The use of web analytics on an academic library website
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Academic libraries need to evaluate their electronic services in order to ensure their users' satisfaction. Libraries have been using evidence based evaluation traditionally. These practices have their imitations as they are time consuming and rely on outdated literature. Human Information Behavior studies offer a rich literature of users' behavior that could provide evidence of usage; nevertheless HIB studies are centered on smaller sample and hence lack generalization. Web analytics can address the gap in library service evaluation and HIB studies by providing quick access to aggregate information on real users' data collected unobtrusively. This study was conducted in an academic library setting. Two topics on the use of analytics for library decision-making and generalizing in HIB studies were addressed. The Library's web usability group was interviewed and their Google Analytics data were reviewed. Qualitative analyses were conducted on data obtained from the interview and Google analytics. There were concrete findings on the use of web analytics for Library decision-making that indicated its utility for enhancing the Library's online services and for improving navigation. However, there were noteworthy factors that could affect decision-making indirectly - the respondents' curiosity of users' behavior, the Library management practices, could influence decision-making in the Library along the way. Visitor trending data in Google Analytics further provided important aspects of the online users' behavior. Graphs indicated irregular patterns in users' behavior over a period of a semester. Further instances illustrated the differences in users behavior were based on their choice of sources. Visitors' technology preferences indicated factors that could influence users' information seeking. Finally, analytics can provide information on the Library's primary resources used.
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