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Continuing the Conversation: Library Analytics, Session 1

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 20, 2011 - 3:32pm

We just wrapped up the first session of the ALA TechSource Workshop Library Analytics: Inspiring Positive Action through Web User Data. This first session, The Basics of Turning Numbers into Action, focused on defining the concepts of web analytics, comparing different tools and understanding the visualization of data.

The fantastic presentation was accompanied by some vibrant Q & A and discussion, and to continue the conversation, we’re posting a few questions for continued discussion to the blog. Whether you attended or not, feel free to chime in and discuss via comments on this post. Paul and Char will be part of the discussion as well!

  • How can I tell if my site uses Google analytics?
  • I've read some people have privacy concerns over Google Analytics.
  • Any tips for working out a minimum number of visits per time period to deem a page worthy of maintaining?
  • Is this (web analytics and opacs) worth exploring more our LogiXML colleagues since they seem to be leading the pack on this issue?

You can also chime in on Twitter. The Hashtag is #alaanalytics.

Links to Resources from Today’s Session

These were the preliminary reading materials for today's session:

Wikipedia Entry: Web Analytics
“About Us” Page, Web Anayltics Association
Measuring Website Usage with Google Analytics, Part I Website Usage (from
Library Analytics Part I

The authors also suggested the following articles, though they may require authentication or subscription to a fee-based database.

Arendt, Julie and Wagner, Cassie. 2010. 'Beyond Description: Converting Web Site Usage Statistics into Concrete Site Improvement Ideas', Journal of Web Librarianship, 4: 1, 37 — 54

Black, Elizabeth L.2009. "Web Analytics: A Picture of the Academic Library Web Site User", Journal of Web Librarianship, 3: 1, 3 — 14

DANIEL WAISBERG and AVINASH KAUSHIK. 2009. "Web Analytics 2.0: Empowering Customer Centricity" Volume 2 Issue 1.

Paul and Char’s Slides from Today’s Session:

Comments (13)

Paul and Char - thank you for

Paul and Char - thank you for a great session.

From my non-librarian perspective the focus of this discussion seems to be understanding how patrons discover resources. This is very important to today's data-driven librarian.

What's also important is understanding which externally hosted e-Resources (titles and packages) are being used by patrons. I've heard that EZProxy is pretty widely used and can capture a wealth of information if properly configured.

Is anyone mining information in this way from EZProxy?


The quick way to put GA in

The quick way to put GA in WebPAC is to add the GA code snippet to your botologo.html file. If, as suggested by the presenters, you have one GA account for all your websites, make sure the snippet for WebPAC is specific to a catalog profile you set up in Google Analytics.

For more about the botlogo include file, see manual Page # 106891.

We're also curious at UCSF

We're also curious at UCSF about how we can add GA to Millennium.

Repeating comments posted on

Repeating comments posted on the other pages supporting the Web Analytics sessions...

Grateful for all the support and enthusiasm these two sessions generated. For those who missed them and are interested in what they have generated, here are additional resources:

ALA TechSource blog posting which allowed the conversation from Session 2 to continue online:

ALA TechSource's online interview with the two of us who were the presenters (Char Booth and Paul Signorelli):

PowerPoint presentations with speaker notes from both sessions are available on Slideshare as well as on my (Paul's) training resource page under "Web Analytics" at

For more information you can contact us directly (;
--Paul Signorelli

I'm interested in privacy

I'm interested in privacy issues related to GA. For example, I understand there are ways to mask IP address information that is reported to GA, which potentially hides specific user IP addresses. Is that true? Is it necessary? Pros and cons? Do Library's take steps to filter the information reported to GA through the tracking codes, or is this a non-issue for most Libraries?

I'll answer here in case

I'll answer here in case others wonder about AirPAC or Encore (III products.) The code snippet for both is the same as you would use for other web pages. Well, slightly different because you may want a domain-specific profile in GA. That will give you separate metrics for each web presence. I'm hoping Char and Paul will have more to say about profiles in session two. For Encore, the services team will put in the code you give them. For AirPAC, there is a Service Commitment to have it added. I hope this is helpful.

Thanks for the offer. We use

Thanks for the offer. We use Millennium, but I bet the principles are similar. I will be in touch with you, prob. next week.

I would love to hear from others who use GA with their OPACs.


Hi Alan I'm with an

Hi Alan

I'm with an institution that is using Encore and just launched AirPac for smartphones.

What is the Google analytic code that we should supply? Is it the same as for tracking any other page?

Do we provide the same code for AirPac for smartphones?

Any insight would be appreciated. Alternatively you could email me..

Deeply appreciative for the

Deeply appreciative for the posts and the offline conversations we're having as we continue gathering as much information as we can in anticipation of the next session. Anyone interested in adding to the collection of anecdotes about successful use of web analytics with OPACS can send them directly to us at and or simply bring them into the second session next Thursday. Looking forward to being with you again in that final session on January 27, 2011.

With warmest regards,
--Paul Signorelli

I would be glad to answer

I would be glad to answer things from a vendor perspective (III.) I can comment on how the various Innovative products let you place GA in the OPAC or mobile catalog. There are also many options for configuring and utilizing web server logs. I'm interested in how people use the stuff, and the kinds of questions libraries are trying to answer.

Thanks for starting the conversation!

RE: GA and OPACs In reference

RE: GA and OPACs
In reference to the person(s) interested in Google Analytics and OPAC, if you use Voyager WebVoyage (Tomcat or Classic), I can discuss what I have done, am doing, want to do.

Thanks a million for diving

Thanks a million for diving into it here, Stephanie. Exactly the sort of follow-up that Char and I are encouraging and hope to continue facilitating here with the help of our wonderful ALA TechSource colleagues. Char and I will continue checking in regularly betweeen the two sessions, responding to questions, and digging up addtional resources for those who need them.
--Paul Signorelli

I wanted to reply to the

I wanted to reply to the person(s) who asked about using Drupal & Google Analytics during the session today -- I am doing both on I might or might not be able to help you figure out how you can do it too. Email / IM me if you read this & want to connect. (I feel like I'm writing a personal ad - sorry!)

thanks to char & Paul for the session!