Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Archives and Google Analytics

The Spring/Summer issue of the American Archivist has been sitting half read on my coffee table for weeks taunting me.  I finally got around to finishing it and found the article, "Using Web Analytics to Improve Online Access to Archival Resources" by Christopher J. Prom particularly relevant.

Prom's work provides a step by step look at the implementation of web analytics in archival digital development. The article focuses on the case study example of the University of Illinois Archives' use of Google Analytics to track user trends.

This case study highlights how analytics can help garner information about which portions of the site are most used, common searches, user interaction with the site, and other specifics about site usage.  Prom also presents examples of Analytics shaping site development and facilitating the reconstruction of digital initiatives to suit the needs of users.

I know many heritage organizations use analytics to compile site statistics, as these stats often serve as useful tools to show boards that the site is working because it received X number of hits.  However, I would be intrigued to know if other institutions have taken a similar approach to the University of Illinois Archives and used analytics to gain more knowledge about the effectiveness and useability of their site and digital content.

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