Overview eResources usage statistics

Find out about the terms used in usage statistics, the reports available to you, and how to determine the cost effectiveness of eResources.​

Image of graph showing usage of an eresource over a year
Image of graph showing usage of an eresource over a the course of a year

Key reports

COUNTER reports are standard.  Use them for reliable comparisons between electronic resources from different suppliers, if applicable.

Counter 5 Reports

See also COUNTER 5 for Librarians.

Introduces concepts of Investigations - when a user clicks on parts of a record, for example viewing the abstract, or fulltext, and Requests which only counts fulltext views or downloads. 

Searches have been sub-divided into regular, platform, federated and automated

See glossary for different types of investigation, request and search.

Platform, Database, Title and Item Reports are available and can now be filtered.

Platform Usage: total and unique item requests, as well as platform searches.  A platform is a supplier’s interface for searching resources, e.g. EBSCOhost, EDS,  or BMJ Best Practice

Database Search and Item Usage: total item investigations and requests, as well as searches 

Database / Journal / Book Access Denied: shows where users were denied access to databases.

Book Requests / Journal Requests: : fulltext activity for non Gold Open Access eBooks /eJournals

Title Usage: access denials to eBooks / eJournals

Book Usage by Access Type: / Journal Usage by Access Type: investigations and requests for eBooks or eJournals


User is researching the aetiology of diabetes mellitus type 1 on a publisher’s platform. From the search results user opens three article abstracts and a video. All four records are different, but two of the articles are from the same journal. The counts are:

Total_Investigations: 4 | Unique_Item_Investigations: 4 |Total_Requests: 0 | Unique_Item_Requests: 0

After reading the abstracts, user downloads PDFs for two of the articles, both from the same journal.  The counts change to:

Total_Investigations: 6 |Unique_Item_Investigations: 4 |Total_Requests: 2 | Unique_Item_Requests: 2

Supplier reports

For help see EBSCO, ProQuest, BMJ Journals, Ovid)

As well as the COUNTER reports, suppliers may offer reports which allow for customization or give more detail. Some useful examples are:

Database usage: sessions, searches, and requests logged for each databases

Interface usage: the interfaces, such a Discovery from which a search of databases was conducted

Title usage: request for content for each title in the collections purchased.

What data does HEE use?

NHS Knowledge and Library Hub

HEE will monitor usage through the EBSCO standard usage reports: Interface Usage; Login Usage; Link Activity. 

The interface usage and login usage reports will be used to report on volume of use and the link activity report will be used to report on the number of ILL requests. 

ThirdIron will also report on full-text requests via LibKey and BrowZine web.

BMJ Best Practice

Sessions and page impressions (website) / screen views (app)


Supplier-provided COUNTER 5 regular and automated searches, and unique item investigations

Ejournals and ebooks

Supplier-provided COUNTER 5 unique item requests and unique title requests.


We aim to publish this data, suitably anonymised, in a dashboard to enable benchmarking by size of Trust.

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021