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By Jan Sykes

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Abstract

"Usage" is a term information professionals, including those in professional services firms, tend to use in a very general way, so FreePint has undertaken a deep dive into specific aspects of usage. What resources are being used? How can eResources be accessed more easily? Are users complying with usage terms and conditions? What do we learn about user preferences and behaviours from examining usage data?

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Expanding the Concept of Usage

Knowledge workers have access to virtually limitless information resources today; can this be both a blessing and a curse?

In the bigger scheme of things, abundant information and data resources are the raw material for most organisations and they afford significant business value so it is imperative to manage access and use efficiently.


Authentication Developments

In ongoing conversations with clients in the professional services sector, we learn that they are increasingly concerned that users access trustworthy and current data and information in a manner that is as seamless and effortless as possible... and then use those resources within the terms of information provider licences.

FreePint has recently delved into this topic from the perspective of various stakeholders.

IT personnel along with vendors, information professionals, and entrepreneurial software developers all have a vested interest in improving authentication protocols and tools for resources directed to small numbers of users or the entire enterprise from any device and from any location. The simpler it is to access subscription resources, the more likely they will be incorporated into day to day workflows, driving usage and return on investment, to say nothing of improved user satisfaction.

Monitoring usage data reveals opportunities for information managers to open new conversations with users such as suggesting complementary resources or training.


Risks Associated with Inappropriate Usage

Information professionals are equally concerned that some business decisions are being based on free internet resources of questionable provenance, especially as budgets for information products and services are tightly managed. Although information professionals do not relish the “copyright police” role, they take seriously their responsibility to ensure that risks of inappropriate sharing or illegal downloading are minimised.

To add to the complexity, licences for datasets require new licensing strategies.

The key to moving forward in step with more resources and more tools is to make usage, in all its forms, a component of your information management strategy.  FreePint’s current Topic Series, "All About Usage - From Content Sharing to Data Mining", explores these issues and more in detail.

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