[LibX] assessment and libx priorities

Leonard, Kirsten A. kaleonar at iuk.edu
Thu Jun 12 10:50:48 PDT 2008

I think I've not done a good job of explaining the purpose.  There isn't any set number or level that justifies the project, it's more that there is a culture that it is not sufficient to innovate but we must also show that our users are positively impacted by our innovation.  This is not limited to our institution, but any institution going through re-accreditation right now, but it is not required for every single product or service.  I agree completely that downloads are not a sufficient measure of impact alone.  The one area that Godmar mentioned that really got me excited in particular was the ability to count the retention and on-going usage of the extension, which I think is more useful.

I will certainly explore some of the options suggested for gathering data ourselves and I appreciate everyone's help, but a few of the better ones aren't open to us hence my interest in what Godmar had suggested as possibilties.  For example, we just moved from SFX to Serials Solutions which unfortunately does not give stats by SID and we can't get OpenURL statistics from our ILL form.

The ability to provide usage statistics is a priority for many library products and services, and becoming more so - for example the strong interest in the COUNTER standard and various products such as Scholarly Stats to record database usage, so I wouldn't like to see usage considered unimportant or just a local concern.  I do get your point about supporting innovation and development first but reviewing what has been accomplished is also useful to fuel more innovation.  I plan to do some small user studies to see how people are using the toolbar, what features they particularly like, and what features they would want to see in future versions of the toolbar.


Kirsten Leonard
Electronic Resources/Government Documents Librarian
Assistant Director of Institutional Research
Indiana University Kokomo Library, KA140B
2300 South Washington St.
Kokomo, IN 46904-9003
kaleonar at iuk.edu
Fax (765)455-9276

-----Original Message-----
From: Belvadi, Melissa [mailto:mbelvadi at maryville.edu]
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2008 1:16 PM
To: Leonard, Kirsten A.; libx at mozdev.org
Subject: assessment and libx priorities

Well, I would like to argue the opposite, at least as regards to libx
development priorities. Assessment is a local problem, and there are
plenty of local solutions (see below). I would much rather the libx
development team concentrate on doing what I can't do for myself/my
library, which is adding new useful features, and improving the
heuristics for the existing features.

What local solutions are there for assessment?
1. your openurl server should be able to report incoming links by SID,
so it will give you libx-generated hits into it
2. you can set up a simple hit counter (or use Google Analytics for more
sophisticated analysis) with your own web page that leads to the
download links for the plugin, to get usage data on who installs it (or
shows interest in it). If you really need very precise data on
downloads, you can probably also arrange to copy the actual installation
programs (eg the .xpi file for FF) to your own server so that your own
server's weblogs can count the actual downloads for you.
3. you can set up on your own local web site a very simple proxy-like
pass-through site for your catalog etc. links so that every instance of
using libx to search your catalog or whatever gets recorded in a local
hit log.

I'm sure other people on this list can offer other ideas on how to
locally to count these things, and other things you might want to count.

The important point to remember is that Libx.org is NOT a for-profit
vendor, just making a product for a market. They need us to use the
product yes, of course, so it has to meet our core needs, but they are
also a research project and have to balance the larger goals of the
project with our day-to-day desiderata. We're participants in research,
and need to be a bit more flexible and creative on our side too. Maybe
some day, like the original Mozilla, it will get spun off into a
commercial product (like Netscape did) and then we can expect all of the
usual kinds of services we expect of our other commercial vendors.  If
your institutional management is so inflexible that it can't understand
the value of being such a participant even if it means that they won't
get the usual commercially-available usage data, then maybe your
internal culture isn't appropriate for such participation. I don't mean
that in a nasty way, but a serious one. There have been times that I've
turned down beta participation in interesting projects because I knew my
internal culture couldn't support the instability, however beneficial I
thought such participation might be for some patrons.

Melissa Belvadi
Systems and Services Librarian
Maryville University
650 Maryville University Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63141
mbelvadi at maryville.edu
ph: 314-529-9531
fax: 314-529-9941

-----Original Message-----
From: libx-bounces at mozdev.org [mailto:libx-bounces at mozdev.org] On Behalf
Of Leonard, Kirsten A.
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2008 11:56 AM
To: libx at mozdev.org
Subject: Re: [LibX] Libx Digest, Vol 23, Issue 6

I'd like to chime in for the request for assessment data.  On our campus
this is a very high priority and we are required to justify new
projects.  Comparisons for downloads and usage as new versions come out
may also be useful for assessing individual features.  Frankly, for me,
the assessment is the highest priority, much more so than new features.
I also have to prove impact as part of my annual review process and
usage stats are one of the strongest types of evidence that I can


Kirsten Leonard
Electronic Resources/Government Documents Librarian
Assistant Director of Institutional Research
Indiana University Kokomo Library, KA140B
2300 South Washington St.
Kokomo, IN 46904-9003
kaleonar at iuk.edu
Fax (765)455-9276

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