We’ve been running Primo as our new Library Search discovery system since the end of April so it’s been ‘live’ for just over four months.  Although it’s been a quieter time of year over the summer I thought it would be interesting to start to see what the analytics are saying about how Library Search is being used.

Internal click-throughs
Some analytics are provided by the supplier in the form of click-through statistics and there are some interesting figures that come out of those.  The majority of searches are ‘Basic searches’, some 85%.  Only about 11% of searches use Advanced search.  Advanced search isn’t offered against the Library Search box embedded into the home page of the library website but is offered next to the search box on the results page and on any subsequent search.  It’s probably slightly less than I might have expected as it seemed to be fairly frequently mentioned as being used regularly on our previous search tool.

About 17% of searches lead to users refining their search using the facets.  Refining the search using facets is something we are encouraging users to do, so that’s a figure we might want to see going up.  Interestingly only 13% navigated to the next page in a set of search results using the forward arrow, suggesting that users overwhelmingly expect to see what they want on the first page of results. (I’ve a slight suspicion about this figure as the interface presents links to pages 2-5 as well as the arrow – which goes to pages 6 onwards –  and I wonder if pages 2-5 are taken into account in the click-through figure).

Very few searches (0.5% of searches) led users to use the bX recommendations, despite this being in a prominent place on the page.  The ‘Did you mean’ prompt also seemed to have been used in 1% of searches.  The bookshelf feature ‘add to e-shelf’is used in about 2% of searches.

Web analytics
Browsers used pie chartLooking at web analytics shows that Chrome is the most popular browser, followed by Internet Exploer, Safari, and Firefox.

75% of traffic comes from Windows computers with 15% from Macintoshes.  There’s a similar amount of traffic from tablets to what we see on our main library website, with tablet traffic running at about 6.6% but mobile traffic is a bit lower at just under 4%.

Overall impressions
Devices using library search seem pretty much in line with traffic to other library websites.  There’s less mobile phone use but possibly that is because Primo isn’t particularly well-optimised for mobile devices and also maybe something to test with users whether they are all that interested in searching library discovery systems through mobile phones.

I’m not so surprised that basic search is used much more than advanced search.  It matches the expectations from the student research of a ‘google-like’ simple search box.  The data seems to suggest that users expect to find results that are relevant on page one and not go much further, something again to test with users ‘Are they getting what they want’.  Perhaps I’m not too surprised that the ‘recommender’ suggestions are not being used but it implies that having them at the top of the page might be taking up important space that could be used for something more useful to users.  Some interesting pointers about things to follow up in research and testing with users.