Skip to main content

Analytics & Reports: COUNTER 5 and Surveys

For the PALNI Analytics Admin Team, and PALNI librarians working with analytics, reports, ROI, and assessment


Because of continuing limitations with COUNTER harvesting in License Manager, which reflect in the Reports E-Resources Data Universe, at this time we recommend reporting electronic usage directly from your resource vendor. Libraries wishing to use License Manager usage harvesting should visit the SUSHI Configuration and COUNTER Harvesting in WMS License Manager LibGuide provided by Lisa Gonzalez:

COUNTER 4 Calculations:




60, Column B

(BR1 or BR2) + (MR1 or MR2) + non-COUNTER usage

Use only BR1/MR1 if both BR1/BR2 and MR1/MR2 are provided by vendor. Use non-COUNTER data only if vendor does not provide COUNTER data.











Special Notes for Ebook Central: ProQuest Ebook Central counts page views during online web-browser reading as section requests (BR equivalent). BR1 and BR2 do not overlap in ProQuest reports. Use both BR1 and BR2 when calculating for Ebook Central, and note the inclusion of Ebook Central in the comments section of the survey.

COUNTER 4 to COUNTER 5 Conversion

PALNI asked ACRL/Counting Opinions for clarification on how to report Digital/Electronic usage data given the mid-year cutoff from COUNTER 4 to COUNTER 5.


Adrian Ho, Chair of ACRL Survey Review Board responded (9/28/19), “The part of the survey that asks for COUNTER reports comes from the IPEDS Academic Library Component.  As far as I know, there hasn't been an official clarification about the COUNTER version issue. An advisory task force will address this issue soon. As such, my suggestion is that you provide the data you deem most appropriate and add a note about the COUNTER version(s) you use when possible.”  


COUNTER 5 data will not be supported in WMS Analytics until Q1-Q2 of 2020, and may be too limited in scope to be of use for this reporting cycle.


COUNTER 4 and COUNTER 5 report different metrics and are not fully comparable. Below are our best recommendations, based on information we have at this time, to map between the versions to meet the requirements of the ACRL instructions. This information is subject to change either within this reporting cycle or for reporting year 2020-2021.

Recommendation: Use the TR (for Books and Journals) and DR (for multimedia) Master Reports with Data_Type and Section_Type attributes, and Metric_Type “Total_Item_Requests.”* Master reports allow granular filtering of content types. *Use metric "Unique_Title_Requests" for C4 BR1 equivalent.

Recommendation: Use pivot tables in Excel for easier sorting and calculations.

Recommendation: Provide content notes on surveys as necessary. Example: “Includes COUNTER 4 JR1 data July-December 2018, including OA_Gold, and COUNTER 5 TR Master data, filtered, for January-June 2019.”

To compare apples to… other apples, C5 “Requests” most closely approximate C4 downloads. Total Item Requests is the recommended metric type (not Unique Title Requests, except for C4 BR1) for obtaining overall use counts. Use Master Reports, customized to include Data Type and Section Type attributes; C5 “Standard” reports are summaries and subsets of Master report data and do not provide enough detail to answer the ACRL instructions.

ACRL wants OA_Gold content included in reports; it is excluded from the default C5 Standard (B1 and J1) reports.

‘Total_Item_Requests’: the total number of times the full text of a content item was downloaded or viewed.

Where you used COUNTER 4:

Use in COUNTER 5:

ACRL Line:


TR Master Report 


Unique_Title_Requests AND Data_Type=Book AND Section_Type=Book

60 (B)

61 (B)


TR Master Report 


Total_Item_Requests AND Data_Type=Book AND Section_Type=Chapter|Section|Other

62 (B)


IR Master Report

Total_Item_Requests AND Section_Type=Multimedia



DR Master Report


Total_Item_Requests AND Data_Type=Multimedia

60 (B)


TR Master Report


Total_Item_Requests AND Data_Type=Journal|Newspaper_or_Newsletter AND Section_Type=Article

63 (B)


  • Master Reports outputs are not standardized. Customization may be required to include all fields, including the necessary Section_Type. See vendor instructions for guidance.
  • Section_Type names and definitions vary between vendors. For instance, Gale uses Book: Article where Oxford uses Book: Chapter and Book:Other. (As attributes Data_Type: Section_Type)

Sample EBSCO TR Master Report XSLX export:

Sample EBSCO TR Master Report as Pivot Table:

Recommended Pivot Table Settings: