Google Analytics is a powerful tool for collecting data about your websites and digital collections. However, it is also easy to be overwhelmed by the data available and to become frustrated trying to manipulate the interface to pull out the information you desire.
The Digital Library Federation (DLF) Assessment Interest Group, Analytics Working Group has recently produced a whitepaper on potential Best Practices for [using] Google Analytics in Digital Libraries. The authors strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with Google Analytics and your local digital library infrastructure before customizing your Analytics interface. If/when you’re comfortable with both of those, the authors go on to recommend 14 metrics as the baseline for gathering data for the purpose of decision-making in your digital library. This data may help you determine what types of metadata or collections are the most accessed as well as to determine ways to increase access to lesser used materials. Depending on your institution’s goals, you may also find additional metrics as well as customized views and reports beneficial in planning or expanding your digital content.
If you’ll be attending the 2015 DLF Forum in Vancouver, there will be a session on this report entitled “Collaborative Efforts to Develop Best Practices in Assessment: A Progress Report" on Monday, October 26 at 1:30 pm PST. The session will be livestreamed and a recording will be available in cIRcle, the University of British Columbia’s digital repository, after the conference.