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OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
OCLS 2010:  Tracking the Elusive Student
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OCLS 2010: Tracking the Elusive Student


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Tracking the Elusive Student: Opportunities for Connection and Assessment

Tracking the Elusive Student: Opportunities for Connection and Assessment

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  • Introduce ourselves
  • SusannWhat makes off-campus and online students “elusive”?
  • SusannHow did we get here? 3 things happening around the same time: Move to more online & hybrid classes: working with Elaine Starko ILS Task Force (more on next slide) Web Site Revision: previous web site was dated (2001) wordy and somewhat unorganized
  • SusannILS Task Force started in March 2009Two different philosophiesExtended Programs: focus on service, giving students what they wantLibrary: focus on instruction, long term vision toward developing life-long learnersTook time and a lot of communication
  • Web Site Revision group worked with the Integrated Library Services groupAvoid duplication of content and effort:Previously, there was information for Extended Programs students in several locations: the library web site, Extended Programs web site, and also in the EMU Online Course Management System, in a separate “course”Because these sites were maintained by different people and the library didn’t have direct control over all of them, over the years the sites evolved and developed a lot of inconsistencies, out of date information in some locations, and so forth.Present information on the library web site, and link from other sites.Use language that is easy to understand:Usability testing early in the design.Content – got input from faculty and staff involved, and also had a student intern working on web site content. She was a communications major but didn’t have a library background before working on this project. This helped to be sure we were communicating clearly with the students using this information.
  • Result – present information on Services, “how to” informationGuides, tutorials, other helpResearch resources
  • Page tagging:Page must be loaded for use to be recorded, so in theory should be counting uses by people. Server log analysis will record visits by search engine robotsExtra steps:Not tricky, but could be time-consuming to set up depending on how many objects you want to track (add javascript to links or embed in Flash)Also, need to realize that this needs to be done, or you won’t have this data! We didn’t add this until middle of the Fall 2009 semester.
  • Quick overview of what is to come – selected data. There is much more!
  • How to identify Extended Programs students? No way to do this accurately. Some students take only online courses, or only off-campus courses, but many enroll in some combination of these and on-campus classes. Even if we knew who they are, we can’t track individual’s use. Segmented web site visitors based on geographic location (using Advanced Segments) Local = YpsilantiNon-Local = Not YpsilantiWhy not I.P. address? At first, because didn’t set up I.P. filters at the beginning of the tracking period; I.P. address filtering needs to be done as data is being collected. Advanced Segments can be defined and applied at any time, and used to look at data retroactively.Also, using the local area seems to be a more useful separation than strict on-campus/off-campus computer. Our definition of “Local” includes all users who are physically close to the library: students in apartments located just off-campus, faculty and staff who live in the neighborhood just a block from the library. So for the purposes of this case study, we stuck with this Local/Non-local distinction.Implications: A significant amount of our web-site use is not local.
  • First week shown – spring break. During break and weekends, there is more non-local traffic.Dates indicated (May 1, May 8, etc.) are Mondays – peaks of all traffic, and particularly local traffic.Non-local visits are more consistent. Local varies more throughout the week, connected to the Monday-Friday work week. Many of our residential students also leave the campus area on weekends.
  • A little bit tricky to find in Google Analytics.Again, there is more consistency in non-local use – slight peak between 8-9pm, while local use is tied more to the business day. While all use is quite low after midnight, does show that the 6-10pm is particularly important for non-local users.Implications of these weekly and daily patterns: library support for off-campus students is important at all times, but weekends and evenings it is possibly more important than support for in-person use of the library. We can provide this support through clear information on how to contact us and get help, and 24/7 virtual reference. (Through OCLC’s Academic 24/7 Cooperative.)This data can be useful in budget discussions, such as to justify the cost of evening and weekend or 24/7 online research help.
  • [Selected] Direct Traffic: visitors that come from a link on another web site (not traffic that resulted from web searches)EPEO – Extended ProgramsImplications:The my.emich portal is an important source of traffic - (14% of all visits) - efforts to enhance the library’s presence on this site could help guide Extended Programs students to library resources and service.EMU Online course management system directs little traffic to the library (< 1% of all visits.) We obviously need to focus on working with faculty and CMS administrators to provide students with easy access to library resources and services from their course shells.In some cases, traffic tends to go in one direction: for example, while the library Research Guides are not a large source of traffic to the library web site, the library web site is the source of 33% of all traffic to the guides.
  • Look at the Local/Non-local segments for these sources of traffic. Further identifies the EMU Online Course Management System and my.emich as important partners for directing off-campus students to library resources.EPEO – Extended Programs & Educational Outreach – mostly internal, more of a marketing site.
  • Page Views:Database help guides, Research guides: more non-local views. Users who are physically distant are looking for more guidance?Video tutorials: We have added more in the past semester, use is increasing: 513 views from the library web site, 780 on YouTube.Susann: use of Camtasia videos by students in Education class
  • Show as a proportion of use – Only databases, research guides, overall help pages have high enough use to register.Others were insignificant % of use. Fairly similar to all (local + non-local) useNon-local Page views:Entire site: 419,748Databases: 122,713Database Help: 175EPEO pages: 660Research Guides: 24,783Help pages: 13,977
  • Ongoing issues and areas of improvementNew online learning librarian – join Integrated Library Services Task ForceWeb site revisions – improving web site, guide students more directly to services for Extended Programs students, improve point-of-need linking of guides and tutorialsResearch Guides – heavily used by off-campus students; keep in mind during migration. Use new guide format as a promotional opportunityCampus moving to one CMS – less daunting task to work on integrating default links to library in course shellsAll of this will require continuing to communicate with faculty, staff, students, and continue to build relationshipsOngoing Assessment with Google Analytics, and other forms of assessment
  • Transcript

    • 1. Tracking the Elusive Student: Opportunities for Connection and Assessment
      Sara Memmott
      Susann deVries
      Eastern Michigan University
      Fourteenth Off-Campus Library Services Conference
      Cleveland, Ohio, April 28, 2010
    • 2. Tracking the Elusive Student
      Library Services for Extended (Online & Off-Campus) Students at EMU
      Selecting & Organizing Information
      Service information
      Resources information
      Instructional information
      Analysis using Google Analytics
      Site Visitors
      Traffic Sources
      Selected Content
    • 3. Online Library Services
      Online and hybrid classes
      Integrated Library Services Task Force
      Web Site Revision Team
    • 4. Silos of Information
      Extended Programs and Educational Outreach (EPEO)
      Bruce T. Halle Library
      Service Information
      Integrated Library Services Task Force
    • 5. Library Web Site Revision
      Web Site Task Force began January 2008
      New site debuted August 2009
      Goals included:
      Avoid duplication of content and effort
      Use language that is easy to understand
    • 6.
    • 7.
    • 8. Free web analytics
      Uses page tagging – not server log analysis
      Embed Google Analytics JavaScript in each page
      Only need access to web pages
      Extra steps needed to track
      File downloads
      Use of Flash, video, audio
      External links
    • 9. Extended Programs Students & the Library Web Site
      Who is using the site?
      Site Visitors: On and Off-Campus patterns of use
      How do users get to our site?
      Sources of web site traffic
      How often is relevant content being used?
      Research content and information on library services
    • 10. Who is Using the Site?
      Web Site Visitors
    • 11. Site Visitors – Weekly Patterns
      • Non-local visits higher than local on weekends, Spring Break
      • 12. Local traffic varies more throughout the week, with highs on Mondays, lows on Saturdays
      Sample Month:
    • 13. Site Visitors – Daily Patterns
      • Non-local visits higher than local visits from 6pm – 8am
      • 14. In Google Analytics, Go to Visitors > Visitor Trending to see Graph by Hour option
    • Direct Traffic Sources, September 1, 2009 – March 31, 2010
    • 15.
    • 16. Use of Relevant Content
    • 17.
    • 18. Continuing & Future Areas of Focus
      New Online Learning Librarian
      Web Site Revisions
      Migrating Research Guides to LibGuides
      Campus moving to one CMS (currently three)
      Continue to build relationships
      Extended Programs
    • 19. Questions?
      Sara Memmott,
      Susann deVries,
    • 20. References - 1
      Betty, P. (2009). Assessing homegrown library collections: Using Google Analytics to track use of screencasts and flash-based learning objects. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 21(1), 75-92. doi:10.1080/19411260902858631
      Breeding, M. (2008). An analytical approach to assessing the effectiveness of web-based resources. Computers in Libraries, 28(1), 20-22.
      Fang, W. (2007). Using Google Analytics for improving library website content and design: A case study. Library Philosophy and Practice, Retrieved from
      Gillis, J. (2008). A deeper look at advanced segmentation: Filtering on the fly. Retrieved December 11, 2009, from
    • 21. References - 2
      Google. How do I manually track clicks on outbound links? Retrieved December 11, 2009, from
      Google. How do I track files (such as PDF, AVI, or WMV) that are downloaded from my site? Retrieved December 11, 2009, from
      Khoo, M., Pagano, J., Washington, A. L., Recker, M., Palmer, B., & Donahue, R. A. (2008). Using web metrics to analyze digital libraries. Proceedings of the 8th ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. 375-384. doi:10.1145/1378889.1378956
      Kilzer, R. D. (2008). Using Google Analytics in the proprietary OPAC [PDF document]. Retrieved from
      Ledford, J., & Tyler, M. E. (2007). Google Analytics 2.0. Indianpolis, IN: Wiley.