Project COUNTER Task Group

About Project COUNTER Task Group

The Project COUNTER Task Group of the TS-SIS Serials Committee was formed in 2007 in an effort to promote the use of COUNTER-compliant statistics among law librarians and legal database publishers. As part of the Serials Committee, our main focus will be on standards which apply to serials and databases rather than monographs. The Task Group will promote Project COUNTER by informing legal vendors of the existence and necessity of such standards, lobbying for vendor compliance in providing standardized usage statistics, and by educating law librarians about the standards and their usefulness.


Membership Roster


Lorna Tang
University of Chicago
l-tang [at]


Shyama Agrawal
Duke University

Pamela Elizabeth Deemer
Emory University
libped [at]

Diane Deng
Herrick, Feinstein LLP
ddeng [at]

Yümin Jiang
University of Colorado
Yumin.Jiang [at]

Carol Avery Nicholson
University of North Carolina
Carol_Nicholson [at]

Patricia Sayre-McCoy
University of Chicago
p-mccoy [at]

Gloria Zinky
Charlotte School of Law
gzinky [at]

About Project COUNTER

"COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources), launched in 2002, is an international initiative to improve the reliability of online usage statistics. It is supported by the vendor, intermediary and librarian communities. COUNTER's objective is to ensure that vendor online usage reports are credible, compatible and consistent. This is achieved by the publication of Codes of Practice that specify the content, format, delivery mechanisms and data processing rules for a set of core usage reports that are easily implemented by vendors and easily understood by librarians." [COUNTER FAQs, accessed August 2, 2007]

Using a standard, such as Project COUNTER, to measure online usage statistics will enable law librarians to compare the use of information from a variety of publishers and sources more accurately, better understand how and how much the information they buy is being used, and make more informed purchasing decisions among various resources by using comparable statistics. The advantage for the legal publishers is that they can provide librarians with justification to keep journals based on the statistics provided and standardized sets of reports.

Even though Project COUNTER guidelines have helped in counting and reporting usage statistics, collecting this data involves accessing each provider's website and downloading it each time, which is very time consuming. SUSHI automates this process. "SUSHI stands for Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative. It is a standard protocol (ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2007) that can be used by electronic resource management (ERM) systems (and other systems) to automate the transport of COUNTER formatted usage statistics." [SUSHI FAQ, accessed June 20, 2010]

More information about COUNTER and SUSHI is available on their respective websites. See also List of COUNTER-Compliant vendors.

  • Bibliography of Project COUNTER Resources

    (revised July 2012 by Patricia Sayre-McCoy)

    • Arakawa, Noriko. “[ Release of J-STAGE Usage Report Service for Subscribers and its Compliance to COUNTER] [Original Title in Japanese].” Journal of Information Processing and Management, 50(1):32-9 (2007).
    • Bhatt, Anjana. “Assessing e-Collections when Every e-Resource has its Reader, Every Reader has his/her e-Resource, and e-Resources are Ever Growing.” Against the Grain, 18(5) (2006).
    • Blecic, Deborah D., Joan B. Fiscella, and Stephen E. Wiberley Jr. “Measurement of use of Electronic Resources: Advances in use Statistics and Innovations in Resource Functionality.” College & Research Libraries, 68(1):26-44 (2007).
    • Breeding, Marshall. 2006. “Web services in the library environment.” (cover story). Library Technology Reports 42 (3) (May): 36.
    • Carr, Patrick L. “From Innovation to Transformation: A Review of the 2006-7 Serials Literature.” Library Resources & Technical Services, 53(1):3-14 (2009).
    • Chamberlain, Clint, Robert McDonald, Jonathan Blackburn, Bob McQuillan, and Amy Carlson. 2011. “Serials management in the next-generation library environment.” Serials Librarian 60 (1-4) (01): 37-52.
    • Chandler, Adam, and Tim Jewell. “The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI).” Serials, 19(1):68-70 (2006).
    • Chisman, Janet. “Electronic Resource Usage Data: Standards and Possibilities.” The Serials Librarian Serials Librarian, 53(4):79-89 (2007).
    • Collins, Maria, and Jill E. Grogg. “Building A Better ERMS.” Library Journal, 136.4:22-8 (2011).
    • Cooper, Mindy M. “The Importance of Gathering Print and Electronic Journal use Data: Getting a Clear Picture.” Serials Review 33(3):172-4 (2007).
    • Coyle, Karen. “Managing technology: Data, raw and cooked.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 33 : 602-3.
    • Cradock, Chris, Paul Meehan, and Paul Needham. JUSP in Time: A Partnership Approach to Developing a Journal Usage Statistics Portal. 24 Vol. Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), 2011.
    • Davis*, Philip M., and Jason S. Price. “EJournal Interface can Influence Usage Statistics: Implications for Libraries, Publishers, and Project COUNTER.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(9):1243-8 (2006).
    • Davis, Roger. “A Web-Based Usage Counter for Serial Collections.” Serials Librarian, 57(1):137 (2009).
    • “EBSCO Announces Live Integration of SUSHI.” College & Research Libraries News, 67(4):217 (2006).
    • Eíto-Brun, Ricardo. “La Gestión De Recursos Electrónicos En Bibliotecas: La Oferta De Innovative. (Spanish).” El Profesional de la Información, 17(3):347-58 (2008).
    • Feick, T., and D. Packer. “EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) for Libraries, Publishers, and Agents: The Reality show — SUSHI, ONIX and ?” Serials Librarian, 54(3-4):261-4 (2008).
    • Feick, Tina, and Donna Packer. EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) for Libraries, Publishers, and Agents: The Reality show–SUSHI, ONIX and?. 54 Vol. Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2008.
    • Fleming-May, Rachel, and Jill E. Grogg. “Chapter 2: Standards, Tools, and Other Products.” Library Technology Reports, 46(6):11 (2010).
      • —. “Chapter 4: Practitioner Responses on the Collection and use of Usage Statistics.” Library Technology Reports 46(6):28 (2010).
    • Fons, Theodore A., and Timothy D. Jewell. “Envisioning the Future of ERM Systems.” Serials Librarian, 52(1):151-66 (2007).
    • Free, David. “Nature Offers SUSHI and COUNTER Release 3 Reports.” College & Research Libraries News, 70(4):208 (2009).
    • Gedye, Richard. “Measuring the Usage of Individual Research Articles.” Serials, 22(1):24 (2009).
      • —. “Usage Factors.” Serials, 22(3):233 (2009).
    • Grogg, Jill E. 2010. “Users, use, and usage statistics.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 22 (3) (Jul): 93.
    • Haddow, Gaby. “Level 1 COUNTER Compliant Vendor Statistics are a Reliable Measure of Journal Usage.” Evidence Based Library & Information Practice, 2(2):84 (2007).
    • Hendricks, Arthur. “SUSHI, Not just a Tasty Lunch Anymore the Development of the NISO Committee SU’s SUSHI Standard.” Library Hi Tech, 25(3): 422-9 (2007).
    • Herb*, Ulrich, and Frank Scholze. “Nutzungsstatistiken Elektronischer Publikationen. / Citation Statistics of Electronic Publications.” Zeitschrift fur Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie, 54(4-5):234-7 (2007).
    • Ito, Hiroyuki. “[Original Title in Japanese]. / SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative).” Yakugaku Toshokan/Pharmaceutical Library Bulletin, 52(3): 270-6 (2007).
    • Jewell, Tim. 2007. “SUSHI to go.” Vol. 33.
    • Kenney, Brian. “Counting on COUNTER.” Library Journal, 128(2):47 (2003).
    • King, Douglas. 2009. “What is the next trend in usage statistics in libraries?” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 21 (1) (03): 4.
    • Kinman, Virginia. “E-Metrics and Library Assessment in Action.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 21(1):15-36 (2009).
    • Kyrillidou, Martha, Terry Plum, and Bruce Thompson. 2010. “Evaluating usage and impact of networked electronic resources through point-of-use surveys: A MINES for libraries™ study.” Serials Librarian 59 (2) (Aug): 159-83.
    • Lagace, Nettie. “Serials spoken here: SUSHI: Beyond trial into real use.” Serials Review 35 : 50-1.
    • Lamoureux, Selden, and Beth Bernhardt. INNOVATIONS: Where are they Now?. 56 Vol. Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2009.
    • MacIntyre, Ross. “Key Issue the Technologies that Oil the Supply Chain.” Serials, 24(1):89-92 (2011).
    • Matlak, Jeff. 2010. “What drives usage.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 22 (3) (Jul): 144.
    • Matthews, Tansy E. 2009. “Improving usage statistics processing for a library consortium: The virtual library of virginia’s experience.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 21 (1) (03): 37.
    • McElroy, Emily, and Anna Creech. “Serial conversations: An interview with four consultants.” Serials Review 30 : 144-50.
    • McQuillan, Bob, et al. “Electronic Resource Management System Integration Strategies: Opportunity, Challenge Or Promise?” Serials Librarian, 58(1-4):106-16 (2010).
    • McQuillan, Bob. “Electronic Resource Management System Integration Strategies: Opportunity, Challenge Or Promise?” Serials Librarian, 58(1-4):106 (2010).
    • Melnick, Todd. 2012. “Project COUNTER.” AALL Spectrum 16 (7) (05): 3-5.
    • Merk, Christine. “Item-Level Usage Statistics: A Review of Current Practices and Recommendations for Normalization and Exchange.” Library Hi Tech, 27(1):151 (2009).
    • Millhorn, Jim, et al. “Technical Services Report.” Technical Services Quarterly, 26(2):135-58 (2009).
    • Murray, Adam. 2008. “Electronic resource management 2.0: Using web 2.0 technologies as cost-effective alternatives to an electronic resource management system.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 20 (3) (09): 156.
    • Needleman, Mark H. “The NISO Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI).” Serials Review, 32(3): 216-7 (2006).
    • Pesch, Oliver.
      • —. “E-resource standards you should know about.” Serials Librarian 61 (2) (Aug): 215. (2011)
      • —. “Perfecting COUNTER and SUSHI to achieve reliable usage analysis.” Serials Librarian 61 (3) (Oct): 353. (2011)
      • —. “Standards that impact the gathering and analysis of usage.” Serials Librarian 61 (1) (07): 23. (2011)
      • —. “ONIX, Z and JWP: Library standards in a digital world.” Serials Librarian 53 (4) (02): 63-78. (2008)
      • —. “Spotlight on serials standards.” Serials Librarian 55 (3) (10): 366-72 (2008).
      • —. “COUNTER code of practice: A preview of release 4.” Serials Librarian 61 (2) (Aug): 140 (2011).
      • —. “Ensuring Consistent Usage Statistics, Part 1: Project COUNTER.” Serials Librarian, 50(1): 147-61 (2006).
      • —. “SUSHI: Simplifying the Delivery of Usage Statistics.” Learned Publishing, 20(1):23-9 (2007).
      • —. “Sushi: What it is and Why You should Care.” Computers in Libraries, 27(4):6-8 (2007).
      • —. “An Update on COUNTER and SUSHI.” Serials Librarian, 55.3: 366-72 (2008).
      • —. “Usage Statistics: About COUNTER and SUSHI.” Information Services & Use, 27(4):207 (2007).
    • Projects. 2007. Serials Librarian 51 (3) (02): 16-8.
    • “Release 3 of COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases Published.” Library Hi Tech News, 25(10):33 (2008).
    • “RSC Journals Boast COUNTER 3 Compliance for Usage Stats.” Research Information, 41:27 (2009).
    • Ryan, Christine E. “COUNTER and Usage Data: A Two-Part Webinar.” Serials Review, 35(4):292-6 (2009).
    • Schufreider, Bob. “Making Sense of Your Usage Statistics.” Serials Librarian, 54(3):223 (2008).
    • Shepherd, Peter T. “International Dateline — COUNTER-Based Journal Usage Factor: A Meaningful New Measure?” Against the Grain, 19(4):75 (2007).
    • Shepherd, Peter. “Keeping Count.” Library Journal, 128(2):46 (2003).
    • Silton, Kate, and Tiffany LeMaistre. “Innovative interfaces’ electronic resources management system: A survey on the state of implementation and usage.” Serials Review 37 : 80-6.
    • Sprague, Nancy, and Ben Hunter. “Assessing e-books: Taking a closer look at e-book statistics.” Library Collections, Acquisitions and Technical Services 32 : 150-7.
    • “Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Releases Schemas Supporting Release 3 of COUNTER.” Library Hi Tech News, 26(1):32 (2009).
    • Stewart, Christopher. “Metrics: Keeping track of it all: The challenge of measuring digital resource usage.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 37 : 174-6.
    • Sugarman, Tammy, Stephanie Krueger, and Louise Kelly. “Evaluating usage of non-text resources: What the COUNTER statistics don’t tell you.” Serials Librarian 60 (1-4) (01): 83-97 (2011).
    • Watson, Paula D. 2003. “E-journals: Access and management.” Library Technology Reports 39 (2) (Mar): 44.
    • Wilson, Kristen. “Electronic journal forum: Introducing the next generation of library management systems.’ Serials Review.

  • 2010 - 2011 Annual Report

    Project COUNTER Task Group
    2010-2011 Annual Report

    June 20, 2011

    The Project COUNTER Task Group has been quiet this year, but the Project COUNTER is actively preparing for their new activities in the coming years.

    Beginning in 2011, Project COUNTER will offer reduced membership fee (35% discount) for smaller publishers and financial support for qualified non-profit publishers to encourage their participation.

    Project COUNTER is also working on Release 4 of the COUNTER Code of Practice. The planned new release will incorporate Books and Reference Works, which until now has a separate Code of Practice. The new release is scheduled to be published in March 2012 with the implementation deadline of December 31, 2013. To have a single unified Code covering all categories of contents, books, databases, journals, and reference works will be beneficial to all.

    Project COUNTER also participates in two research projects, Journal Usage Factor and Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics (PIRUS2). In Journal Usage Factor study, “market research was carried out to examine ways in which journal quality is currently assessed and the degree to which any additional, usage-based metrics might prove valuable …” One of the objectives that PIRUS2 seeks to meet is to “develop a prototype article level Publisher/Repository usage statistics service.”

    Right now, a publisher may be in compliance with Code of Practice for Journals and Databases, but not yet for Books and Reference Works. After the implementation of Release 4 in 2013, it will be easier to track the Project COUNTER compliance because the two codes will be integrated then.

    Among the publishers/vendors that have passed the Project COUNTER audit, the following may be of interest to law librarians: Berkeley Electronic Press, Cambridge University Press, de Gruyter, EBSCO Publishing, Elsevier BV, Gale Cengage Learning, H.W. Wilson, HighWire Press, John Wiley & Sons, JSTOR, OCLC, Oxford University Press, ProQuest, Sage Publications, Springer-Verlag, SWETS, University of Chicago Press, Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer Health Medical Research, etc. Although Wolters Kluwer Health Medical Research is in compliance, their other divisions are not. The absence of legal information providers in the compliance list is still obvious.

    Due to Patricia Sayre-McCoy’s diligent work, the bibliography on the Project Counter Task Group website has been updated. There are more titles included in the bibliography and the year of publication is now part of each entry.

    In the next year, the Project COUNTER task group needs to work with the AALL Vendor Liaison and the AALL CRIV Committee to promote Project COUNTER to legal information providers. Reporting usage statistics is included as part of Goal I-C in the draft Action Plan (6/13/11) of the Vendor Colloquium Working Group on Shared Principles. If appropriate, we will send the sample letters to vendors to encourage their participation in Project COUNTER. We also need to inform AALL members on the latest activities of Project COUNTER by publishing an article on Project COUNTER in AALL Spectrum or CRIVSheet or TSLL.

  • 2009 - 2010 Annual Report

    Project COUNTER Task Group
    2009-2010 Annual Report

    June 20, 2010

    In the Spring 2010, Lorna Tang became the chair of this Task Group. In the past year, the group has updated the links on the Task Group’s website and has added to the bibliography on Project COUNTER.

    The Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases was published in August 2008. The latest “Register of COUNTER Release 3 compliant vendors” (updated May 2010) has revealed the absence of legal information providers. So, there is more work to be done by law librarians to convince legal publishers the importance of providing usage statistics and becoming Project COUNTER compliant.

    Projects for the next year include:

    1. Update the spreadsheet about usage statistics resources.
    2. Contact the AALL CRIV Committee to see how we can send the sample letters to vendors to encourage their participation in Project COUNTER.
    3. Inform AALL members on the latest of collecting usage statistics and Project COUNTER.