Web Metrics for Library and Information Professionals


  • Martin de Saulles


David Stuart’s “Web Metrics for Library and Information Professionals” is an authoritative overview of the origins of and evolution of web metrics with a focus on their relevance to the information profession. The author’s background as an academic researcher at King’s College London means he approaches the subject more from a research perspective than from a practitioner’s one. This results in a book particularly relevant to an academic audience although practitioners wishing to know more about the technicalities of web metrics will find much of value here.

As a lecturer in digital marketing who teaches across a range of computing and LIS courses, I found the book’s first several chapters especially useful. Stuart describes the connections between bibliometrics and web analytics and shows that librarians have had measurement as a key part of their job for many years. In Chapter 2 he outlines the evolution of metrics as used by the library profession and the origins of web metrics. He makes the point that web analytics have their origins in marketing, making it more applied than bibliometrics, which often have a more abstract heritage. However, he shows that some marketing tools such as Google Trends are also useful for academic researchers because of the breadth of the data they provide access to. The discussion on relational and evaluative metrics may appear a little academic to some readers but it provides a useful foundation for understanding web metrics and how they differ in what they are measuring and how their outputs might be used.