From website log to findability

Jiann Cherng Shieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - In the digital library era, library websites are recognized as the extension of library services. The usability and findability of library websites are growing more and more important to patrons. No matter how these websites have been built, they should offer the capability that patrons can find their required information quickly and intuitively. The website logs keep tracks of users' factual behaviors of finding their required information. Based on the evidences, the author attempts to reconstruct the websites to promote their internal findability. Design/methodology/approach - In the past, the card sorting method has generally been applied to reconstruct websites to improve their internal findability. Alternately, in this research, a first attempt is made to try to use website log data to implement website reconstruction. The website log data was cleaned and user sub-sessions were extracted according to their respective critical time of session navigation. Each sub-session's threshold time of target page was then calculated with different weights to determine its navigating parent pages. The different weighted parent pages were utilized to reconstruct various websites. A task-oriented experiment of four tasks and 25 participants was conducted to measure the effects of findability between the constructed websites. Findings - By analysis of the variance of time to complete the tasks, it is shown that the reconstructed websites have better findability performance in the time spent to complete the tasks than the current one, if focusing much more on the target pages. The result clearly explores that when the parent pages of a page are selected, whether it is a target page is the most important issue to improve website findability. The target page plays a critical role in website reconstruction. Furthermore, the traditional card sorting method is applied to the case website to reconstruct it. The findability experiment is then conducted and its time to complete the tasks is compared to those of websites that are reconstructed. The approach proposed here has better effects than card sorting. Originality/value - Mining web log data to discover user behaviors on the library website, this research applies a heuristic method to analyze the data collected to reconstruct websites. Focusing on the target pages, the reconstructed websites will have better findability. Besides traditional card sorting techniques, this paper provides an alternative way to reconstruct websites such that users can find what they need more conveniently and intuitively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-720
Number of pages14
JournalElectronic Library
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Findability
  • Searching
  • Usability
  • Web log mining
  • Web sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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