donderdag 11 december 2014

Country profiles and OPAC use.

The library of the Peace Palace serves a global community. It is global because I can see this in the standard logging of the website. The use of all our website pages ends up in a log file and every line in this logfile contains the ip-number of the one who is using that specific page. This ip-number can be translated to a country of origin.

And that is what I did in my blog "MOOC: learning and instruction: Tableau and library use". In this blog I presented several maps, one of them dealing with the use of our 'human rights' website pages. The map is to the left (sorry about Alaska). One might say that the use of these pages is at least partly motivated by searching the Internet. And indeed that is usually the case. There will be only a handful of people who have added the library of the Peace Palace in their bookmarks.

Of course it is possible to follow the users if they move around on our website, but -in general and in truth- they mostly leave short tracks. I even think they are too short to make any substantiated conclusions about what our website users are looking for exactly. It is a lot easier to rise above the personal and to pay more attention to the geographical level. That means creating world maps, just to start with.

Next to the website, libraries also provide an OPAC and normally these libraries have a web search interface to their collections. And our OPAC server, you guessed it, produces log files. These log files look a lot different than the log files of regular web servers. Since the beginning of this week we collect these files (thanks to OCLC, The Netherlands) in order to parse them, store relevant data in a database and draw some conclusions. Like I stated, these files are a bit more complicated then the web server log files I usually look at, but I'am sure that in the next couple of months I will be able to deal with them. Just a random example of one log entry:

#XXX.XXX.XXX.XX 60765 1418079639.497074 GET /DB=1/SET=2/TTL=1/CMD?ACT=SRCHA&IKT=4&SRT=YOP&TRM=population HTTP/1.1
Connection: keep-alive
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,*/*;q=0.8
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/39.0.2171.71 Safari/537.36
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate, sdch
Accept-Language: fr-FR,fr;q=0.8,en-US;q=0.6,en;q=0.4
Cookie: DB="1"; PSC_1="$c%2526db%253D$d%07%08"

Where you see all the XX's there is the ip-number, which I replaced for obvious reasons. On the same line I see 'IKT' which indicates the index used for searching and 'TRM' with the actual term looked for, 'population'. I also see our user has found another set of results before (SET=2, there must be a previous SET=1). I also notice -in Cookie:- the session identifier (b6cadb8a-0), which I can use to recreate all the actions of our user. In summary, I can say that there are a lot of possibilities to collect useful information. Information the library can use to provide optimal and actual information and services like instruction to its users.

To end this blog I will show two maps -I used Tableau- containing counts of succesful searches in our OPAC during just two days, 8-9th December. One map shows the use of our OPAC in Europe and not surprisingly, The Netherlands score the best.

In the other map I had to leave out The Netherlands to create sufficient distinction in colour. This map contains the same data as the map above. 

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