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The COUNTER Code of Practice

COUNTER’s library, publisher and vendor members have contributed to the development of Release 4 of the Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice enables publishers and vendors to produce consistent and credible usage data. This allows libraries to compare data received from different vendors and publishers, and to understand and demonstrate the value of the electronic resources to which they subscribe.

Release 4 is the current Code of Practice and the requirement for COUNTER-compliance.

Information about Release 5 Draft Code of Practice

Code of Practice
 

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 userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity) 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 usage reports.

Usage data can be generated in a number of ways and COUNTER does not prescribe which approach should be taken. The two most common approaches are: logfile analysisLogfile analysis is a method of collecting usage data in which the web server records all of its transactions, which reads the logfles containing the web server records all of its transactions; and pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging, which uses JavaScript on each pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains to notify a third party server when a pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains is rendered by a web browser. Each of these two approaches has advantages and disadvantages, summarised below:

Advantages of logfile analysisLogfile analysis is a method of collecting usage data in which the web server records all of its transactions

The main advantages of logfile analysisLogfile analysis is a method of collecting usage data in which the web server records all of its transactions over pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging are:

  • The web server normally already produces logfiles, so the raw data are already available. No changes to the website are required.
  • The data is on the organization’s own servers and is in a standard, rather than a proprietory, format. This makes it easy for an organization to switch programmes later, use several different programmes, and anlyse historical data with a new programme
  • Logfiles contain information on visits from search engine spiders. Although these should not be reported as part of userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity) activity, it is useful information for search engine optimization.
  • Logfiles require no additional DNS Lookups. Thus there are no external server calls which can slow pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains load speeds, or result in uncounted pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains views.
  • The web server reliably records every transaction it makes, including, e.g., serving PDFPortable Document Format, file formatted for the Adobe Acrobat reader. Items such as full-text articles or journals published in PDF format tend to replicate the printed pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains in appearance documents and content generated by scripts, and does not rely on the visitor’s browser co-operating

Advantages of pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging

The main advantages of pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging over logfile analysisLogfile analysis is a method of collecting usage data in which the web server records all of its transactions are:

  • Counting is activated by opening the pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains, not requesting it from the server. If a pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains is cached it will not be counted by the server. Cached pages can account for a significant proprtion of pageviews
  • Data is gathered via a compenent ( ‘tag’) in the pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains, usually written in JavaScript; though Java can be used and increasingly Flash is used. JQuery and AJAX can also be used in conjunction with a server-side scripting language ( such as PHP) to manipulate and store it in a databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO), allowing complete control over how the data is represented
  • The script may have access to additional information on the web client or on the userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity), not sent in the query
  • PageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging can report on events that do not involve a request to the web server
  • PageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging is available to companies who do not have access to their own web servers
  • The pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) manages the process of assigning cookies to visitors; with logfile anlaysis the server has to be configured to do this
  • Recently pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging has become a standard in web analytics
  • Logfile analysisLogfile analysis is a method of collecting usage data in which the web server records all of its transactions is almost always performed in-house. PageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains tagging can be done in house, but is more often provided as a third-party serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). The cost differences between these two models can also be a consideration.

Return codes and time filters

  1. Only succesful and valid requests should be counted. For web server 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: Guidelines for Implementation.)
  2. Records generated by the server together with the requested pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains (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 userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity):

  1.  Where only the IP addressIP address of the computer on which the session is conducted of a userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity) is logged that IP should be taken as the field to trace double-clicks
  2. When a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity)-cookie is implemented and logged, the sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity)-cookie should be used to trace the double-clicks.
  3. When userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity)-cookies are available and logged, the userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity)-cookie should be used to trace double-clicks
  4. When the username of a registered userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity) 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 under reporting from the vendorA publisherAn organization whose function is to commission, create, collect, validate, hostAn intermediary online service which stores items that can be downloaded by the user, distribute and trade information online and/or in printed form or other online information provider who delivers its own licensed content to the customerAn individual or organization that pays a vendor for access to a specified range of the vendor’s services and/or content and is subject to terms and conditions agreed with the vendor and with whom the customerAn individual or organization that pays a vendor for access to a specified range of the vendor’s services and/or content and is subject to terms and conditions agreed with the vendor has a contractual relationship perspective) while with option 4 the result will be optimal.

The downloading and rendering of a PDFPortable Document Format, file formatted for the Adobe Acrobat reader. Items such as full-text articles or journals published in PDF format tend to replicate the printed pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains in appearance, image, video clip or audio clip may take longer than the rendering of an HTMLArticleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one formatted in HTML so as to be readable by a web browser Hypertext Markup Language. A form of text markup readable by web browsers pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains. Therefore requests by one and the same IP/username/sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity)- or userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity) cookie for one and the same PDFPortable Document Format, file formatted for the Adobe Acrobat reader. Items such as full-text articles or journals published in PDF format tend to replicate the printed pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains in appearance, image, video clip or audio clip 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 userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity).

When two requests are made for one and the same articleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one within the above time limits (10
seconds for HTMLArticleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one formatted in HTML so as to be readable by a web browser Hypertext Markup Language. A form of text markup readable by web browsers, 30 seconds for PDFPortable Document Format, file formatted for the Adobe Acrobat reader. Items such as full-text articles or journals published in PDF format tend to replicate the printed pageOne side of one leaf (of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format, reference work, journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline, etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains in appearance), the first request should be removed and the
second retained. Any additional requests for the same articleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one within these time limits should
be treated identically: always remove the first and retain the second. (For further
information on the implementation of this protocol, see Appendix D: Guidelines for
Implementation)

Correcting for the effects of federated searches and internet robots on usage statistics

The growing use of federated searches and the spread of internet robots have the potential to inflate enormously the usage statistics reported in the COUNTER reports. Without some control these activities could result in significant over-counting.

COUNTER protocols have been developed to mitigate the inflationary effects of federated searches, internet robots and search-engine prefetching on the reported usage statistics. COUNTER-compliant Vendors are required to implement these protocols, itemised below.

Protocol for federated searches and automated searchA search from a discovery layer or similar technology where multiple databases are searched simultaneously with a single query from the user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting which databases are being searched agents
Search activity generated by federated searchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched. engines and automated searchA search from a discovery layer or similar technology where multiple databases are searched simultaneously with a single query from the user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting which databases are being searched agents should be categorized separately from regular searches. Any searches generated from such systems should be included in separate “Searches-federated and automated” counts within DatabaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) Report 1 and PlatformAn interface from an AggregatorA type of vendor that hosts content from multiple publishers, delivers content direct to customers and is paid for this service by customers, HostAn intermediary online service which stores items that can be downloaded by the user, Publisher or Service that delivers the content to the user and that counts and provides the COUNTER usage reports Report 1, and are not to be included in the “Regular Searches” counts in these reports. (See example DatabaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) Report 1 and PlatformAn interface from an AggregatorA type of vendor that hosts content from multiple publishers, delivers content direct to customers and is paid for this service by customers, HostAn intermediary online service which stores items that can be downloaded by the user, Publisher or Service that delivers the content to the user and that counts and provides the COUNTER usage reports Report 1 in SectionThe first level of subdivision of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format or reference workAn authoritative source of information about a subject: used to find quick answers to questions. For example dictionary, encyclopedia, directory, manual, guide, atlas, bibliography, index. For example a chapterA subdivision of a bookA non serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format or of some categories of reference work; usually numbered and titled 4.1.2 above).
‘Federated Searches’ and ‘Automated Searches’ covered by this protocol are defined in Appendix A.
Federated searchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched. engines may utilize a variety of techniques to conduct a search, including Z39.50; standard or proprietary XML gateways or APIs; or, by screen-scraping the standard HTMLArticleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one formatted in HTML so as to be readable by a web browser Hypertext Markup Language. A form of text markup readable by web browsers interface. Federated searchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched. activity must be recognized regardless of the method of search.  Following are some examples of how search activity can be recognized – the content providerAn organization whose function is to commission, create, collect, validate, host, distribute and trade information in electronic form may wish to employ one or more of these techniques.

  • The Federated SearchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched. engine may be using its own IP addressIP address of the computer on which the session is conducted. This IP can be identified and used for segregation of activity.
  • If the standard HTMLArticleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one formatted in HTML so as to be readable by a web browser Hypertext Markup Language. A form of text markup readable by web browsers interface is being used, the browser ID within the web logs can be used to identify the activity as coming from a federated searchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched..
  • For Z39.50 activity, access is generally achieved through username/password. Create a unique username/password that just the federated searchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched. engine will use.
  • If an API or XML gatewayAn intermediary online service which does not 4 ECO typically host the items requested by the user. The gateway will either refer the user to another site or service to download the item, or will request the item from another site or service and delivers it to the user within its own gateway environment. Items may be cached is available, set up an instance of the gatewayAn intermediary online service which does not 4 ECO typically host the items requested by the user. The gateway will either refer the user to another site or service to download the item, or will request the item from another site or service and delivers it to the user within its own gateway environment. Items may be cached that is for the exclusive use of such search tools.
  • If an API or XML gatewayAn intermediary online service which does not 4 ECO typically host the items requested by the user. The gateway will either refer the user to another site or service to download the item, or will request the item from another site or service and delivers it to the user within its own gateway environment. Items may be cached is available, require the federated searchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched. to include an identifying parameter when making requests to the gatewayAn intermediary online service which does not 4 ECO typically host the items requested by the user. The gateway will either refer the user to another site or service to download the item, or will request the item from another site or service and delivers it to the user within its own gateway environment. Items may be cached.

A list of federated searchA federated search programme allows users to search multiple databases owned by the same or different vendors simultaneously with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) being searched. engines covered by the above protocol is included in Appendix I. This list, which will be updated from time-to-time, should be regarded as the minimum requirement for COUNTER compliant vendors.

Protocol for internet robots and crawlers

Activity generated by internet robots and crawlers must be excluded from all COUNTER usage reports. A list of internet robots that must be excluded is provided in Appendix J. This list, which will be updated from time-to-time, should be regarded as the minimum requirement for COUNTER compliant vendors.

Protocol for tools that enable the bulk downloading of full-text articles and other content items

Only genuine, userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity)-driven usage should be reported. Usage of full-text articles that is initiated by automatic or semi-automatic bulk download tools, such as Quosa or Pubget) should only be recorded when the userAn individual with the right to access the online resource, usually provided by their institution, and conduct a sessionA successful request of an online serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group). It is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) or databaseA collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO) and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the serviceA branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete service, or at a lower level (e.g. a collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group) through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity) has clicked on the downloaded full-text articleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has oneThe complete text, including all references, figures and tables, of an articleAn item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete in itself, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one, plus links to any supplementary material published with it in order to open it.

Retrospective reporting of errors in usage data

Where vendors discover (or the independent audit reveals) errors in the usage statistics they have been providing in the COUNTER reports, such errors must be corrected within 3 months of their discovery and customers informed of the corrections.

Reporting of usage statistics when journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline titles change

When the titleThe designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes, reels, discs, slides, or other parts of a journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline is modified or changed, usage statistics for that journalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline prior to the titleThe designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes, reels, discs, slides, or other parts change should be reported against the new titleThe designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes, reels, discs, slides, or other parts, provided the JournalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline DOIThe Digital Object Identifier is a means of persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property (a creation) on a digital network, irrespective of its current location (www.doi.org). A Journal DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is registered at the journal level and used as a unique identifier for that journal./ISSNThe International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique 8-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication. Periodical published in both print and electronic form may have two ISSNs, a print ISSN and an electronic ISSN is unchanged, with the original titleThe designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes, reels, discs, slides, or other parts being dropped from the list. Where a new JournalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline DOIThe Digital Object Identifier is a means of persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property (a creation) on a digital network, irrespective of its current location (www.doi.org). A Journal DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is registered at the journal level and used as a unique identifier for that journal./ISSNThe International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique 8-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication. Periodical published in both print and electronic form may have two ISSNs, a print ISSN and an electronic ISSN is allocated to the new titleThe designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes, reels, discs, slides, or other parts, the usage statistics should be reported separately, and those for the original titleThe designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes, reels, discs, slides, or other parts should continue to be reported against the original JournalA serial that is a branded and continually growing collectionA subset of the content of a service; a collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group of original articles within a particular discipline DOIThe Digital Object Identifier is a means of persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property (a creation) on a digital network, irrespective of its current location (www.doi.org). A Journal DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is registered at the journal level and used as a unique identifier for that journal./ISSNThe International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique 8-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication. Periodical published in both print and electronic form may have two ISSNs, a print ISSN and an electronic ISSN.

Identifying abnormal spikes in usage

What is regarded as an abnormal spike in usage can vary from one institution to another; there are many occasions in which exceptionally high usage in a particular month is genuine. For these reasons COUNTER does not provide a strict protocol for dealing with spikes in usage that must be applied in all situations. Instead COUNTER suggests approaches that have been well-tested and which should prove useful in flagging abnormal spikes in usage that may warrant further investigation. These approaches are described in Appendix D: Guidelines for Implementation. COUNTER does not prescribe a course of action once abnormal spikes in usage have been identified; this is left to the discretion of customerAn individual or organization that pays a vendor for access to a specified range of the vendor’s services and/or content and is subject to terms and conditions agreed with the vendor and vendorA publisherAn organization whose function is to commission, create, collect, validate, hostAn intermediary online service which stores items that can be downloaded by the user, distribute and trade information online and/or in printed form or other online information provider who delivers its own licensed content to the customerAn individual or organization that pays a vendor for access to a specified range of the vendor’s services and/or content and is subject to terms and conditions agreed with the vendor and with whom the customerAn individual or organization that pays a vendor for access to a specified range of the vendor’s services and/or content and is subject to terms and conditions agreed with the vendor has a contractual relationship.


How to become Counter Compliant

All academic libraries across the world use and trust COUNTER usage reports to inform renewal and new purchasing decisions, to inform faculty about the value of the library and its resources and to understand user behaviour and improve the user experience.

Counter will help publishers and vendors to become compliant. The Friendly Guide to COUNTER and The Friendly Technical Guide to COUNTER provide the information you will need to start the process.

Audit Process

To comply with the Code of Practice, publishers and vendors must be independently audited within six months of signing the Declaration of COUNTER Compliance, and annually thereafter.

There are two approved COUNTER auditors:

COUNTER will also accept an audit by any Chartered Accountant (UK), CPA (USA) or their equivalent elsewhere.

 
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