The University of Manchester

Get meaningful e-resource data to support ROI

The University of Manchester Main Library
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"OCLC EZproxy Analytics is a priority for us, and we're looking to exploit its full potential over the coming year. It promises to give us really powerful intelligence around the value of our e-resources as well as user behavior and trends. Strengthening information security is another important consideration. And tracking the impact of open access will be crucial, not only to the library but to the university as a whole."

Tim O'Neill
Electronic Resource Co-ordinator, The University of Manchester Library

Managing the largest academic digital collection in the UK is a mammoth exercise. In the past, staff at The University of Manchester Library have consulted an array of resources to try to establish the value the university receives from its huge investment in digital resources. Staff saw the EZproxy® Analytics pilot as an opportunity to access detailed usage reports in one place, rather than having to retrieve more basic statistics manually from multiple sources.

During the pilot, the library discovered how well the tool helped validate and build on existing data, such as COUNTER. Staff were delighted to see that data from EZproxy Analytics is accessible the following day, whereas COUNTER usage data is provided only on a monthly basis. Additionally, EZproxy Analytics will help staff get the best possible deal on its investment in e-resources, as mounting cost pressures mean tough choices. "Even the more affordable resources will have to earn their keep," said Subscriptions Manager Justin Parker.

"E-resource data has traditionally been like gold dust—hard to get hold of, but extremely valuable. We need to present it in easily accessible ways and link it up with other datasets."

Ian Gifford, Digital Library Applications Development Manager, The University of Manchester Library

E-resource security incidents are another major concern. The risk that a vendor will switch off a subscription in response to a security threat is very real. With EZproxy Analytics, the library can identify security incidents such as a single account being used to access resources from different parts of the world at the same time—a strong indication that an account has been compromised and needs to be shut down immediately.

The library also sees EZproxy Analytics as an important source of insight into user experience. With more visibility of user behavior trends, the library can be proactive about the services it offers. For example, if staff discover a spike in usage outside conventional study hours, such as people doing research early in the morning, then it might make sense to provide support at those times. Using EZproxy Analytics to identify "rush hours" in e-resource usage could reshape library help desk availability and staffing.

The pilot puts the library in a strong position to gauge the value of EZproxy Analytics in meeting both short-term and longer-range goals. "E-resource data has traditionally been like gold dust—hard to get hold of, but extremely valuable. We need to present it in easily accessible ways and link it up with other datasets," said Ian Gifford, Digital Library Applications Development Manager.

Staff are enthusiastic about the potential. They have seen firsthand the value of the tool's out-of-the-box dashboards and custom queries, and they have no hesitation in committing to EZproxy Analytics.

Services used by The University of Manchester



  • Manchester, United Kingdom

Library at a glance

  • Supports the UK's second largest higher education institution, with more than 40,000 FTE students
  • One of only five National Research Libraries in England and one of the country's best-resourced libraries
  • Holds the largest academic digital collection in the UK, subscribing to more than 38,000 paid-for serial titles, 584 databases, and more than 700,000 e-books
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