Skip to Main Content
Michigan State University

E-books: Project Description

In the LibGuide

Included in this LibGuide:

  • Definition of the project (Project Description)
  • Ideas for future e-book analysis (Project Description)
  • Literature Review (Background)
  • Definition of COUNTER Statistics and terminology (Background)
  • A list of known e-book publishers and platforms and notable traits (Providers)
  • A comparison chart of publisher provided data for the six analyzed publishers (Publisher Comparison Chart)
  • An analysis of the publisher provided data for six publishers; and
    • User Trends Graphs
  • A catalog analysis
    • Ebrary
    • Elsevier

The six publishers reviewed are:

  1. Ebrary
  2. Elsevier
  3. Gale Virtual Reference Library
  4. Oxford Reference Online
  5. Springer; and
  6. Wiley


  • The only publishers to provide subject classification are Ebrary and Wiley
    • Ebrary lists LC Call Number
    • Wiley lists broad subject categories
    • The other publishers provide ISBN/ISSN
  • Ebrary is the only publisher to provide more than COUNTER Statistics
  • At this time Oxford Reference Online does not provide user data


  • All Excel spreadsheets included in this LibGuide can be manipulated by the user

Project Definition

This LibGuide was created in Summer 2011 by Anna Zichi, a WSU Intern.

This project concerns itself with providing MSU Library employees with information and data to inform our ongoing investments in electronic books (e-books). Many of our e-books fall into the following categories and are the primary concern of this LibGuide:

  1. Packages that require continuing investment decisions to maintain
  2. Publishers to which we continue to add titles (i.e. Ebrary)
  3. Finished purchases - Tracking ongoing use as a reflection of general interest in e-books by subject area

Overall, the main purpose of this project is to determine what publisher statistics are available and possible ways to examine the data.

Publisher User Trends

Measures the number of successful section requests per publisher

Future Analysis

The goal of this project was to determine what e-book statistics are available by publisher and because of this the analysis portion is very limited. Based on the performed analysis, future project suggestions to help further Michigan State University’s understanding of e-book usage are:

  • Catalog analysis for Gale Virtual Reference Library, Springer and Wiley
  • Compare print circulation data to e-book usage on a title-by-title basis
  • Gather qualitative data from users to better understand their wants and needs
    • Determine how patrons are accessing e-books
    • Determine how the patron is using the material (i.e. Downloads, Prints, etc.)
  • Add LC call numbers using bibliographic records for easier searching/analysis
  • Gather information to determine if the publication date influences if an e-book is accessed
  • Determine cost-per-use; and/or
  • Contact the publishers about getting desired data
    • LC Call Number/Subject category for each title
    • The loan period for each title

These additions go past the scope of this particular project. However, in order to better understand e-book data and user wants/needs the above suggestions would be useful.


Please note if future month by month analysis is conducted, May, June and July of 2011 will reflect higher usage due to this project.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Kathleen Weessies
she / her
Geosciences Librarian; Social Sciences Coordinator; Head, Map Library
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive E240
Subjects: Geography, Geology