A Longitudinal Study of Database Usage Within a General Audience Digital Library

Dietmar Wolfram, Iris Xie


This study reports on a longitudinal investigation of database usage available through BadgerLink, a general audience digital library available to Wisconsin residents in the United States. The authors analyzed BadgerLink database usage, including EBSCO databases sampled every two years over a six-year period between 1999 and 2005 and four years of usage for ProQuest databases between 2002 and 2005. A quantitative analysis of the transaction log summaries was carried out. Available data included database usage, title requests, session usage by institution, format requests (full-text and abstracts), and search feature usage. The results reveal changes in usage patterns, with relative requests for resources in areas such as social sciences and education increasing, and requests for resources in business/finance and leisure/entertainment decreasing. More advanced search feature usage was also observed over time. Relative usage by searchers affiliated with academic institutions has grown dramatically. Longitudinal analysis of database usage presents a picture of dynamic change of resources usage and search interactions over time. The findings of this study are more in line with results from other online database and digital library environments than Web search engine and Web page environments.

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