Frequently Asked Questions about SUSHI 

  1. What is SUSHI?
  2. How does SUSHI work?
  3. What is COUNTER?
  4. What are COUNTER-compliant reports?
  5. What is the relationship between SUSHI and COUNTER?
  6. Why can SUSHI facilitate COUNTER consortial reports?
  7. What are the benefits of using the SUSHI protocol?
  8. What are the available SUSHI schemas? And what are their differences?
  9. Do I need an ERM system to use SUSHI?
  10. Who are the various parties that need to work together to make this work?
  11. Which content providers have adopted SUSHI?

1. What is SUSHI?

SUSHI stands for Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative. It is a standard protocol (ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2003) that can be used by electronic resource management (ERM) systems (and other systems) to automate the transport of COUNTER formatted usage statistics. It can also be used to retrieve non-COUNTER reports that meet the specified requirements for retrieval by SUSHI.

2. How does SUSHI work?

The SUSHI protocol is a standard client/server web service utilizing a SOAP request/response to retrieve the XML version of a COUNTER or COUNTER-like report.

3. What is COUNTER?

COUNTER (Counting Online User NeTworked Electronic Resources) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2002 to develop standardized methods and reports for measuring the use of electronic resources. COUNTER created Codes of Practice, which define how to count and record usage, and the fields, formats, schedule of reports and protocols for combining usage reports from direct use and from use via intermediaries. COUNTER currently provides two Codes of Practice, one for Journals and Databases and one for Books and Reference Works. In August 2008, Release 3 is the valid Code of Practice for Journals and Databases went into effect. (Deadline for vendors' compliance was July 31, 2009) The current release for Books and Reference Works is Release 1.

4. What are COUNTER-compliant reports?

COUNTER-compliant reports (often just called "COUNTER reports") are usage reports that are formatted exactly as defined in the COUNTER Code of Practice and use defined ways to count usage. When usage reports have the same kinds of data and are formatted the same way, they can be compared to each other and can be automatically retrieved into local systems The SUSHI Reports Registry lists the canonical names used to make requests.

5. What is the relationship between SUSHI and COUNTER?

In the context of SUSHI, the COUNTER reports formatted in XML are the payload which is requested and delivered using the SUSHI protocol. Delivery of COUNTER reports via the SUSHI protocol is included as a requirement in Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice. The implementation of the XML-based SUSHI protocol by vendors will allow the automated retrieval of the COUNTER usage reports into local systems, making this process much less time consuming for the librarian or library consortium administrator.

6. Why can SUSHI facilitate COUNTER consortial reports?

Release 3 of the Code of Practice for Journals and Databases specifically addressed the needs of consortia with the introduction of two new usage reports. These "Consortia Reports" must be provided in XML format and are designed to include detailed usage for consortium members in a single report. These reports can greatly facilitate the handling of large volumes of usage data. It is a particular advantage for consortial reporting.

7. What are the benefits of using the SUSHI protocol?

The primary benefit of SUSHI is that it automates a tedious and repetitive process. Current practice for statistics retrieval calls for library staff to go to each individual content provider's website and manually retrieve statistical data. In some cases, this data is in COUNTER format, but sometimes it is the publisher's own internal format. Occasionally it is available only through a web screen and cannot be downloaded; only printed. The SUSHI protocol automates the process; but also, by default, encourages the publishers to put usage data into a standard format (COUNTER XML). Therefore the retrieval is not only automatic but far easier to use.

8. What are the available SUSHI schemas? And what are their differences?

Information about SUSHI schemas and WSDL are available at the NISO SUSHI schema webpage. A general page about SUSHI contains additional resources for SUSHI-related information. In order to be compliant with Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice, it is necessary to implement sushi1_6.xsd and counter3_0.xsd.

9. Do I need an ERM system to use SUSHI?

No. Many of the libraries interested in SUSHI have or are planning to implement a commercial electronic resource management (ERM) system that will integrate this usage data into their overall management of e-resources, but this is not a requirement. The SUSHI protocol does not presume an end-of-the-line repository for the retrieved report. Some libraries are creating master spreadsheets or in-house databases for their usage data. Any software that can initiate a web service request using the SUSHI WSDL and Schema can use the SUSHI protocol.

10. Who are the various parties that need to work together to make this work?

The content providers -- content providers and others who provide usage data -- are "Server-Side SUSHI Implementers". They receive SUSHI requests from "Client-Side SUSHI Implementers" such as ERM systems. For example, ERM systems submit a SUSHI request to the content provider, which responds by sending an XML formatted file back to the ERM system. Librarians (or other end users) configure their ERM or other system to generate SUSHI requests.

11. Which content providers have adopted SUSHI?

As content providers become compliant with COUNTER release 3, they will necessarily be compatible with SUSHI. For a list of COUNTER compliant content providers, see http://www.projectcounter.org/compliantvendors.html.

Additionally, the SUSHI Server Registry (http://sites.google.com/site/sushiserverregistry/) provides a list of compliant content providers and platforms and includes details on how to take advantage of their SUSHI services.