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Because You're You: Factors Influencing Item Selection in a Digital Sheet Music Collection




Coates, Midge
Coates, Mildred


The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing user selection of individual works in a collection of digitized sheet music. Google Analytics page view data were grouped by source (directing link) and correlated with five factors: (1) inclusion in a collaborative indexing project (Sheet Music Consortium); (2) browse list order; (3) cover appearance; (4) inclusion in mini-collections; and (5) presence of links to audio versions. Four of the five factors examined showed some influence on user selection: (1) Works listed in the Sheet Music Consortium had more views/work than those not listed. (2) Works at the top of the Sheet Music Consortium browse list had more views by Consortium users than those lower down. (3) Works with cover graphics had more views/work than those with covers containing words alone. (4) Works included in mini-collections received more views/work from users with access to those mini-collections. (5) Works with links to audio versions did not have more views/work than works without links. The most important finding of this study is that the best way to increase the use of individual collection items may be to participate in a large and well-known collaborative index such as the Sheet Music Consortium.