Exploring the information behaviour of users of Welsh Newspapers Online through web log analysis
Journal of Documentation
Structured Abstract: Purpose: Webometric techniques have been applied to many websites and online resources, especially since the launch of Google Analytics. To date, though, there has been little consideration of information behaviour in relation to digitised newspaper collections. This paper addresses a perceived gap in the literature by providing an account of user behaviour in the newly launched Welsh Newspapers Online. Design/methodology/approach: The author collected webometric data for
... lsh Newspapers Online using Google Analytics and web server content logs. These were analysed to identify patterns of engagement and user behaviour, which were then considered in relation to existing information behaviour. Findings: Use of Welsh Newspapers Online, while reminiscent of archival information seeking, can be understood as centring on the web interface rather than the digitised material. In comparison to general web browsing, users are much more deeply engaged with the resource. This engagement incorporates reading online, but users' information seeking utilises website search and browsing functionality rather than filtering in newspaper material. Information seeking in digitised newspapers resembles the model of the 'user' more closely than that of the 'reader', a value-laden distinction which needs further unpacking. Research limitations/implications: A larger longitudinal dataset would increase the study's significance. Additionally, the methodology of this paper can only tell us what users are doing, and further research is needed to identify the drivers for this behaviour. Originality/value: This study provides important insights into the underinvestigated area of digitised newspaper collections, and shows the importance of webometric methods in analysing online user behaviour.