Fall Quarter 2008 Computer Use Stats

Similarly to the web stats, this is our first full quarter of gathering computer use stats so we don’t have any reliable data from previous quarters to compare nor can we “impress” people with bogus percentage increases in traffic.

What I can do, however, is show in pretty fine detail which systems are popular, what the average usage is, total number of computing hours per day, total number of logons , and average length of stay. As we track this data over the quarter we should be able to do things like make STF requests based on student usage patterns.

One more thing, these numbers cover only the period of September 24th to December 12 (inclusive), which was a total of 77 days that the library was open and a total of 880 hours that the library was operational.

The Broad Numbers

  • There were a total of 15,447 logons
  • Since we were open for 880 hours that means there were 17.5 logons per hour
  • Library Information Technology supported 638,042 minutes or 10,634 hours of computing
  • The average user stayed for 41 minutes per logon
  • Given how long they stayed, and the sheer number of logons, those numbers mean that there were 138 hours of library computing per day

Popular/Unpopular Computers

The most popular set of computers, by a huge margin, are the 7 computers that library staff call the “public” computers. These computers used to be open computers (no logon) and anyone (public, student, etc) could walk up and use the computer for as long as they wanted. During the summer we converted all of them to logon computers and changed the rules so that the public only has access to 3 computers and must ask library staff for a username and password to logon.

Those 7 computers had a total of 4,241 logons, which lasted an average of 26 minutes for a total of 1,862 hours of computer usage. This usage represents 27% of the total library logons but only 18% of the total hours. All of which is consistent with the primary purpose of those computers; provide a quick access point for stundets who need to print a paper, chek their Blackboard, print some ERES, check their email, etc.

The least popular computers in the library were the two microfilm scanners. Those computers received just 35 total logons all quarter for a total usage of 15 hours. In fact, looking at the individual users it looks more like people were using them to check their email or other quick tasks rather than to scan microfilm (a time consuming task) — there were only 8 users who used those computers for more than 30 minutes at a time.

The most popular classroom computers remain the main lab on the first floor, receiving 963 logons and an average use of 54 minutes per logon.

The least popular classroom computer is surprisingly the second presentation room upstairs in lib239, there were only 92 logons in that room all quarter.

Conclusions

The total number of logons and the number of computing hours per day was a bit of a surprise. I wasn’t fully aware of all the hours of computer work the library patrons were doing. Similarly, I knew that lunch time was a busy time of the day for the “patron” or quick use computers but I never knew how many logons those systems supported per day.

On the other end of the spectrum I’m very disappointed with the usage of the upstairs classroom. I have to think that the furniture layout and lack of comfortable, flexible seating played a part in that. To that end I have moved some wheeled chairs up to that area provide students with more comfort and flexibility. We’ll see if that and some better marketing can increase the use of that space.

Finally, I can’t say that I’m entirely surprised by the low usage numbers for the microfilm computers — anecdotal evidence suggested that they weren’t being used much — but 15 total hours of usage in a quarter is a bit of a shock. This area is being tracked by Circulation, Reference, and LIT as space that may need to be reclaimed by the library for other uses.

As usual, please feel free to PM me if you have questions, or heck, you could post them here… it’s a blog after all.

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