NOTE: If this post is too long, please read this 169-word version.
I’m finishing up Phase 1 of The Liblog Landscape, 2007-2008: A Lateral View
(possibly not the final title). Phase 1 has two parts: Identifying liblogs that should be part of the study/survey, and doing the blog-level metrics for those blogs.
Right now, the list consists of 587 blogs. You can see the list here (yes, it’s in alphabetical order, leaving out initial articles and symbols), or click on the last of the “Pages” in the right column (which gets you to the same list).
The Request and Deadline
If you know of a blog or blogs that meet the criteria below and aren’t currently on the list, let me know–either by commenting here or by sending me email at waltcrawford, domain gmail.com. (Note: If you comment and include more than a couple of blog names and links, it’s possible your comment will be trapped as spam. That’s OK: I check spam before deleting it.) Please include the URL, although if you only have the blog’s name, chances are I can locate it.
Deadline: Friday, September 12, 2008.
On Saturday, September 13, the first thing I’ll do online is turn comments off for this post and delete the page with the current list (or at least hide it).
Then I’ll take any candidates received, double-check their qualifications, and add them to the spreadsheet. Starting September 14, I’ll proceed with Phase 2–overall metrics and analysis.
A new blog must meet all of the following criteria to be included in this study:
- In English (or predominantly in English).
- Somehow related to libraries or librarianship
- Not a “library blog”–not an official blog of a library.
- Started prior to January 2008: There must be at least one post from 2007 or before.
- Active in March-May 2008: There must be at least one post dated March 2008, April 2008, or May 2008.
- Open for reading: I must be able to reach the blog without passwords or special procedures.
- At least vaguely visible–and this one’s the toughest to define. See below:
Visibility: I don’t want to include “close friends & family” liblogs on the assumption that such bloggers probably don’t want larger audiences–that they’d prefer to stay “under the radar.” Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to measure base visibility–particularly now that pop.urio.us seems to consistently return “0″ for Bloglines subscription count. (The measure I had been using was that my logarithmic “visibility” measure had to be at least 1.0–which meant, in practice, that the sum of Bloglines subscriptions and Technorati “authority” had to be at least 9.)
So for now, I’m going to use external visibility–the extent to which blogs are mentioned in other blogs–again with a very low cutoff. To wit, the Technorati authority needs to be seven or higher, or, for blogs that haven’t been “claimed” for Technorati, there must be at least seven different blogs in Technorati’s reaction results.
If you know of a liblog that meets all those criteria and isn’t already on the list, let me know!
Broadly representative, not universal
I know the study isn’t going to include “every visible English-language liblog meeting these criteria.” That’s just not plausible, and I won’t ever make the claim that it does.
I will claim that the list is already broadly representative, and I suspect it represents the overwhelming majority of what’s out there (with these criteria). I’ve already gone through the LISWiki blog list (twice), the Library Zen source list, Meredith Farkas’ wonderful “favorite blogs” results, and some other sources. I’ve done some second-level retrieval, going through blogrolls in blogs already on the list–but after going through 240 and finding only 14 usable new blogs (and none at all in the last 70 I checked), I can’t see taking the time to go through the other 340+. So I’ll certainly miss a few. Thus, this request.
What will and won’t be said about blogs in the survey
Note that I am not offering anyone the chance to “opt out” of this survey–and I think the following should allay any fears you might have.
The heart of the book will be overall metrics and analysis, and particularly lateral changes and any useful correlations I can find in those changes. I’ll also probably do some metrics and analysis for subsets of the blogs–e.g., by affiliation of blogger (e.g., academic, public, school, law…). I’ll almost certainly do some three-year analysis for the 220+ blogs that were in the 2006 survey, since I can track some (not all) of the objective metrics for the same quarter of 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Yes, each blog will have its own section (and those chapters might make up more than half the pages in the book), but the text on each blog will be entirely objective and will not include visibility in any way, shape or form. (I may do some visibility correlation and analysis for the first 573 blogs in the survey, but not at a blog-by-blog level.)
- Name of blog (typically as expressed in web page title)
- First portion of blog tagline/motto, unless it’s a quotation from someone else
- Author (if evident) or “group blog” as appropriate, if not already in blog name or tagline
- Affiliation of blogger (if evident) – type of library or, in a few cases, focus of library (law, medical, science)
- Starting date for the blog, based on internal evidence–and once in a while noting name changes.
- The three most frequently-used categories or tags or labels, in descending order, other than the equivalent of “general” or “uncategorized,” if it’s easy for me to figure that out.
- A metrics table for 2007, 2008, and changes from one year to the next, for those blogs with any posts in March-May 2008. Metrics include number of posts during the quarter, total length of posts, length per post, total comments, comments per post, total figures, figures per post. Quite a few blogs will be missing some lines, either because they don’t allow comments (or there weren’t any) or they don’t use figures or, sigh, because the nature of the blog doesn’t allow me to calculate total length of posts without way too much effort. Metrics will include quintiles for 2008 and year-to-year changes, as appropriate.
- A metrics paragraph, offering (as appropriate) a textual version of some of the quntiles and a textual version of the posting frequency and changes, based on a “per week” or “per day” measure. And, for blogs with no 2008 posts, either a note on the final post or the March-May 2007 figures, or both.
Not included (noting that most of these were actually in the draft chapters as I was doing metrics, but are all gone now for what I regard as good reasons, length certainly being one of them):
- Visibility measures of any sort. Period. An earlier chapter will explain why, in some detail.
- URL for the blog. I’ll probably mount a spreadsheet or web page with the names and URLs of all blogs in the survey–but in a print book or PDF, that’s mostly useless info, and blog URLs change.
- Software and typography. I’ll have some summary notes on use of the major programs and typographic choice, but this is both changeable and not significant at a blog-by-blog level. (I reluctantly removed the notes on the handful of blogs that use color combinations that challenge the reader. With feeds, they don’t much matter anyway, and they’re apparently oh so hip. I won’t even have summary notes there.)
- Descriptive or judgmental notes. At least not in the book. My snarkiness was turned off while preparing this in any case–I’d already adopted the grandmother rule (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”), but found that I was “not saying anything” for quite a few blogs that I considerably admire, because there wasn’t anything concise and useful to say. So I ripped them all out.
- Portions of posts: I had only included a few of those anyway–maybe 20 particularly intriguing items in the first 200 blogs–before I realized it just wasn’t practical. They’re all gone.
Got blogs? Let me know–if they meet the criteria above.
Deadline: Friday, September 12, 2008.