Patterns in Electronic Journal Usage: Challenging the Composition of Geographic Consortia

Philip M. Davis

Abstract

Annual electronic journal usage data for the NorthEast Research Library (NERL) consortium was analyzed for 2000 and 2001 for the Academic Press IDEAL aggregate package. Patterns indicated a high degree of skew in use of the journal collection: a small number of journals formed the majority of total use. Each institution illustrated a unique usage pattern, with some institutions using (proportionally) more or less of the collection. No institution used every title, and some titles were used very infrequently by the consortium as a whole. Title ranking showed high congruence between 2000 and 2001. Titles not subscribed in print received about ten times less use than locally subscribed titles. Cluster analysis revealed three distinct groups of institutions based on use of the journal package: large research institutions, medical institutions, and smaller liberal arts colleges and polytechnic institutes. Student enrollment is a good predictor of total usage, with medical institutions being an exception. It is recommended that institutions consider their consortial membership and organize themselves into groups of homogenous institutions with similar missions.

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