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Evaluating information seeking and use in the changing virtual world: the emerging role of Google Analytics

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The paper identifies changes that have occurred in the Web environment over the last decade which have gradually rendered server logs, once the pre-eminent source of intelligence on usage and information-seeking behaviour, an ineffective, impractical, and uneconomic resource. It also looks at the implications of these changes for information professionals and publishers who have come to rely on this data to understand the behaviour of clients and customers in the virtual environment. Ubiquitous and expanding, Google Analytics generates statistics about a website's traffic and traffic sources, albeit from a marketers' perspective, is evaluated as a possible replacement; something which might plug the user knowledge gap which is worryingly opening up, or maybe even, put us in a better position overall. The paper is built on the knowledge and experience of evaluating server logs for more than a decade, mostly for publishers and libraries, and also on two recent projects where server log analysis was supplemented with Google Analytics.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2014-07-01

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  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

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