Original Publication Date
Journal of Web Librarianship
Date of Submission
Web site usage statistics are a widely used tool for Web site development, but libraries are still learning how to use them successfully. This case study summarizes how Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale implemented Google Analytics on its Web site and used the reports to inform a site redesign. As the main campus library at a research university with about 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the library included resources from multiple library departments on a single site. In planning the redesign, Morris Library's Virtual Library Group combined usage reports with information from other sources, such as usability tests and user comments. The Virtual Library Group faced barriers to interpreting and applying the usage statistics in the site redesign, including some that were specific to the library's implementation of the Google Analytics tool and some limitations inherent with Web usage statistics in general. Some key barriers in applying the usage statistics to a redesign included sifting through data that did not have implications for the site redesign, interpreting the implications of usage numbers for the site redesign, and balancing competing interests within the library. Nevertheless, the usage statistics enabled the Virtual Library Group to make better decisions by providing a source of factual information about the site's use rather than relying on staff members’ opinions and conjectures.
Copyright Julie Arendt and Cassie Wagner
Arendt, J. & Wagner, C. (2010). Beyond description: Converting Web site usage statistics into concrete site improvement ideas. Journal of Web Librarianship, 4(1), 37-54. doi: 10.1080/19322900903547414