All posts by Teresa Hebron

About Teresa Hebron

Digital Metadata Librarian, Mountain West Digital Library

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New Collections Showcase Content on Pandemics, Voting Rights

While many new collections have joined MWDL in 2020, we’re going to highlight four in this post. Three pertain to pandemics both past and present, and the fourth to the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. These are all wonderful examples of MWDL partners using digital libraries to document present history, aggregating existing collections to provide new historical context, and contextualizing local events on the national and global stage.

We hope these few examples demonstrate the amazing work MWDL partners continue to do despite hardship. These collections joined DPLA as they came online and represent the intermountain West in a nationwide pool of resources. The DPLA Black Women’s Suffrage Collection also launched earlier in September and we’re excited to dig into it!

Utah Valley University’s Fulton Library COVID-19 Collection

This new collection features diverse materials from the Fulton Library community. Images, documents, promotional materials, social media posts, and surveys contributed by staff members, students, and other Fulton Library-community members detail life as we all adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Fulton Library feline work-from-home companion

Utah COVID-19 Collection (University of Utah)

Have you ever heard of a quaranzine? Neither have we! This is but one of the unique items submitted to J. Willard Marriott Library’s crowd-sourced Utah COVID-19 collection. Beginning in late March, Marriott Library invited submissions from Utahns to document their pandemic experiences. At nearly 800 items and counting, this collection includes photographs, oral histories, protest flyers, digital performance art and more.

1918 Flu Pandemic Newspapers (University of Utah)

Hand The Flu A Lemon !

– Headline of folk remedy article in Salt Lake Telegram, October 9, 1918

Looking back to our last global pandemic, the 1918 Flu Pandemic Newspapers collection gathers articles published between 1918-20 in Utah newspapers on the topic of the Spanish flu. These articles are sourced from Utah Digital Newspapers. A brand-new digital exhibit launched September 28 and adds more context to the story!

Suffrage and Stories of Utah Women

Finally, Utah State Archives mounted a new collection and online exhibit about the history of women’s suffrage in Utah! As the United States celebrates the centennial of women’s suffrage throughout 2020, Utah celebrates 150 years of suffrage. Utah women gained suffrage in 1870 when it was still a territory, a full 25 years ahead of statehood.

mwdl traffic by geography

Analytics: Users find MWDL in all sorts of ways!

Happy Autumn 2020! We previously looked at where MWDL users are located and learned MWDL has global reach. But have you ever wondered how all those users find MWDL in the first place? We recently looked at traffic acquisition from June through mid-September and have some interesting trends to share.

Google Analytics segments traffic into 4 channels (or buckets) by default: Referral, Organic Search, Direct, and Social. There are additional default channels such as Email, Affiliates, and Paid Advertising, but MWDL doesn’t currently use (or track) any of these. Looking at the channels in this period:

ChannelPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration (min:sec)
Referral57%1.431:02
Organic Search26%1.751:09
Direct16%2.221:17
Social1%3.362:22
MWDL Traffic Channels (June-September 15, 2020)

Does the distribution of traffic by channel surprise you? A few things stood out to us. First, the majority of traffic reaches MWDL by referral. We’ll look closer at referral sources in a moment. The next two channels (organic, direct) combined don’t equal the amount of referral traffic; social comes in last with just 1% of all users!

The picture gets more interesting when we consider the number of pages per session and the average duration. Referral, organic, and direct search users all stayed around 1 minute. Despite being the smallest channel, social had the longest session duration with over two minutes — double as long as any of the other channels.

So what are sources for these channels? A view of the top ten sources offers more detail:

Source/MediumPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration(min:sec)
google/organic21%1.761:08
dp.la/referral21%1.502:08
MWDL search portal (Primo)/referral16%1.380:50
direct/none14%2.221:17
mwdl.org/referral11%1.580:30
omnia.ie/referral6%1.532:14
mwdl-org (AMP pages)/referral2%1.220:05
onlinelibrary.uen.org/referral1%1.971:23
baidu.com/referral1%1.01<0:01
bing/organic1%1.631:14
Top 10 MWDL Traffic Sources (June-September 15, 2020)

Search engines like Google and Bing accounted for the majority of the organic search traffic (and Yahoo ranks 19th on the list of sources with <0.25% of MWDL traffic). The picture looks more interesting when we consider the top external referral sources – Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Omnia, and Utah Education Network (UEN).

DPLA not only accounts for a large percentage (21%) of total referrals in this period, but the average session duration is much longer–almost twice as long!– as those of the organic sources. While it accounts for a smaller percentage of referrals, Omnia also enjoys the longest average session duration (2:14). [Omnia is a digital humanities project by Niall O’Leary that aggregates records from Europeana and DPLA to offer a hybrid cultural heritage search portal.]

To see what social channels drive traffic to MWDL, we have to consider the next five top referrers:

Source/MediumPercent of Total
(8,320 users)
Pages/SessionAverage Duration(min:sec)
history.utah.gov/referral0.42%1.681:17
gongu.copyright.or.kr/referral0.40%1.190:33
m.facebook.com/referral0.27%5.461:59
umbrasearch.org/referral0.26%1.130:06
t.co/referral0.22%1.660:44
MWDL Traffic Sources #11-15 (June-September 15, 2020)

While Facebook only accounts for a fraction of a percent of traffic, these users have the highest number of pages viewed per session (5.46!) and a relatively long session duration. Twitter (t.co is a URL wrapper) also makes up just a small percentage in this period.

We have a few takeaways from these numbers. First: community is good! Projects that aggregate MWDL content (DPLA, Omnia, Utah Education Network, UmbraSearch) help drive traffic to us. Next, the high number of direct users (14%) suggests MWDL is a known resource and users are visiting without needing to search. Finally, while the overall traffic from social media sites is very small, those referrals were “sticky” with longer session durations and a high number of page views.

Finally — we didn’t forget to look where users are located! We look forward to being able to travel in 2021 and completing more of the map! Happy searching, everyone!

MWDL traffic by geographic location, June-September 15, 2020
MWDL traffic by geographic location (June-September 15, 2020)

MWDL Fall Update

With most schools and universities back in session the summer is quickly coming to an end, but before we fall off daylight savings time, we have a few noteworthy MWDL items for you.

DPLA

Our August DPLA harvest completed several weeks ago and we are up to 1,086,044 records in their portal. Thanks to everyone who has submitted new collections and continually added records to existing ones. Our fourth and final harvest of 2019 will be in November.

If you’re interested in an account for DPLA’s Analytics Dashboard, please let us know. The dashboard gives you access to usage and metadata statistics about your records in DPLA! The ability to make user accounts was rolled out earlier this year, and many of you are already taking advantage of this feature.

Harvest Requests

We have updated our harvest request form to send an auto-response to you. Now when you submit a collection, you’ll receive an email to the address you specify with the details of your request.

Webinars

We’ve hosted two webinars so far this year to hear from University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas about their Islandora migration projects. Thanks to Emily Boss, Nathan Gerth, Emily Lapworth, and Seth Shaw for giving such great presentations! If you missed these, you can still view the Zoom recordings:

University of Nevada, Reno Islandora migration

University of Nevada, Las Vegas Islandora 8 project update

In the week of November 11,  we’re looking forward to MWDL alum Rebekah Cummings sharing more about the J. Willard Marriott Library’s work inspired by the Collections as Data project. Look for more details shortly.

If you’d like to present an upcoming webinar, please let us know and we can get that scheduled. We’re looking for one more 2019 presentation and 2020 is wide open!

Upcoming Conferences

Finally, if you’re headed to the Utah State Historical Society Conference on September 26-28, we’ll be there! Stop by our table and say hi.