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Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Differences in Behavior for Local and Non-Local Users




Coates, Midge
Coates, Mildred


This study examines two research questions: (1) How do users in different locations find Auburn University Electronic Theses and Dissertations? (2) Do users in different locations interact differently with the collection and, if so, how? Google Analytics data for user visits, landing pages, and page views were separated into groups based on user location. Visits data were also correlated with source (referring Web site), and landing pages and page views were grouped by type. Most local users came to the repository via Auburn University Web pages. This group usually landed on the collection home page and used internal navigation pages to find what they needed. Submission page views showed that most ETD depositors were local. Most out-of-state users came to the repository via Web search engines. This group usually landed directly on bibliographic information pages for individual ETDs. They used internal navigation pages less frequently than local users. Users located within the state but outside of the local area interacted with the collection in a way that was intermediate between the two groups. Institutions interested in improving repository access for depositors will probably find it helpful to focus on in-state usage reports, while institutions seeking to improve access for end-users should exclude in-state users from their assessments. This is the first detailed examination of ETDs usage published since 2001 and shows that filtering tools available in Google Analytics allow comparisons of user behavior based on location and source (referring Web site).