27 Apr 10 Happy Birthday, Connect!

This month marks the one-year anniversary when ALA Connect went live. Technically, that would have been on April 6, but we like to celebrate birthdays for an entire month.

Overall, we’re very happy about how folks have embraced the service and how much it’s being used. We still have big plans for adding to the site, but this seems like a good moment to stop and reflect on where we’re at one year in. To start, here’s a list of what we’ve accomplished in the last 12 months.

  • Connect went live, pre-populated with 60,000+ member profiles and 1300+ groups.
  • Every group has a robust set of features that includes blog-like posts, wiki-like online docs, a calendar, polls, chat rooms, discussion forums, and image uploads. Rosters for working groups even synchronize with our member database automatically.
  • We upgraded to Drupal 6.
  • We created a “subscriptions” page in order to let users manage their email notifications from one screen.
  • We enhanced the “my unread items” page to make it easier to read and track new content. We also added “mark as read” buttons to help you manage the flow on that page.
  • We switched WYSIWYG editors in order to better handle content pasted from Word. We also added a spellcheck feature.
  • We implemented a new module we had custom written to give us more details statistics.
  • We implemented MentorConnect, a mentoring network available to all ALA members.
  • We added the length of a poll to the main page so you can easily tell when it will end.
  • We’ve added file types to the list of allowed uploads and increased the size from 10MB to 20MB.
  • We implemented the Opportunities Exchange, a place where any ALA member can post opportunities of interest to the entire profession.
  • Implementing the OppEx also allowed us to integrate a new “interests” page in member profiles and in the future, we’ll match content to those interests in order to bring you the most relevant content possible.
  • We’ve written a requirements document for what a conference scheduler integrated into Connect would look like and how it would function.

We’ve also implemented a lot of patches, security updates, and minor tweaks, but this list gives a sense of just how much we’ve done since the site first went live. And of course we’re still moving forward with our plans to continue improving the site with features such as member matching, expanded profiles, polling your friends, and more.

Numbers also tell a story, and we’re happy to see usage statistics remaining the same or increasing in most categories. Now that we’re through phase one, the charts look about how you’d expect them to – big peaks around conference times, dropoffs during traditional vacation periods, and steady usage in between.

Google Analytics for Connect, June 2009 - March 2010

I’ve posted more snapshots of the one-year statistics on Flickr, but here’s a summary of the trends.

  1. Summary
    Numbers are still going up overall. 15% of active users have logged in (as opposed to “blocked” users who are unable to log in), with 8,963 logging in during Connect’s first year. In that first year, we also registered 1,408 non-members on the site. That number is still going strong, with more than 90 non-members signing up in the last 30 days.


  2. Content
    For the most part, these numbers are all up or holding steady. Comparing July figures (which would have been at the peak of Annual) and February (when Midwinter activity was likely still occurring but not at its heaviest), the numbers are approximately the same. There are fewer images and groups, but almost every other content type is still being used at about the same level. Overall, the most commonly added type of content is posts, followed by online docs, events, and discussions, plus 3600+ comments.
  3. Division participation (view by percentage)
    We only have statistics for this from November forward, but in general, numbers are either up or remaining fairly steady. ACRL definitely has the most members active in Connect but as a percentage, ASCLA members are more active, followed by ALCTS, LITA, and RUSA.
  4. Most active groups (view for the last year)
    Within the last 30 days, all of the most active communities have been working groups, although it’s great to see so many Emerging Leader projects listed. Not surprisingly, the number one spot is currently held by a group planning content for Annual, and the WAC CMS Selection Task Force is number seven.However, in the “overall” category, even though the “help” community has been the most active (mainly as we add documentation), we’re starting to see some non-working group communities appear in the list. Coming in second is the Games and Gaming MIG, followed by the RDA Forum. It’s also great to see the Career Connections community coming in at number nine (those members offer a great service). The Social Media Mavens community is an anomaly, as a lot of folks used it as a sandbox.
  5. MentorConnect
    The service continues to grow, with the number of potential mentees still outweighing the number of potential mentors by more than a 2:1 ratio. So far, 84 mentorships have been created in the seven months MentorConnect has been live. We’re getting 20+ new participants per month, but we still need to do more to promote it.

Thank you to everyone who has helped Connect grow, and we look forward to making it even better for you. I encourage you to leave feedback, comments, and suggestions in the Improving ALA Connect community. Here’s to another great year of Connecting.

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Reader's Comments

  1. |

    Happy birthday, ALA Connect.

    You are the best tool that ALA has ever developed for getting news out to members in a timely manner. You might be only one year old, but you have already become the one source that I make sure to read every week. May you live a long life — or at least long enough to be taken over by the next iteration of electronic distribution.

  2. |

    Thanks, Dave – we appreciate the feedback!

    Jenny Levine
    ALA, Strategy Guide

  3. |

    […] taking stock and reviewing the landscape. We definitely consider Connect to be a success (read the one-year report to learn why), we’re constantly improving the site, and we have big plans to add more […]