A web analytics approach for appraising electronic resources in academic libraries

Daniel M. Coughlin, Mark C. Campbell, Bernard J. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


University libraries provide access to thousands of journals and spend millions of dollars annually on electronic resources. With several commercial entities providing these electronic resources, the result can be silo systems and processes to evaluate cost and usage of these resources, making it difficult to provide meaningful analytics. In this research, we examine a subset of journals from a large research library using a web analytics approach with the goal of developing a framework for the analysis of library subscriptions. This foundational approach is implemented by comparing the impact to the cost, titles, and usage for the subset of journals and by assessing the funding area. Overall, the results highlight the benefit of a web analytics evaluation framework for university libraries and the impact of classifying titles based on the funding area. Furthermore, they show the statistical difference in both use and cost among the various funding areas when ranked by cost, eliminating the outliers of heavily used and highly expensive journals. Future work includes refining this model for a larger scale analysis tying metrics to library organizational objectives and for the creation of an online application to automate this analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-534
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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