A clickstream data analysis of Chinese academic library OPAC users' information behavior

Tingting Jiang*, Yu Chi, Huiqin Gao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Chinese academic libraries have been devoting great effort into introducing next-generation online public access catalogs (OPACs) in order to provide a better user experience. However, there is a lack of empirical research on their usage. In this study, a transaction log file from a typical next-generation OPAC, the Wuhan University Library OPAC, formed the basis for an investigation of users' information behavior, using a clickstream data analysis framework. The 26,732,368 clickstream records in the original log file were cleaned, parsed, coded, then analyzed at the footprint, movement, and pathway levels. The results showed that the users relied heavily on the single-box simple search interface, seldom involved themselves in an exploratory search process, and preferred page navigation over search refinement when interacting with search results. The OPAC was used as a lookup tool to locate known academic resources and as a personal information management tool to utilize basic library services, instead of as a discovery tool as intended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-223
Number of pages11
JournalLibrary and Information Science Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


This research has been made possible through the financial support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants No. 71203163 and No. 71420107026.

FundersFunder number
National Natural Science Foundation of China71203163, 71420107026


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