COUNTER - Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Resources
HomeAbout COUNTERFAQsCode of PracticeNews and ActivititesRegister of VendorsContact UsMembers

 

Code of Practice

Draft Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Books and Reference Works

Introduction to the Draft Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Books and Reference Works

Background

The draft Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for books and reference works has been developed with input from a special task force of librarians and publishers with particular expertise in online books and reference works, as well as from other sources. As with the existing COUNTER Code of Practice for journals and databases, our objective has been to enable vendors to provide a reliable set of basic usage reports.

The draft text of this Code of Practice has been approved by the COUNTER Executive Committee. To avoid confusion, its format and structure follows that of the existing Code of Practice for journals and databases as far as possible. Only the content of the Usage Reports (Section 4.1) has been changed and the set of Definitions (Section 3) expanded. The specifications for Report Delivery (Section 4.3), Data Processing (Section 5), Auditing (Section 6), and Compliance (Section 7) are identical to those already prescribed for journals and databases.

Timetable

This draft Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for books and reference works will be available for comment on the COUNTER website until December 2005. Comments received will be reviewed by the COUNTER Executive Committee and the final version of Release 1 will be published in 2006.

Comments should be sent to the Project Director, Dr Peter T Shepherd, at pshepherd@projectCounter.org.

The COUNTER Code of Practice

Books and Reference Works: Release 1

January 2005

Abstract

COUNTER has been developed to provide a set of international, extendible Codes of Practice that allow the usage of online information products and services to be measured in a credible, consistent and compatible way using vendor-generated data. This COUNTER Code of Practice for Books and Reference Works specifies: the data elements to be measured; definitions of these data elements; usage report content, format, frequency and methods of delivery; protocols for combining usage reports from direct use and from use via intermediaries. It also provides guidelines for data processing by vendors and auditing protocols. This COUNTER Code of Practice has been developed with input from vendors, librarians and intermediaries.

Copyright: Counter Online Metrics

All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. For non-commercial purposes only this publication may be reproduced and transmitted by any means without prior permission in writing from COUNTER. All queries regarding commercial reproduction or distribution should be addressed to the Project Director, Dr Peter T Shepherd ( pshepherd@projectCounter.org )

COUNTER Code of Practice

Books and Reference Works

Release 1 (January 2005) Draft

CONTENTS
  1. Foreword
  2. General information
  3. Definitions of terms used
  4. Usage reports
  5. Data processing
  6. Auditing
  7. Compliance
  8. References to other standards, protocols and codes of practice
  9. Governance of COUNTER
  10. Maintenance and development of the COUNTER Codes of Practice
Appendices

Note: Sections 3, 4, and 5 contain the core information required for implementation of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Books and Reference Works.

  1. Foreword

    COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) was formally established in March 2002. Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice was launched in December 2002, and this draft of Release 2 in March 2004. COUNTER serves librarians, vendors and intermediaries by facilitating the recording and exchange of online usage statistics. The COUNTER Code of Practice provides guidance on data elements to be measured, definitions of these data elements, output report content and format, as well as on data processing and auditing. To have their usage statistics and reports designated ‘COUNTER-compliant' vendors must provide usage statistics that conform to the Code of Practice.

    COUNTER is widely supported by the international community of librarians, publishers and intermediaries, as well as by their professional bodies. This Code of Practice has been developed with the active participation of representatives of all these groups, who are represented on the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee as well as on the International Advisory Board of COUNTER (See Appendix C).

    The following organizations support COUNTER:

    • AAP, Association of American Publishers
    • ALPSP, The Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers
    • ARL, Association of Research Libraries
    • ASA, Association of Subscription Agents and Intermediaries
    • BIC/EDItEUR
    • JISC, Joint Information Systems Committee
    • NCLIS, National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
    • NISO, National Information Standards Organization
    • PA, The Publishers Association
    • STM, International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers
    • UKSG, United Kingdom Serials Group

    COUNTER is deeply grateful to its Founding Sponsors, listed below, whose generous financial contributions have enabled this project to commence its work. We salute their vision, commitment and support.

    • AAP/PSP, Association of American Publishers, Professional and Society Publishing Division
    • ACRL, Association of College & Research Libraries
    • AIP, American Institute of Physics
    • ALPSP, The Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers
    • ARL, Association of Research Libraries
    • ASA, Association of Subscription Agents and Intermediaries
    • Atypon Systems Inc.
    • Blackwell Publishing
    • BMJ Publishing Group
    • EBSCO Information Services
    • Elsevier
    • HighWire Press
    • Ingenta
    • ICSTI, International Council for Scientific & Technical Information
    • Institute of Physics Publishing
    • JISC, Joint Information Systems Committee
    • JSTOR
    • Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
    • Nature Publishing Group
    • New England Journal of Medicine
    • OCLC, Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
    • Oxford University Press
    • PA, The Publishers Association
    • ProQuest
    • STM, International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers
    • Swets
    • Taylor & Francis Group
    • Thieme Publishing Group
    • UKSG, United Kingdom Serials Group
  2.  

  3. General information
    • 2.1 Purpose

      The purpose of the COUNTER Code of Practice is to facilitate the recording, exchange and interpretation of online usage data by establishing open, international standards and protocols for the provision of vendor-generated usage statistics that are consistent, credible and compatible. COUNTER builds on a number of important ongoing initiatives, standards and protocols, See Section 8 below.

    • 2.2 Scope

      This COUNTER Code of Practice provides a framework for the recording and exchange of online usage statistics for books and reference works at an international level. In doing so, it covers the following areas: data elements to be measured; definitions of these data elements; content and format of usage reports; requirements for data processing; requirements for auditing; guidelines to avoid duplicate counting when intermediary gateways and aggregators are used.

    • 2.3 Application

      COUNTER is designed for librarians, vendors and intermediaries. The guidelines provided in the Code of Practice enable librarians to compare statistics from different vendors, to make better-informed purchasing decisions, and to plan infrastructure more effectively. COUNTER also provides vendors/intermediaries with the detailed specifications they need to generate data in a format useful to customers, to compare the relative usage of different delivery channels, and to learn more about online usage patterns. COUNTER also provides guidance to others interested in information about online usage statistics

    • 2.4 Strategy

      COUNTER provides open Codes of Practice that will evolve in response to the demands of the international librarian, publishing and intermediary communities. A conscious decision was taken to limit Release 1 for books and reference works to providing a set of relatively simple, reliable usage reports. The Code of Practice is kept continually under review and feedback on its scope and application are actively sought from all interested parties. See Section 10 below.

    • 2.5 Governance

      The COUNTER Code of Practice is owned and developed by Counter Online Metrics, a not-for-profit company registered in England (Company Number 4865179). Counter Online Metrics is governed by a Board of Directors, chaired by Richard Gedye of Oxford University Press. An Executive Committee reports to the Board, and the day-to-day management of COUNTER is the responsibility of the Project Director, Peter Shepherd (pshepherd@projectCounter.org). See Section 9 below.

    • 2.6 Definitions

      The Code of Practice provides two categories of definitions of data elements and other terms. that are relevant, not only to the usage reports specified in Release 2, but also to other reports that vendors may wish to generate. Every effort has been made to use existing ISO, NISO, etc. definitions where appropriate, and the source is cited. See Appendix A.

    • 2.7 Versions

      This Code of Practice will be extended and upgraded on the basis of input from the communities it serves. Each new version will be made available as a numbered Release on the COUNTER website; users will be alerted to its availability. It is planned that there will be no more than one new Release of this Code of Practice in any given calendar year. A separate COUNTER Code of Practice covering journals and databases is also available on the COUNTER website (www.projectcounter.org).

    • 2.8 Auditing and COUNTER compliance

      From 2006 it is planned that auditing will be required of each vendor’s reports and processes to certify that they are compliant with this Code of Practice. The auditing process is already in place for journals and databases. It is designed to be simple, straightforward and not to be unduly burdensome or costly to the vendor.

    • 2.9 Relationship to other standards, protocols and codes

      The COUNTER Code of Practice builds on a number of existing industry initiatives and standards that address vendor-based network performance measures. (See Section 8 below). Where appropriate, definitions of data elements and other terms from these sources have been used in this Code of Practice, and are identified as such in Appendix A.

    • 2.10 Making comments on the Code of Practice

      The COUNTER Executive Committee welcomes comments on the Code of Practice. See Section 10 below.

      Comments received prior to 31 December 2005 will be taken into account in developing the final version of Release 1 of the Code of Practice for books and reference works, which will be published in 2006. We believe that this extended period for evaluation and comment is necessary, as there is less of a consensus on the reporting of usage statistics for books and references works than exists for journals and databases.

  4. Definitions of terms used

    Table 1 below lists the terms directly relevant to Release 1 of the Code of Practice for books and reference works and provides a definition of each term, along with examples where appropriate. In order to be designated compliant with the COUNTER Code of Practice, vendors must adhere to the definitions provided.

    TABLE 1: Alphabetical list of definitions of terms relevant to the Usage Reports in Section 4

    (This list is extracted from the more comprehensive Glossary of Terms contained in Appendix A)

    Term Examples/formats Definition Glossary Reference Number
    Aggregator ProQuest, Gale, Lexis Nexis A type of vendor that hosts content from multiple publishers, delivers content direct to customers and is paid for this service by customers 3.1.1.16
    Book   A nonserial printed publication of any length bound in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format. Also called monograph. (NISO) 3.1.1.8
    Chapter   A subdivision of a book or of some categories of reference work; usually numbered and titled. 3.1.1.12
    Consortium Ohiolink The consortium through which the institution or user obtained online access. A consortium is defined by a range of IP addresses that may be in specific groupings (e.g. institutes) 3.3.4
    Consortium member Ohio State University A university, hospital or other institute that has obtained access for its users to online information resources as part of a consortium. A consortium member is defined by a subset of the Consortium's range of IP addresses. 3.3.5
    Entry A dictionary definition A record of information in some categories of reference work. 3.1.1.13
    Gateway SWETSwise, OCLC ECO An intermediary online service which does not store the items requested by the user, and which either a) refers these requests to a host or vendor site or service from which the items can be downloaded by the user, or b) requests items from the vendor site or service and delivers them to the user within the gateway environment. 3.1.1.15
    Host Ingenta, HighWire An intermediary online service which stores items that can be downloaded by the user 3.1.1.14
    •  HTML   Article formatted in HTML so as to be readable by a web browser 3.1.2.7.1
    IP address The IP address seen by the primary service-this may be the real end-user's IP or a proxy IP. This is always recorded, even if the authentication is not via IP address IP address of the computer on which the session is conducted 3.1.3.2
    ISBN   The International Standard Book Number is a unique identifier consisting of a 10-digit code allocated to the publication; it identifies the publisher, title, edition and volume number.The International Standard Book Number is a unique identifier consisting of a 10-digit code allocated to the publication; it identifies the publisher, title, edition and volume number. 3.1.1.19
    Item Full text article, TOC, Abstract, Database record A uniquely identifiable piece of published work that may be original or a digest or a review of other published work. PDF, Postscript and HTML formats of the same full text article (for example), will be counted as separate items. 3.1.2.1
    Item Requests   Number of items requested by users as a result of a search. User requests include viewing, downloading, emailing and printing of items, where this activity can be recorded and controlled by the server rather than the browser. Turnaways will also be counted. (See 3.1.5.4) 3.1.2.11
    Licensee   = Subscriber (see 3.3.1 above) 3.3.2
    •  PDF   Article formatted in portable document format so as to be readable via the Adobe Acrobat reader; tends to replicate online the appearance of an article as it would appear in printed page form 3.1.2.7.2
    Publisher Wiley, Cambridge University Press An organization whose function is to commission, create, collect, validate, host and distribute information online and/or in printed form 3.1.1.2
    Reference Work Dictionary, encyclopedia, directory, manual, guide, atlas, bibliography, index. An authoritative source of information about a subject: used to find quick answers to questions. 3.1.1.9
    Search   A specific intellectual query, typically equated to submitting the search form of the online service to the server (EBSCO, abridged) 3.1.2.10
    Section Chapter, entry A subdivision of a book or reference work 3.1.1.11
    Service Science Direct, Academic Universe, Wiley Interscience A branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete collection, or at a lower level. 3.1.1.1
    Session   A successful request of an online service. It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the service or database and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the service through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity) (NISO) 3.1.4.2
    Subscriber   An individual or organization that pays a vendor in advance for access to a specified range of the vendor's services and/or content for a pre-determined period of time and subject to terms and conditions agreed with the vendor. 3.3.2
    Successful request   For web-server logs successful requests are those with specific return codes, as defined by NCSA 3.1.2.12
    Title   The designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes, reels, discs, slides, or other parts. (NISO) 3.1.1.7
    Turnaway (Rejected Session)   A turnaway (rejected session) is defined as an unsuccessful log-in to an electronic service due to exceeding the simultaneous user limit allowed by the licence 3.1.4.4

     

    User   An individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a session 3.3.7
    Username and Password   No definition required 3.1.3.1
    Vendor Wiley, Oxford University Press A publisher or other online information provider who delivers its own licensed content to the customer and with whom the customer has a contractual relationship 3.1.1.16
    Volume Alpha-numeric, no leading zeros Numbered collection of a minimum of one journal issue; in printed form, volumes of more than one issue are not normally bound together by the publisher, but are frequently bound together in hardback by the purchasing library to aid preservation of the printed product. Books: Numbered collection of articles, chapters, or entries that is part of a larger, multi-volume work, either published together or serially. 3.1.1.23
    Year   Year in which an article, item, issue or volume is first published in any medium 3.1.1.24
  5. Usage Reports

    This section lists the COUNTER Usage Reports for books and reference works and specifies the content, format and delivery specifications that these reports must meet to be designated ‘COUNTER-Compliant’. Vendors must supply the Usage Reports relevant to their COUNTER-compliant online product categories (as listed in the COUNTER Register of Vendors) at no additional charge to customers.

    • 4.1 Usage Reports
      1. 4.1.1Examples are provided below of the Usage Reports. Vendors are required to supply those reports that are relevant to their online content categories. Reports must comply exactly with the formats specified in order to be COUNTER compliant.

        Book Report 1 : Number of Successful Title Requests by Month and Title

        (Full title and ISBN are listed.)

        Book Report 1
        <Criteria>
        Date run:
        Yyyy-mm-dd

        Titles

        Publisher

        ISBN

        Jan-2001

        Feb-2001

        Mar-2001

        Total

        Total for all titles

         

         

        637

        732

        550

        5897

        Title AA

         

        0750307501

        56

        21

        65

        532

        Title BB

         

        0750308613

        23

        51

        75

        465

        Title CC

         

        0750304960

        0

        0

        0

        0

        Title DD

         

        0750308621

        13

        51

        75

        978

        Note:
        1. For 'criteria' specify, for example, the organizational level to which the usage reports refer: eg 'Harvard University', 'Department of Chemistry'
        2. the 'Total for all titles' line is provided at the top of the Table to allow it to be stripped out without disrupting the rest of the Table, as the number of books included may vary from one month to another.
        3. Books for which the number of title requests is zero in every month should be included in Book Report 1, except where an aggregator or gateway is responsible for recording and reporting the usage (see Table 2 in Section 7 below).

        The above report complies with the COUNTER Code of Practice for collection and reporting of usage data. For definitions of the terms used, See Section 3.

        Book Report 2: Number of Successful Section Requests by Month and Title
        (Full title and ISBN are listed.)

        Book Report 2

        <Criteria>

        Date run:
        Yyyy-mm-dd

        Titles

        Publisher

        ISBN

        Jan-2001

        Feb-2001

        Mar-2001

        Total

        Total for all titles

         

         

        6637

        8732

        7550

        45897

        Title AA

         

        0750308621

        456

        521

        665

        4532

        Title BB

         

        0750304812

        203

        251

        275

        3465

        Title CC

         

        0750308613

        0

        0

        0

        0

        Title DD

         

        0750305215

        203

        251

        275

        2978


        Note:
        1. For 'criteria' specify, for example, the organizational level to which the usage reports refer: eg 'Harvard University', 'Department of Chemistry'
        2. The 'Total for all titles' line is provided at the top of the Table to allow it to be stripped out without disrupting the rest of the Table, as the number of titles included may vary from one month to another.
        3. Books for which the number of section requests is zero in every month should be included in Book Report 2, except where an aggregator or gateway is responsible for recording and reporting the usage (see Table 2 in Section 7 below).

        The above report complies with the COUNTER Code of Practice for collection and reporting of usage data. For definitions of the terms used, see Section 3.

        Book Report 3: Turnaways by Month and Title
        ( Full title and ISBN are listed.)

        Book Report 3
        <Criteria>
        Date run:

        Yyyy-mm-dd

        Titles

        Publisher

        ISBN

        Jan-2001

        Feb-2001

        Mar-2001

        Total

        Total Full-text Turnaways for all Titles

         

         

        453

        233

        318

        4765

        Title AA

         

        0750305215

        23

        40

        12

        342

        Title BB

         

        0750305789

        18

        20

        16

        287


        Note:

        1. For 'criteria' specify, for example, the organizational level to which the usage reports refer: eg 'Harvard University', 'Department of Chemistry'
        2. The 'Total for all titles' line is provided at the top of the Table to allow it to be stripped out without disrupting the rest of the Table, as the number of titles included may vary from one month to another.

        The above report complies with the COUNTER Code of Practice for collection and reporting of usage data. For definitions of the above terms, see Section 3.

        Book Report 4 : Total Searches and Sessions by Month and Title
        ( Full title and ISBN are listed.)

        Book Report 4

        <Criteria>

        Date run:

        Yyyy-mm-dd

        Titles

        Publisher

         

        Jan-2001

        Feb-2001

        Mar-2001

        Total

        Total searches

         

         

        10439

        12965

        13007

        106432

        Total sessions

         

         

        7660

        8322

        8276

        90547

        Title AA

         

        Searches Run

        2322

        2520

        2742

        29878

        Title AA

         

        Sessions

        1821

        1929

        2211

        27654

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Title BB

         

        Searches Run

        3466

        3210

        4459

        36543

        Title BB

         

        Sessions

        1987

        2200

        2544

        24209

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Note:
        1. For 'criteria' specify, for example, the organizational level to which the usage reports refer: eg 'Harvard University', 'Department of Chemistry'
        2. the 'Total for all titles' line is provided at the top of the Table to allow it to be stripped out without disrupting the rest of the Table, as the number of titles included may vary from one month to another.

        The above report complies with the COUNTER Code of Practice for collection and reporting of usage data. For definitions of the above terms used, see Section 3.

        Book Report 5 Total Searches and Sessions by Month and Service

        Book Report 5

        <Criteria>

        Date run:

        Yyyy-mm-dd

         

        Publisher

         

        Jan-2001

        Feb-2001

        Mar-2001

        Total

        Total for Service

         

        Searches Run

        16567

        18643

        20987

        80654

        Total for Service

         

        Sessions

        12007

        12677

        13003

        65487


        Note:
        1. For 'criteria' specify, for example, the organizational level to which the usage reports refer: eg 'Harvard University', 'Department of Chemistry'

      The above report complies with the COUNTER Code of Practice for collection and reporting of usage data. For definitions of the above terms used, see Section 3.

    • 4.2 Customer categories for Usage Reports:

      Customer accounts, access and entitlements to vendor sites are organized in a number of different ways, but most commonly by IP addresses or by username/password.

      The vendor must provide the functionality to create usage reports on different levels for the customer at the Consortium, Consortium Member, Institute or Department level, as specified by the customer.

      • 4.2.1 Usage reports for a consortium

        If a product has been purchased by a consortium, the vendor must provide a readily accessible aggregated usage report for the entire consortium, as well as individual reports for each consortium member or institute. This report must contain only the consortium members (and no extraneous institutions outside the consortium). The aggregated report will include totals for the consortium as a whole, by month and by year.

        Usage reports must allow the user to generate dynamic aggregation of multiple months or other time periods.

        It should be possible to retrieve all reports with a single search, but the separate reports (both the aggregated report and the reports of individual members) must reside in separate files or pages to avoid unwieldy files.

        Delivery of consortial reports must conform to the specifications of Section 4.3.

      • 4.2.2 Content of consortium reports
        • i. Journal Report 1: Number of Successful Full-Text Article Requests by Month, Year, and Journal.

          This report must be formatted exactly as in the model in Section 4.1.1. Regardless of report format (e.g. CSV, HTML, XML PDF), the report file must include the name of the consortium, the name of the vendor or service, and the standard data elements: journal title, publisher, print ISSN, online ISSN, and monthly and yearly number of successful full-text article requests.

        • ii. Database Report 1: Total Searches and Sessions by Month, Year, and Database.

          This report must be formatted exactly as in the model in Section 4.1.1. It must include the name of the consortium, the name of the vendor or service, and the standard data elements: database title, publisher, and monthly and yearly number of searches run and sessions.

          Vendors are encouraged to provide other standard reports (Journal Report 1a, Journal Report 2, Database Report 2, Database Report 3) on a consortial level, but only Journal Report 1 and Database Report 1 are required for consortial reporting.

    • 4.3 Report delivery

      Report delivery must conform to the following standards:

      • Reports must be provided either as a CSV file, as a Microsoft Excel file, or as a file that can be easily imported into Microsoft Excel pivot tables. In addition reports may also be provided in XML format and an XML DTD for such reports is available on the COUNTER website.
      • Reports should be made available on a password-controlled website (accompanied by an e-mail alert when data is updated). Access to consortia level reports must be through the same user id and password for all consortium members. (This user id and password must be different from those used for administrative purposes for each institution.)
      • Reports must be readily available
      • Reports must be provided at least monthly
      • Data must be updated within four weeks of the end of the reporting period
      • All of last calendar year’s data and this calendar year’s to date must be supplied
  6. Data Processing

    Usage data collected by vendors/intermediaries for the usage reports to be sent to customers should meet the basic requirement that only intended usage is recorded and that all requests that are not intended by the user are removed.

    Because the way usage records are generated can differ across platforms, it is impractical to describe all the possible filters used to clean up the data. This Code of Practice, therefore, specifies only the requirements to be met by the data to be used for building the reports.

    Usage data can be generated by the web-server holding the content (logfiles) or by storing the usage information in so-called ‘key-events’ at content holding databases

    Requirements
    1. a. Only succesful and valid requests should be counted. For webserver-logs sucessful requests are those with specific NCSA return codes (200 and 304). The standards for return codes are defined and maintained by NCSA. In case key events are used their definition should match the NCSA standards.(For more information see Appendix D)
    2. b. Records generated by the server together with the requested page (e.g. images, gif’s, style sheets (.css)) should be ignored.
    3. All users’ double-clicks on an http-link should be counted as only 1 request. The time window for occurrence of a double-click should be set at 10 seconds between the first and the second mouse-click. There are a number of options to make sure that a double click comes from one and the same user:
      1. where only the IP address of a user is logged that IP should be taken as the field to trace double-clicks
      2. when a session-cookie is implemented and logged, the session-cookie should be used to trace the double-clicks.
      3. when user-cookies are available and logged, the user-cookie should be used to trace double-clicks
      4. when the username of a registered user is logged, this username should be used to trace double-clicks

      The options 1 to 4 above have an increasing level of reliability for filtering out double-clicks: option 1 has the lowest level of precision (and may lead to underreporting from the vendor perspective) while with option 4 the result will be optimal

    4. The downloading and rendering of a PDF takes longer than the rendering of an HTML page. Therefore requests by one and the same IP/username/session- or user cookie for one and the same pdf should be counted as a single request if these multiple requests occur within a 30 seconds time window. These multiple requests may also be triggered by pressing a refresh or back button on the desktop by the user.
  7. Auditing

    From 2006 auditing by a Chartered Accountant (UK), a Certified Professional Accountant (USA), or its equivalent elsewhere, or by another suitably qualified COUNTER-approved auditor, will be required to validate the usage reports and processes described in Sections 4 and 5 above. Details of the auditing standards will be provided with the final version of this Code of Practice.

  8. Compliance
    • 7.1 Timetable and procedure

      The COUNTER Code of Practice for books and reference works will be published in final form in January 2006, allowing one full year for comments on the draft.

      A Register of vendors and their products for which COUNTER compliant usage reports are available is maintained by the COUNTER office and posted on the COUNTER website. Vendors may apply to the Project Director (pshepherd@ProjectCounter.org) for their products to be included on the Register. Upon receipt of the application vendors will be required to allow one of the COUNTER library test sites to evaluate their usage reports. When the usage reports are deemed to comply with the COUNTER Code of Practice the vendor will be asked to sign a Declaration of COUNTER-compliance (Appendix B), after which the vendor and its products will be added to the Register. Within one year thereafter a report from an independent auditor, confirming that the usage reports and data are indeed COUNTER-compliant, will be required. See Appendix E for a description of the auditing procedure.

      The signed declarations should be sent to the COUNTER office my mail or by Fax:

      Postal address

      COUNTER
      PO Box 23544
      Edinburgh EH3 6YY
      United Kingdom

      Fax Number

      +44 (0)131 558 8478

    • 7.2 Licence agreements

      To encourage widespread implementation of the COUNTER Code of Practice, customers are urged to include the following clause in their licence agreements with vendors:

      ‘The licensor confirms to the licensee that usage statistics covering the online usage of the books included in this licence will be provided. The licensor further confirms that such usage statistics will adhere to the specifications of the COUNTER Code of Practice, including data elements collected and their definitions; data processing guidelines; usage report content, format, frequency and delivery method.

    • 7.3 Aggregators, gateways and hosts

      Many, perhaps the majority, of online searches, are conducted using gateways or aggregators, rather than on the site of the original vendor of the item being sought. This presents special challenges for the collection of meaningful usage statistics. The protocols described in Table 2 below specify where responsibility lies for the recording and supplying of usage statistics when an intermediary aggregator or gateway is involved. These protocols cover the following five scenarios for delivery of the requested page to the customer:

      • Direct from the vendor's server
      • Direct from an aggregator
      • Referred from an aggregator or gateway
      • Via a gateway
      • Referred to an aggregator or gateway

      Table 2: Protocols for recording and reporting on usage when an intermediary aggregator or gateway is involved

      Source of page Responsibility for recording usage and reporting to customer Report zero usage Comments

      Direct from vendor's server

      Vendor

      Yes

      Delivery of content to the user is from the vendor's own service/site, to which the user has direct access.

      Direct from an aggregator

      Aggregator

      No

      Delivery of content to the user is from an intermediary (a gateway that is also a host), using its own store of publishers' content. Gateway is responsible for recording and supplying usage statistics for full-text requests direct to the customer and also, where contractually permitted to do so, to the vendor. (In this case the vendor may not add the ‘gateway' usage figures to those recording usage of content delivered by the vendor direct to the customer)

      Referral from an aggregator or gateway

      Vendor

      Yes

      Delivery involves the gateway sending the end user from the gateway's site to the vendor's site for the requested content. Vendor is responsible for recording and supplying full-text usage statistics to the customer. Gateway may also supply usage statistics to the customer, but must report them separately from those covering its delivery of full-text direct to the customer

      Via a gateway

      Gateway

      No

      Delivery of content is via a gateway, which requests the content from the publisher and delivers it to the user in the context of the gateway service. Responsibility for collecting and supplying usage statistics to the customer is the responsibility of the Gateway.

      Referral to an aggregator or gateway

      One of Vendor, Aggregator or Gateway

       

      In this case an index or abstract service refers the customer to the gateway for full-text. In this case the full-text is delivered according to one of scenarios listed above, and the recording and supplying of usage statistics to the customer is as specified in each of these cases.


    • 7.4 Customer confidentiality
      • 7.4.1 Privacy and user confidentiality

        Statistical reports or data that reveal information about individual users will not be released or sold by vendors without the permission of that individual user, the consortium, and its member institutions (ICOLC Guidelines, December 2001)

      • 7.4.2 Institutional or Consortia Confidentiality

        Vendors do not have the right to release or sell statistical usage information about specific institutions or the consortium without permission, except to the consortium administrators and other member libraries. Use of institutional or consortium data as part of an aggregate grouping of similar institutions for purposes of comparison does not require prior permission as long as specific institutions or consortia are not identifiable. When required by contractual agreements, vendors may furnish institutional use data to the content providers. (ICOLC Guidelines, December 2001

  9. References to other standards, protocols and codes of practice

    COUNTER has built on the work of a number of other existing initiatives and standards relevant to usage statistics. Most relevant among these are

    • ARL New Measures InitiativeThis has been set up in response to two needs: increasing demand for libraries to demonstrate outcomes/impacts in areas important to the institution, and increasing pressure to maximise resources. Of particular interest is the work associated with the E-metrics portion of this initiative, which is an effort to explore the feasibility of defining and collecting data on the use and value of electronic resources. This sets a useful context for COUNTER. Further information on the ARL E-metrics project can be found at www.arl.org/stats/newmeas/newmeas.html
    • e-measures project: University of Central England, Centre for Information Research. This project is designed to support the management of electronic information services in UK higher education institutes. Its objectives are to develop a new set of performance measures for electronic information sources and to pilot these with a view to establishing a new set of standard performance measures. Further information on e-measures can be found at www.cie.uce.ac.uk/cirt/emeasures/index.htm
    • ICOLC Guidelines for Statistical Measures of usage of Web-based Information Resources. The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) has developed a set of guidelines, revised in 2001, which specify a set of minimum requirements for usage data, and also provide guidance on privacy, confidentiality, access, delivery and report format. The ICOLC Guidelines are particularly relevant to COUNTER. Additional information may be found at www.library.yale.edu/consortia/2001webstats.html
    • NISO Forum on Performance Measures and Statistics for Libraries and NISO Standard Z39.7. Aspects of a number of NISO standards are relevant to COUNTER. For further information, see www.niso.org
  10.  

  11. Governance of COUNTER

    COUNTER is incorporated in England as Counter Online Metrics (Company No. 4865179). Legal responsibility lies with its Board of Directors, while an Executive Committee, supported by an International Advisory Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the project. Specific responsibilities are delegated by the Executive Committee to the Project Director, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of COUNTER. (See Appendix D)

  12. Maintenance and development of the COUNTER Code of Practice

    The Executive Committee of COUNTER has overall responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Code of Practice. New releases will be made no more than once per annum. Each new Release will be made openly available in draft form on the COUNTER website for comment before it is finalised.

    The COUNTER Executive Committee welcomes comments on this draft of Release 1 of Code of Practice for books and reference works. These may be forwarded, by e-mail, to the Project Director at www.projectCounter.org Comments will be accepted until 31 December 2005.

    When providing your comments you are requested to adhere to the following guidelines

    • Please be as specific as possible, making sure to note the relevant section and subsection of the Code of Practice.
    • Where you are proposing an addition to the Code of Practice, please indicate the preferred section within the current version

Appendices

 

   


Home | About COUNTER | FAQs | Code of Practice | News & Activities | Register of Vendors | Contact Us | Members