TRANSACTION LOG ANALYSIS OF OPAC SEARCHES IN AN ACADEMIC LIBRARY: BASIS FOR OPAC INTERFACE IMPROVEMENT
Keywords:transaction log analysis, online public access catalog (OPAC), user interface
This study aims to look at search patterns in the OPAC and determine the reasons for failure rates. With this study, interface design problems icould be addressed and the users' search behavior could be analyzed. Transaction log analysis (TLA) was used to examine search queries extracted from the system. Transaction logs are interactions registered electronically between online systems of information retrieval and the persons who search for information contained in the system. For this study, logs refer to the author, title, call number, keyword (Boolean), and subject queries submitted to the library’s OPAC. Errors were identified and coded to determine reasons of failure rates. Search patterns were also analyzed by examining the search strings submitted to the system. Simulated searching was also performed (as deemed necessary) to dig further into the reasons why some queries resulted to zero retrievals. For this study, the data used was limited to logs collected for a period of 35 days as this is the maximum extent of logs the system can keep/store. A total of 244,456 search logs submitted to the system. Results showed that users are oblivious of search limiters and that their manner of searching for items in the OPAC is the same as how they would usually conduct their searches using the Google search box; and presumably expect that the OPAC will return results similar to that of Google.
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