The power of the [e]press

All links are good (I guess). Some links are better than others.

I picked up on that last May 3, when Library Link of the Day pointed to a 13-year-old speech on my personal website. For January-April 2006, that site averaged about 150 sessions per day, and the talk had been accessed 104 times during those four months–quite a bit, considering how old it was and how obscurely it was linked.

On May 3, there were 1,388 sessions. On May 4, there were 276. Then it went back down to roughly 150 a day. During May 2006, that speech was accessed 1,966 times. (From June 2006 through yesterday, it was accessed another 711 times–but that’s over 7.5 months.)

So let’s come forward to, oh, last week, when I posted Cites on a Plane as a goof of sorts, and gave the non-issue the same casual publicity I give regular Cites & Insights issues: A Topica post, a post on two blogs (this one and the special C&I Update blog), and the same post in my vestigial LISNews journal. Forwarding the Topica post the next day to three lists and a couple of people.

I’d figured that maybe 50 to 100 people would find the goof amusing enough to download. C&I averages about 200 sessions a day–issue readership grows over time–with predictable spikes on the two days in which a new issue is publicized. That was the case this time, and although the spikes were a little lower, I was surprised by their size: 564 sessions on January 11, 347 on January 12. Through January 16, COAP had been downloaded 518 times–a lot more than I’d ever expected.

Then came AL Direct. Yesterday’s issue had a little mention of COAP.

There were 854 C&I sessions yesterday. Eight hundred and fiftyfour. A handful of those came before 5 p.m., which is about when people got AL Direct. 262 were between 5 and 6 p.m. 117 between 6 and 7, trailing off from there.

COAP was downloaded 582 times yesterday. The running total is now 1,100–just about what a typical issue of C&I gets over the first week or so. But in this case, it’s pretty clear that most of those downloads can be traced directly to AL Direct.

I’ll update this post next Wednesday, the day after I kill the goof. I’m guessing that today will see a few hundred additional downloads and that it will trail very rapidly after that.

Final download figure: 2,082…nearly three-quarters of which came after the AL Direct item.

And, as I said in email to George Eberhart, I’ll think carefully about what I want to do with C&I for Annual 2007 and Midwinter 2008!

[This is probably the last post before Midwinter, although who knows?]

Updated January 23, 2007: Hyperlink removed, since COAP no longer exists. My guess above was a little off (depending on how you define “a few hundred”), but I’ll add the final figure tomorrow–and it will be in “Bibs & Blather” in the February 2007 Cites & Insights. [Final: 2,082, as noted above–so “a few hundred” equates to 982.]

2 Responses to “The power of the [e]press”

  1. This is what I call “The Meaning Of Exponential Distribution”.

    That is, what hets *heard* depends very much on what is given attention by the high attention-directing sources.

    I’ve said this before, of course. But the concept, at gut-level, bear repeating :-(.

  2. walt says:

    True–but it’s also true that “high attention-directing sources” aren’t as predictable as one might think, at least within the library field.

    These incidents are both interesting because I wasn’t particularly trying to be heard in either case, since I wasn’t saying anything new.