Implemented during the summer of 2008, the usage statistics module of the Digital Library provides a glimpse of the active user population, currently and back to the inception of the Digital Library in Fall 2006. In addition to the number of users and their paths through the Digital Library, and the most viewed items and collections, the most searched for terms and keywords are also identified. All of the collected statistics are for users that are accessing the Digital Library from off-campus locations, this is done in order to eliminate the page views used by staff in describing the specific materials. Given that the Digital Library does have many additional users on campus, these statistics and patterns are qualified and conservative.
In January 2007 the number of monthly unique visitors to the Digital Library was 1,797; by January 2008 that number had risen to 2,343 and by March 2008 had grown to 4,163. September 2008 showed a near equal figure to March with 4,100 visitors. The busiest days of the week are Wednesday and Thursday, and the busiest times are 1 to 5 PM.
In 2008, the most frequently visited collections are the Catholica Collection, the Joseph McGarrity Personal Paper Collection, and the Cuala Press Broadside Collection. For 2007 and 2008, the most frequently visited item is the Portrait gallery of pugilists of America and their contemporaries from James J. Corbett to Tom Hyer. This Philadelphia-published richly illustrated volume, from the Pennsylvaniana Collection, provides biographies and photographs of the best boxers of the late 1800’s. A search of the national bibliographic database Worldcat shows only 8 other institutions beyond Villanova University owning a print copy of the work.
The next most popularly viewed title and the one linked to the most frequently searched keyword phrase – “Baldwin Locomotive Works” – in the Digital Library search software is the Baldwin locomotive works : illustrated catalogue of locomotives. This work provides a richly illustrated view of the sale offerings of the Philadelphia-based Baldwin Locomotive Works for the year 1871, the perfect work for a railroad tycoon to read in their own Pullman compartment while contemplating the newly opened (1869) Transcontinental Railroad!