UW Tacoma Library IT has been keeping computer login statistics since 2013. Every time a student logs on to a Student Technology Fee (STFC) funded computer in the Library and The Learning Center (TLC), a small entry is recorded in a database listing the computer name and the time. It’s a very simple program; we could gather the user’s name or other information, but the Library is committed to protecting student privacy and so we intentionally do not. Only the computer name and the time is collected.
Using this method in 2017, we recorded 43,378 logins in the Library and TLC. That was an increase of almost 10,000 users over 2016, when we had 33,440 logins.
However, annual data can be difficult to analyze, so we downloaded the database and mapped it to the school year in a program called Tableau. Tableau is a powerful database visualization program which is free for the public. You can download it at https://public.tableau.com/s/. The Library’s most recent update of login data (and the Tableau Story) can be found over on Tim Bostelle’s Public Tableau site.
The picture above is a snapshot of the data from the Tableau site showing logins by quarter. One of the limitations of using Tableau include the “FY” label for “Fiscal Year” across the top. It should read “School Year”, and the labels should read 2015/16, 2016/17, and 2017/18. Across the bottom we have a similar issue: Q1 is Autumn Quarter, Q2 is Winter Quarter, Q3 is Spring Quarter, and Q4 is Summer Quarter. Despite those limitations, hopefully the graph makes sense.
Above each bar, the numeric labels show the percent increase (or decrease) in logins each quarter. So, from Autumn Quarter (Q1) 2015/16 to Autumn Quarter (Q1) 2016/17 there was a modest increase in logins of just under 3%. There was a decrease in Winter Quarter of 2016/17 of -11% but then the number jumped back up in Spring Quarter and we saw an increase of 13% over the same period in the previous school year.
The most exciting results happened in the 2017/18 school year. We saw massive increases of 63%, 65%, and 44% in logins on the Library’s STFC computers in each of the first three quarters. This validates staff reports that they’ve seen an increase in the number of students served. There was a decline this summer of almost 20% from the previous summer but overall the number of students that logged on to the Library STFC funded computers jumped 44% last school year, from 36,082 to 51,875 logins.
The Library has much more data on this topic, for example, which computers are most popular and what times people like to come in to the Library. We will be posting that on the Library blog later next week.
Use of the STFC funded computers in the Library and TLC has expanded greatly over the last year. The Library loves to see the student technology fee funds used to support student success and we remain committed to working with partners at UW Tacoma to continue developing policies and staffing models based on this campus growth.
Timothy Bostelle, Head of Library Information Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org