ll offer some practical advice on delving into usage data within the legal field. As my law library life has been solely in the academic realm, I would welcome any advice from those outside of academia to help flesh out my own tips and tricks. If you have some practicalities to share, whether private, public, or even academic, please email me at amoye@charlottelaw.edu and I’ll include you in my next column!

~Ashley Moye~

 Technical Services Law Librarian (TSLL)  is an official publication of the Technical Services Special Interest Section and the Online Bibliographic Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.  This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue and is reprinted here with permission.

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