Home(page) Economics

As Tom mentioned, we’re in the process of re-examining our homepage (and the layout of individual collection homepages).

What do people actually do when they come to the Duke Digital Collections homepage as it is now?  One way to tell is to review our server logs.

Here’s a look at the year in review.

2008 At a Glance:  68,325 homepage hits

Activity from Homepage Count Pct
Browse directly to a collection homepage 21,342 31.24%
Do a cross-collection search 7,533 11.03%
Go to the homepage or an anchored section of it* 2,549 3.73%
Browse the A-Z List of collections 2,170 3.18%
Check out exhibits 1,478 2.16%
Go to Duke Libraries homepage 922 1.35%

38,481 (56.32%) leave the page without following links or searching (or in a handful of cases follow a link to a site outside of our library.duke.edu or scriptorium.lib.duke.edu domains).


From this page, people were nearly three times more likely to visit individual collection homepages than they were to do a cross-collection search. This is consistent with what we found earlier: Three-quarters (76.7%) of queries in 2008 were done within a single collection, one-quarter (23.3%) were cross-collection.

This stands as another good reminder that while we have gone to great lengths to build an integrated discovery system across the collections, users more frequently gravitate toward the individual collections themselves.

* We can’t really determine how many of the recursive referrals back to the homepage were clicks to anchored links like this vs. clicks on the Digital Collections logo in the header.  (edited 2/23/09 –SCA)

Header & Footer Links

How often did people click our header and footer links from our homepage?  As it turns out, not very often:

Header About/Help:

Link Count Pct
About 192 0.28%
Help 139 0.20%
Ask Us Now 66 0.10%


Link Count Pct
Associated/branch libraries 289 0.42%
Use & reproduction 81 0.12%
Report a problem 37 0.05%
Contact 33 0.05%
Jobs 23 0.03%
Privacy 15 0.02%

People might be more inclined to seek the kind of information linked to in the header and footer at a more immediate point of need, for example: clicking Help or Ask Us Now following an unsuccessful search or clicking Use & Reproduction from an item page.

A Tale of Two Layouts

In April 2008, we modified the homepage to group collection links by theme, introduced an A-Z list, and made it clearer which collections are included in cross-collection searches.  The two versions are not radically different, but the data above is a combined view of about 3.5 months of data from the old and 8.5 of the new.  Click to enlarge for a closer look:

Jan 08 homepage (approx.)

Apr 08 homepage

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