This has to be possibly the greatest newspaper article of all time…
At a recent event in Edinburgh, I was asked about how we generate the "people who borrowed this, also borrowed…" suggestions in our OPAC and whether or not there are privacy issues with generating them.
Last week, I popped over to Manchester for a meeting of the JISC funded SALT (Surfacing the Academic Long Tail), which is one of the recently funded Activity Data projects. Part of the discussion at the meeting was around how to generate recommendations for items that haven't circulated many times.
At both events, I promised to put together a blog post detailing the method we use, so here it is!
To generate recommendations for book A, we find every person who's borrowed that book. Just to simply things, let's say only 4 people have borrowed that book. We then find every book that those 4 people have borrowed. As a Venn diagram, where each set represents the books borrowed by that person, it'd look like…
To generate useful and relevant recommendations (and also to help protect privacy), we set a threshold and ignore anything below that. So, if we decide to set the threshold at 3 or more, we can ignore anything in the red and orange segments, and just concentrate on the yellow and green intersections…
There'll always be at least one book in the green intersection — the book we're generating the recommendations for, so we can ignore that.
If we sort the books that appear in those intersections by how many borrowers they have in common (in descending order), we should get a useful list of recommendations. For example, if we do this for "Social determinants of health (ISBN 9780198565895), we get the following titles (the figures in square brackets is the number of people who borrowed both books and the total number of loans for the suggested book)…
When we trialled generating suggestions this way, we found a couple of issues:
To try and address those concerns, we tweaked the sorting to take into account the total number of times the suggested book has been borrowed. So, if 10 people have borrowed book A and book B, and book B has only been borrowed by 12 people in total, we could imply that there's a strong link between both books.
If we divide the number of common borrowers (10) with the total number of people who've borrowed the suggested book (12), we'll end up with a figure between 0 and 1 that we can use to sort the titles. Here's a list that uses 15 and above as the threshold…
…and if we used a lower threshold of 5, we'd get…
If you think of the 3 sets of suggestions in terms of the Long Tail, the first set favours popular items that will mostly appear in the green ("head") section, the second will be further along the tail, and the third, even further along.
As we move along the tail, we begin to favour books that haven't been borrowed as often and we also begin to see a few more eclectic suggestions appearing (e.g. the "How effective have National Healthy School Standards…" literature based study).
One final factor that we include in our OPAC suggestions is whether or not the suggested book belongs to the same stock collection in the library — if it does, then the book gets a slight boost.
I'm chuffed to bits that the Library Impact Data bid that Huddersfield submitted, along with 7 project partner institutions, was one of the successful ones in the JISC Activity Data Programme and the project will kick off on Tuesday this week!
… the aim of this project is to prove a statistically significant correlation between library usage and student attainment. The project will collect anonymised data from University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Exeter, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, University of Salford, Teesside University as well as Huddersfield. By identifying subject areas or courses which exhibit low usage of library resources, service improvements can be targeted. Those subject areas or courses which exhibit high usage of library resources can be used as models of good practice.
If you're interested, keep an eye on the project blog: http://library.hud.ac.uk/blogs/projects/lidp/
Joe, our beloved cat for the last 4 years, passed away this evening at 6:30pm.
Just before Christmas, he started to go off his food and was initially diagnosed with kidney disease. Despite having high levels of toxins in his blood, he responded well to the first round of treatment.
Throughout January, he had to go back to the vets on a regular basis and the diagnosis was eventually changed to renal lymphoma (cancer of the kidney). By then, we'd had good days (when he was back to his old self and running around the house) and bad days.
Once the lymphoma had been diagnosed, Joe's only hope was a course of chemotherapy, which he began on Monday. Although the chemo did have a positive effect, sadly his kidneys were already too damaged and his energy drained away on Tuesday. He went back on a drip at lunchtime today.
With the prospect that he might not make it through the night, Bryony and I took the decision to say goodbye to Joe before he started to suffer too much. We were both with him at the end and he slipped away peacefully.
We'd like to thank the staff at Donaldson and Partners and, especially, Sid, the vet who looked after Joe, who was our rock throughout.
Joe was such a central part of our lives and we'll miss him. We're both so glad that we've got so many happy memories of him
Bryony and Dave
From: XXX@durrex-pump.com [mailto:XXX@durrex-pump.com]
Sent: 08 December 2010 15:31
To: Library Support
Subject: Life is life!
Hello My Friend!
I write to you the letter, and I hope to receive the answer from you.
My name is Marina.
I the young woman, me of 29 years, I have brown hair. I the beautiful woman
And live in Russia, city Volzhsk.
My city is in 910 km from Moscow.
And if you wish to get acquainted with me, I shall be very happy to answer your letter.
And I would like to tell why I write to you.
The matter is that in 2 weeks I shall visit the UK or I can visit other country in the Europe.
My dream to have Christmas in UK.
And Now I have the plan to visit UK.
But I have no friends or relatives in the UK or other country in the Europe.
And while I at all do not know what country better to visit.
WHAT CITY OR ANOTHER COUNTRY YOU LIVE NOW? We could have our meeting?
Tell to me more about your country or city? What interesting?
I shall have the tourist visa, and I can visit any country in the Europe.
But main my purpose, it to find the good friend for me.
The man for serious attitudes and if you are now alone?
You have not the wife or children I ask you to write to me the letter.
And we could learn better each other.
I have not boyfriend, and I have not children.
To write to you the letter, I have addressed in agency of acquaintances, and to me give yours e-mail.
It not a spam or other bad things. So, please, answer me!!!
My letter, this offer to acquaintance and to learn better each other.
In my next letter I will send you my photo!!! I hope you will be like see me.
And I would like to receive your photo too.
Please, answer only my personal e-mail: XXX@rambler.ru
The best regards,
Following on from the last blog post, I've done some coding to see how well (or not!) a course level new journal article feed might work.
The process behind the code is…
…and you can see the initial output from the code here: http://www.daveyp.com/blog/stuff/journals/
For some courses (e.g. Educational Administration) it looks like usage is focused on a single journal, but most seem to bring in content from multiple titles — for example, BSc Criminology is bringing in content from:
One of the opportunities here is to use the journal usage data to identify potentially relavant journals that aren't being used on a course and include those in the feed. In the above example, the Journal of criminal justice might be such a journal.
A mega quick blog post before the afternoon session kicks off!
Lynn Connaway's talk mentioned that they'd found that students wanted the library/librarian to provide a filtered feed of relevant stuff, so here's our idea…
1) capture OpenURL usage data along with user data (so you know who's looking at which journals)
2) identify the most popular journals for individual courses
3) for each course, use TicTOCs/JournalTOCs to provide an aggregated feed of new articles for those journal
The code will cover these areas:
In theory, the first 2 might also be of interest to Horizon sites that are implementing an alternative OPAC (e.g. VuFind or AquaBrowser) where you need to set up regular MARC exports. The latter might be of interest to 360 Link sites in general.
I couldn't find a relevant photo for this blog post, so instead, let's have another look at those infamous MIMAS #cupcakes from ILI2009
It's probably a sign of getting old and decrepit, but this year has just flown by – it doesn't seem like two minutes since we kicked off our implementation of Serials Solutions' Summon and now it's gone fully live (it actually went fully live halfway through the Mashed Library event we ran the other week).
The bulk of the implementation was done and dusted by early January 2010, and the majority of the implementation time was spent populating 360 Link (the Serials Solutions link resolver) with our journal holdings — a task our Journals Team found much easier than when we implemented SFX back in 2006. As the plan had always been to run Summon in parallel to MetaLib during the 2009/10 academic year, it meant we had lots of time to play and tweak.
We flipped the link resolver over from SFX to 360 Link in late January and then formally "soft" launched Summon during the University's Research Festival in early March. Throughout the academic year, usage of Summon has been growing and the vast majority of the feedback has been positive
As part of the JISC Summon4HN Project, we'll be documenting the implementation and releasing chunks of code that we hope might be of use to the community, including:
Also, as part of the roll out of Summon, we've been revamping our E-Resources Wiki to provide a browseable list of resources — as with the journal titles, we've been dropping dummy MARC records into Summon so that known resources can be located via a search (e.g. Mintel Reports).