UoL Library Blog

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Top of the (Repo)Pops

Posted by gazjjohnson on 21 August, 2009

A week or so ago I went through all the items on the LRA and looked at their usage figures since 1st Jan 09.  Normally I only look at these figures month by month, but it was suggested to do this for the whole of the year and hence the study.  Due to way DSpace is configured I could only scrape data for those used 20 times or more in a month – thus I can’t claim any great functional validity to these stats.  Took a while as well to do the number crunching.  But when I was done I was quite pleased with the overview that the data gave me.

What it did give once I summated the data was a very clear picture of the items in the repository that are being accessed the most.  We’ve passed this information on to departments and many of the individual researchers themselves for interest, and to reward them in a small way for their compliance in placing items onto the LRA.

In terms of greatest number of appearances in the top 100 (rather than in all 588 items in my list)- the top 5 Depts. whose work is most regually accessed on the LRA are:

  1. Museum Studies
  2. Psychology
  3. Computer Science
  4. Engineering
  5. Education

Interesting.  But how does this rack up when you consider what proportion of the items on the LRA come from a Dept.? Psychology may have 11 appearances in the top 100, but with 241 papers there’s more chance of them being up there as part of a critical mass of papers.  So for interest I decided to divide the number of each Dept’s appearances in the top 100 by their total number of items on the LRA, to give what I’m calling Johnson’s Repository Significance Quotient (or JRSQ for short!).  When sorted by their JRSQ how does the top 5 look now?

  1. Museum Studies
  2. Institute of Life Long Learning
  3. Social Work
  4. Computer Science
  5. BDRA

What this does tell me is that these collections are comprised of more papers overall that are getting high usage, though remember this is only taking into account the top 100 papers this year.  I’m giving serious thought to going through the remaining 488 items in the list and including them in the data set.  If there’s enough interest, maybe I will…

What does this all really mean?  Well nothing most probably.  The impact and usage of these items depends on too many variables to take account of in this quick and dirty analysis; such as custom and practice of searching for and using repository based items, use of personal networks to obtain papers, traditional journal usage, relative visibility on search engines of items in the LRA etc.  Doubtless you’ll be able to think of many others.  I’ve also not factored out full text items in the list from metadata only (this would be possible should it become a worthwhile endeavour).

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