This week’s interview is with Leah K. Ibraheem, web metrics analyst within the Office of the Chief Information Officer of the Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
This is at least my fifth career in the past 20 or so years. I have also worked as a meeting & convention planner, an inventory manager, a database marketing manager, a social media manager, and a digital campaign strategist with a few other stops on the way. I took up web analytics in 2007, when the work was assigned to me as part of some online marketing work that I was doing. I have worked in the nonprofit, travel, telecom, and online services industries, both on the client and agency side.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I provide the Library of Congress with web metrics & analytics service. Every day, I’m looking at trends in and sources of web traffic, and for the reasons driving any changes we see. I also contribute to evaluation of the user experience – looking at how much certain features in the user interface are used and for what. I also handle a variety of regularly produced and ad hoc reports and analyses, helping the Library community to better understand those who reach us online, and to make data-driven decisions.
What is your role in the development of Congress.gov?
By helping stakeholders understand traffic trends and user paths to and from the site, we can continue to better assess and address user needs. By understanding what content and features are used most and what users are most likely to search for, we can continue to improve the user interface and prioritize additions to the feature set.
What is your favorite feature of Congress.gov?
That Congress.gov is here, and it is free to anyone with access to the Internet. It is critically important for all citizens in a functioning democracy to have insight to the legislative process – if users understand what types of legislation their elected representatives are sponsoring and cosponsoring, they can make their voices heard on the issues which are legislative priorities for them. It’s amazing to see bills literally go viral on social media as people become more and more engaged.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the legislative process while working on Congress.gov?
There was so much I had forgotten from Schoolhouse Rock! But I think it is so interesting that on top of all of the other major legislation on budgets, national security, education, and the environment, that Congress is also involved in renaming post offices and dozens of other government facilities every year. I had no idea they had to weigh in on that kind of thing.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I’m a local, which is unusual in this area. My dad’s a native Washingtonian, and my grandfather also spent most of his career with the federal government – he was a lawyer for the Tariff Commission, which is now the U.S. International Trade Commission. My great-grandmother lived in a house right off the end of Calvert Street Bridge (now the Duke Ellington Bridge), where the streetcar used to turn around. My parents’ first apartment overlooked the National Zoo, and they could hear the lions roaring at night. The DC area is pretty transient so it’s not that common to find people who have lived here for most of their lives.
As I read “How would you describe your job” it occurred to me that by focusing on “…the most visited…” etc, the site runs the risk of reacting to the lowest common denominator and thus diminishes its impact and overall quality and usefulness. I grant you my comment reflects a very narrow point of view.