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Overview of Progress, June 1998

Journal Clusters

The Materials Chemistry cluster was launched in February and the various journals phased in from February to June. All eight journals are now live, and some have backfiles going back to 1995. The following table gives statistics on the content available in the various clusters of the SuperJournal application:

Cluster Launch Date Journals Articles (1-7-98)
Communication & Cultural Studies

December 1996

12

900

Molecular Genetics & Proteins

May 1997

11

4,900

Political Science

July 1997

18

1,100

Materials Chemistry

February 1998

8

5,900

Total  

49

12,800

Library Sites

Three new user sites were added in February: Leeds, Bradford, and Durham, where we hope there will be interest in the Materials Chemistry cluster. They are promoting SuperJournal, all clusters are getting usage, and a focus group for Materials Chemistry is planned for July.

Two meetings were held with the librarians. The meeting in March at Cambridge focused on the impact of local factors on usage at the sites, and many useful suggestions were made about the factors they feel will be useful to explore, eg:

The meeting in June at Leeds focused on user feedback and delivery scenarios for electronic journals. There was a useful discussion on how electronic journals may evolve (to become different from print) and what electronic subscription models might be like.

Usage continues to grow at the user sites. In May there were over 800 sessions, ie twice the number in February. The following table gives May statistics for registered users and a breakdown by user type:

Site Total Academic Research Postgrad Undergrad Library Other
Birmingham

32

17

2

3

0

8

2

Bradford

71

3

4

21

9

32

2

Cambridge

349

38

91

107

47

50

16

De Montfort

81

25

4

11

23

14

4

Durham

32

4

4

11

7

5

1

Leeds

154

31

21

47

40

11

4

LSE

92

14

4

57

9

5

3

NIMR

41

1

29

8

0

3

0

Oxford

304

43

86

96

46

23

10

Sussex

100

7

4

38

37

10

4

UCL

132

34

41

25

13

11

8

Ulster

90

39

6

16

6

21

2

Warwick

155

31

15

64

17

20

8

Total

1,633

287

311

504

254

213

64

Research on Readers

A separate Plan for Year 3 explains the rationale for the evaluation research, the individual activities planned, and the timing.

Progress to date is briefly as follows. A list of Hypotheses to be tested by the usage data was circulated within the project in January. Since then Loughborough have developed this into an Evaluation Plan for Testing the Hypotheses. Much work has been done analysing the usage data using SPSS, and in June a new Research Associate joined the team to focus on the analysis work. Questionnaires and follow up interviews with users are being conducted by Loughborough to develop a detailed understanding of why and how readers use the electronic journals and to develop behavioural models. A methodology has been developed to translate the research results into scenarios for future electronic journal services, validate these with users, and assess them in Stakeholder Workshops. Work also continues to analyse the results of the baseline questionnaire to readers and the questionnaire to authors.

Satellite Projects

SuperJournal is working with two research students on projects related to electronic journals. At Sussex, Daryl Pereira, an MS student in Cultural Studies working under Caroline Bassett, is looking at how authoring articles for electronic media may be different from print (style, presentation), and how new browsing structures can be created based on topics and linking, rather than the journal issue approach used for print. At Middlesex University, Kok Fong Tan, a PhD student in Computer Science working under Michael Wing, is using the SuperJournal logfiles to analyse how users search and browse, with a view to developing search engines for digital libraries with the characteristics that users require.

SuperJournal Application

A new release of the SuperJournal application was launched in April with several new features, eg a reading list to bookmark articles, saving the article citation and reference lists in standard tagged format, and saving search results from NetAnswer. For articles in HTML format, there are now links from bibliographic references to other articles within the SuperJournal database. Several other new features are under development and will be released shortly:

User feedback is of course one way in which the application has been enhanced over time. Manchester responds to messages received via the "Feedback" feature, implements minor enhancements where possible, and explains why to users when not possible. One feature suggested by users was direct links to journal pages, ie a shortcut to bypass the Welcome and cluster screens. This was discussed with the librarians at their meeting in June, and many said that they would also like to implement direct links from their Web pages or OPAC for registered users. Manchester have now developed the direct link, with a pop up login screen.

Dissemination

A separate Dissemination Plan outlines the project's approach for disseminating project results as widely as possible. Since the last Steering Committee meeting, Michael Mabe gave a presentation at the UKSG conference on SuperJournal: The Publisher's Perspective.   Several other presentations are planned:

The publishers and librarians were consulted about publications where they felt it would be useful to publish articles on SuperJournal results, to ensure they reach a wide audience. Some 15 journals have been proposed: library, publishing, computer journals, and journals in different academic subject areas. We are currently identifying topics that might be suitable for these journals and their different audiences. All participants in the project, including the librarians and publishers, are encouraged to give presentations or publish articles based on SuperJournal.


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Last modified: July 03, 1998