Measuring the retrievability of digital library content using analytics data

Hamed Jahani, Leif Azzopardi, Mark Sanderson

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Digital libraries aim to provide value to users by housing content that is accessible and searchable. Often such access is afforded through external web search engines. In this article, we measure how easily digital library content can be retrieved (i.e., how retrievable) through a well-known search engine (Google) using its analytics platforms. Using two measures of document retrievability, we contrast our results with simulation-based studies that employed synthetic query sets. We determine that estimating the retrievability of content given a Digital Library index is not a strong predictor of how retrievable the content is in practice (via external search engines). Retrievability established the notion that search algorithms can be biased. In our work, we find that while there such bias is present, much of the variation in retrievability appears to be strongly influenced by the queries submitted to the library, a side of retrievability less examined in past work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Early online date19 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Mar 2024


  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems


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