This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, January 13, 1999

January 13, 1999 - DPLD Web Statistics

Putting up web pages isn’t the most important thing we do, or even the most useful. But it’s newer than many of our other services, so I keep a sharp eye on it. We have a built-in “counter,” which tells me what people look at. I’ve spent some time the past couple of days thinking about the data, and trying to glean from it how best to manage this new library resource.

From December 1, 1998 through January 10, 1999 our home page (douglas.lib.co.us) has been “hit” some 48,000 times. But that’s a little misleading, since our terminals log in to the home page all by themselves after every couple of minutes.

The next most popular selection is Missy Shock’s World Wide Web search tools page. In part, that’s because that’s where many of our reference librarians begin their searches.

But Missy’s work (she’s the district’s Computer Trainer) pops up a lot. Her front page is number three in use. This isn’t surprising: not only has Missy identified some great links, she’s got a flair for web page design.

Fourth is the link to our library catalog. It’s comforting, I think, that one of the key uses of this technology by our patrons is still mainly to find books right here in Douglas County.

Next is the link to some recommended World Wide Web resources.

Next is the link to the page to search the Douglas County News-Press. One of the most interesting things we’ve done on the World Wide Web is this “joint publishing” of News Press highlights. These pages get used a lot.

The fifth most popular choice is a little surprising: our Making Democracy Work page. Since the elections are over, I wouldn’t think it would be getting quite so much use. But apparently our goal in this project -- to increase citizen access to political information -- has been successful.

The sixth most popular hit is Missy’s page on Colorado History. Some of these hits, I’m sure, are coming from elsewhere around the state. The next two most popular are also her pages -- one on arts, and one on good sites for kids.

Next comes our page to track the Highlands Ranch Library project. It’s time for me to update this one (and I’ll shoot to have the updates in by the time this column hits the paper). At this point, we’ve completed all of our drawings, and our architects are prepared to roll out some striking color images of the proposed building.

It’s clear that the heaviest use of our web pages is as a launchpad to the Internet. But I’m intrigued by the fairly intense use of newspaper resources. In addition to highlighted articles, many patrons make use of our online version of the News Press’s “Douglas County Guide.” It’s time to bring that one up to date, too.

I’m also startled to see how many people have read my newspaper columns, which have only been available on our pages for a couple of weeks. Beginning in 1999, I’ll also post the library columns of other library staff.

Overall, the web resources of the Douglas Public Library District provide a remarkably good look at what goes on in and around Douglas County. The lesson seems to be that the way to be a well-used stopping point on the World Wide Web is to pay attention to what’s going on in your own community.

The top 15 sites on our website (excluding our main home page) are:

douglas.lib.co.us/missy/tools.html - Where Missy starts on the Internet.
douglas.lib.co.us/missy/ -- The links of Missy Shock.
douglas.lib.co.us/catalog.htm - Gateways to our library catalog.
douglas.lib.co.us/www.htm - World Wide Web resources and starting points.
douglas.lib.co.us/dcnpmas.html - The new, one page overview of all News-Press articles online.
douglas.lib.co.us/mdw/ - Making Democracy Work -- a joint project of DPLD and the Douglas County League of Women Voters
douglas.lib.co.us/missy/cohistory.html - Online resources about Colorado History.
douglas.lib.co.us/missy/arts.html - Missy’s resources on art.
douglas.lib.co.us/kids.html - Fun sites for kids.
douglas.lib.co.us/hrproject/ - Our Highlands Ranch Library project.
douglas.lib.co.us/compmag.html - A quick list of full-text magazine articles.
douglas.lib.co.us/missy/preschool.html - recommended World Wide Web sites for very young children.
douglas.lib.co.us/dcguide/ - The News Press’s handbook to the county.
douglas.lib.co.us/larue/lc98/ - My columns for 1998.
douglas.lib.co.us/about_dpld.html - An overview page of library organization.

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