Thursday, 31 March 2011

Focus Group

We have established a user Focus Group with six core partners in order to explore the potential of the recommendation service and its impact on repository users. The institutions involved are:

Aberystwyth University
Bangor University
University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
University of Glamorgan
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
University of Wales, Newport

The first Focus Group meeting will take place on 7th June at Aberystwyth University.

Along with repository managers, we have also identified and invited a small ‘cross-section’ of users from these institutions i.e. undergraduate and postgraduate students, an academic, researcher and an administrative staff member. An evaluation consultant will also be attending the meeting. The recommendation service software will have been deployed at the six institutional repositories by the end of May and the service will be demonstrated and evaluated during the meeting.


Friday, 18 March 2011

Referer (sic) - Headers & Cookies

I've been looking at solutions to track users when moving between WRN partner repositories. This is needed so that we can associate items viewed across the repositories rather than just within a repository.

I can think of a several ways of doing this (and there are probably many more!)

We'd rather not expose IP addresses (although we could encrypt them with a shared symmetric key, for example) so I think I will be looking at the other options.

The cookies used by Google Analytics for tracking are quite interesting. We could enable all the repositories with Google Analytics and then retrieve the data from the __utmz cookie.

On the other hand we could get the information from Apache logs and use this but for now I think the simplest method will be to just retrieve the referer (sic) from the request header using good old Java!

Here's a simple referer test using a servlet (JSP).

More on this later..


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

1st month progress report

The first month is over and we have achieved the following:
A questionnaire has been sent out to all the 12 Welsh Repository Network partners to find out their level of awareness and use (if any) of their repository statistics. Repository managers were asked to provide a list of the statistical information they could obtain from their repository software’s statistics view, and the date range of the data. They were also asked if their repository was enabled for Google Analytics, and if they used it to collect statistics. This information has been compiled in a spreadsheet, along with actual data wherever available.

As a result, six ‘core’ institutional repositories have been selected on the basis of software suitability, available data, and ease of access to the repository servers. Three of these will need an upgrade – this is being arranged. The core repository managers have been contacted and asked to form a ‘focus group’, which will be involved in the qualitative evaluation of the recommendation service.

We attended the JISCAD start up meeting in Birmingham on 2nd March: the problem solving session was very useful.