Library website analytics

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SystemsUX

I have just been looking at the presentation [ppt] given by Tony Hirst and Hassan Sheikh to Internet Librarian International last October.
They report the results of their analysis of traffic to the home page of the Open University Library using Google Analytics.
Here are some of the things that I noticed:

  • The most clicked links on the home page were: Databases (20%), eJournals (19%), Library Catalogue (11%).
  • Slightly over half the traffic came directly to the website, about 40% from referring sites, and just over 5% from search engines.
  • The most popular pages (aside from the home page) are Journals, Databases, and eResources (Online collections by subject).
  • There is data on referrals to particular resources, by source website (e.g. from a learning management system) and by network location.
  • The presentation concludes with some questions for further investigation, including thinking about slicing data by referring course (from within the learning management system) and by database.

A couple of things jumped out at me. First, I wondered whether the low number of clicks from the home page through to the catalogue as compared to licensed materials would be repeated in other institutions. And second, I was interested in the large number of referrals from other internal OU systems (e.g. the learning management system aka VLE). Again, I wondered whether this pattern was repeated in other university environments.
For related work, see Tony Hirst’s blog entries beginning with this one.
Update: Check out the comments for a note by Tony Hirst about ways in which the OU may not be typical. He also talks a little about measuring traffic from the VLE to the library.

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