Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
Archive // Subscribe: EmailRSS

Computer Availability Map Rewrite and Usage Data

A few days ago, I rewrote the Computer Availability map . (The code is available on Github.) Over the summer, Institutional Marketing and IT made some changes and audited the system that gives us the data we use to build the map, so we needed to make a few changes to reflect those differences. In addition, I brought the public view of the map up into the new CMS4 template, so that it matches all of our other sites. The map is linked again from the Services Page, under the Technology heading. (Or you can find it at

Here are the changes to the content I made:

  • At Frey, CHS 490 no longer has any computers. They have all been moved out of the library into CHS 100.
  • At Steelcase, IT has separated the walk-up machines from the classroom machines, so I made them separate categories in the display.

Caveats to this system:

  • The map only shows the number of PCs in use. Macs are not counted, so the numbers on each floor at Mary I do not reflect Mac usage. (However, we’ve watched this in the past, and Macs are often in use before all of the PCs, so during peak times the numbers of available machines are pretty accurate.) We’ve been working alonside Institutional Marketing for a few years to get Macs added, but it hasn’t been much of a priority for IT.
  • I don’t have a way to see if either the Steelcase Classroom or the 001 Lab at Mary I have been booked through the script (I believe Institutional Marketing’s data is pulling from EMS room management software, but these rooms are booked only in Outlook). That said, I’ve added a caveat to each that there may be fewer or more computers available depending on classes.

Here’s the new public view of the map:

Computer Availability Map

The new map is currently running on all of the vertical displays in the Mary Idema Pew Library. Since the Laker Mobile app is pulling in the computer availability map we built, the information should be correct across all platforms.

I also was recently asked about usage for our computers, and I was tracking hourly usage of all computers in the system at all 3 main libraries for the past 2 years (9/2013 - 9/2015). However, in a recent audit of our projects, we noted that no one had ever asked for this data, and given the limitations noted above, we decided to retire the script. (It does use a significant amount of our limited resources.) Now that the UX team has seen the data, however, they’ve asked us to put the tracking script back in place. I’ll also update our script that tracks laptop usage. Brian has asked me to get these in place by Winter semester.

For those interested, below are a few (enormous!) spreadsheets of usage data on both computers (9/2013-9/2015) and laptops & iPads (from 9/2013-5/2014 - the OPAC broke the script in May of 2014 and we never fixed it) if you’d like to crunch some numbers of your own. (A nice visualization tool is in the works for this data in the near future.)

If you have other data you’d be interested in looking at, between Kristin, Kyle, and I, we’re probably collecting it. Just ask! Even if we’re not currently getting it, we can probably start if you let us know why collecting it would be important.

And if you’re interested in why Kristin and I collect a lot of usage data, I explained a bit about our workflow in my Holistic UX talk at the Library Technology conference in 2014.