Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2005
Publication Date: 9/1/2005
Citation: Mankin, R.W. 2005. Entomological website usage patterns. Florida Entomologist. 88:285-291.
Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE), Gainesville, FL have examined the patterns of use of its research website and the website of the Florida Entomological Society to identify potential methods for improving the dissemination of entomological research. Some of the website pages are viewed several times each month. Typically, these are pages that have high information content or contain databases that would not be easy to include in journal articles. These pages are made highly visible to the public, due to high ratings assigned by commonly used search engines. Because of this high visibility, researchers can be confident that the supplementary material they place on their websites is being accessed by others. Ultimately, scholarly organizations may wish to develop procedures for certifying the reliability of such information.
Technical Abstract: The Florida Entomological Society (FES) operates a website whose mission changed recently when new, improved procedures were implemented for textual searches of online issues of the Florida Entomologist. The text-search engine for online issues since 1993, one of the major functions of the website, suddenly became obsolete. To assess the current utility of FES and other entomological research institution websites, and to identify potential changes that might enhance dissemination of research, a review of FES website usage patterns since 1999 was conducted and the patterns were compared with those of a similar site at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE). The review indicated that pages with high information content were being accessed at rates up to several thousand views per month, possibly because commonly used web-search engines were providing high visibility to this content. Such high visibility can increase the opportunities for dissemination of research information, particularly of information in a sound file or dynamic information in a database that is difficult to include in a journal article. Given the rapid growth of website research content usage, entomological research organizations may wish to consider formal procedures for vetting such information.