Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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OPAC2.0 – Examining Delta Goodrem’s dress again / more on search

June 14th, 2008 by Seb Chan

The most popular object in our online collection database is still a dress worn by Delta Goodrem.

I’ve previously written about how the popularity of this dress was driven in part by coverage on a number of Delta Goodrem fan forums. But this neglects the criticality of search. Google has always driven traffic to this object and looking at last months analytics where Google search represented 86% of referrers to the object, the top 5 keywords used to discover this dress were these –

1. lisa ho – 11.24%
2. evening dresses – 4.55%
3. lisa ho dresses – 2.71%
4. formal dress – 2.13%
5. chiffon dress – 1.07%

Because of the frequency of the keywords ‘lisa ho’ in the title, description and body text of the object record, and the trusted PageRank of the Powerhouse Museum domain, we rank 11th in Google search results for ‘lisa ho’; 2nd for ‘lisa ho dress’; and 4th for ‘lisa ho dresses’.

Fortunately for us, this external traffic isn’t fleeting. Visitors to this object view almost double the average number of pages viewed by others on our site; and they spend more time on the site too.

Looking at the internal search terms for that same object the results are very different.

1. Australian fashion (also a subject classification)
2. tennis (user tag)
3. lisa ho
4. delta goodrem
5. elegant (user tag)

External search has effectively driven nearly 10 times the traffic of internal users to this object. It has also brought audiences to the object who have very little behavioural similarities to those who search within the context of our own site (internal search). This creates many new challenges in terms of usability and user experience.

Over the entire collection there are pockets of objects for which the difference between internal and external search is not as great however this needs much greater data analysis (and may be the subject of a future post or paper).

Tags: 2 Comments

  • Yes, and now it’s time to revisit question.

  • What about real eyeballs on the dress? Is it currently on display at the Powerhouse?

    If so, do you have anyway of measuring its popularity with in-person musuem visitors versus other items?

    I know it must be difficult to factor out position/location within the musuem. For example, everyone has to visit Locomotive number 1, whether they want to or not. (And I’m a steam engine fan)

    Also, props to the person/people who wrote the description and historical notes attached to the online Delta dress. It’s one of the most comprehensively described and contextualised items on your site. And of course the description is a work in progress, and consideration should be given to adding some of the information that you’ve given to us here.