Tag Archives: communication

Google Analytics for LIS

Before I begin with the data, I have to explain for website redirection works. We have a number of pages on the CMS that redirect the user to another page. An example is the link to MIDCAT on the LIS home page. The redirection is done by sending what is called an HTTP Header from the web server to the client. Basically, all web responses from a server come in two parts: the headers, which supply some metadata to the client about their request, and the body, which contains the content. When a server instructs a client to go to another location, via a redirect, it might send a header of type 302 and the location of the new site. The client then makes a request for the new site. Importantly, this is all done before the body of the original site is loaded by the client.

This is important because of the way Google Analytics works. The code to update the analytics data for the site is contained at the end of the body and is only run if the entire page loads. This means that when we do a redirect, the user’s click on that link is not recorded by our analytics tools. Because of this, you will see a 0 next to that link to MIDCAT on the LIS home page. It would be silly of us to assume that this link is never clicked on, but according to GA, it wasn’t. I’ve noted in the spreadsheet at the end of this post whenever a link on a page is a redirect. We could use standard log file analysis to determine the exact number of page visits to all of these, but as I explained earlier, we don’t have the log files because I deleted them all.

This is not to say that we should discount the results of the data here. There is still useful information in GA. However, when looking at the data, we need to take into account that there are links on each page for which we don’t have information.

Now on to the analysis! The following data is for the last year (July 26, 2008 – July 26, 2009). I figured that a full year would give us the most robust view of the site traffic.

I’ll start with the total page views for each major area of the LIS site. Unsurprisingly, the Library content is the most viewed, with the Contact, Quick Links, and Teach/Learn sections barely viewed at all in comparison. The Unique Pageviews bear out this pattern and the full table of data is available in the spreadsheet at the end of the post.

Two questions we agreed to ask of the Google Analytics tool were “What are the top five links on the LIS home page?” and “What are the five least clicked links on the LIS home page?” Here are the top five:

  1. Library & Information Services (6539)
  2. Articles, Indexes, Research Sources (6160)
  3. Find Books, Articles & More (4289)
  4. Middlebury (Home Page) (3175)
  5. Course Reserves (3059)

Here are the five least clicked:

  1. Content Provider (LIS website) (0)
  2. P2P Music & Video Filesharing (0)
  3. Telephone Services (0)
  4. Digital Media Development (2)
  5. Departmental & Workgroup Directories (3)

The full lists, as well as the lists for the landing page of each sub-site are contained in the spreadsheet at the end of this post.

One question that I was not able to answer was about click paths to the blogging and wiki sites. This question can’t really be answered for a couple reasons. First, we don’t have a full year of data for those other services and, second, links to those services would go through redirect posting which are flawed for the reasons described above. If there are sites within the LIS site that you would like to see click-path analysis for, please let me know specifically what resources we should examine.

Here are the broad recommendations I draw from this analysis:

  1. The Quicklinks section gets little traffic. This should be removed from the site IA. A better designed site with the addition of a search landing page should not need this section.
  2. Other than the link to the CTLR, the Teaching & Learning site is not used. Rather than try to have this information live in multiple places, any relevent content should be moved from here to CTLR and this sub-site should be replaced with a simple link to CTLR.
  3. The Hours, Locations, Maps section is really the only think people click on About LIS to see. We should have this information on the LIS search landing page and move the remainder of the content elsewhere.
  4. The Departmental Directory is not used, but the full Staff Directory is used. Eliminate both and replace with a link to the LIS search results in the central Directory, which is the same information as the Staff Directory. (Forthcoming improvements to the central Directory interface will improve this experience).
  5. The Quick Phone and Email Contacts is the primary resource in Contact LIS. Eliminate the rest of the sub-site and add this information to the LIS search landing page.
  6. The links in the top sections of the sub-site landing pages such as below “Need help?” on the Library site are rarely clicked. Avoid this interface in future site designs.
  7. The “Did you know…?” sections of the LIS site are rarely visited. Consolidate this information into a central blog about LIS.

Here is the complete spreadsheet of results.

Thoughts about meetings, process etc.

Two things I’m thinking about:

1) Use of blog & wiki – I was moved to send out e-mails to all of you because I thought if I posted on the blog/wiki you’d be unlikely to see the posting (about the survey) quickly. Is this true for some of us anyway? I feel like I get lost in the non-linear nature of the communications & yes – I know we can search, should be set up to get notifications of new postings etc. etc. but I’m not feeling this is completely sucessful.

2) meetings & agenda. I think that a useful discussion between 8 people on almost any topic is going to take longer than 10 minutes. Understanding that time is passing & meeting time is limited, do you think we should break into smaller groups to discuss different topics? That seems to me the only way to be able to cover the agenda items so quickly! If agenda items regularly have to be pushed to the next meeting & we always are rushing I’m not sure that we will do the best job.


Links to Resources for Consideration

I’ve added a section to the LIS Website Wiki with links to some resources we should look at as part of this project. Of special note are the strategic recommendations from White Whale, where I recommend reading the sections “Blogs dot Middlebury”, “Midd Search”, and “Managing content in an unpredictable environment” as those are the most relevant to our project, though the rest of the document is interesting as well. I’ve also linked to the test instance of Drupal that I set up for the Helpdesk. You can log in as yourself, but you won’t really be able to do anything, so you might want to log in as an admin instead (username is “admin” and password is “testpassword”). Poke around and have fun. Don’t worry about messing anything up, as I’ve got this whole thing backed up and can recreate a fresh copy in about 20 seconds. Just let me know if I need to. If you want to ask me questions about Drupal, feel free to do so here or stop by my office any time I’m not in a meeting and I can help you out. I’ve also listed our scope from the meeting and added a page to discuss the metrics and how we’ll measure success.

How to get blog updates

Elin suggested we add in a way to subscribe by email, so you can now do that at through the email subscription form, or even using the form in this post. There are also the entries RSS and comments RSS feeds. I personally use Google Reader to collect all my feeds.


The Circ Team is blogging

Submitted by Elin Waagen

During the past year, Circulation Services expanded the use of shared departmental mailboxes, folders, calendars and wiki pages to include a departmental blog. This proved to be an easy to use, easily searchable format for staying current with frequent updates – and reduced the barrage of inter-departmental email considerably.
In the past few months we expanded the use of the blog to include updates and reminders to Circ student staff at all branch locations. Circ staff post updates/info on the Circ blog as needed and student employees read – and comment on the blog – when they arrive on shift, rather than being inundated by work related email when not at work. We utilize categories to make content relevant to the home branch of the student employee, making it easy for staff to push out updates.
If you have any reminders, updates or information relevant to any/all of the Circ desks, Circ staff and/or Circ student employees, please pass it along – we’d be happy to post it on the Circ blog.

Thoughts on all-LIS staff meetings

Submitted by Mike Roy

LIS Staff Meetings

As part of taking stock of how well LIS does with internal communications, and with staying connected with the overall mission of the College, we want to think about what role, if any, a regular all-LIS staff meeting might play in improving our internal communications. To that end, we’ve developed a simple questionaire that will help us in this process.¬† We would like to know:

1. What value do you see in having an all-LIS staff meeting?
2. Should we even hold all-LIS staff meetings? If so, how frequently? Monthly? Every other month? Quarterly?
3. What topics would you like to see covered? Who from outside of LIS would you like to hear from?
4. What ideas do you have for ways to keep the meetings useful and interesting?
5. What should we avoid doing?

You can answer these questions by submitting comments to this post.

We’ll be asking similar questions about some of our other communication practices on an on-going basis. As part of that process, Doreen is compiling an inventory of all of the various ways that we communicate with each other. That list can be found at http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=d8bvdvp_0gmvqdnht if you wish to add something to the list, send your addition to Doreen (dbernier@middlebury.edu) or ask her to add you as an editor of the document.