Research ∕ Learning

Library website analytics

Lorcan 1 min read

Our activities in the network world leave traces. The analysis of these traces is now a major undertaking as organizations mine this data to understand behaviors, to improve their systems, and to refine their offer.
Tony Hirst has a series of posts about ‘course analytics’:

In contrast to the academic analytics, one of the things I set out to explore was how an off the shelf web stats analytics tool (Google Analytics) could be used to help me learn more about what students were doing with our online course materials, and help me identify what – if anything – a “learning site’s” goals could be, and what the site might be optimised for. [OUseful Info: Course Analytics – Prequel]

And further ….

For the moment, what I am interested in is how website analytics can be used applied to online course websites in order to gain a better understanding of online study habits and the bahaviour of students taking an online course. [OUseful Info: Course Analytics, Part 1 – Visitor Behaviour]

He provides some interesting analysis, looking at how students use course materials. He then extends the question to the library website, and based on discussion with his Open University library colleagues he suggests a list of questions that might be tackled with this approach. What sort of search engine searches result in referrals to the library website, for example. How well is actual page popularity mapped by front page navigation options? And so on.
He wonders what success looks like:

How to define library website goals is another interesting exercise… If the site was Amazon, where the aim is to sell goods, a relevant goal page would be a “Thanks for the cash – the goods will be with you in a day or two” page. What is the range of useful, successful transactions on a Library website? [OUseful Info]

He is interested in hearing from libraries who use Google Analytics, or similar off the shelf approaches, and about what they are measuring. If you have some experience, leave him a comment …..

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Lorcan Dempsey dot Net

The social, cultural and technological contexts of libraries, services and networks

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