When there is no Vendor: Statistics for Free Clickthroughs via the Online Catalog
Christopher C. Brown: Reference Librarian / Government DocumentsLibrarian, University of Denver, Penrose Librarycbrown@du.eduWHEN THERE IS NO VENDOR: STATISTICS FORFREE CLICKTHROUGHS VIA THE ONLINECATALOG
ABSTRACT We know about COUNTER; were familiar with SUSHI. But who has statistics for patron access to free resources? [crickets chirping here]. Learn how to track clickthroughs and make use of these statistics in decision-making. Instructions will be provided so that anyone can implement this in their online catalog. The University of Denver has been tracking clickthrough statistics to free resources for over eight years. First we implemented it for US federal documents, then for all other free resources including Colorado State publications, Rand publications, National Academies Press, Google Scholar, Hathi Trust, and many others. I will describe the technology (a URL prepend in the 856 field of the catalog records), show statistical patterns over the years, and point to collection and space-allocation decisions coming out of these statistics. Rather than providing exact code, I will provide a list of specifications that can be given to those write the code so that other libraries can benefit from these statistics.
THE PROBLEM Vendor stats as apples and oranges reports Catalogs increasingly including “free” Internet resources, such as US government documents and other free resources
50% OF OUR CATALOG RECORDS CONTAINLINKS TO ONLINE CONTENT 12.9% Records with no vender – these Non-docs are the records we are tracking! 50.0% Govdocs 37.1% DU catalog records DU catalog records with Internet link with no Internet link
URL GROWTH IN GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTSAT THE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER URLs in the OPAC: Docs and non-docs
CURRENT DOCS – ALL ONLINEOLDER DOCS – MANY ONLINE
STATISTICS WE NOW KNOW Documents Received Circulation Statistics (from our ILS reports) GPO PURL Referral Statistics (see http://www.fdlp.gov/component/docman/cat_view/178-collection-management/249-purl- referrals for individual library statistics; see also http://fdlp.gov/collections/building- collections/618-purl-referrals-reporting for discussion of recent issues)
STATISTICS WE DON’T KNOW Visits to online docs URLs by our users – we are clueless! How many times URLs are visited by our users What titles are visited by our users What agencies are most popular with our users We don’t know the whole picture
WE ARE TRACKING: U.S. Government Documents Colorado State Documents ERIC Documents Other Free Items, such as RAND, United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Making of America, National Academies Press, and Wright American Fiction
WHY WE NEED URL STATISTICS Justify our depository status to administrators Assist with item selections GPO cannot provide them URL maintenance “Knowing where they’re going” is always helpful
WHY STATISTICS ARE DIFFICULT TO GATHER Not all government URLs are PURLed In 2004 I counted over 1,400 servers hosting government documents to which our catalog pointed. We can’t expect 1,400 sites to provide us statistics.
GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS ON MULTIPLESERVERS Over 1,400 servers (Web sites) deliver US federal government e- content. They don’t provide usage statistics. 0.2% 1.2% 2.4% 2.0% 0.1% 2.9% 4.1% gov edu org com net mil us numeric 87.2% Data from: Brown, Christopher C. 2004. “Knowing Where They’re Going: Statistics for Online Government Document Access through the OPAC.”Online Information Review 28 (6), 396-409. DOI: 10.1108/14684520410570526
CLICKTHROUGHS IN RELATION TO NUMBER OFRECORDS Fiscal Year Total Docs Bib Recs Bib Recs with URLs Clickthroughs to Docs FY2004 358,215 43,307 3,809 FY2005 373,200 55,508 4,504 FY2006 388,610 62,374 4,686 FY2007 401,454 103,021 5,217 FY2008 429,122 159,543 6,342 FY2009 711,315 463,121 7,660 FY2010 860,346 594,431 7,921 FY2011 898,092 626,570 7,442
BENEFITS OF CLICKTHROUGH PROJECT1. We can provide meaningful stats to the library director2. We can see high-use and low-use areas3. We can tell if users benefit from our special projects4. We can do reactive URL maintenance5. We can see turnaways and other problems6. We can see search engine attacks
3. SPECIAL PROJECT USAGE Project URL Count Coverage Dates Tracking Time Span URL Unique % Unique Clicks URL Accessed Clicks Topographic Maps 456 1991 – 2001 Sept. 2003 – June 2009 101 76 16.6% NASA Technical Reports 24,825 1976 – 2001 April 2007 – June 2009 310 263 1.06% GAO Reports (older) 9,559 1976 – 1999 Aug. 2007 – June 2009 184 161 1.68% LexisNexis Digital 57,200 1850 – 1995 July 2007 – June 2009 1027 851 1.49% Hearings/Committee Prints Readex Digital Serial Set 248,134 1817 – 1948 Sept. 2008 – June 2009 239 205 0.08% OSTI Reports 19,901 2002 – 2006 July 2008 – June 2009 476 375 1.88%
4. REACTIVE URL MAINTENANCE Two approaches: Proactive approach My approach: Reactive approach – with nearly half-a-million docs URLs in our OPAC, we can’t afford to be proactive. Error rate FY Clicks Errors Rate FY04 3809 202 5.30% FY05 4504 231 5.13% FY06 4686 299 6.38% FY07 5217 217 4.16% FY08 6342 179 2.82% FY09 7660 177 2.31% FY10 1542 38 2.46%
IT IS IMPORTANT TO REPORT BROKEN PURLS TO GPO.THEY ARE REPAIRED VERY QUICKLY.
5. TURNAWAY PROBLEMSSTOPGAP: PURL RECORD AMENDED “Direct access to online version”
6. SEARCH ENGINE ATTACKS CUIL (http://www.cuil.com/) CUIL attacked many OPACs – at least Millennium OPACs. We were attacked two times. Our project uncovered the attacks! August, 2007 and February, 2008 The CUIL clickthroughs were subsequently omitted from the project stats
SPECS FOR THE NEW DU CLICKTHROUGHSYSTEM Give these specs to a systems person, and see if you can make this happen! Project hosted on stable server (such as library Web server). Should be able to handle long URLs – up to 700 characters. Prepended URL sends request to library server. Included in prepended URL is cataloger-supplied 3-letter code of URL type (ex: gov, cou, ran – any 3-letter combination that may be needed in future). Server records date/time, IP address of requestor, 3-letter code of URL type, and URL requested. Server redirects user to desired URL. Reporting mechanism available to gather clickthroughs. Archiving function available to archive stats. Ability to view archived records. Secure login for authorized users.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: “Adding URLs in Bulk at the University of Denver.” Presentation given at the Spring 2002 Depository Library Council Meeting, 24 April 2002, Mobile, AL. View PoierPoint presentation: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fdlp/pubs/proceedings/02spc.html “Statistics for Online Document Use.” Presentation given at the Fall 2003 Depository Library Conference, 22 October 2003, Arlington, VA. Published in the Proceedings of the 12th Annual Depository Library Conference, Oct. 19-22, 2003. Brown, Christopher C. 2004. “Knowing Where Theyre Going: Statistics for Online Government Document Access through the OPAC”. Online Information Review 28 (6), 396-409. DOI: 10.1108/14684520410570526 “Local Access Statistics for Federal Documents: Tracking Web Page and Online Catalog Usage.” Presentation given with Susan Xue at the Fall 2004 Depository Library Conference, 20 October 2004, Washington, DC. Published in the Proceedings of the 13th Annual Depository Library Conference, Oct. 17-20, 2004. [view] “Enhancing NASA Fiche Records with Links to Online Content.” Presentation given at the Fall 2007 Depository Library Conference, 17 October 2007, Arlington, VA. [view] “Tracking Online Document Usage from the Catalog: Experiences from the Field.” Presentation given with Stephanie Braunstein, Susan Kendall, Liza Weisbrod, Jennifer Gerke, and Shane Cole at the Fall 2009 Depository Library Conference, 19 October 2009, Arlington, VA [view]. Brown, Christopher C. 2011. “Knowing Where They Went: Six Years of Online Statistics via the OPAC for Federal Government Information.”College & Research Libraries 72 (1), 43-61. http://sites.google.com/site/librariancorner/url-clickthrough-project
QUESTIONS? Contact: Christopher C. Brown – “Chris” email@example.com