Here’s an honest question, where I’m actually looking for advice–although, admittedly, factors beyond email and comment responses could influence my decision.
Would a really big look at liblogs, including lots of year-to-year change data, be a good idea, a waste of time, or a positively bad idea?
Definition: “Liblogs” = what Steven Cohen calls “libr* blogs”–that is, blogs by “library people” as opposed to official library blogs, but not limited to blogs by MLS-holding librarians (as if there was any way to know!).
Now, if you already have an answer without reading further, great: send me email or comment below. If you actually want a little clarification…read on below the fold.
Really big look: The population for the new study would consist of:
- All the blogs in my 2005 “60 interesting blogs” survey that are still active. (See this essay or this issue.)
- All of the 213 blogs in my 2006 study of “the great middle” that are still active. (See this issue–since the essay is essentially the entire issue, it’s a better bet than the HTML version.)
- A bunch of others–including those mentioned in Meredith Farkas’ “favorite blogs” study, those in LISWiki’s blog list that weren’t included in 2005-2006, those in the LISZen source list, those in Dave Pattern’s “library blog cloud” source list, and those I just discovered on my own–that meet the base criteria.
Base criteria for those that weren’t in one of the other studies:
- In English
- Not clearly defined as an official library blog
- Somehow at least vaguely related to libraries or library people
- Established before January 2008
- At least one post between August 31, 2007 and March 1, 2008
- “Visible”: The sum of Bloglines subscriptions and Technorati “authority” in the first two weeks of March 2008 is at least nine.
If I do the full study, there would be one more criterion, for blogs that weren’t in earlier studies: “Semi-active”–having at least one post in two of the three months March, April, and May 2008.
That population–not including the final criterion–is now 542 blogs, including 48 added from Farkas’ “Favorites” report, 81 added from LISZen, 37 added from LISWiki, 9 added from the cloud, and 29 others (items were added in that order–if something was added from LISZen, it wouldn’t also be added from LISWiki).
Lots of year-to-year change data: If I do this, I’d have the following:
- March-May 2007 data for all blogs for which it’s available, noting that data would be limited to what’s reasonably available. (E.g.: If the archives for a blog hide most of each post, I’ll include post count and comment count, but not length of posts–I’m not going to take a sample and extrapolate, and I’m sure not going to retrieve each post individually!)
- March-May 2008 data for all blogs.
- Comparisons between 2007 and 2005 for 43 blogs that were in the 2005 report and not the 2006 report.
- Comparisons between 2006 and 2007 for surviving blogs that were in the 2006 report.
- Comparisons between 2007 and 2008 for all blogs available in both periods.
If I do this, I’d establish norms and quintiles based on real populations: Thus, overall length and length per post would only include blogs with easily-retrievable full-text archives; comments overall and comments per post would exclude blogs that clearly don’t allow comments (or that have comment counts hidden in archives).
An honest question, this. Last weekend, I did enough experimenting to conclude that it may be feasible to do this megastudy this summer/fall–and I’m planning to do the 2007 metrics for 2005 and 2006 inclusions (they’re about 1/3 done already) for my TxLA appearance. A lot of work for five minutes out of a 50-minute presentation, but it should be interesting.
So the question is: Do I do the other 2007 metrics and do I plan for the big project?
If I don’t, I’ll turn the current project into one or more blog posts or C&I articles.
If I do, I’ll produce a book. It might even have one-sentence summaries of what I believe to be each blog’s focus and strengths–but only when I have something nice to say and am capable of reading the blog. I wouldn’t include a full sample post for each blog; I might include a paragraph. I would have a little writeup on each one.
So: What’s your opinion? (I’m not asking “Would you buy the book?” Different question.)
Note: If someone offers me another part-time gig, this whole discussion might be moot.