2012 LITA National Forum: Preconferences

Thursday, October 4, 2012, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Friday, October 5, 8:00 a.m. - noon

Developing a Web Analytics Strategy for Your Library: Using Data to Measure Success   

Speakers: Tabatha Farney, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs; Nina McHale, Arapahoe Library District, CO
Many libraries have access to website use data through a web analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, Piwik, Open Web Analytics, and others. However, web analytics is more than just collecting data; it is about turning that data into actions. Libraries can instantly make website use data actionable by leveraging it to painlessly measure the effectiveness/success of the website or other online web presences. Before you can measure success, you first need to define it. Enter the web analytics strategy, which combines the library's mission, identified website goals, and customized Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure those goals. A web analytics strategy is essential for libraries because it helps them focus on the data that matters and defines what a library expects from an effective site. It also guides future development of the site and indicates potential areas for usability testing.
Developing a web analytics strategy involves creating measurable goals for a site based on the library's mission and the site's purpose, determining the KPIs to be used to measure the goals, and working with a web analytics tool to report the necessary data. Sounds like a complicated process, but this session will break it down into easy, manageable steps for any person to introduce into their library or organization. The session covers important web analytics concepts, metrics, and reports in in order for participants to understand their options in selecting KPIs; discusses best practices for creating a web analytics strategy, specifically focusing on goal creation and selecting KPIs that fit; and demonstrates how to review the website use data to determine if the site is meeting the set expectations and the actions to take if it is not. Recommendations on how to report and share this data will also be included.

By the end of the session, each participant will have a beginning draft to a web analytics strategy that contains measurable goals and identified KPIs that fit their library's needs. While no prior experience with web analytics is required, participants should have access to the web analytics tool used to track they website they want to focus on in this session.  

Tabatha Farney is the Web Services Librarian at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She received her MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  She has analyzed website use data for libraries for over five years. Her research involves actively exploring new web analytics tools and developing strategies to incorporate website use data into the decision making process in libraries.   

Nina McHale is Assistant Systems Administrator at the Arapahoe Library District in Englewood, Colorado. She has experience in reference and systems, and prior to arriving at Arapahoe, she held academic positions at the University of Colorado Denver, Georgetown University, and Howard Community College. She holds a joint MA/MSLS in English and Library Science from The Catholic University of America. Her research interests include open source web applications for libraries, virtual reference, usability and user-centered design, web accessibility, knowledge management in libraries, metasearch technologies, and emerging technologies in libraries. She has presented nationally on these and other topics at ALA Annual, the LITA National Forum, Computers in Libraries, Internet Librarian, and Reference Renaissance.

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Running Your Systems (And Are Afraid to Ask!)    

Speaker: Christopher Manly, Cornell University    

Libraries are becoming ever more dependent on their IT infrastructure to support their work and their patrons.  At the same time, resources for systems management expertise are limited.

This workshop will give in-depth coverage of many of the core issues of systems management as they pertain to library systems:

  • Managing the server environment
  • Networks and Security
  • Backups, Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity
  • Monitoring and Performance
  • Organizational relations: working with IT, with vendors, and with customers
  • Getting the job done in an era of extra-tight budgets

We will touch on each topic in three different contexts, including discussion of how to choose between the available options:

  • Locally hosted
  • "Locally outsourced" (i.e. using services from a central IT organization)
  • Cloud hosted or fully outsourced

Examples and case studies provided will be primarily from a Linux/Unix perspective, but much of the material applies to Windows-based systems as well.  While some detailed technical examples will be included, participants do not need to have significant Unix experience.

Christopher Manly is the Coordinator of Library Systems for the Cornell University Library.  He wears many hats, including managing the systems group, administering a variety of servers, and attempting to rationalize the library’s server infrastructure. In past professional lives he has been a Unix systems administrator and a web developer, and has experience in the financial industry and online retail as well as higher education.  He lives outside Ithaca, NY with his family, a dog, four cats, and a flock of 30 chickens.