It might also be worth considering having VuFind do the logging directly into the database for you. This can trap the additional data contained in the search history object, such as how long the search took and how many hits returned.
This was part of the underlying design change when I made the SearchHistory object, and I did this back when I worked in the Library, but it was wrapped up in the other changes required to port the database to Oracle so never surfaced in time for submission to trunk. For operational reasons we dumped the min-ified object into a database blob to avoid slowing down the front-end. Later the min-ified objects got unpacked and moved to reporting tables we could archive yearly (iirc).
If we really wanted to get fancy you could log an anonymous user identifier for the session so that you can generate reports that show the user's 'journey' through the system. ie. They searched for this, then clicked this facet etc.
Of course we still need the log data you have presented... there are a number of questions from Pat in that blog post that aren't search related. Just an idle thought on expanding it further.
I have initialized an attempt to data warehouse my VuFind log files, and I have blogged about the topic. From the posting:
The problem is, how do I generate regular or on-demand reports
answering the questions listed above?
...Instead, the solution will be to first create a database — a
“data warehouse” — containing log file content, and second, to
provide a front-end to the database enabling people to query it.
With this approach, counting the number of times anything occurs
could be as easy as a single SQL query as opposed to tabulating
10s of thousands of log file entries...
Log file analysis will be greatly simplified through the use of
data warehousing technqiues, and the consistently structured
requests implemented by VuFind will make it much easier to learn
who is using the Portal and how.
I'm not positive, but I think the end result will something just about any institution using VuFind will be able to use. That would be fun!
Eric Lease Morgan
University of Notre Dame
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