I have a growing list of topics I really should blog about (yes, blog about–I have a separate list of C&I topics, although one can lead to the other). I plan to get to some of those posts Any Day Now…but, frankly, have been absorbed in working on The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008. It’s a voyage of discovery, both in terms of seeing what’s happening and in learning or relearning things like the options for copying an Excel chart to Word (where I’d love to retain full editability–but I really don’t want the Word chart to change if I change the Excel values).
I’m setting the book aside for now (three chapters done, first draft at least; at least six to go, not including the “second half” of blog profiles) to focus on some essays for Cites & Insights and a title for a forthcoming talk–and maybe I’ll do some genuine, honest-to-WordPress blog posts (as opposed to reposting PLN Highlights posts, posting reviews for a disc’s worth of old movies, or announcing C&I).
Meanwhile, two items that may or may not be of interest:
Up to speed
I guess I’ve already covered that. Phase 1 of the book is complete, resulting in a very long chapter containing 607 brief blog profiles (which will be revised later on) and one fairly substantial Excel2007 workbook: A base sheet 607 rows deep and “S”–I guess that’s 19–columns wide; a derived sheet (references to some of those 19 columns, plus a bunch of derived numbers) also 607 rows deep but “AD”–I guess that’s 30–columns wide; and a “working” sheet that starts each little subphase as a values-plus-formats copy of the derived sheet, then gets manipulated to look at quintiles, build charts, create pivot charts, etc. Oh, and a separate results workbook to save off results that I know I’ll need separately–and because it’s just easier to have one workbook on one screen and the other on the other, in separate instances of Excel.
So far? It’s turning out to be quite interesting, but I’m not ready to start noting intermediate results. Here’s what I have so far, again in polished-draft form:
1. Introduction and overview
What this is all about, how I built the universe, some special notes (e.g., software used–and yes, there are still a few MovableType liblogs out there, although 18 doesn’t compare to the 230 WordPress and 222 Blogger liblogs), notes about authorship and affiliation, and some graphs related to age of liblogs.
2. How many posts?
Looking at the number of posts in each blog in the two study quarters (March-May 2007-2008), including quintiles for each year, quintiles for the change from 2007 to 2008, graphs as appropriate, a list of blogs in the first (most posts) quintile for 2008, and a few notes about “subsets” (e.g., blogs whose authors are affiliated with public libraries, blogs affiliated with medical institutions, etc.–I think there are six or seven subsets large enough to evaluate)
3. How long?
A similar analysis–but this time there are two sets of metrics: Overall blog length and words per post, in some ways a more interesting figure.
And that’s where it stands as of today. If I make good progress in the afternoons and on weekends with C&I essays and other stuff (columns, LITA, etc.), I’ll start in slowly on the next chapters; otherwise, I’ll set them aside until I can focus. Lots of good stuff here–and I’m particularly looking forward to Chapter 7, a three-factor analysis that will actually show whether a significant proportion of liblogs have “fewer posts, longer posts, more comments per post” or whether that’s a false or skewed supposition. (Well, it should show a lot more than that–but there are 45 different models for the three factors, even assuming only three values per factor: Significant growth, significant reduction, about the same. Yep, 45: 3x3x3=27, plus 3×3=9 (posts and post length) for blogs without comments and 3×3=9 (posts and comments) for blogs where length couldn’t be measured. Fortunately, that should work out to three tables and a whole bunch of commentary…
Out of print
I may be a slow learner, but I can take a hint.
Barring a significant increase in sales, I’ll accept that these books apparently didn’t serve a real need and remove them from sale–probably around the beginning of 2009. That may make the (so far) 34 copies of Academic Library Blogs collector’s items…or not. (OK: There haven’t been any sales of either year of Cites & Insights since January–but I really wasn’t expecting any.)
Oh, and just for fun…
I’m still open to the idea of The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 having a sponsor, at the right price. Shoot me a line.
Or, you know, I’d be delighted to work with the right agency on a combination of writing, data analysis/research and editing. My PLN thing is distinctly part-time. If you’re interested–again, shoot me a line (waltcrawford at gmail.com).