Liblogs 2010: Update 2

What’s that you say? How can this be Update 2 when you haven’t seen “Liblogs 2010″ as the title of any previous post? All I can do is quote ol’ Ralph Waldo:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…”

Yes, I know, I’d thought it was the more general (and more nonsensical) “Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds”; this version has the virtues of (a) apparently being the correct quotation and (b) making a lot more sense.

Anyway…this is an update to “The new project: update 1,” which was an update to “We grow too soon old...”

I guess calling it “Liblogs 2010″ means I’m fairly certain I’m not going to abandon the project. Which, at this point, is true–barring some wonderful new paying opportunity that requires too much time. (I hope to start on one paying project very soon and to convert something else into a paying project–but both of those would leave enough time to continue this project after some delay.)

The candidates

I’ve completed the scan of 868 “candidates” from LISWiki, the ODP list of librarian blogs, the LISZen source list, Meredith Farkas’ “Favorite Blogs” list, Davey P’s “HotStuff” list and the Salem Press list–which began as 2,911 possibilities that boiled down to 868 after eliminating duplicates, items among the 606 liblogs (and 71 exclusions) that were either in previous studies or already identified from my Bloglines subscriptions, and items obviously not in English. The breakdown of those directories before deduping:

  • Salem Press: 318
  • LISWiki: 743
  • ODP: 138
  • LISZen: 795
  • Hot Stuff: 748
  • Farkas: 179.

The results

I found 415 more liblogs for the “broad look”–that is, English-language (or predominantly English-language) blogs by “library people” or somehow related to libraries, that aren’t official blogs (or at least don’t function as official blogs) and have at least one post visible on the web, no matter how old. The running total is now 1,021 liblogs for the broad look.

I also added 426 excluded candidates–names/addresses that aren’t visible (either deleted or password-protected), blogs not in English, official blogs, blogs with no apparent relation to libraries or library people, and blogs that have been incorporated into newer, renamed blogs.

Hmm. 426+415=841. The other 27 cases were either my mistakes (failing to delete blogs already there) or naming differences (the same blog appearing two or three times under different names).

Slightly more detailed results

Here’s how the 497 excluded candidates break down by reason, as I recorded them:

  • Ten empty, blank, or dummy pages–some of them potential blogs but with no content at all. One had a single picture, nothing else.
  • One malware site, popping up all sorts of windows asserting that my PC has viruses: Thanks a lot, Information Knot.
  • 26 sites that aren’t blogs–including aggregators, newsletters and a variety of other things.
  • 58 blogs that aren’t in English (as judged based on the first page of posts, except for all the posts in Farsi where the page title was enough… in one or two cases, where there are a handful of English posts among mostly-non-English posts, it was a judgment call)
  • 62 blogs for which I could find no plausible library or librarian connection, either in the author info or categories or posts. I tended to err on the side of inclusion.
  • 164 not viewable–mostly sites that have simply disappeared, but with a large handful of password-protected sites. I’m guessing that nearly all of these were liblogs at some point.
  • 99 official blogs, including both library blogs and association/company blogs that appear to function as official publications. I also tended to err on the side of inclusion here, that is, if a blog had a library abbreviation (or ALA division or whatever) in its URL but was clearly the work of individuals who disclaimed organizational responsibility, I left it in the broad look.
  • 77 renamed–blogs that have been incorporated into, or in a few cases, followed by, newer liblogs with different names.

I think that adds up to around 241 “former liblogs,” but that number might be high, since some not-viewable blogs may also be excludable for other reasons.

What about the broader look? Here’s an early summary:

  • 597 liblogs have two or more posts during the March 1, 2010-May 31, 2010 test period. Another 63 have exactly one post during the quarter; at present, I don’t plan to include those in the deeper look.
  • Of that 597, 417 have a Google Page Rank of 4 or higher–and, currently, those are the 417 I plan to use for the deeper look. Which is to say: I’ve recorded count, length, and comments for March-May 2010 (and going back to 2007) to the extent feasible for each of those blogs. I could add another 71 blogs with GPR 3, if I’m willing to do the extra metrics for those (in 19 cases, most of the metrics are there from earlier studies). It’s very unlikely that I’d add the 21 blogs with GPR 2, the six with GPR 1 (something I’ve almost never seen before, actually), or the 75 with GPR 0 (which can happen because a blog changes platforms or because it’s a corporate-platform blog and gets no link love on its own).
  • So it appears that at least 660 liblogs are at least marginally active in 2010–and that a deep look could involve anywhere from 417 to 492 liblogs. There were 449 liblogs with countable posts in the 2009 study (including some two dozen with just one post), as a point of comparison.
  • I have recorded blogging software when that was visible, but I’m going to recheck two dozen of the blogs where I recorded “other” as the software, before I started viewing source in cases where the software wasn’t obvious….and maybe 26 “unknown” that didn’t seem to be using any canned package.
  • I recorded the country in which the blog was being written, when that was clear, and show 25 different countries.

What’s next?

Right away, nothing at all–I’m going to do some other work.

Then, well, it depends on other projects and energy.

  • I’m likely to do the cut-and-paste trick with the some or all of the directories noted in LibWorld – library blogging worldwide. Although it’s fair to assume most of those blogs are either already in the spreadsheet or are non-English, there might be some exceptions.
  • If I have loads of energy, I might cut-and-paste the first, say, 50 library-related blogrolls from blogs already in the deep study (or otherwise current), and see whether there’s enough yield to be worthwhile.
  • I know that it’s not possible to say “here’s the universe”–but I suspect it will be fair to say that the final broad look will represent a very large majority of the English-language non-official liblog universe, at least of those blogs that have left any trace at all…
  • And then, probably late this fall, possibly in early 2011, I’ll start working with the spreadsheet to prepare a new report, one that will probably come out as a (not quite so thick) book, with some details emerging here or in Cites & Insights. There’s quite a bit to be said about the broad range–after all, all I’m missing is length of posts and comment count for 2010, and pre-2010 metrics–and even more about the deep range and comparisons between the two.

Casual observations

I seem to have encountered a lot of blogs this year that I never encountered or at least didn’t include in earlier studies. I’m guessing that’s partly because blogs tend to gain GPR over time, partly because the Salem list actually includes quite a few blogs that aren’t in other directories, partly because the other directories have improved.

Quick observations:

  • “PLN” seems to be a term that’s automatically understood to mean Personal Learning Network by many (most?) school library bloggers–and not, I think, by most others. I can assure you that the PALINET Leadership Network would not have had “PLN Highlights” as its alert blog name if that TLA (three-letter acronym in this case) was universally understood–or even prevalent outside of school librarianship.
  • Either Will Manley or one of the commenters on his blog made a comment about this being the golden age of book reviews. Quite apart from Amazon and LibraryThing, I think that’s true, based on the number of high-quality, prolific book-review liblogs I’ve encountered this time around…particularly for YA and children’s literature, but also for books in general.
  • Oh, in case you didn’t catch that: I did not require “active since December 2009″ this time around, and I’ve recorded the starting month and lifespan for a good many blogs that weren’t around very long. Yes, Will Unwound is part of the deep study despite its January 2010 start date…and a total of ten liblogs that began in 2010 are part of the broad study. Of course, they had to have begun by May 2010, since May 31 is the cutoff point for all observations.
  • What I’ve derided as The World’s Worst Blogging Platform, the LJ/SLJ construct, now turns out to be built on what I regard as the world’s best blogging software–but also the software that can be used to screw up a blog’s presentation perhaps more thoroughly than any other. That’s right: the LJ/SLJ blogs now use WordPress. So does this one, and I have no intention of changing. (I’ve encountered exactly one liblogger who explicitly moved away from WordPress–to Blogger. There may be others.)

Whew. That’s a lot more than I intended to say. So far, my promotional posts for But Still They Blog have been a total washout, with zero additional copies sold. So, you know, I’m aware that doing this 2010 study is unlikely to be remunerative…but it is fascinating.

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