A key way to understand and improve the provision of e-resources by libraries is through monitoring and evaluation. This is not a simple task and there is no single methodology that will provide all the answers needed. The eight case studies in this volume examine various aspects of M&E, as applied to the provision and use of journals, and more specifically journals in electronic format, in countries of Africa and Asia. Included is a review of a multi-national provision programme, an evaluation of training practices, the monitoring of the provision and use of e-resources in specific countries and institutions, and a methodology for assessing whether research in journals is put into practice.
Some common themes emerge. Unless programmes and projects have clearly laid down TORs and there is a culture of M&E in the country, it is much more difficult to establish, collect and analyze comparable indicators of use and impact. Whereas similar techniques for collecting evaluation data are used by libraries, it is all too easy to ignore remote usage and managing vendor data is cumbersome. There is no consensus as what should be considered as an acceptable number of downloads for a university of a certain size with access to a certain number of e-resources. Contextual factors affect usage greatly and what a library considers to be adequate marketing is not necessarily what the user requires. Providers of e-journals use all sorts of different mechanisms to deliver the information - what is needed is a common library system. Access to e-journals may improve the quality of research but may not result in getting research into practice at the local level.
INASP Research and Education Case Studies No. 3, INASP, Oxford, UK, ISBN: 978-1902928-31-9, 125 pp.