Web traffic and campus trends: a multi-institution analysis
by Robin Paynter, Social Sciences Librarian at Portland State University Library on Feb 09, 2010
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Ordinarily, it is difficult to generalize operational research conducted at one library to the environment of another. Different survey instruments, user populations, and sampling techniques make ...
Ordinarily, it is difficult to generalize operational research conducted at one library to the environment of another. Different survey instruments, user populations, and sampling techniques make direct comparisons difficult. Despite these clear differences, libraries continue to use this literature to plan new services. There is a clear need to establish a baseline for comparison. The use of web server log statistical reports and other web analytics may offer this baseline. Such reports are now available to most libraries, and offer a rich, and consistent, look at library user behavior. This data tells a rich story about library use, and offers a valid point of comparison between institutions. The Orbis-Cascade Alliance Research Interest Group presents these initial results as our first collaborative effort. We argue that differences between institutional environments that have long been assumed are now clearly visible in simple metrics such as most-viewed pages, point-of-entry, and peak hours. These points of comparison are analyzed for three types of Alliance libraries: a public and a private four year residential campus, and an urban commuter university. The analysis offers empirical evidence of the commonalities and differences between these member libraries.
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