Monday 14th February 2011

Started with more order deletions this morning.  This was just an administrative exercise, due to making a change in the way we distribute package payments.  Then on to database statistics.  Unlike journals, it’s much more common to have to do some creative thinking with database statistics, as many don’t provide COUNTER compliant (or even comparable) reports.

We participated in a pilot scheme last year to consider SCONUL e-measures, and one of the areas was gathering database statistics.  I’m still not very convinced that we’ve got useful measures yes for databases, as they cover such a wide variety of resources.  Some provide lists of how many items have been downloaded, while others record the number of searches.  There is no correlation between the search and the result in most cases – it’s possible that a database with a less intuitive interface looks “better” in statistics just because you have to do four or five searches to find the same set of results a better interface could have achieved in one search.  I gather some have considered “clickthru” statistics, noting the number of results where the user clicked for more information or content.  This would help improve the comparability of services (although wouldn’t compensate for the wide variety of database types).

Tuesday 15th February 2011

Unexpected day’s leave today as my daughter was sick.  I did spend some time in the evening revisiting my CV and have decided it needs a complete overhaul.

Wednesday 16th February 2011

More database statistics, pretty much covered the downloadable ones now, but still have to do a round of emails to providers for the rest.  I became aware of some problems with some of our links today.  The publisher has changed its available range, but the information provided to our link resolver supplier seems to have been wrong, as it matches the whole range available, rather than just the archive range.  It doesn’t affect a large number of titles, but if I were to manually correct them, it would overwrite the default.  That wouldn’t be a problem this year, but would mean that the dates weren’t automatically updated next year (or the year after, or the year after that).

Thursday 17th February 2011

Sorted out another access problem today, and reported a query to our resource discovery system provider.  I also put together the feedback from a course I was involved in running at the end of last year.  One of the aspects of my role is to train graduate trainees in my role, something I am not satisfied that I do well.  I am taking opportunities to get involved in running courses through the Career Development Group West Country Division, as this is giving me a chance to practice, but also because I think the real trouble is in the preparation.

My role is a very seasonal one, by which I mean that at certain times of year, I have certain tasks to complete.  Obviously some things, like enquiries, come in whenever they need a response, but some types of work only come round once or twice a year, and they take over for a while.  Our graduate trainees tend to spend a month with each section of Technical Services during a 6 month period, spending the remaining 6 months with Academic Services.  The other difficulty I face is that the work is quite technical, and being enthusiastic about technology, I generally get more involved with the technical side than might strictly be required.  Although some trainees take to e-resources work very quickly, I struggle with those who find it more of a challenge.  It would not really be possible to create a standard trainee programme, as I will not get trainees at the same time of year each time.

I suspect the best approach is to make some kind of modular training programme, with each activity described separately, and then fitting them together as appropriate for each trainee.  I’m going on a train the trainer course next month, which should be a great opportunity to develop my plans.

Friday 18th February 2011

Frequently, when a journal publisher transfers a journal to another publisher, chaos ensues – perhaps we lose access, or don’t have the archive, or suddenly have to pay double the cost as the print and online options are separated.  However, this year I’ve had two really good ones – one, which removed most of its archive last year, transferred to a publisher who has supplied an extra 5 years of content on top of what we should have had from the previous publisher, the other arrived today in the form of a letter asking us to activate access.  I duly entered the access key, and voila!  we have access online to a previously print-only title.  Marvellous.

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