DPLA Has Big Impact on Web Traffic for Mountain West Digital Library

By Hillary Brady, December 16, 2013.
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One of the most important features of the DPLA model of digital hubs is its creation of a national network with a single access point. Users can search the DPLA for content from scores of state or regional digital collections throughout the United States, bringing together millions of pieces of unique content. For these partner hubs, however, there is a real value in the particular structure of this network. Through the DPLA’s single access point, all users and searchers of the DPLA database are sent back to the original network’s site. As such, there is a real potential for an increase in web traffic and new users to each partner hub’s own website.

That potential is realized in the Mountain West Digital Library (MWDL), the regional digital collaborative combining content from memory institutions in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii, and Arizona. This digital collaborative began out of the Utah Academic Library Consortium in 2002 and its partners include university libraries such as Brigham Young University, Arizona State, and University of Nevada Las Vegas; public libraries; museums; historical societies; state agencies such as the Arizona State Library/Archives and the Idaho State Archives; municipalities; and counties. The MWDL has nearly 800,000 items available through the DPLA. These items include photos, maps, artwork, video, oral histories, government documents and other types of texts.

Now, thanks in part to the DPLA, more visitors are accessing the MWDL’s collections than ever before. From the April 18, 2013 launch of the DPLA through the middle of November, the number of visits to the MWDL website has increased by more than 105% in comparison to the previous seven months, from 41,500 to 85,000 visits. The number of visitors to the MWDL has also increased by 109%. Thirty-seven thousand more unique visitors came to MWDL than in the previous seven months.  

“We are very pleased with the increased exposure to the digital collections of the Mountain West since we shared MWDL’s metadata for inclusion in the DPLA,” said MWDL Director, Sandra McIntyre.

In working with DPLA, the MWDL has also helped change what those users do once they get to the site. The MWDL has seen an increase in page views of 73% and the average visit duration has increased by 8%, to almost 3 minutes. The amount of referral traffic that the MWDL receives from the DPLA is significant as well, especially in comparison to its traffic from other sources.  In fact, the number of visits from referrals by the DPLA is twice that of Google.

In just the nearly eight months since the launch of the DPLA, MWDL has seen a remarkable difference in not only the number of visitors to its site, but also the quality of those visits. They exemplify the new possibilities for partner hubs involved in the DPLA network.

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