Cites & Insights readership: Part 1

I finally got around to updating Cites & Insights “readership” statistics (based on Urchin logs), adding a column for the first half of 2012 (actually through July 8, 2012). I thought it might be amusing to note some of the items.

Most widely-read issues in 2012

Looking only at PDF downloads (and combining the traditional two-column PDF versions and the single-column online-oriented versions of recent issues), here are the 11 most frequently downloaded issues for the first half of 2012:

Issues 2012 2012On T2012
civ12i4.pdf 809 424 1,233
civ6i2.pdf 1,063 1,063
civ12i2.pdf 715 306 1,021
civ12i3.pdf 611 254 865
civ12i1.pdf 640 19 659
civ4i13.pdf 556 556
civ12i5.pdf 339 153 492
civ10i11.pdf 491 491
civ9i4.pdf 463 463
civ12i6.pdf 271 183 454
civ6i12.pdf 403 403

[In case the columns aren’t clear: “2012” is the count of downloads of the filename as stated. For issues in volume 12, “2012On” is the count of downloads of the single-column version. “T2012″ is the sum of the two counts.]

The first row is gratifying–the May 2012 C&I, featuring the second half of the Public Library Closures study along with a Futurism section and the last part of the three-part Social Networks roundup, has had very solid readership–and, notably, one-third of the downloads are of the one-column version.

The second is, frankly, mystifying: Even now, Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0″ gets more “readers” than most new issues–and I say “readers” because so few of those apparent readers will take the trouble to actually get the issue (or buy the Reader: two this year, I think)–the actual issue (saved under a different name, a name that’s provided on the pdf) has been downloaded all of ten (count ‘em, 10) times in 2011. Thus, apparently, 99% of those who came looking for the issue couldn’t actually be bothered to cut-and-paste or key in a relatively short URL in order to read it. (OK, I know, that issue is linked to in various places, including Wikipedia, and most people really don’t care.)

The next three are all Volume 12 issues, and those are all reasonable numbers. It’s odd that almost nobody chooses the single-column version of the January/February issue; otherwise, roughly one out of three seems right (with the latest issue getting a higher percentage of single-column readers).

The others?

  • Civ4i13 (November 2004) was a mix of six different essays with no clear dominant theme
  • Civ10i11 (November 2010) featured a Zeitgeist piece on Blogging Groups and Ethics (and three other essays–maybe it’s the Legends of Horror movie reviews that draw the readers?)
  • Civ9i4 is a single-essay issue on the Google Books Settlement–and this might be a good place to announce that the August 2012 Cites & Insights, due out later this month, is a (longer) followup to that essay
  • Civ6i12 (October 2006) had five essays–oh, look, there’s another set of old movie reviews–with two of the five on pioneer OA journals.

If you’re wondering: eight more issues had at least 300 downloads in the first half of 2012; 51 had 200 to 299; 81 had 100 to 199; and nine had fewer than 100 (including three issues that are relocated Library 2.00-related issues)–and five of those are end-of-volume indexes, not actual issues. The only regular issue with fewer than 100 downloads in the first half of 2012 (it has 83) is Civ4i14, December 2004, a 22-page issue with nine different essays, none of them particularly compelling.

So what I see is that readership of older issues continues over time, even for issues that weren’t all that compelling.

Most widely-read issues to date

Now let’s look at the big picture: Total downloads from the inception of C&I at its current home (it was at two different locations before I established this domain) through July 8, 2012.

Issues Total
civ6i2.pdf 33,164
civ3i9.pdf 16,465
civ5i10.pdf 9,750
civ6i10.pdf 9,617
civ4i12.pdf 9,257
civ3i8.pdf 8,933
civ4i13.pdf 8,659
civ3i14.pdf 8,605
civ2ix.pdf 8,540

These nine issues have been downloaded at least 8,000 times (from citesandinsights.info). In addition to the obvious (Civ6i2), they include:

  • Civ3i9 – Midsummer 2003: Coping with CIPA: A Censorware Special
  • Civ5i10 – September 2005, including Investigating the Bibliogosphere and Orphan Works
  • Civ6i10 –  August 2006, Looking at Liblogs: The Great Middle
  • Civ4i12 – October 2004, two copyright essays and “Wikipedia and Worth” (among 7 essays in all)
  • Civ3i8 – July 2003, eight essays including one on copyright and one on OA.
  • Civ4i13 – already notes.
  • Civ3i14 – December 2003, seven essays, including one related to the USA PATRIOT act
  • Civ2ix – The index to Volume 2.

For what it’s worth, 13 issues have been downloaded 7,000 to 7,999 times; 14 6,000 to 6,999 times; 29 5,000 to 5,999 times; 28 4,000 to 4,999 times; 35 3,000 to 3,999 times; 19 2,000 to 2,999 times; 25 1,000 to 1,999 times; and 10 fewer than 1,000 times. (That final group includes two end-of-volume indexes and the trivial “hiatus” issue from last fall).

Next: Most frequently-viewed HTML essays.

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