Looking at Liblogs: How you can help

Preface: I still don’t much care for “biblioblogosphere.” For one thing, there are loads of “biblio” blogs–blogs about books–outside of library blogs. For another, “sphere” implies something I don’t necessarily agree with. So I’m using “liblogs,” also less than ideal since it could apply more directly to blogs from libraries. There really isn’t a perfect word. Life is like that.

I do plan to do another investigation of sorts, probably significantly different than last year’s. I haven’t started (and won’t until after ALA), and I haven’t made any final decisions about how and what. But there are two things that bloggers out there could do to help, or at least to clarify. (A modified version of this post will appear in the next C&I and in posts to some lists, I think.)

  • Want to opt out? If you just don’t want your blog involved at all, here’s what you need to do: Send email to citesandinsights@gmail.com or waltcrawford@gmail.com with the subject heading Liblog optout, and give the name of your blog and an email address I can use to verify that it’s you and not someone else. You don’t need to provide a reason. (I think this year’s look will be even less “hierarchical” than last year’s, and I can’t imagine why you’d want to be excluded, but it’s your blog and your business.) If you opt out, your blog just won’t appear. Period. Email should reach me by July 15, 2006.
  • Usage numbers? I’d like to try to correlate Bloglines subscription counts with direct/indirect readership. You can help, if you have access to stats for your weblog. I won’t name names or provide individual figures, but if I get enough numbers, I may do a paragraph or two about correlations. Here’s what you can do to help:
  1. Find two figures for May 2006: The average sessions per day (or total sessions: I can divide by 31), which is almost always easy to find, and the unique visitors during the month–or “unique IP addresses” if that’s what you have. Sometimes that’s a little harder to find.
    In a standard Urchin install, go to Domains and Users, then IP Addresses. The first page will have text something like this:
    IP Addresses (1-10) / 1,930
    the number after the slash is the number I want–in this case, 1,930.
    In a standard Weblog Expert install, it should be right on the General Statistics page, as “Total Unique IPs.”
    I know it’s readily available in WebTrends, and should be available in most any statistics package.
  2. Send email to citesandinsights@gmail.com or waltcrawford@gmail.com with the subject line Liblog usage, and include in the body the name of the blog and the two figures (clarifying whether sessions is average per day or total for May 2006).
  3. Email should reach me by July 31, 2006.

That’s it. I hope not to get any of the first category of email, but will honor whatever I do get (and can verify). I hope to get at least 10-15 of the second category. As Gmail users can guess, I’m using the subject lines so I don’t have to gather up lots of individual emails; I should wind up with one “conversation” in each category. (But if you get the subject lines wrong, I’ll deal with it.)

Thanks. Oh, by the way, if you have a liblog–not an official library blog–that you think I’ll overlook because it’s not listed in any of the typical places, you could also send me appropriate email.

8 Responses to “Looking at Liblogs: How you can help”

  1. Steve Lawson Says:

    Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have set my stats tracker to ignore my own hits to the site!

    A more serious problem for getting good data: people subscribe to my blog through at least three different feeds, leading to at least three different feeds to add together to get my total Bloglines subscriber base. I expect mine is not the only one to have RSS1, RSS2, Atom, and Feedburner from the same site.

  2. walt Says:

    Steve,

    That’s true–and Bloglines isn’t the only aggregator by far. Last year, I tried to deal with that by temporarily subscribing to all of the distinct feeds and adding up the numbers; I might do that again. Any set of numbers is no more than indicative, and this year’s study will certainly not be “in order by reach” (been there, done that, don’t believe the significance of the results, won’t do it again).

    Is there any such thing as “good data” when it comes to blog popularity? I sometimes wonder.

  3. Steve Lawson Says:

    Any reason not to use Technorati ranking? That seems as bad a way as any, and has the benefit of already existing.

  4. walt Says:

    Steve, I used Technorati as one of several factors last year, and probably will again this year. But Technorati and several other “ratings” look strictly at links, not readership–and are heavily affected by blogrolls and echo-chamber effects.

    I agree that Technorati is as bad a way as any.

  5. Donald E. Carlo Says:

    I am doing a blog now on blogspot. It is not syndicated as far as I know. I was the head of Reference at the Bloomfield New Jersey Public Library and now I have a librarian job in state government. I have a dry sense of humour and my blog is mostly a dry look at our profession from a middle aged librarian.

  6. walt Says:

    Thanks. And, by the way, I should note that this comment is #1000, apparently. Milestones should be appreciated (and much preferred over millstones).

  7. Laura Says:

    This post has been sitting in my “keep as new” pile for, gee, over a month and half, reminding me to look at my statistics. . . which I just did, only to realize that, since lis.dom is hosted as a part of my larger website, I don’t have separate statistics for it. There’s probably some way of ferreting them out, but one I’m going to pursue–and from recent posts, it sounds as though you have your work cut out for you as it is.

    Hope it cools off there soon!

  8. walt Says:

    Hi Laura,

    Pardon the delay in this comment appearing: Spam Karma flagged it as spam (probably because of the six-week lag), but with a low enough level to show me the content. So I rescued it from spam: I’ve now done that twice in the last month, for different reasons.

    I continue to welcome new figures, and just got one today, but that sub-investigation is separate from the general look at liblogs anyway (for one thing, something like half of the figures I’ve received are for blogs that are too widely-read for this year’s “great middle” look). I think I have about a dozen sets of figures; I’ll work with whatever I have when it’s time to do that work. Nobody should go to more than five minutes’ work to send me figures!

    As to the heat wave, the promised general relief has apparently been delayed, but right around here we got a little relief, at least: Looks like it’s just breaking 80 now outside, which is a WHOLE lot better than, say, 97 or 98 or 100.


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