Publication Details

This article was originally published as Hyland, P and Wright, L, Using statistics for database management in an academic library', Australian Academic and Research Libraries, 27(3), September 1996, 169-81.


The collection of statistical data about the usage of databases by library patrons is an important task for librarians. It is necessary for a variety of reasons, including the provision of appropriate access points, the minimisation of costs associated with database licences and the diagnosis of strengths and weaknesses in the training programs provided for the patrons of the library. The collection of these statistics is cumbersome, unless it can be automated as part of the process of accessing the databases. This paper presents a critical appraisal of the development, implementation and evaluation of an automated statistics gathering system at the University of Wollongong Library for the CD-ROM database collection. The authors describe the background to the study and explain the ways in which the use of statistical data can improve the day-to-day management of CD-ROM and database facilities, collection development of CD-ROM databases, and the influence on training and directions given to users in regard to their use. The importance of a long term plan for data collection and the need for informed, practical analysis are also discussed.