A Longitudinal Study of E-Journal Use at a U.S. Academic Chemistry Library: Are we measuring what matters and counting what counts?

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Conference Proceeding

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Chemistry Library, an early adopter of electronic journals, began collecting e-use data biannually in 2000. A decade later, our longitudinal e-journal use data show that our users were also early adopters who migrated completely from print to e-journals within 6 years. During this decade, e-journal use exploded as the Chemistry Library purchased additional content and e-access became the user-preferred format. After years of growth in collection size and use, e-use nudged up less than 2% between 2006 and 2008; however, use jumped again in 2010, increasing 9.3% between 2008 and 2010. Over 1.8 million chemistry and science article views or downloads are projected to be accessed by UIUC users in 2010 based on data gathered so far this year. These data tell us a lot about our users’ needs, but they also inform cost/use ratios, publisher value, and local citation utilization reports. Although enlightening and useful, beyond these broad-brush trend data, what lies ahead in e-journal measurement and analysis? Over 1.8 million chemistry and science views or PDF downloads per year indicate that we have moved beyond user acceptance to a new model. However, the next decade will require new measurement tools and a different perspective to help libraries determine user needs and expectations and how to meet them with diminishing budgets.