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The DLF Assessment Interest Group (DLF AIG) analytics working group first formed in the Fall of 2014 following the successful launch of the larger DLF AIG and the DLF fall forum. In December 2014, the DLF AIG analytics working group set out to draft recommendations for using web analytics for assessment in digital libraries. The group eventually decided to scope their efforts around a subset of the metrics in the widely adopted Google Analytics service. Library-centric examples were also gathered to support each recommended 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.

Access to the white paper is available via Google docs here, and will be posted on Figshare following DLF 2015.

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 (Co-coordinator of the Analytics Working Group), Duke University Libraries
  • Joyce Chapman (Co-coordinator of the Analytics Working Group), 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 Forum 2015 session: "Collaborative Efforts to Develop Best Practices in Assessment: A Progress Report" on Monday, October 26 at 1:30pm Pacific Time. The session will be available via livestreaming during the conference. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about and discuss the group's work at the DLF Assessment lunch on Tuesday October 27.

As of the publishing of the white paper, the future of the DLF analytics working group is uncertain. The group is looking to the digital library community for feedback, ideas, and volunteers in order to continue: should the analytics work continue? Are there other assessment efforts DLF AIG should prioritize? Please contribute to the discussion through the DLF AIG Google Group or in person at DLF.

For those interested in continuing the analytics effort, attend the DLF sessions listed above, post to the DLF AIG Google Group or contact Molly Bragg (molly.bragg at and Joyce Chapman (joyce.chapman at directly.

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