Our EZProxy server logs all of our offsite users’ accesses of licensed resources. The logs are in standard web-server format, so we can use standard tools like Analog to parse them and generate reports. There’s wonderful information in there that could support our collection development activities – but it’s locked up in cryptic URLs. We need a way to map those URLs back to the products we license. This is no easy task: the URLs represent the structures and functions of the various vendor sites, and we’re reduced to gross generalizations like assuming that an article download will have “.pdf” somewhere in the URL.

Who can help us with this? How about the makers of link resolvers and ERM systems? They’re the ones who are tracking the contents and characteristics of licensed resources. If they could generate and maintain signatures for URLs representing various kinds of access for various resources, they could sell us an EZProxy log analyzer that would give us much better information about our community’s usage of the resources we license.