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The DLF Analytics working group has been active since 2014. In December 2014, the group set out to draft a set of high level metrics to track using analytics. The group eventually decided to scope their efforts around the widely adopted Google Analytics service, and use library-centric examples to illustrate each metric. The resulting white paper, "Best Practices for Google Analytics in Digital Libraries" is now available. The white paper is intended for digital library managers and curators who want to use analytics to understand more about users of, access to, and use of digital library materials.

Abstract of: "Best Practices for Google Analytics in Digital Libraries"

The purpose of this white paper is to provide digital libraries with guidelines that maximize the effectiveness and relevance of data collected through the Google Analytics service for assessment purposes. The document recommends tracking 14 specific metrics within Google Analytics, and provides library-centric examples of how to employ the resulting data in making decisions and setting institutional goals and priorities. The guidelines open with a literature review, and also include theoretical and structural methods for approaching analytics data gathering, examples of platform specific implementation considerations, Google Analytics set-up tips and terminology, as well as recommended resources for learning more about web analytics. The DLF Assessment Interest Group Analytics working group, which produced this white paper, looks forward to receiving feedback and additional examples of using the recommended metrics for digital library assessment activities.

White Paper Authors

  • Molly Bragg, Duke University Libraries
  • Joyce Chapman, Duke University Libraries
  • Jody DeRidder, University of Alabama Libraries
  • Rita Johnston, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Ranti Junus, Michigan State University
  • Martha Kyrillidou, Association of Research Libraries
  • Eric Stedfeld, New York University

Next Steps

The DLF AIG Analytics working group will present at the DLF 2015 session: "Collaborative Efforts to Develop Best Practices in Assessment: A Progress Report" on Monday, October 26 at 1:30pm. The session will be recorded and available [HERE] following the conference. There will also be an opportunity to learn more at the DLF Assessment lunch on Tuesday October 27.

As of the publishing of the Analytics white paper, the future of the DLF Analytics working group is uncertain. The group now looks to the digital library community for feedback, ideas, and volunteers in order to continue - we need you! For those interested in continuing the effort, attend the DLF sessions listed above, post to the DLF AIG Google Group or contact Molly Bragg (molly.bragg at or Joyce Chapman (joyce.chapman at directly.


In December 2014, we began to draft a set of high-level types of data we want to capture with analytics, such as:

  • Referrals
  • Search terms
  • Number of users
  • Number of accesses
  • Number of downloads

We also began to define a set of content types, as those may impact the capture of analytics. Examples include:

  • Institutional repositories
  • Licensed resources
  • Digitized unique content
  • Datasets
  • Finding aids
  • Websites

And we also realized that different audiences may need different information gathered. Here's our first draft of potential audiences:

  • Administrators
  • Content selectors
  • Metadata providers
  • System administrators

If you're interested in helping this subcommittee move forward, please join the [Digital Library Analytics Google Group] and speak up!