04 May 2017 Blogs, Academic, Community College, Government, Public, Public, Administrator, Librarian

DDA + Patron Analytics = A Strategic Approach to Collection Development

How the University of Manchester made more content available to users, while gaining deeper insights into usage

Like many institutions, the UK’s University of Manchester Library looked to adopt Demand-Driven Acquisition (DDA) of its ebooks to expose a breadth of content that maximized the school’s finite budget.

Seeking an ebook platform with more robust analytics

Manchester had committed considerable budget to their DDA program for several years. The supplier they used from 2012 to the end of 2013 was one that had a familiar platform and was financed by the core library budget. 

However, as that supplier could not provide the level of analytics they required, Manchester began looking for a change.

“We wanted a platform that received good feedback from other institutions, in terms of DDA and in terms of the usability in general,” Content Purchasing Manager Des Coyle explained.

Additionally, the university wanted to accurately track user types, faculties and disciplines that were (or were not) using ebooks. “Analytics were key to our platform choice,” Coyle added.

In particular, he noted the need for patron analytics to be embedded in management reports, “so that we had a ready-made report that we could market to each of our schools.”

A solution with better data for better insights

In 2015, Manchester found what it was looking for and transitioned its DDA program to ProQuest. 

They also turned on ProQuest’s Patron Analytics in order to easily collect additional user information through a brief, customizable form. Data collected was automatically added to usage and sales reports offering greater insight into how users interacted with the content. 

Coyle noted that DDA is a great complement to a larger, strategic approach to collection development and Patron Analytics provided more data around patron-triggered purchases.

Manchester’s approach to DDA (and collection development) is anchored by a newly formed Collection Development and Stock Management team that “establishes collection and discipline profiles, so that our acquisitions will be more strategic and aligned with University of Manchester collection strengths and areas of current research focus,” said Coyle.

With ProQuest delivering services, Coyle noticed that the content acquired through DDA “receives more views on average than conventionally acquired items.”

And it simplifies budgeting for better value

As for pricing, “We have quite generous maximum prices within our DDA profile so price rises haven’t had too drastic an effect,” Coyle explained. 

However, his team remains budget-conscious. “We now use short-term loans more in order to gain better value from our DDA budget,” Coyle elaborated. “This has matched a shift in collection policy from purchase in perpetuity to access and purchase.”

Keeping track of spending is made easier via ProQuest’s LibCentral administrative functionality for DDA. Real-time expenditure reports ensure that “we stay fully up to date with DDA spend,” Coyle says. “This enables us to evaluate our expenditure and see whether we need to tweak purchase triggers or top up budget, in order for the DDA scheme to last as long as required.”

Justifying DDA spending to the university comes in the form of statistics that outline the better usage numbers of DDA versus conventionally acquired content. In fact, Coyle says, a considerable percentage of non-DDA titles received little to no usage. 

Streamlined workflows save time for librarians

“We plan to do a long-term study of DDA usage vs usage of conventionally acquired material over the last four to five years,” Coyle revealed. With Patron Analytics, Coyle will get a better sense of who is using materials acquired through DDA. 

And going forward with DDA ProQuest’s automated holdings updates – where profiled titles and purchases are imported automatically into Alma – helps out Manchester’s librarians. Coyle says, “We don’t have to create purchase order lines for these items, so we save time on the whole process.”

Coyle sees the future of DDA as bright: “We are looking to have a DDA offering that is live all year round, so that DDA is a constant offer to our customers and is easier to market.”

With ProQuest’s DDA and Patron Analytics, librarians are empowered to:

    • Provide users with access to more titles and acquire only the ones used to keep on budget
    • Increase your insight into user behavior and analyze usage patterns
    • Make data-driven decisions around your DDA program with comprehensive, real-time reports

Learn more about Ebook Central.