Archive for 2008

The 2006-2008 landscape (Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, 8)

Posted in Liblogs on November 29th, 2008

What do David’s Random Stuff, Grumpator and Library Cloud have in common with a blog mentioned in a recent post?

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: Introductory Offer

You know the drill.. You’ll find the answer and more in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look. A mere $22.50 plus shipping until January 15, 2009, only from Lulu. After that (and whenever it becomes available from Amazon), the price will be $35.00.

The 2006-2008 landscape (chapter 8)

The last time I looked at a large number of liblogs was in the summer of 2006, considering 213 liblogs that seemed to be in “the great middle”–neither the most visible nor the least visible in the field.

This chapter looks at 143 of those blogs: Ones with at least two posts in each of the three March-May study periods. It’s a longer lateral study of a much smaller landscape–and a landscape that I don’t regard as necessarily typical of liblogs as a whole.

I believe there’s a significant conclusion from the subgroup, and that conclusion appears in the chapter–but it’s less firm than I’d like to be, because the group may not be representative.

What’s here, part 8

Moving right along, here are 51 more liblogs with the number of index entries for each one.

Hint

See page 59.

Of chaos and stability: Two minor mini-posts

Posted in Writing and blogging on November 29th, 2008

Don’t let the fancy title throw you. This isn’t a fancy post. I just have two small things to note and felt that, between them, they justified a post.

Descent into chaos

As some of you know, I was not among those crying to the heavens when a certain pseudonymous (not anonymous, and I continue to be astonished by the number of supposedly educated librarians who either don’t know or won’t admit the difference) blogger moved to the World’s Worst Blogging Platform, sponsored by a certain Reed Elsevier publication. I thought the whole affair was revelatory of some other bloggers’ self-importance and generally generated heat without light. (We also learned a lot about one publisher’s relative view of peer review and “scholarly” publishing as compared to publicity. Since I don’t do much of any scholarly publishing, it didn’t feel comment-worthy.)

Since then, I’ll admit, the quality of posts on said pseudonymous blog has been–well, “phoning it in” is one way to put it–except, maybe, for the last few days. But descent into irrelevance isn’t the reason for this post.

The descent into chaos is in the comments section–which was always more vicious and mean-spirited than the blog itself, but has gone from bad to, well, pretty much untenable. The most recent stream seems to have brought out the bigots and haters within the library field (assuming these specimens actually are within the library field), and I’d think both the blogger and the publisher would be deeply embarassed about the state of affairs.

Time to shut it down? Not my decision.

Stability and change

John Miedema has a post entitled “I Delete Blog Posts: The Web is Not Print.” Since I’ve had the experience of printing off the first page of a long post at Slow Reading, planning to go back later to excerpt material for C&I or PLN, only to find it gone when I returned, it’s a useful explanation of Miedema’s attitude.

I’m rethinking my own practices and would be interested in a little feedback.

  • I regard Cites & Insights as a print publication distributed on the web. Once an issue is uploaded, it’s frozen unless there are actionable errors: If significant errors are pointed out, I’ll correct them in a later edition but won’t change the published issue. (I just this week discovered that the Whole Number count has been off for years–one too low–and I’m not planning to change that. I don’t believe I’ve ever produced a typo-free issue, and I don’t correct the typos either.)
  • I’ve been treating this blog as pseudo-print, using the strikeout/replacement convention for some changes and the Update: convention for additions. To date, the only posts I’ve deleted were a series of placeholder posts (with no content) that turned out to be useless.
  • My personal site consists of two kinds of pages: Old essays, which so far have stuck around unchanged since they were posted, and “publicity” pages, which are changed as conditions warrant and as I remember. (C&I’s pages are also changing as conditions warrant, but not the issues and essays pointed to.)

I don’t see much reason to change the first or third. But maybe the second is a little more “permanent” than it should be. Maybe I should go back and delete posts that are either redundant (e.g., the copy of each PLN Highlights post), outdated (e.g., C&I announcements more than a few months old) or no longer relevant–and there, the issue is whether something’s just tired or is a form of casual history.

On one hand, maybe it’s not worth the trouble. WordPress will as happily accommodate 5,000 posts as 500 (I’m nearing 1,000 after almost four years, so this isn’t a big issue), and I don’t think many people go reading through the archives (and if they do, maybe complete archives make more sense). Certainly, if some unnamed figure were to go analyzing archives for whatever reasons, deleted posts throw off the analysis (Hi John!), for what that’s worth.

On the other, someone reading posts within a category might benefit from some cleanup work. Oh, and I suppose I could get rid of posts that are too naive or represent views I no longer hold, but since that stuff’s equally likely to be in C&I, that’s not much of an issue.

What do you think? Treat the blog as more printlike or more wikilike?

And what do you do in your blog?

Correlations (Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, 7)

Posted in Liblogs on November 28th, 2008

What do affordance.info, CogSci Librarian, Weibel Lines, Marlene’s corner, etc., The Misadventures of Super_Librarian, and info NeoGnostic have in common?

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: Introductory Offer

You’ll find the answer and more in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look.

This 285-page 6×9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they’ve changed from 2007 to 2008.

From now through January 15, 2009, and only from Lulu, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is available for $22.50 plus shipping.

On January 16 or thereabouts, that price will go up to $35.00. If and when the book is available on Amazon, it will immediately sell for $35.00.

Correlations (chapter 7)

When I was working on this study, colleagues offered a few suggestions on possible correlations–e.g., older liblogs might show larger decreases in posts than newer ones.

This chapter looks at a few dozen possible correlations between pairs of metrics, normalizing metrics and using Excel’s CORREL function (which appears to be identical to the PEARSON function, calculating Pearson’s product-moment coefficient, the only readily available measure of correlation between two sets of numbers that I could find).

For those cases where the correlation is medium (between 0.3 and 0.5 or between -0.3 and -0.5) or strong (greater than 0.5 or less than -0.5), I note the correlation and include a scatterplot for the two values.

Statistical extremists sometimes discuss weak correlations–those below 0.3. Fact is, almost any two sets of numbers will show some correlation (that is, will have a Pearson’s product-moment coefficient greater than 0.000)–but I see no reason to believe that weak correlations mean anything at all, other than that you’re comparing two sets of numbers. So I do note some of the weak correlations, mostly to say that there’s no significant correlation between the two metrics.

Oh, as to the age suggestion? I found no useful correlation between age of blogs and any other metric.

A couple of notes about figures in this book

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 includes quite a few line graphs and a few scatterplots. In all cases, I used Excel2007’s graphing functions and tuned the results. Most graphs and plots represent more than 400 data points. The only graphs and plots that use non-zero baselines are those dealing with percentages, where the baseline is -100% due to the nature of the data.

Purists may object that the graphs and plots are chartjunk for either of two reasons:

  • In most cases, the axes–while showing numbers–aren’t labeled (that is, there are no words below or to the side of the axes).
  • In some cases, one or both axes are logarithmic rather than linear.

Dealing with the second case first, I believe logarithmic axes are chartjunk only if there are no numbers on the axis. When you see evenly-spaced marks numbered “1 10 100 1,000″ you’re dealing with a logarithmic axis–and I don’t believe that’s deceptive. Some sets of data simply require logarithmic charting to display meaningfully–and some data is logarithmic in character (to throw in a little philosophy). (Nearly all audio performance graphs are logarithmic in most scales–frequency, distortion percentage, power–simply because sound has logarithmic characteristics.)

The first one’s simple enough. In most cases, it didn’t make sense to label the horizontal axis but not the vertical axis–and there’s a clear issue with labeling the vertical axis. That issue could be stated as “26 picas” or “4 1/3 inches.” Either way, it’s the width available between the margins of a typical 6×9″ book: The width of the text block. Make that block wider, and you either have problems with the binding margin or have too-narrow outer margins.

26 picas is a nearly ideal width for 11point or 12point text–within the 55 to 65-character range usually regarded as optimal for reading. But it’s a little narrow for a graph with a lot of information…particularly after you add numeric labels for the vertical axis and a little white space between the graph and its border. That narrows the graph area to at most four inches and more typically around 3.5 inches.

What happens when you add a vertical axis label? You lose another half inch or more.

I found that graphs were consistently squeezed too tight as a result–they became even harder to interpret.

In the end, I eliminated most axis labels, stating them in the text that precedes or follows each graph instead. It was simply a tradeoff of proper graph presentation standards versus graph readability. (The other alternative–going to 8.5×11 for the book, with a 6″ text block–is great for graphs but problematic for everything else.)

Who’s here, part 7

Fifty more blogs with the number of index entries for each one–noting, once again, that some of the most interesting and worthwhile blogs have only one index entry each, because this is a quantitative study, not a qualitative one.

Hint

You’ll find the answer on pages 98-99.

Patterns of change (Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, 6)

Posted in Liblogs on November 27th, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, for U.S. readers! (No, I didn’t write this today. WordPress makes postdating easy.)

What do LibraryTechNZ, Librarian on the edge, Off the Mark, Pop Culture Librarian and Thoughts from Carl Grant have in common?

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: Introductory Offer

You’ll find the answer and more in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look.

This 285-page 6×9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they’ve changed from 2007 to 2008.

It’s the most comprehensive look at liblogs ever done–and the only one I know of that shows how they’re changing from year to year.

From now through January 15, 2009, and only from Lulu, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is available for $22.50 plus shipping.

On January 16 or thereabouts, that price will go up to $35.00. If and when the book is available on Amazon, it will immediately sell for $35.00.

Chapter 6: Patterns of change

By my lights, this is one of the most interesting chapters–one that combines facets of blogs to look at patterns. Specifically, I look at change in number of posts, change in average post length and change in comments per post.

The chapter actually includes two models to describe change: One a simple “up or down” model, one splitting metrics into three parts: Significant increase (20% or more), significant decrease (-20% or more) and “about the same” (+19% to -19%).

I think you’ll find this to be an interesting and possibly revealing chapter. It’s also the chapter that convinces me that my naive hypotheses are right in some ways, wrong in others…which can be said of almost any hypothesis regarding the overall liblog landscape!

Who’s here, 6

Fifty-one more liblogs with the number of index entries for each:

Hint

You already know that the answer’s not in Chapter 6. You’ll find it on page 34, and it involves blogs most closely fitting a particular term that has nothing to do with blogs.

Getting the Picture (LL5)

Posted in Liblogs on November 26th, 2008

Here’s an even sillier question–and one that you don’t need the book to answer, just resources already available or this series of promotional posts (yes, I’m writing them ahead of time; no, I don’t plan to be doing real blogging on Thursday).

In what respect is an alphabetic list of liblogs wildly different than typical alphabetic lists?

I believe The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look is a worthwhile book, and it’s only $22.50 from now through January 15, 2009, and only at Lulu. 285 pages, 6×9 trade paperback (60lb. cream book stock), wraparound cover photo taken somewhere outside Christchurch, New Zealand…

Oh yes, and the price goes up to $35 on or about January 16–and will always be $35 if/when it’s available on Amazon.

Chapter 5, “Getting the picture,” is about visuals in liblogs–videos drawings, charts, that sort of things. Many blogs don’t use them at all; many use very few. This is the one metric that won’t be tracked in possible future updates–but I think you may find the relatively brief chapter interesting.

Who’s here, part 5

Fifty-one this time, again with the number of appearances in the index (and in the book):

By the way…

The list above should make it clear that the number of appearances in the book has nothing to do with importance or quality…or, for that matter, visibility. (One chapter discusses visibility, but I don’t discuss individual blogs.)

A qualitative study would be much longer and far beyond my abilities or willingness to judge. This book looks at quantifiable measures only.

Conversations (Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, 4)

Posted in Liblogs on November 25th, 2008

What do uncaged librarian, User Education Resources for Librarians, geeky artist librarian, Not So Distant Future and Sites and Soundbytes have in common with a liblog noted in an earlier question?

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: Introductory Offer

You’ll find the answer and more in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look.

This 285-page 6×9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they’ve changed from 2007 to 2008.

It’s the most comprehensive look at liblogs ever done–and the only one I know of that shows how they’re changing from year to year.

From now through January 15, 2009, and only from Lulu, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is available for $22.50 plus shipping.

On January 16 or thereabouts, that price will go up to $35.00. If and when the book is available on Amazon, it will immediately sell for $35.00.

Chapter 4: Conversations

Is a blog without comments really a blog? Of course it is–but comments are important to many, maybe most liblogs. This chapter looks at total comments per blog and the more interesting figure, conversational intensity: Average number of comments per post. As usual, we also look at how things change from 2007 to 2008.

One blog in 2007 had more than 1,000–and more than 1,500–comments over three months. Two entirely different blogs had more than 1,000 (but less than 1,300) comments in the 2008 study period. And roughly two out of every five blogs had significantly higher conversational intensity in 2008 than in 2007.

There’s lots more about comments and conversational intensity in the book.

Who’s there, part 4

Fifty more liblogs and the number of times each appears in the index:

Hint

You’ll find the answer on page 37. If you’re wondering, the questions never (so far) relate directly to the chapters discussed.

How long? (Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, 3)

Posted in Liblogs on November 24th, 2008

What do johnmiedema.ca, Attempting Elegance, Digital Eccentric, Government Info Pro, The Well Dressed Librarian, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics and Biblioteksrelaterat have in common?

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: Introductory Offer

You’ll find the answer and more in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look.

This 285-page 6×9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they’ve changed from 2007 to 2008.

It’s the most comprehensive look at liblogs ever done–and the only one I know of that shows how they’re changing from year to year.

From now through January 15, 2009, and only from Lulu, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is available for $22.50 plus shipping.

On January 16, 2009 or thereabouts, that price will go up to $35.00. If and when the book is available on Amazon, it will immediately sell for $35.00.

How long?

Chapter 3 deals with word count–for blogs over a three month period and, more interesting, as average word counts per post within a blog. With overall lengths (for a quarter) ranging from 26 words to 186,467 words in 2007–and from 39 to 204,517 in 2008!–there’s quite a range.

There’s no “right length” for a blog post. Some excellent blogs have very short posts; others consist entirely of long essays. This is one metric where both the longest and shortest posts stand out as unusual in a positive, interesting way. The chapter includes tables, charts comparing one year to another, and considerable discussion.

Some of you can probably already guess the blog with the shortest average words per post; it’s also one of relatively few blogs with exactly the same number of posts in March-May 2007 and March-May 2008: 92, to be exact. (Oh, come on: You can guess this one. If not, see page 35.)

Who’s here, part 3.

Another 50 blogs–no, make it 51 this time–included in the book, with the number of index entries for each blog.

Hint

You’ll find the answer on page 23.

Looking for an ebook sign? Here’s one

Posted in Books and publishing, Technology and software on November 23rd, 2008

At least around here, this Sunday’s Target flyer included…

The Sony Reader at $299.99.

I don’t have a horse in this race (and maybe I’ll write again about that one day), but if you’re looking for an indication that dedicated ebook readers may have a serious niche market (that is, something that could involve millions of users), I think this may be more interesting than the Kindle: Target’s not only carrying it, but advertising it.

It’s not the price, it’s the presence.

How many posts? (Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, 2)

Posted in Liblogs on November 23rd, 2008

What do The PlanetEsme Plan, Librarian on the edge, Rambling Librarian, Card Catalog of Creativity, Shelved in the W’s and nirak.net have in common?

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: Introductory Offer

You’ll find the answer and more in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look.

This 285-page 6×9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they’ve changed from 2007 to 2008.

It’s the most comprehensive look at liblogs ever done–and the only one I know of that shows how they’re changing from year to year.

From now through January 15, 2009, and only from Lulu, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is available for $22.50 plus shipping.

On January 16 or thereabouts, that price will go up to $35.00. If and when the book is available on Amazon, it will immediately sell for $35.00.

How Many Posts?

Chapter two considers frequency–the number of posts on a blog, and how that frequency changed from 2007 to 2008. As with most other metrics in this book, the analysis and comments are based on March, April and May 2007 and 2008.

The most prolific blog had 200 fewer posts in 2008 than the most prolific blog did in 2007, and there were significantly fewer posts for the 533 countable blogs in 2008 than for the 523 countable blogs in 2007, even though more blogs were involved. (The strikeout? I’m not sure that a difference of less than 10% is significant.)

Indeed, of 523 blogs with countable posts for 2007, slightly more than 60% had at least 20% fewer posts in 2008–but slightly more than 20% had at least 20% more posts in 2008.

You’ll see the full discussion in the book.

Who’s here (part 2)

Here are 50 more blogs included in the book, with the number of index entries for each blog:

Hint

You’ll find the answer on pages 56-57.

Looking at the landscape (Liblog Landscape 2007-2008, 1)

Posted in Liblogs on November 22nd, 2008

What do pafa.net, Pop Goes the Library, eclectic librarian, ishush, A Passion for ‘Puters, Dojo of the Library Ninja and poesy galore have in common?

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: Introductory Offer

You’ll find this and more in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look.

This 285-page 6×9 trade paperback looks at 607 liblogs (nearly all English-language) and, for most of them, how they’ve changed from 2007 to 2008.

It’s the most comprehensive look at liblogs ever done–and the only one I know of that shows how they’re changing from year to year.

From now through January 15, 2009, and only from Lulu, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 is available for $22.50 plus shipping.

On January 16 or thereabouts, that price will go up to $35.00. If and when the book is available on Amazon, it will immediately sell for $35.00.

Chapter 1: The Liblog Landscape

The first chapter introduces my naive hypotheses on liblogs and how they’re changing (I was right and wrong), “typical” liblogs (there’s no such thing), metrics and quintiles used in the book, how I assembled the universe of liblogs–and some descriptive elements for the 607 blogs.

Descriptive elements? Things that aren’t part of the regular metrics but may be worth noting. What blog programs do bloggers use? (The top two are closer together than I would have thought.) How many bloggers provide full names–and how many group blogs are there? What about typography? How are liblog authors distributed by affiliation? By country? By age?

One graphical note along the way: Two figures show precisely the same data–the age of blogs within the study–but one is extremely difficult to interpret while the other is crystal-clear. The difference? One graphs age by month, the other by year. (The peak year for new liblogs was 2005–not 2006, which is what I expected to find.)

Who’s here (Part 1)

Here are the first 50 liblogs (alphabetically, with no other significance), including the number of times each is mentioned in the index–which, subtracting one for the liblog profile, is the number of “exceptional” entries about the liblog.

Hint

You’ll find the answer on page 71.


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