Performance measurement in a changing environment: the SCONUL e-measures project 2010

Purpose: Increased use and changes in the way e-resources are delivered led some libraries to question the detail of some of the definitions used and particularly to suggest that statistics required by SCONUL did not always match the requirements or practice of the libraries themselves. The purpose of this paper is to explore a set of e-measures. Design/methodology/approach: A pilot project was set up to test a set of e-measures, sufficiently robust to give confidence in their use in a national/international context and in benchmarking individual libraries. A total of 20 SCONUL members made quarterly returns during 2009-10. During the year, categories and definitions were adjusted in the light of comments received. A workshop was held to exchange views and inform the decision on what went into the new return. Findings: It was clear from the start that practice varied, and compromise would be required. Foremost among the changes are: inclusion of e-resources held within databases in the count of titles; count of free titles or titles purchased in previous years; inclusion of database searches; separation of costs of different types of e-resource. Originality/value: The SCONUL statistics are a tool and servant of the members, helping libraries to run more effectively, and at the same time providing valuable evidence on UK academic libraries and their activities to the wider world. The new e-measures questions will provide a reliable picture of the use of e-resources across the sector and be useful to libraries individually or in benchmarking groups in assessing their own usage. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.