It’s unusual to listen to a vendor presentation and realize that the speaker isn’t promoting her product, isn’t giving a sales pitch, and is raising questions that we should all be thinking about. The New Metrics and Services for Delivering Value session was one of these. The final speaker was Mary Sauer-Games, VP, Higher Education Publishing for ProQuest, who said, “People don’t search anymore.” She also asked, somewhat rhetorically, how we can measure value. Next generation databases include increased use of PDFs and new types of content such as images, maps, audio, video and interactive). There’s more emphasis on browsing and more post-search manipulation. Students want to comment on what they’ve found in the databases and store citations in their personal workspace. ProQuest research into user behavior shows that there is more browsing and less searching.
The new value indicators all comes down to user satisfaction, concluded Sauer-Games, with the whole issue of metrics raising lots of questions that, so far, haven’t been answered.