University News

Tracking Web Traffic Across GW Libraries

The George Washington University - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 13:55
November 10, 2014Christian Aldridge, Web Developer for Libraries

GW Libraries has nearly 20 web properties, all of which need to be tracked. We're using Google Analytics, and we've configured it with an "aggregate" account to help us track user traffic across our sites as well as within them. We've recently moved to Google's new "Universal Analytics" (analytics.js), which required some changes to our setup (which I wrote about in a post last year).

Aggregate Tracking

In addition to switching out our javascript with the new analytics.js tracking code, we created a separate "aggregate" account to collect traffic from all of our accounts. We then modified our older custom javascript snippet, using the new options available in the analytics.js code (shown in purple):

ga('create', 'UA-12345678-1', 'auto');
ga('create', 'UA-01234567-1', 'auto', {'name': 'aggregate'});  // This sets the "aggregate" Analytics account.
ga('send', 'pageview');
ga('aggregate.send', 'pageview'); // This sends the pageview to the "aggregate" Analytics account.

The second line sets a second account (which we named "aggregate"), and the fourth line sends a set of the site's tracking data to the second account.

Cross-Domain Tracking

One of the goals is to see how our visitors move between our web properties. Since all of our sites are subdomains of the same second level domain gwu.edu, Analytics doesn't require anything more than setting the second account in order to track traffic between properties:

If your sites have different domains, Google has excellent documentation to implement cross-domain tracking manually: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/cross-domain.

Event Tracking and "Non-Interaction" Events

In addition to tracking page traffic we inserted "event tracking" code to tell us when visitors used certain tools or links. 

One of the behaviors we're tracking is our primary navigation menu: we set events to fire when someone hovers over the category menu items (which expand when hovering). To prevent this from being treated as a page interaction, we set these as non-events: {'nonInteraction': 1}. Otherwise Analytics would confuse the mouse hover as an event in which the user interacted by clicking or following a link to another page or resource, and our Bounce Rate (as well as a few other metrics) for the page would be incorrectly impacted.

The "event tracking" code is a short piece of javascript:

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘primary-navigation’, ‘/primary-nav/gelman-library/news-events-hover’, {'nonInteraction': 1});

Which added to the anchor tag looks like this:

<a onMouseOver="ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘primary-navigation’, ‘/primary-nav/gelman-library/news-events-hover’, {'nonInteraction': 1});">Research</a>

The 'hover' behavior is triggered by the onMouseOver event (vs. onClick). The last parameter {'nonInteraction': 1} sets it as a 'non-interaction' event.

Using the Drupal Analytics Module

Our Drupal sites use the analytics module (https://www.drupal.org/project/google_analytics), which has fields for custom javascript as well as a lot of helpful features. To set up aggregate tracking we dropped our two javascript lines into two of the fields in the Custom section:

The Drupal module also makes it easy to honor "do not track" thanks to a simple checkbox in the Privacy section, as well as an option for anonymization of visitor IP addresses. For our non-Drupal sites we wrap the Analytics code in a conditional statement that checks the value of navigator.doNotTrack (for more on coding for Do Not Track: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/navigator.doNotTrack ).

A Better Understanding of Our Visitors

With this in place we can look in one location for our combined traffic data and see how visitors move between our sites. This has been especially useful in understanding usage of our main GW Libraries website, which is a launchpoint for many of our other tools: we can now watch as visitors move within and across our web properties.

All of this helps us build better tools for our community and implement user centered designs that provide a better and more consistent user experience.

#SPA80for80: Professor Richard Bennett

American University News - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 13:51
Students, faculty, and academicians alike highly regard SPA Professor Richard Bennett’s scholarship in criminal justice and criminology.
Categories: University News

New Art Databases: AP Images and Material ConneXion

The George Washington University - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 12:55

We have recently added two new art databases, AP Images and Material ConneXion:

AP Images: A photographic archive of high quality images from the Associated Press news wire covering 1820s to the present. Includes news, entertainment, and fashion photography; maps; timelines; graphics and logos; graphs; AP news stories; and audio clips.

Kill Screen Founder Inspires Students

American University News - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:44
Jamin Warren argues that video games are the new research and development for future-facing brands.
Categories: University News

Hernandez, Hogan Receive Awards

George Mason University - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:07

Dour Hernandez, Reference and Instruction Support Specialist, Mercer Library and Debra Hogan, Executive Assistant, Office of the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, received Exceptional Support Awards on November 4, 2014. Criteria for this award include “Provides support to ensure that the functions and operations of the nominee’s department run smoothly. Contributes to the success of colleagues by sharing applicable knowledge and expertise; Demonstrates quality customer service to internal and external customers with responsiveness in a timely and appropriate manner, and Gets results by identifying, creating, and implementing innovative solutions to improve the way work is done, making it easier, more efficient and/or less costly.” Sponsored by George Mason University’s Human Resources department, the awards were presented by President Angel Cabrera in a a ceremony held at the Mason Global Center Ballroom (formerly the Mason Inn).

In addition, at the September 2014 All Staff Meeting, Hernandez received the Fall 2014 George Mason University Libraries’ Staff Excellence Award, “a semi-annual award presented to a library staff member in recognition of their outstanding contribution to fostering an environment of collegiality and teamwork, and ensuring library services exceed faculty and students expectations.”

Congratulations to Doug and Debra!

Categories: University News

Chronicling Your Future

American University News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 16:17
The new We KNOW Success website shows recent AU grads are finding jobs and pursuing advanced degrees.
Categories: University News

Rare Showing of Diebenkorn Works Among Late Fall Exhibits at AU Museum

American University News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 15:25
Rare showing of Diebenkorn works on paper, pioneering land art, installations, sculpture, and 'Eugenic Minds' featured.
Categories: University News

#SPA80for80: Professor David Rosenbloom

American University News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 14:34
Public affairs programs around the world look to Professor David Rosenbloom's scholarship as a core facet in the study of public administration and policy.
Categories: University News

Mapping Homelessness in DC

The George Washington University - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 12:09
November 7, 2014

Tuesday, November 18
5-8pm
Gelman Library, Room 300

Help GW Libraries celebrate Geography Awareness Week by making a difference in the DC community!

In this hands-on event, you’ll learn about Gelman's new ArcGIS capabilities while improving the maps for a point-in-time count of the capital area’s homeless population to benefit local homelessness advocacy organizations.  

To learn more about this event or about ArcGIS at Gelman, please contact Kean McDermott.

Young Alumni Stress Importance of Student Organization Experience

American University News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 11:29
The Public Relations Student Society of America at AU has set many on a path to success.
Categories: University News

Social Media Experts Divulge Insider Tips to Kogod Students

American University News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 09:31
A panel of digital communications professionals explored the importance of social media in today’s business landscape at a Business in the Capital event.
Categories: University News

Mercer Library Research Drop In November 19

George Mason University - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 09:25

Search. Write. Cite. Succeed! Need help researching your topic? Can’t find what you need? Would you like to write – and get help with your citations, too? Mercer Library is hosting a Research Drop In session on Wednesday, November 19 from 1-5 pm. Library staff will be on hand to assist you with your research and writing during this event. See you there!

For more information, please contact Janna Mattson, jmattso1 @ gmu.edu, 703-993-8348.

Categories: University News

Stem Cells Inc.

American University News - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 09:18
Morey Kraus, BA religion ’81, finds his niche at the intersection of science and business.
Categories: University News

New 2015 American Studies Courses

American University News - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 20:49
New courses on the drug war, death penalty, and 19th-century fashion highlight spring offerings.
Categories: University News

Henrietta Lacks Family Speaking at AU

American University News - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 16:04
The HeLa legacy: a collision of ethics, race, and science.
Categories: University News

Marymount Swimmer Honored by Catholic Athletes for Christ

Marymount University - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 13:49
Marymount Swimmer Honored by Catholic Athletes for Christ
Categories: University News

GW Libraries: VISION magazine

The George Washington University - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 10:09
November 6, 2014

We are proud to announce our annual magazine, GW Libraries: VISION, is now available in print and online.  

This year's cover story focuses on how the libraries shape the academic experience of GW undergraduates by chronicling the journey of senior Liz Settoducato from novice researcher to presenting her research at a professional conference.  You can also find stories about the newly named George W.G. Stoner Learning Commons, the libraries' support for LGBT studies at GW, an update on the National Churchill Library & Center, and much more. 

#SPA80for80: Connie Morella, SPA/MA ’67

American University News - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 17:39
Connie Morella was driven to public service by the struggle for equal rights, and she served Maryland's 8th district in the U.S. Congress for 16 years.
Categories: University News

American Studies Students Tour U Street

American University News - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 15:37
Nikki Lane’s class gets DC history lesson at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Categories: University News

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