Patterns of Change, 2007-2008 (But Still They Blog, 7)

This post is about Chapter 7 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.


So far, the book looked at one metric at a time (except for chapter 6) but a blog is more than its individual metrics. This chapter and the next look at patterns—patterns of change from one year to the next. Three elements make up the change pattern for a blog:

  • Change in number of posts: Were there more posts in 2008 than in 2007, fewer, or about the same number?
  • Change in post length: Was the average post in a given blog longer in 2008 than in 2007, shorter, or about the same length?
  • Changes in comments per post: Was the blog more conversational in 2008 than in 2007 (that is, did the average post have more comments), less conversational, or about the same?

Table 7.1 offers a simplified view of these three changes—“simplified” because it breaks blogs down into “More” or “Less” (where no change at all is counted as “More”)—and that overstates the significance of small changes.

For those who read last year’s study, note that there’s one significant change this time around, for both the simplified table and the triplets: I’m leaving out blogs that lack length metrics in either of the two years being compared. That’s never more than 10% of the blogs, and it means the tables can be considerably shorter (24 lines rather than 36 in the case of Tables 7.1 and 8.1) and easier to understand. Since every blog with a length metric has a valid comment metric (even if the comment count is zero), that further simplifies the process. Blogs are omitted if they have no posts in 2007 as usual—but not if they have posts and no comments. (Note that a blog with zero posts in both years would be counted as having “more” conversational intensity in the second year—an example of the problems with straight up-down comparisons.)

That’s the start of the chapter. Most of the chapter deals with triplets–blogs that have increased or decreased more than 20%, and those that haven’t changed all that much. It’s a rich measure; I won’t attempt to provide a summary here.

Profiles

These liblogs are mentioned in Chapter 7 and weren’t previously profiled.

Another PS

Hmm. As I was completing the book, I came upon a situation that suggested that my methodology for controlling liblog profiles (deleting them from a master document as I moved them into chapters) failed on one occasion–that I had one more profile than I should. I now know where that happened, in this chapter, and probably won’t correct the trivial error.

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