With the help of KPI Index Danish Libraries collect comparable statistics on the use of the libraries’ homepages and digital services.
Today relatively many resources are spent on the running and further development of the libraries’ homepages, and it is therefore extremely important to be able to compile statistics on this usage. It is important to be able to register whether an extra effort, for example in marketing or development, results in an increase in usage. It is moreover important for the public libraries to be able to produce a reliable statement to the effect that the use of the library increasingly takes place via the internet. Such an account of the individual library’s homepage is not very valuable by itself, however, because it is impossible to know whether e.g. 10,000 visits per month is a lot or not. It is difficult to judge whether the library’s homepage is of a high standard unless you have something to compare it with.
The Danish Agency for Libraries and Media has for several years been working on finding an accurate and comparable indicator for the usage of the libraries’ homepages. Originally the view was that like within other areas of library statistics it would be sufficient to agree on common definitions (e.g. of “a visit to the homepage”). It turned out, however, that it was also necessary to use the same procedure in order for the figures to be comparable. It was therefore specified not only what one ought to count, but also how.
Even this was not sufficient enough to be able to compare the figures, and theAgency therefore wished to take yet another step and introduce a uniform system for counting.
After lengthy preparations the Agency, in collaboration with Gentofte Library,in 2007 signed a contract with the firm KPI Index that suggested an alternative method for measuring usage. The loganalyzing program, which KPI Index isbased on, is called Webtrends and is a widely used commercial product. The system collects statistics from homepages, catalogues and net libraries via a script placed on the relevant homepages. On the basis of the information gathered a series of reports are generated which contain the common information about the usage. These reports provide a large number of keyfigures and statistics on the development concerning usage.
The agreement means that smaller public libraries are offered a comprehensive and comparable account of the usage of their own homepages and a means to prepare comprehensive statistics for local usage. The large public libraries are offered a more flexible solution that makes it possible to adjust configuration and choose different parameters for e.g. local use. It might be an overview of where the users of the homepage come from, where they click most frequently, what is not being used at all – a great advantage when trying to improve local mediation. Finally, a few selected comparable key figures are extracted and presented on the same interface called Denmark’s Library Index, www.bib.kpiindex.dk. The figures are counted each week. Here you can see i.a. number of page views, visits, visitors, and visits per 1,000 inhabitants.
The annual reporting to the national Danish library statistics on the usage of the public libraries’ homepages thus takes place via KPI-Index.
Since the signing of the contract the public libraries’ use of the internet has changed a great deal, and in order to be able to catch up with digital developments and measure the usage of new services, the Agency in 2009 granted financial support for the purpose of examining the possibility of further developing KPI-Index to i.a. also include the use of blogs, social media etc. This develop- ment is described in further detail in the following article in this issue.
Finally, it should be mentioned that a new three-year contract has been signed with KPI-Index taking effect from 2011 with participation by 89 public libraries.
Danish Agency for Libraries and Media
ukv AT bibliotekogmedier.dk
Translated by Vibeke Cranfield