SDB Guide


(Presented to the General Council of the Salesian Society, June, 2004)

This is a report on the functioning of the Portal,, in the first year of its existence. The research, is based on factual inventories taken on a daily basis between the period August 2003 and May 2004. [1]

Our Sources:
The daily log programme, running on the Server of the Salesian Headquarters is the main source of this study. Subsidiary information (such as access to the reserved area of the portal or word count in the search engine) is obtained from the data base of the Portal itself.

To understand this report it is important to consider the meaning of the following words:

Visitors and Pages:
This report makes a distinction between 'visitors' and 'pages'. By 'visit' or 'visitor' is meant an entry from any IP address (that is, a computer or a Network) on the Internet, counted once a day. By 'page' is meant a web page that has been viewed by a visitor (which may have either static or dynamic contents, such as htm*, asp* etc.).

Portal, Index Page, Websites:
The following diagram shows the structure of the site at the first two levels of entry - the Index Page and the Folders. This report contains data obtained from a study of these two levels only. A study of sub-folders is not presented here.


- 'The Portal' is all that is contained within the web-space that opens up when one clicks on the address The portal contains 4 main websites that host a total of more than 10,000 pages of information, 800 links to external websites, a powerful search engine, and a protected reserved area.

- The most important page that a visitor encounters on entering the portal is the 'Index Page'. It registers all entries made into the portal from any angle, that is, directly by typing the address( or by typing an extension ( and indirectly through a page found on a search engine (like Google, Altavista, etc.) or through a page linked to an external website.

The 'Websites' are contained within folders embedded in the portal. There is one folder each for the websites entitled ANS, IL BOLLETTINO SALESIANO (BS) and DON BOSCO NEL MONDO (DBNM). There are 5 folders for the website SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO, one for each language - Italian, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. These folders are then subdivided into many others that contain the numerous pages of the website.

- A direct or indirect visit anywhere in the portal is counted as one visit on the Index Page.

- A direct or indirect visit made more than once a day by the same IP address is still considered as one visit on the Index Page.

- A direct or indirect visit to a particular page in a website is considered as one visit to the Index Page and one visit to that particular Website (folder).

- On entering the Portal the visitor may access many pages within a Website. This visit is still recorded as one visit to the Website.

- A visitor may enter the Index Page (through the address/URL) but may not proceed to access any page. This is registered as one visit to the Index Page only (and no visit to a website).

It is hoped that this rather detailed explanation will serve to illumine one's understanding of the statistics presented below.

From more 471 daily visits to the portal in August 2003 there has been a growth of 1534 visits in May 2004, that is, a 225% growth. The table below demonstrates the growth in the total number of visitors to the portal per month.

Table 1

Table 2 shows the average visits to the Portal per day, as recorded by the Index Page. (Every entry into any part of the Portal by each IP address is registered on the Index page on a daily basis.)

Table 2

Ensconced within the Portal and forming part of its identity is the main website SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO (SDB). The internal architecture of this site is spread over 5 folders - one for each language. The table shows the average daily visitors.

Table 3 :

Table 4 :

Table 5:

The daily information on visitors to the sites located within the portal shows a consistent growth. Both ANS and DBNM have pages in 5 languages, the 'Il Bullettino Salesiano' instead is only in Italian.

Tabella 6

Tabella 7

Table 8

Number of Donations received through the Credit Card system on the DBNM site are 18 (between 10-10-2003 and 26-04-2004).

In Table 9, a comparative study of all the sites taken together reveals a growth in visitors. Among these, the BS website is the only one-language site.

Table 9

Table 10 presents a comparative study of all the sites with respect to the recorded entries on the Index Page of the Portal. Kindly note that the number of points on the Index page is nearly always slightly more than the total number of visits to the websites. This is probably due to the fact that some visitors only access the home page of the portal and then leave.

Table 10

The statistics that follow (of ANS, the reserved area, the search engine , etc.) are obtained from a set of programmes in the database of the portal (created by Ipermedia) and not from the server as in the preceding data. These programmes monitor the rate of access to areas and facilities mentioned below.

The total number of registered users in the Reserved Area of the Portal is: 1801.

Table 11 shows the total number of valid visits from November 2003 to May 2004. By 'valid' is meant those who have succeeded in entering the reserved area. Failed attempts and visits by the webmaster are not counted.

Table 11

Table 12 shows the average number of valid visits per day. (see meaning of 'valid' above)

Table: 12

From 01/12/2003 to 20/05/2004 the newsletter 'SDB.ORG UPDATES' is sent to a total of 6421 addresses twice a month (of which 616 have registered voluntarily through the facility on the website).

From 18/03/2004 to 20/5/2004 the newsletter 'ANS INFO LETTER' is sent to a total of 4280 addresses twice a week.

The unsuccessful mails that return (because of changes in address, server blockages, etc.) vary from 5 to 10 % of the totals mentioned.

During the period 01/12/2003 to 20/05/2004 the total number of words searched is: 14722 (a daily average of 96 words).

Forums in Reserved Area: (25/06/2003 � 20/05/2004)
Number of Forums: 8
Messages: 107
Open Forums: (18/04/2004 � 20/05/2004)
Number of Forums: 4
Messages and Comments: 97

From 01/12/2003 to 20/05/2004, the total number of documents uploaded on to the Reserved Area are 623. (a daily average of 7,5).

The following tables from a study of ANS reveals the total number of access to a single ANS news item (Table 13) between the period February to May and the daily average (Table 14).

Table 13

Table 14

From December 2003 to May 2004, the total number of news items through the 'Send to a Friend' facility are 395 (a daily average of 3,5).

Total number of LINKS: 708


An examination of the above data reveals:

Positive Indications:
- A general growth in daily visitors to the portal (and websites) is evident from 471 (Aug. 2003) to 1534 (May 2004), a growth rate of 225%

- With the introduction of the e-newsletter (or updates) that informs visitors of changes in the websites a significant growth in visitors is noticeable both for SDB and for ANS: for SDB ( from 293 to 402 in November-December 2003) and for ANS (from 263/321 to 369 in Feb/March-April 2004).

- Visits to all websites within the portal were the highest during the month of January - presumably because 4 saints are remembered during this month (Variara, Vicuna, De Sales and Don Bosco) and the commentary on the Strenna is published.

- The average number of visitors in different languages is proportionately stable throughout the year. (see table 5)

- The data on the Reserved Area that commenced in August 2003, reveals that it is yet to be used as a means of interaction among Salesians (1801 registered members) - whether from the centre to the periphery or vice versa.

- Some Forums in the Reserved Area have ended up without participants (despite e-mail invitations inviting participation).

- The Group E-mail emissions from the headquarters to registered members have been used on 7 occasions.

- The credit card system of donating through the DBNM site is still to attract visitors.

- Reasons for this lack of participation could range from a lack of perception of the Reserved Area as a tool for interaction to an inability to find the time to log-on.

Looking at the above data, one can say that the portal is a modest success story. Modest, because the numbers are still small. The highest number of daily visitors to the Portal (1534 in May 2004) barely accounts for 1/10th of the total number of Salesians and only a small fraction of the entire Salesian Family. Could this mean that only 1/10th are visiting the site daily while others are not? Or that the site has 23,010 visitors every fortnight (i.e. 1534 X 15)? We have not yet devised a way of knowing. Whatever be the case, there is no doubt that wider publicity of the portal address and a continuing quest for quality and relevant updating will ensure that this global instrument of information and interaction is better used, both within and outside the Salesian society.

This report has been put together with the kind collaboration of Bro. Giorgio Bonardi, who hosts the portal on the Server of the Salesian Headquarters and who has created the Daily Log from which this statistical report derives most of its information.

Peter Gonsalves, SDB

[1] . The statistics of May 2004 are detailed estimates (that is, accurate by 0-5%). The factual data collected is till May 18th in order to make this report meet the deadline for publication. The estimation is based on calculations of the number of average daily visits during the first 18 days of the same month.