Theatre Archive Databases and Searching

Recently, we moved the Arts Archive stuff back into UK Theatre Web (www.uktw.co.uk/archive)  and even more recently we moved “live” performances out of UKTW onto SeatChoice (seatchoice.com)  – all changes made with 301 redirects – thus making our world a slightly cleaner place .. if its on then its only at SeatChoice, if its ended then its only at UKTW …

Yes, those who have followed stuff here will realise that this was part of post-Panda tidying up rather than, necessarily, making things more user friendly 😉 None the less, this is what we did.

The immediate effect of the first move was, of course, Arts Archive traffic dropped to 0 and UKTW traffic climbed a bit. Befor ethe next change we let things stabilise.

The effect of the second change was that UKTW traffic immediately fell by 75% … however, despite the 301 redirect, the rise in traffic on SeatChoice was far less (that is to say, not all the people who didn’t end up on UKTW did end up on SeatChoice!) …

What has been even more interesting is that, since then, the uplift on SeatChoice has fallen away again and the drop on UKTW has started to recover …. this is not particularly logical but it is what is happening – in fact, traffic on UKTW has doubled since the change and is still climbing.

This all led me to decide to have a look around. I started at utrs.list-team.com, a small Theatre Website Chart loisting a couple of dozen UK theatre websites and their traffic. I noticed a few strange things

1. NewsOnStage.co.uk, which I also run, has shown improving traffic .. this is odd as it is unashamedly a simple RSS aggregator, i.e. there is not one single piece of original content on the site!

2. London Theatre Database traffic has started to grow again despite the fact that it says there is currently NOTHING on in London!

This second point got me to thinking about things and I did a Google search for [london theatre database] .. the results were

1. The London Theatre Database .. great

2. The British Theatre Guide mentioning London Theatre Database as at last someone has started a theatre version of iMDB well, guess what, The London Theatre Database has 5,500 archived shows, UKTW has 94,000 😉 .. this page was last updated 2009

3.  The Theatre Trust .. lovely site

4.  The London Theatre Database trying to raise money on-line .. this appeal closed a year ago and didn’t reach its target

Then a mixture of useful sites … including one which claimed to be the largest collection of on-line performing arts info in the world (mostly Broadway and London) but it lists fewer venues in the whole world than we list in the UK and has but a fraction of our content.

So, what do I take from this? Basically two lessons …

1) I have done a really bad job over the years of promoting our archive

2) It seems that whatever I do the reputation of UKTW will recover and tat of SeatChoice will not

So… I must ponder these facts further …

1 Comment

  1. London Theatre Database was renamed the “UK Theatre Database” in 2011, as far as I can tell that was also the last time it was updated, it is just a home for spammers and spam content now … sad, but there you go … for a real and usable UK/London theatre database use http://www.uktw.co.uk/archive … 😉

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