For August 2011, the UF Digital Collections (UFDC) saw another sharp rise in usage with 2.6 million views for August alone. This is another record high, up by nearly 200,000 views in a single month. More importantly, it’s on track for continued growth!
Statistics like this are important for what they show and what they point to. Usage statistics show usage, but they indicate greater significance with impact. Digitizing and curating digital materials must be done for preservation and access. Beyond the necessity, the significance of those materials can be seen with the impact of the materials. Impact can be assessed quantitatively (e.g.; usage statistics, reference counts) and qualitatively (e.g.; how these resources or the services associated with them helped researchers in their work, how UFDC was the foundation for new work in the digital humanities and digital scholarship).
The UF Digital Collections are excelling in both quantitative and qualitative measures. In the near-ish future, I hope to have more time to post some of the more interesting qualitative examples here, perhaps as longer anecdotes and perhaps as full case studies.