[Eril-l] COUNTER monthly data - how do you use, could it be separate by month?

Matt Thomas mthomas at wlu.ca
Mon Jul 8 14:08:17 PDT 2019

In addition to the two suggestions Melissa provides below, monthly level COUNTER data is for seeing any regular or anomalous activity. Typical activity, for us anyway, seems to be generally spikes around March and November, for obvious reasons. Any year or collection that differs from that pattern is clearly being used in different ways. This may be of value to outreach, marketing, liaison activity, etc.

Monthly data could also be used for spot comparisons for resources that don’t have complete years worth of data. This happens for resources acquired at unusual times.

And it can also be used for comparing COUNTER to non-COUNTER data. You certainly can’t do this if you just have yearly numbers but a monthly pattern of numbers can be used to make at least rough equivalencies between similar resources that don’t have similar use report standards.

A single report may get too big for one worksheet in Excel but breaking them up into different worksheets within the same workbook may help in some cases. MS Access would be ok if absolutely necessary.


Matt Thomas, MLIS
eResources Librarian, Wilfrid Laurier University
mthomas at wlu.ca<mailto:mthomas at wlu.ca> | 519-884-0710 x2812

From: Eril-l <eril-l-bounces at lists.eril-l.org> On Behalf Of Melissa Belvadi
Sent: July 5, 2019 12:24 PM
To: eril-l <eril-l at lists.eril-l.org>; CRKN Collections List <collections at list.crkn-rcdr.ca>
Subject: [Eril-l] COUNTER monthly data - how do you use, could it be separate by month?

Hi, all.
This is for people who work with COUNTER reports.
One of the new R5 COUNTER reports is the IR master report, which gives usage at the article/chapter level rather than whole journal/book level.
One vendor is already starting to struggle with these reports getting too big, and the year is only half over.
I've gotten in a discussion with them and the Project COUNTER people about what to do about this and one idea is to provide very large reports only by month, instead of "year to date" with separate columns per month.
My first take on this is that it would be incredibly inconvenient to get the usage data only one month per spreadsheet file. My alternative idea would be to split into alpha ranges by title although I'm not thrilled with that either.

But I thought I'd ask you all what you even do with the monthly level data in the first place.
I've only had two use cases for it, neither of which would be supported by having every month in a separate file:
1. looking for anomalous spikes caused by hackers, so I could eliminate them from my "true cost per use" calculations
2. re-calculating totals over different date ranges (eg fiscal year rather than calendar year, or multiple years combined)

What else do you look at the monthly level COUNTER data for?

If a single report gets just too big for Excel, how would you want the vendor to split it up for you?
Are you willing to have to use something like MS Access to work with some reports, so getting a zipped csv/tsv/json would be a good choice for you?

Melissa Belvadi
Collections Librarian
University of Prince Edward Island
mbelvadi at upei.ca<mailto:mbelvadi at upei.ca>  902-566-0581
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