October 2nd, 2014 | Category : bepress Development Blogs

Coming Soon to a Website Near You: Portable Readership Activity Maps!

Earlier this year we announced a new tool: the Digital Commons Readership Activity Map, a real-time visualization of full-text downloads across the globe. Our primary goal was to provide IR managers and their libraries with a solution to the great challenge facing the IR initiative that Dorothea Salo, author of the “Roach Motel” paper, identified so clearly:

“The problem in my opinion isn’t so much that downloads aren’t happening; it’s that with many of our IR systems, usage activity is *invisible* because the software doesn’t surface it in any usable or interesting fashion.”

—Comment made by Dorothea Salo to a thread on the meaning of her “Roach Motel” paper on the SPARC listserv (August 9th, 2009)

Reactions to the new Readership Activity Map have been overwhelmingly positive. The most frequent comment we get is that it is “mesmerizing.” We couldn’t be more pleased. The powerful visual impact of the Readership Activity Map has led Digital Common’s subscribers to take screen shots of the map to post on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. One of Purdue’s research centers created a video of the map to show their impact.

But pictures and videos of the Readership Activity Map simply can’t match the impact of the real thing. Digital Commons subscribers want to put the live map on their informational TVs that sit outside of the entrances of their Libraries and administration offices. They want to be able to incorporate the live map into campus-wide public relations efforts. Deans want to have the maps accessible on mobile devices so that they can show donors when making house calls. To support these goals, and those of others following suit, we have prioritized making the Readership Activity Map portable so that you can highlight usage activity of readers anywhere the story resonates with patrons on campus or funders on and off campus. In the next few months Digital Commons subscribers will soon have the ability to:

  • Embed the Readership Activity Map on any web site or monitor with a quick cut-and-paste job
  • View or share Readership Activity from any mobile device

It is also worth noting that we’ve continued to improve the map itself. We’ve made it more intuitive and visually impactful. We have added the option to zoom in on readers around the world. We have also invested in the infrastructure supporting the map to make it more robust and in further filtering the logs to rigorously eliminate spiders, bots and crawlers from the readership logs in real-time.

Stay tuned for release announcements of these features and other plans we have for visualizing readership data, as well as other Digital Commons and SelectedWorks improvements.