Frequently Asked Questions about NC LIVE Usage Reports

Below are some common questions about NC LIVE usage reports and the changes made to those reports. Please note that you can find the full list of Data Definitions (i.e., what does FT-views mean for different resources) here. If you have any other questions please contact the NC LIVE Help Desk.

HeritageQuest Statistics

Effective November 2017 HeritageQuest changed the customer hierarchy reporting methodology used to measure library usage on HertiageQuest Online and Ancestry Library Edition. No change was made to the information displayed in the reports or the usage recorded. The methodology change may result in lower usage counts for some libraries due to the new methodology using a revised parent/child hierarchy to ensure usage is only counted once. Usage data for October 2017 and prior uses the old methodology, which may result in higher usage counts. Usage data from November 2017 to present uses the new methodology HeritageQuest implemented to more accurately represent usage and avoid duplication of usage.

ProQuest Search Statistics

Total ProQuest searches shown on NC LIVE reports is the deduplicated number of federated searches performed across the entire ProQuest platform and listed on NC LIVE reports as “ProQuest Unique Searches” plus searches from SIRS Knowledge Source and Statistical Abstract of the United States searches. ProQuest COUNTER Database 1 Report is used by NC LIVE to compile these statistics.

Neither SIRS Knowledge Source nor the Statistical Abstract of the United States are included in the ProQuest federated search and are therefore not included in “ProQuest Unique Searches”.

All other searches in ProQuest are preformed across multiple platforms as a federated search and are deduplicated for accuracy. For example, when a user performs a search in the Psychology Database it also counts as a search in each of the individual databases across the ProQuest Platform, such as the Science Database, U.S. Newsstream as well as all other ProQuest databases. To avoid inflating statistics, search statistics across ProQuest are deduplicated which removes the count of the same search being performed in each ProQuest database. These deduplicated searches are labeled as "ProQuest unique searches", which is included in the ProQuest search totals.

The ProQuest administrative portal offers Database Activity reports in addition to COUNTER reports. Usage statistics may differ between these two reports due to ProQuest measuring searches different than is required by COUNTER standards.

Ebook Central - Ebrary Comparison

Ebrary and Ebook Central usage statistics are most accurately compared by using Ebrary “Sessions” and Ebook Central “FT-Views” as reported on NC LIVE’s usage reports.

Ebrary data listed on NC LIVE reports under “Sessions” was reported on Ebrary reports as “User Sessions”. Ebrary data listed on NC LIVE reports as “FT-Views” and “AbsPlusViews” was reported on Ebrary reports as “Full-Title Downloads”.

The Ebook Central “Usage Report” lists one row for each time an ebook is accessed, regardless what actions, reading, downloading, printing, etc. were taken in the ebook. The sum of these rows, by library, shows how many times ebooks were accessed in Ebook Central and is reported on NC LIVE reports as “FT-Views” and “AbsPlusViews”.

Ebook Central does not provide a user sessions report or a more accurate full-text metric. Ebook Central does provide COUNTER Book Report 2 reports. However, this report contains "the sum of Pages Viewed, Pages Printed, Pages Copied, Chapter Downloads, and Full Downloads". The inclusion of page metrics in this summation creates inflated view of full-text usage, so NC LIVE does not use it.

Testing & Education Reference Center - Learning Express Comparison

Given the disparity in full-text data reported by Learning Express and Testing & Education Reference Center (TERC) it is recommended to evaluate “sessions” when comparing these two resources even though “sessions” for either resource does not fully capture user activity within the resource.

TERC data listed on the NC LIVE reports under “FT-Views” and “AbsPlusViews” are measured on TERC reports as “retrievals” which are the number of times a PDF book was opened within TERC.  TERC data listed on the NC LIVE reports under “Sessions”, are measured on TERC reports as “sessions” and are the number of times users log in, regardless of what actions they take after logging in. Neither TERC metric, “retrievals” nor “sessions”, fully captures user activity as many resources are accessed without downloading a PDF, and users may view more than one resource during each session.

Learning Express reported “recorded sessions” which shows in NC LIVE data under “FT-Views” and “AbsPlusViews”.  “Recorded Sessions” is the sum of: tests added, eBooks added, tutorials added, computer tutorials added. Learning Express “User Sessions” are shown on NC LIVE reports as “Sessions”.

What don’t we have stats for?

ABC-CLIO   No consortial reports are available. Statistics can be downloaded by individual libraries.

Why do 2015 usage reports have very different numbers as compared to 2014?

Beginning in January 2015, NC LIVE began creating library usage reports using COUNTER-compliant vendor data when available. This change was made to allow for more consistent and comparable usage definitions across resource vendors. NC LIVE provided updated usage data definitions that detail which vendor reports are used and what constitutes a search, session, full-text view, and full-text view plus abstract view for each NC LIVE resource.

This change, combined with discovery service changes made in 2015, means that reliable direct comparisons cannot be made between resources NC LIVE licensed in 2012-2014 (such as EBSCOhost research databases), and different resources licensed in 2015-2017 (such as ProQuest research databases). This is because the usage definitions (i.e. what constitutes a search, session, full-text view, or full-text view plus abstract) for different vendors are not necessarily the same.

Why are my library’s search numbers extremely low compared to 2014?

Differences in the way that NC LIVE’s previous discovery service (EDS) and current discovery service (Summon) affect search totals in individual databases accounts for the very different search totals some libraries see for some resources in 2015. Where EDS would search every database in a profile every time a search or search refinement was performed, the structure of Summon does not result in as many instances of all databases being searched at once. For some libraries this greatly reduced the number of searches reported.

Because of the impact of discovery on search totals, libraries should be cautious about adding up searches across different databases to report as a single search total. Because one user’s query may register as a search for multiple databases, adding up those numbers will count one query multiple times.

Additionally, NC LIVE usage reports only show searches for individual libraries across our databases, but do not include Summon searches. We do not currently have a reliable method to differentiate Summon users by institution, so those search numbers are omitted from usage reports.

Does this mean usage reports are not useful for comparing ‘old’ and ‘new’ resources?

It is always difficult to compare usage of one vendor’s resource to another. Factors including discovery methods, vendor data definitions, and local integrations can mean a comparison between two resources from different vendors is not informative---like comparing “apples to oranges.”

However, comparing usage of a resource to itself over time with reliable and consistent data can be very useful. The change to COUNTER-compliant vendor data when available ensures that this type of comparison is reliable, and could even allow for more accurate cross-vendor comparisons in the future.

Which resources have the same data definitions for both 2014 and 2015?

The following resources use the same measures both before and after 2015:

  • ABC-CLIO

  • Alexander Street Press

  • Chadwyck-Healey

  • CQ Researcher and CQ Weekly

  • eBooks on EBSCOhost

  • HeritageQuest

  • LearningExpress Library

  • Morningstar

  • MyiLibrary

  • NC LIVE Video Collection

  • SimplyMap

The following resources were available before 2015, but the data definitions used to measure them were changed in 2015:

  • Gale Infotrac Newsstand - changed to COUNTER data

  • Gale Virtual Reference Library - changed to COUNTER data

  • Wall Street Journal - changed to COUNTER data ***this resource is now a title in ABI-INFORM and title-level data is available via the ProQuest Administrator Module***

Can my library see our vendor reports?

Any library is welcome to access usage statistics directly from vendors, including title-level and other detailed reports not included in the NC LIVE usage reports. If you aren’t sure how to access the administrative model for a vendor, please contact the NC LIVE Help Desk.

How is NC LIVE tracking usage statistics to make decisions?

At the November 2014 Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting, the committee discussed and finalized the RAC Resources Assessment Plan. The plan calls for an annual review of specific usage data reports, with one pre-determined measure of use per resource used as a point of comparison year over year.

Vendor-reported usage statistics are just one measure the RAC uses to make resource selection decisions. Other data sources are reviewed to get a holistic picture of member library needs including member library feedback, discovery service statistics, available funding, and resource cost.