Posts Tagged ‘Athens’
Someone asked me the other day whether it was possible to measure the impact of online subscription resources on levels of achievement, and I must admit that I stumbled a bit in trying to reply. I have methods of measuring the success (or otherwise) of marketing strategies based on increased usage, but how can we prove whether online collections such as Infotrac, the EBSCO resources, Issues Online etc… are helping our pupils achieve and maybe even increasing their grades?
My first thought is why do we assess online resources in a different manner to print resources? They are all effectively the same thing and aimed at the same task, the only discernable difference is that the online resources can seem to be “hidden” away, invisible, non-existant almost and have a different access method.
In libraries it is possible to identify “top readers”; i.e. those that have a high borrowing rate and are a regular in the library. In a lot of cases, this will be the same studious pupil who will get excellent grades and be up there with the highest achievers. Knowing how much they have read whilst in school leads to the conclusion that it must have contributed to their achievement, but the degree of which cannot be accurately measured. Now, how can we find our “top readers” of our online resources? Assessing impact in this manner is tricky and time-consuming unless an authentication service such as Athens or Shibboleth is utilised. Both of which can provide usage statistics per individual. There is no way of identifying the individual using IP authentication or Referring URL and therefore other techniques must be adopted.
But what else is there? If using Referring URL authentication, the link to the resource must be embedded elsewhere; behind another form of identification provided by the school. You could also do this for those resources which are IP Authenticated. So, although I haven’t yet tried it, it should be possible to at least identify which pupils regularly visit the page containing the links to your online resources and, from this, identify your top online readers. A bit convoluted I know, but it should still be possible.
I’m sure there are many other techniques out there for measuring the impact of subscription resources on levels of achievement. Pupil questionnaires, focus groups, observations, teacher feedback all spring to mind. Any other suggestions?
I know a number of Colleges have been requesting this for some time – particularly for Infotrac. Athens have now added the functionality to change the name and description of each subscription resource. See the email below.
Eduserv are pleased to announce the release of functionality allowing Athens administrators to tailor the resource names and descriptions that appear in MyAthens. This allows administrators to describe products and services in a way that is meaningful to their users, rather than the current librarian-orientated description provided by the vendor. As an example of this, if you only subscribe to the Cochrane Library through Wiley InterScience, you can change the name of the resource to The Cochrane Library, and amend the text to describe the Cochrane Library.
Note that this functionality is not available to NHS England and the Health Service Executive (Ireland) administrators as alternate descriptions have already been supplied by those organisations.
To see this functionality, log into the Athens administrator interface and select Resources | List. Each resource has a link saying ‘Modify this description’. Selecting this link will display a separate page with fields for the resource name and description. Enter your new text and select the ‘Submit details’ button, and the changes will be visible immediately in MyAthens.
Alternate descriptions cannot be cascaded down through an account hierarchy, or uploaded in bulk. Therefore, if you have user accounts owned by a number of sub-administrators, you will need to make identical changes for each sub-administrator in order for all your users to see them.
Athens administrators are expected to exercise care, diligence and responsibility when amending resource titles or descriptions. Any changes to the text that could be interpreted as defamatory or a discouragement to use a service will be removed, as will access to this functionality.
If you encounter any problems, please contact the Eduserv Athens Service Desk at email@example.com quoting the username of the affected Athens user account(s) and the original name of the resource being amended.
The team from Eduserv Athens announced at the recent JISC Conference the pricing for Athens following the termination of the JISC funding on July 2008. I’ve attached the documents here.