From time to time, this blog will highlight initiatives, ideas, or activities coming from members, committees or special interest groups (SIGs).
Today: An Update About Web Tracking Tools, by Katie Thomas, Resource and Reference Librarian, Stikeman Elliott LLP (Toronto).
The CALL Knowledge Management SIG had a session on November 30th that looked at Web Tracking Tools.
There are a lot of website tracking tools out there so it helps to have a guide to get you started.
I based my presentation on the AALL Cool Tools (access only for attendees of American Association of Law Libraries 2021 conference) session where eight trackers were evaluated.
In our session I asked the participants to write down sites they would like to track and they were all different. So, there is a need!
First, what criteria should be used for evaluating?
It depends. Every workplace is different and different things needs to be monitored. However, there are three that stand out.
1. Ease of Use
- You don’t want to spend time setting things up and you want to understand WHAT you are setting up
- A lot of the tools are free and you can continue to have them free forever or, you can pay.
- Prices vary depending on functionality.
- This allows you to work with colleagues tracking the same website. Say, if someone is on vacation.
What to Track?
Any number of things to track. Depends what you want to track! Here’s some that are popular:
- Prices (book, software, flights, stocks)
Are they increasing / decreasing
- Text tracking
Articles, preprints, legislation, case law, newspapers
When does a competitor post commentary on a specific case
Like Wayback, but you can customize for the websites you want
What do you want your tracker to do? Here are the popular features:
- Bulk adding of urls into the tracker
- Captcha bypass (or I am fed up counting fire hydrants)
- Password protected pages
- Proxy support, don’t want tracker to get blocked
- Tracking multiple elements on one page (there might be pricing data and text you want to capture changes to on the same page)
- Notification. Or would you prefer Slack, Discord, mobile
N.B.: Be careful of “quick” and “instant” – understand what these mean (does quick mean within an hour or 5 minutes)
- Data export and reports