Archive for the ‘statistics’ Category

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Improving DaveyP’s HIP link tracker

2007-04-26

DaveyP came up with a nice way of logging outgoing links from 856 tags.

I’ve improved it, at least as far as our needs are concerned:

  • If the user is behind a proxy that sends the HTTP X-Forwarded-For header, we record the user’s real IP address.
  • Since we have more than one HIP server, we record the name of the HIP server.
  • Since our profiles represent individual autonomous libraries who are much more interested in their own users, we record the profile code.
  • Timestamps are now in ISO 8601 format.

You can get what I’m audaciously calling version 1.10 here: http://www.tblc.org/~ostrowb/hiplink-1.10.pl.txt

Creative Commons LicenseUnder the terms of DaveyP’s license, hiplink 1.10 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License.

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CODI 2006: Accessing Your Statistics

2006-10-05

CODI 2006: Accessing Your Statistics

Colleen Medling’s employer, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library, is a multi-type consortium including the county public library system, a law library, a Children’s Board library, and more.

In the past, each branch used Excel to enter statistics (reference, programs, etc.). Each library emailed the files to the Main Library, where a person spent 40 hours per month compiling them all.

Their new solution uses Microsoft Access. TeleCirc and Web Reporter both use an Access back-end, and it’s simple to learn. The limit is 2GB per database (and this may be a 32-bit thing).

One could use Access data pages or Microsoft Visual Web Developer to obviate the need for an Access client on each machine. THPL does it with Access data pages; they’re easy to use (there are wizards) and don’t take much time, and you can staff-proof your forms. On the other hand, there are some security risks, and you need to configure each browser to trust the site so that it can load new components. This is a one-time annoyance.

When setting things up, you need to figure out what it is you want to track. If you want children’s storytimes and babies’ storytimes in separate categories, then you need to know and consider that at the outset.

Use a Validation Rule to staff-proof your input. If the agency code does not match “In (‘adl’,’pci’, …)”, Access web forms will politely inform you that there’s a problem. (If you enter something polite in Validation Text, that is.) You can anticipate, for example, that the daily door count will be less than 3,000 at a small branch. (And if you use an enumerated data type for your library code, you’ve already staff-proofed that field. There’s probably a way to double-check that by IP address, if applicable, but I don’t know what it is.)

After your database has been set up, use “Create data access page by using wizard”. The wizard will walk you through the process and help you choose a design; you’ll probably want to use Design View to make it prettier. Use TabOrder to specify how pressing TAB will move through the web form.

Don’t forget to set Page Properties UseRemoteProvider to TRUE, or else users won’t be able to get to it.

Colleen has recently been trying Microsoft Visual Web Developer. The Express version is free of charge: (link) There is definitely a learning curve, however.

Access data can be imported into Sybase, and Sybase data can be used in Access. You’ll need to do some work, and not all data types will transfer. (Colleen put me on the spot to explain that this is because of nonstandard extensions to SQL.) You’ll need to add custom Sybase tables to Access individually.

But the hassle is worth it, and here’s why: If you store your data in Sybase, you can use Web Reporter to generate fantastic reports.

Q: Why use Access? Couldn’t you use a Sybase table and an mq_view to put the forms into the Horizon client?
A: You could, yes. Access was easier for our staff, but you could do it in Sybase. (Though that could be a problem when migrating to Horizon 8.x.)

Q: Why use Sybase at all?
A: Better backups for disaster recovery, and Web Reporter is a great tool in skilled hands.

Q: What about Horizon 8.0?
A: A database is a database. SirsiDynix will have to migrate my tables to (probably) DB2, and I’ll use a different ODBC connector.

Q: Can we get your code?
A: Sure. Email medlingc@hillsboroughcounty.org.