Using Google Analytics with FL-Islandora

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FL-Islandora Guides (FIG)
FL-Islandora Overview
User Interface
Permissions and users
Collection Creation and Management
Content models
Creating Content Objects
Suppressing Objects From View
PALMM guidelines
Fl-Islandora and Mango
Site Administration
Workflow: From Spreadsheet to Islandora
Using Google Analytics with FL-Islandora
Collection Information Menu
A-I. FL-Islandora Glossary
A-II. Field Inventory


Getting Started

Get Access to your Islandora site's analytics

FLVC pre-installs Google Analytics on all Islandora sites. If you already have a site, it has been collecting statistics since launch, and those statistics are ready for you to view and analyze.

To access statistics for a site you must have a personal Google Analytics account. If you do not have a user account sign up here:

Once you have a user account contact requesting access to Google Analytics for your site. Be sure to include the email address you use to log in to Google Analytics and the URL for your Islandora site.


Using this guide: Google Analytics has set terminology in how they measure web traffic. Please consult this glossary to better interpret your GA data:

Google Analytics Data Model:

Comparison of key terms:

Pageview :
  • An instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser.
  • The amount of times visitors arrive on individual pages of your Website. If a user reloads a page, that action will be counted as an additional Pageview. If a visitor navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second Pageview will be recorded as well. Pageviews allow you to see which pages on your site are the most popular
  • A Pageview represents an HTML or PHP page loaded in a Web browser window. Multiple views of the same Web page are counted in this metric.
    • What it's not counting: Google Analytics does not count access to files, like jpegs, PDFs, etc. This is because Google Analytics works by receiving a message from a bit of javascript in a site's template. That bit of javascript is not embedded in your PDFs and digital objects, so they do not send a signal back to Google Analytics. Google Analytics will count access to these files, only if the person accesses the file by clicking a link within the Islandora site. In that case, a bit of code around the incoming link will show that the link was clicked. This outgoing click to a PDF or jpeg is counted as an "Event", and can be viewed in Google Analytics under "Behavior" then "Events".
    • Pageviews measure traffic volume over time at the page-level, whereas Visits measure traffic at the Visit- or session-level. You can use Pageviews to measure aggregate traffic for groups of Web pages and subsites.
  • The period of time a user is active on your site or app. By default, if a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more, any future activity is attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes are counted as part of the original session. See:
  • A single-pixel image request that is used to send data to Google Analytics.
  • A subset of a Google Analytics account property that can have its own unique configuration settings. You can create multiple views for a single property and modify what data shows in each view.

FLVC Custom Reports

Overview of Custom Reports

FLVC has created custom reports to assist in filtering and interpreting your site’s traffic. After you have created a Google Analytics account, and gotten setup to view analytics for your site, you can click the link for one of these reports and install that report on top of your site's statistics. Installation instructions are further down the page.

Note: These templates are subject to revision as we learn how to better refine traffic data from Islandora. Templates indicate the most recent release date. In order to use the revised report, you will need to re-install the template after FLVC makes an update.

Links for Downloading Custom Reports

  • Note: On July 1, 2016, FLVC phased out custom variables from Google Analytics. This changed how the info was collected. Therefore, different custom reports are needed to view info from before that date versus after that date.

FL-Islandora Rpt 1: Object Pageviews:

All fiscal years:

A basic breakdown of all Islandora objects with pageviews and their pageview count.

FL-Islandora Rpt 2: Object pageviews - excluding collection objects:

June 30, 2016 and earlier report:

July 1, 2016 to present report:

This report displays a list of all Islandora objects and their pageview counts excluding collection objects and their pageview counts. This report is good for if you want a total of pageviews on unique items in your digital library without including pageviews for the unique collection objects.

FL-Islandora Rpt 3: Pageviews by collection:

June 30, 2016 and earlier report:

July 1, 2016 to present report:

This report aggregates pageviews by collection. The first level, Custom Variable (Value 01), identifies collection PIDs along with sum of pageviews of all children of each collection and the pageviews of the collection object. The second level breaks down each collection object. Selecting a collection object PID lists the PIDs of child objects within each collection including the PID of the collection object and the pageview count of each. The total pageviews presented in this second level should match the pageview count of the collection object selected in the previous level.

FL-Islandora Rpt 4: Searches by collection:

June 30, 2016 and earlier report:

July 1, 2016 to present report:

This report counts queries made from within a collection. The first level identifies collection PIDs along with the sum of each search query that took place from within that collection object. The second level describes the query made and number of times it was made from this collection. This report does not describe the source of all traffic to your digital library items. Queries made from external sources such as search engines and catalogs are not included in this report.

FL-Islandora Rpt 5: Pageviews by content model:

June 30, 2016 and earlier report:

July 1, 2016 to present report:

List of content models and total pageview count for all objects using the corresponding content model. The second level breaks down objects in corresponding content model into a list of PIDs and each of the objects pageviews.

FL-Islandora Rpt 6: Pageviews by collection and by content model:

June 30, 2016 and earlier report:

July 1, 2016 to present report:

This report is a combination of the views by collection report and the content model report. The first level, Custom Variable (Value 01), identifies collection PIDs along with sum of pageviews of all children of each collection and the pageviews of the collection object. Selecting one of these collection PIDs will take you to the second level. The second level breaks down a collection by content models used by objects in that collection. Each row will contain a content model along with the sum of pageviews of all objects using that content model within the previously selected collection. Selecting a content model breaks down into a list of objects using this content model. The third level contains a list of PIDs using the content model and the pageview count for each of these objects.

Instructions for Installing an FLVC Custom Report

1) In the section above, click the link to the report you would like to install. That link with take you to your Google Analytics account showing the message "A Custom Report configuration was shared with you."


2) Select a view from the dropdown. You should have only one option for Islandora Production. If you track other websites with your GA account you may see these listed as well.


3) Once you've selected the view (ie. Islandora site), click "Create".


4) After creating the report you will be taken automatically to the report page.


5) Next time you log in to Google Analytics, here's how you get back to this page: From your home screen, browse to your Islandora site. Then look at tabs along the top of the screen, and click the tab labeled “Customization”. Then look at the “Custom Reports” links in the lefthand sidebar, and click the report you'd like to view.

Using Google Analytics: Common Tasks

There are many online resources covering Google Analytics. You can run searches in Google to find instructions or answers to questions and tutorials on this software. Below are some basic tasks in the software to get you started.

Date Range: View statistics by date range

The default range of traffic for a report is set to the last 30 days of activity. To view an extended range of data navigate to the upper-right hand section of a report and select the dropdown arrow of the date range field. Use the calendar or the text fields to set the desired range you would like to view. Select apply and wait for the report to regenerate.

GaDateRange.png GaLoading.png

Search Terms: See what searches visitors run on your site

1) Log in to and browse to statistics for your Islandora site.

2) Along the left of the page, click the link for "Behavior".


3) Under "Behavior", click on "Site Search".

4) Under "Site Search", click on "Search Terms".

5) In the following page you will see a table of queries made within your Islandora site along with associated data. To learn more about a particular search term, such as the terms destination page, select the term from this list.

NOTE: This is measuring searches within your Islandora site. These are not limited to queries made from a search bar within Islandora. Searches are logged as any hit with ‘search’ as page path level two within the URI. This means that all of the following are also included in Search Terms: Sorting search results, selecting a facet from search results. removing a facet from search results, selecting ‘hotlinked’ metadata from object descriptions (subjects, names, etc.), browsing a bottom level collection as an anonymous user, paging through search results, and selecting the “View All Items” menu tab.

Locate Page Data

To see a list of all pages with traffic data on your Islandora site navigate to the Reporting tab and select Behavior from the left sidebar. From the list of options select "Site Content" -> "All Pages". This section features an interactive table of your site’s pages.

It’s important to note that this is not representative of the amount of “objects” in your Islandora repository -rather it is a rough measure of URL’s generated from within your Islandora site that Google has tracked. Without applying filters this data may not provide you much value.

To change the available items from paths to more readable Page Titles, locate the small menu above the table named "Primary Dimension". Change this option from "Page" to "Page Title". Please note that these Titles are not unique entries. All pages with matching titles are aggregated under each of these labels. For example, the Page Title “Edit datastream” represents the “edit datastream” page of every datastream that has been edited in Islandora. This may be thousands of unique “pages”.


To find a particular page or Islandora object you can use the search field found at the top right of the table. If you are searching for a PID or a query leave the Primary Dimension setting as “Page”. You cannot simultaneously search both URLs and Page Titles from this search field.


Content drilldown

Your pageviews can be more easily broken down by type by using the Content Drilldown feature. Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown. On this page you’ll see a list of paths in your Islandora site tracked by GA. They are broken down by “subdirectory” along the URL path. Selecting an item from this list will generate a list of “subdirectories” available of the item you have just clicked. You can drill down to the level of an object in Islandora by looking how the URL of that object is constructed. For example: GaURL.png This object’s PID can be located in Content Drill down by navigating down through "Islandora" -> "object". All object “pages” in Islandora will be located within this level. Understanding the level hierarchy used by GA is vital to creating your own custom reports.

Export Data to Excel

Google Analytics allows the export of any viewable report into a number of formats. From the report toolbar select Export and choose the format for your exported report. The detail and layout of the exported report will depend on what report you are accessing.


NOTE: This feature will only export data from the rows you have set to be shown within the report in Analytics. To capture more rows of data navigate to the lower right hand corner of the report and increase the amount of rows to show. This is currently capped at 5000 in Analytics.

GaShowRows.png =>GaShowRows small.png

Track PDF downloads, outbound links, and email


Google Analytics defines certain user interactions with elements of a site as “Events”. This may be anything that is not tracked as a typical Pageview. To access this data navigate to the "Reporting" tab and select "Behavior" from the left sidebar. From the list of submenus select "Events" -> "Overview".

One the overview page you’ll see a list of Event Categories and a count of “events” that have taken place in each. Select "View Full Report" from this table or select "Top Events".


From the Top Events page you can select a category to drill down to see the event “action” to see more detail of the type of interaction a user had with the page. Select the action label to drill down and see a list of URLs that defined each of these hits. For example, if you want to see a list of PDFs downloaded from your site select "Behavior" -> "Events" -> "Top Events" -> "Downloads" -> "PDF".



Traffic Sources: See how people found your site


To find information on how users are getting to your site select the "Reporting" tab and locate "Acquisition" from the left sidebar. Expand the "All Traffic" submenu to reveal your traffic options.


Google Analytics automatically sorts traffic sources into common groups, or Channels. These breakdown as follows:

  • Direct/(none): Visitors enter a URL within your site directly into their browser
  • Organic: Traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing, etc.
  • Referrals: Visitors navigate to your site via a link on a 3rd party website. For example, a link on your library website.
  • Social: Visitors navigate to your site via a social networking platform such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is similar to referrals but ‘Social’ traffic comes from 3rd party sources GA recognizes as a Social networking site.
  • Email: Traffic originating from email.


There are additional channels such as those resulting from paid sources or advertising.

To see additional data on any of these channels click on them to drill down. "Direct" will provided a list of landing pages. "Organic Search" will provide a list of keywords search in search engines. To sort by search engine select "Source" as the Primary Dimension. Select "Landing Page" as "Primary Dimension" to see where on your Islandora site a user entered. "Referrals" will provide a list of websites linked to Islandora that visitors have used. Social will provide a list of social networks linked to Islandora that visitors have used.



This report will list an aggregation of all traffic broken down by source (typically the 2nd level dimension of the channels above) and the medium (one of the channels). In the example here the number one source of traffic is Google (source) searches -with traffic from searches being organic (medium). The number two source of traffic is listed as (direct)/(none), meaning the user typed the desired URL right into their browser -therefore providing no defining external source of the traffic.


You can see lists of these dimensions sorted separately by selecting "Source" or "Medium" from Primary Dimension.


This report provides a more detailed list of referrals, including referrals from “Social” traffic. This list is helpful when you do not wish to separate your social networking traffic from your other 3rd party links, and if you’d like to see what traffic sources are linked to what objects. To see a list of objects each source is linked to just select an item from the list of sources.

GaSourceListReferral.png GaReferralPath.png


Google Analytics provides a number of packaged reports on user data. These can be found by going to the Reporting tab and selecting Audience from the left sidebar. To see a quick breakdown of this information select "Overview".


To get a detailed list of the languages used by browsers that are accessing your Islandora site, expand the Geo submenu from within Audience and select Language. The list provided will not explicitly state the language, only a language code adapted from ISO 639 and 3166 standards.



The location report will detail the traffic of your Islandora site by country, city, continent, of origin, and so on. Select an item from the list to drill down sub-regional data. For example, selecting United States will break down traffic by state. Selecting state will allow you to drill down into city or metro region and so on. Each level will provide a geographic overlay of the data because Google is fancy.


Schedule E-Mail Reports

Any report in analytics has the option to be sent in an email. From within a report, simply navigate to the report toolbar and select the Email option.

A window will appear where you can configure the details of your report email.

The report can be emailed in any format available for export.

You may adjust the frequency of the email to daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or just once. Changing the frequency will generate additional options to refine the email schedule.

Select Advanced Options to select how the length of time you’d like the report email to be active. This can be scheduled up to a maximum of 12 months. This can be extended later.

You must provide text in the body of your email in order to be able to send it. The email will appear to be sent from the account you have registered in analytics.
Note: A report recipient has the option to opt-out of receiving future emails from analytics at any time.


If you’d like to include multiple reports in a regularly scheduled report you can do this by following the procedure above up until selection of the frequency. You’ll notice that after you’ve set up an email report a new option to "Add to an existing email" will appear in the lower right quadrant of the email report configuration window. Selecting this option will generate a list of your existing scheduled reports. Select the one you wish to add the additional report to and select "Save".

In order to cancel or create an extension for "Scheduled Emails" you must be able to access the "View" -> "Personal Tools & Assets" section of Google Analytics FL-Islandora Property. Select the "Admin" option from the header menu and locate "Scheduled Emails" in the "View" column.

This link will generate a searchable and sortable list of Scheduled Emails. You will be able to "Delete" and "Extend" the length of your emails from within this page.
Note: Selecting a report for extension will automatically extend its length by a year regardless of the original timeframe.





You can gain greater control over data comparison with the use of segments. Like reports, segments will allow you to sort and display your analytics data. Unlike reports, segments allow you to compare session or user data within reports and easily maintain these comparisons while moving between separate reports.

To add a new segment to a report you are viewing select "+ Add Segment" from the upper area of your report.

From here you can either add a preset Segment or create a custom segment. Custom segments can be shared much in the same way Reports can be shared. The custom Segment configuration provides more granular options for manipulating data which may not be valuable in analyzing Islandora statistics. Below you’ll find a simple custom segment to filter all session traffic referred from catalog sources. When designing a segment a live preview of the data will appear on the right.


Once you’ve added segments to a report you’ll be able to quickly compare data between your defined groups. Below is report of total pageviews with segments illustrating referrals from Google and library catalogs. The segments will be applied to each row of data in your report. In the case below this is each islandora object available in the report.


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