All entries for Monday 06 July 2009

July 06, 2009

Summertime brings fewer visitors

As term drew to an end, we noticed a drop in visitor numbers at WRAP. Towards the end of May, we had around 350 or 400 visitors a day (depending on which source you look at!). G. Analytics was telling me about 350, with the usual weekend dip going below 200. Two weeks ago (last week of summer term here), we had in the region of 280 visitors per day, with a weekend dip no lower than usual. Things seem to have picked up a little last week and we're now getting 300 visits a day on a weekday...

It's hard to know exactly what this means, except that it reflects the academic year cycle. I'm trying to guess whether we've been getting primarily students looking at our content, or whether these are authors and researchers who might cite the work. It could be argued that the peak in the summer term was caused by cramming students, and that the tail-off was caused by students disappearing for the vacation. The pattern certainly matched student behaviour in terms of library visits: by the last week of term, hardly any were to be found in the library, but in the week prior to that we couldn't move for student bodies! But academics' work is also governed by the term time because they have teaching and marking to do and they also like to disappear for conferences, study tours and holidays in the summer, so are not so likely to be at their desks reading online journal articles...

So I can't really conclude anything from our visitor numbers, except to anticipate such seasonal fluctuations in future years.

I do note that it hasn't made a difference that we're growing in content: I would expect that additional material would bring us additional visitors, but even though we've been growing faster than ever lately, as we approach the big 1000, I'm not sure how fast a growth would be needed to counteract the summer down-turn in visitors!


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