Information about the Usage Statistics


What are these reports counting?

These usage statistics are generated from the SCLS web server logs. They include information about what pages and files were requested from the web server. Please be aware that these numbers are NOT an accurate count of how many times people actually looked at your pages.

There are things that will inflate these statistics, as described in this paragraph from Things to Consider When Selecting a Web Traffic Analysis Tool from Sun.com's Dot-Com Builder:

"…A Good amount of traffic to your site (easily one-third of the total) does not come from the real flesh-and-blood users you are interested in analyzing. The most notable sources of such "noise" traffic are search-engine spiders, but many other automated clients are also out there. If you have anything besides unrestricted, plain HTML pages on your site, these clients are prone to breaking and getting stuck in request loops. This traffic not only inflates your tracking total, but can also skew it severely."

Caching is another thing which can skew these statistics. Browsers automatically cache files when they are downloaded. ISPs can also cache files for their users. When a users views a cached file, a request is not made to the web server for that file. This means that users may have viewed your pages more times than the web server logs reflect. Any use of cached pages will not be included in these reports.

There are more issues to consider, particularly if you are trying to determine how many sessions or visits your site has had. How the Web Works, part of the Analog documentation, gives a very good introduction to all of these issues, and I would strongly recommend that you read it before using these reports. It will help you understand what these numbers mean.

Information on the reports

The reports were generated using Analog, a free software program. This software is highly customizable, and I have made some customizations to make the reports clearer:

  • For some libraries, users can get to the web pages through two different directories: one which is the library's three letter code and one which is a longer name. For example, people can access the Monona Public Library web pages at http://www.scls.lib.wi.us/monona and http://www.scls.lib.wi.us/moo.

    In these reports, requests made to either of these directories have been combined into one directory. If your library would prefer separate reports for these directories, this can be changed.

  • In the Request Report, only .html and .htm files are included in the reports for 2001. Beginning with the report for January 2002, .pdf files are included as well. If you have a large number of .pdf files, and you would like the 2001 reports re-run including this information, please let me know.


Which Analog reports are included?

I've included the reports which Analog includes by default, and added one more, the Failure Report. The included reports are:

General Summary: Includes overall statistics, including "Successful requests", which is the total number of files downloaded and "Successful requests for pages", which is the number of requests for what is defined as "pages". For the 2001 reports, "pages" included .htm and .html. In 2002 reports, .pdf files are also included.

Monthly Report: Lists the activity in a month. This report isn't useful on individual month reports, but is useful on cumulative reports.

Daily Summary: Lists the total activity for the day of the week, summed over all of the weeks in the report.

Hourly Summary: Lists the total activity for each hour in the day, summed over all of the weeks in the report.

Domain Report: Lists the top-level domain names (.net or .com, for example) of the computers requesting your files.

Organisation Report: Lists the organizations of the computers requesting your pages.

Status Code Report: Reports what HTML status codes were received in response to requests for your pages. This will tell you if users are receiving errors in response to requesting pages. If errors were caused, the files causing them can be found in the Failure Report.

File Size Report: Lists requests by the size of the file requested.

File Type Report: Lists requests by the type of file requested.

Directory Report: Lists which directories requested files are found in. This is not useful for most of you because all files will be in the same directory. Beginning with the February 2002 reports, the directory report will be removed.

Request Report: This lists each page (which includes .htm and .html files in the 2001 reports and includes .htm, .html, and .pdf files in the 2002 reports) which has been requested more than 5 times, and the number of times the page was requested.

 

 

For more information about website statistics, contact Stef Morrill.

 

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