Archive for March, 2013

Thanks!

Posted in C&I Books on March 30th, 2013

Thanks to whoever purchased Cites & Insights 2011, Cites & Insights 2012, and Give Us a Dollar… yesterday.

I’m assuming that’s one person or library, although it could be more. I do appreciate it. Sorry C&I 2011′s spine is a little…umm…bizarre; 2011 was a strange year (and almost the last year) for C&I.

I trust you used VERNUM to save 20%.

Note for others: VERNUM continues to work (one purchase per account, but any number of items per purchase, I think) through tomorrow, March 31, 2013.

 

Wisconsin public libraries

Posted in $4 on March 29th, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options. Note that Lulu prices for the paperback and hardback versions are now lower.

The 380 profiled libraries in Wisconsin (one omitted) mostly spend in the midrange–$21 to $52.99—with 50 libraries spending more and 45 spending less (but only five in the bottom bracket). With or without adjusting for cost of living, the lowest median benefit ratio is 4.59 and most are above 6.

Circulation is well above average, with 36% circulating at least 17 items per capita, 61% circulating 13 or more and 82% circulating 10 or more—compared to 14%, 25% and 38% overall. (At the other extreme, only 13 libraries—3%–circulated less than six items, compared to 21% overall.) Patron visits aren’t quite as strong, but still strong: 70% report at least five visits per capita, compared to 54% overall. Program attendance and PC use are both fairly typical.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 8 2.1%
700-1,149 25 6.6%
1,150-1,649 25 6.6%
1,650-2,249 21 5.5% 1
2,250-2,999 40 10.5%
3,000-3,999 32 8.4%
4,000-5,299 40 10.5%
5,300-6,799 30 7.9%
6,800-8,699 25 6.6%
8,700-11,099 17 4.5%
11,100-14,099 22 5.8%
14,100-18,499 22 5.8%
18,500-24,999 26 6.8%
25,000-34,499 14 3.7%
34,500-53,999 15 3.9%
54,000-104,999 11 2.9%
105,000-4.1 mill. 7 1.8%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates strongly (0.61) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

This graph is linear from 4 through 38 circulation per capita.

Washington state public libraries

Posted in $4 on March 27th, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options. Note that Lulu prices for the paperback and hardback versions are now lower.

The 57 profiled libraries in Washington (state) (five were omitted) are mostly reasonably well supported, with two-thirds spending $36 or more (compared to 40% overall). Adjusted for Washington’s 104.3% cost of living, median benefit ratio is at least 4.03 in all spending brackets.

Circulation is low at the top but strong in the middle, with 58% circulating at least 10 items per capita (compared to 38% overall), and spending correlates with circulation. Patron visits are on the high side, with 47% reporting at least seven visits per capita (compared to 33% overall), while program attendance is slightly low and PC use is slightly high.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 3 5.3% 1
700-1,149 3 5.3% 1
1,150-1,649 1 1.8% 1
1,650-2,249 3 5.3%
2,250-2,999 3 5.3%
3,000-3,999 1 1.8%
4,000-5,299 4 7.0% 1
6,800-8,699 2 3.5%
8,700-11,099 4 7.0%
11,100-14,099 2 3.5% 1
14,100-18,499 5 8.8%
18,500-24,999 2 3.5%
25,000-34,499 3 5.3%
34,500-53,999 4 7.0%
54,000-104,999 3 5.3%
105,000-4.1 mill. 14 24.6%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates very strongly (0.86) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Each circulation value appears on the horizontal axis, which is linear from 6 through 21, but not below or above. The graph is mostly useless.

Walking the talk: CC BY

Posted in Copyright, open access on March 25th, 2013

It may be a while before I actually have the license linked and the icon showing in the sidebar, but I’m finally doing something I probably should have done a while ago.

I’ve replaced the bottom paragraph of my “About” page (which referred to the CC BY-NC license for original material in this blog) with this:

As of March 25, 2013, I’m walking the walk: Original content is now covered at least implicitly by a Creative Commons “BY” license: It may be freely used as long as credit is given. Period. I’ll have the actual license and icon as soon as I figure out how to add it.

As for Cites & Insights? I’m thinking about it, and will probably make the same decision. So, y’know, if you’re eager to get filthy rich by selling something based on my posts here, and you provide attribution, go to it. Good luck with that…

Vermont public libraries

Posted in $4 on March 25th, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options. Note that Lulu prices for the paperback and hardback versions are now lower.

The 152 profiled libraries in Vermont (32 were omitted) are fairly evenly distributed throughout spending levels, although somewhat more spend between $21 and $30.99 than elsewhere. Circulation is on the low side, with only 30% circulating at least eight items per capita (compared to 50% overall); patron visits are slightly low. Program attendance is strong, with half the libraries reporting at least 0.5 attendance per capita (compared to 33% overall), while PC use is typical.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 6 3.9% 9
700-1,149 25 16.4% 13
1,150-1,649 21 13.8% 3
1,650-2,249 21 13.8% 1
2,250-2,999 24 15.8% 2
3,000-3,999 18 11.8% 1
4,000-5,299 8 5.3% 1
5,300-6,799 8 5.3%
6,800-8,699 7 4.6%
8,700-11,099 4 2.6%
11,100-14,099 2 1.3%
14,100-18,499 5 3.3%
18,500-24,999 2 1.3%
34,500-53,999 1 0.7% 1
54,000-104,999 0.0% 1

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates very strongly (0.82) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Note that the horizontal axis is only linear through 14

Virginia public libraries

Posted in $4 on March 22nd, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options. Note that Lulu prices for the paperback and hardback versions are now lower.

Most of the 90 Virginia libraries profiled (one was omitted) are in the low to middling expenditure brackets, with only 13% spending $43 or more—but only one library spending less than $12.

Circulation is slightly on the low side, with 33% circulating at least eight items per capita (compared to 50% overall)—but only 3% circulating less than two. Visits per capita are slightly low; program attendance is significantly low, with only 28% of libraries reporting at least 0.3 attendance per capita (compared to 54% overall), as is PC use, with only 14% reporting at least 1.7 uses per capita (compared to 30% overall).

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
1,650-2,249 1 1.1%
2,250-2,999 2 2.2%
3,000-3,999 1 1.1%
4,000-5,299 0.0% 1
6,800-8,699 1 1.1%
8,700-11,099 5 5.6%
11,100-14,099 7 7.8%
14,100-18,499 4 4.4%
18,500-24,999 6 6.7%
25,000-34,499 9 10.0%
34,500-53,999 20 22.2%
54,000-104,999 15 16.7%
105,000-4.1 mill. 19 21.1%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates very strongly (0.83) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Too clever by half

Posted in Movies and TV, Technology and software on March 20th, 2013

Sometimes companies seem to use technological improvements in a way that may be snazzy…but is also counterintuitive and even baffling.

We encountered one of those a couple of days ago. This isn’t a Serious Story, but it is a little bit of too clever by half.

Background

Most evenings, we either watch a current TV show (if there’s one we’re watching–currently that means two nights out of seven) or an episode of a series we’re watching via Netflix (discs, not streaming). (Saturdays are movies.)

Currently, one of the two series we’re watching via disc, which we’d never seen when it was on, is Smallville.

We pay the Blu-ray premium for Netflix, ‘cuz we do see the difference, which means that anything that Netflix has in Blu-ray will be sent to us in Blu-ray. (If, for some bizarre reason, we wanted the DVD version of a movie, easy-peasy: there’s a pull-down menu on the disc line in the queue. That doesn’t work for series, because Blu-ray versions sometimes/frequently come on fewer discs than DVD versions.)

We finished Season 5 (with some gratitude for being done with it) and started Season 6 last Sunday. Season 6 is available in Blu-ray. So that’s what we got.

Foreground

Put the disc in. No previews: Nice. Also no opening theme and episode menu…it just started in with the first episode.

Well, OK, that’s fine for the first episode. But we’re not marathon viewers: we watch episodes individually, the way they were intended. (Pounds cane on floor; yells at kids to get off our lawn…)

So, I figured, surely Top Menu will get us to an episode menu, as it does in Chuck (which we own in Blu-ray but won’t rewatch for a couple years yet, probably, and which does the same right-into-episode-one trick).

Nope. Top Menu brings up the extras menu.

Maybe Pop-up Menu. Nope: That doesn’t do anything at all.

Yes, sure, I can turn on the chapter display and skip chapters until we get to Title 2 (the second episode); fine for the first four-episode disc, not so great for five-episode or six-episode discs. And stupid.

I look at online fora. This question has arisen. The snarky response was “Use the pop-up menu.” Which did nothing.

The Big Finish

Last night, after skipping chapters to get to and watch the second episode, I thought I’d try something else.

I was aware that one of the Big Vaunted Advantages of Blu-ray is that you can make menu selections while the disc is playing. I guess that’s a big deal; normally, personally, I’d rather pause the picture, make the changes, and then go on. But hey, it’s a nice feature.

So what if I hit Pop-Up Menu while the episode was playing and not paused?

Oh look: There’s what I would think of as a Top Menu along the bottom of the screen. Episode list and special features. Click on the third episode, and shazam: the third episode.

But surely I must have screwed up on Sunday: Surely Pop-Up Menu would do this if you, sensibly, paused to make a selection.

Not so! In Pause, Pop-Up does nothing at all on this disc.

Gee, thanks, Warner: In your infinite wisdom, you’ve hidden what should logically be the top-level menu where a submenu should be–and made it available only while episodes are actually playing and not paused.  Meanwhile, the submenu of special features is available as the top menu. That’s really clever.

Too clever by half.

Utah public libraries

Posted in $4 on March 20th, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options. Note that Lulu prices for the paperback and hardback versions are now lower.

The 69 profiled Utah libraries (three were omitted) are distributed throughout spending levels, with clusters in the $26 to $35.99 range (20 libraries) and the $12 to $16.99 range (14 libraries). Circulation is above average, with 71% of the libraries circulating eight or more items per capita (compared to 50% overall) and just over half circulating at least ten items (compared to 38% overall). Because 29% of the libraries reported 7 to 8.99 patron visits per capita, that’s also generally strong—48% were at or above 7 visits, compared to 33% overall. Program attendance is just slightly above average; PC use is very nearly typical.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 1 1.4%
700-1,149 2 2.9%
1,150-1,649 1 1.4% 1
1,650-2,249 5 7.2% 1
2,250-2,999 6 8.7%
3,000-3,999 4 5.8%
4,000-5,299 3 4.3%
5,300-6,799 4 5.8%
6,800-8,699 6 8.7%
8,700-11,099 5 7.2%
11,100-14,099 3 4.3%
14,100-18,499 5 7.2%
18,500-24,999 5 7.2%
25,000-34,499 8 11.6%
34,500-53,999 4 5.8%
54,000-104,999 1 1.4% 1
105,000-4.1 mill. 6 8.7%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates moderately well (0.43) with spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Mystery Collection Disc 35

Posted in Movies and TV on March 18th, 2013

Dishonored Lady, 1947, b&w. Robert Stevenson (dir.), Hedy Lamarr, Dennis O’Keefe, John Loder, William Lundigan, Margaret Hamilton. 1:25.

Reviewed in May 2008 as part of another set; I didn’t watch it again. Here’s the review: Hedy Lamarr is a successful magazine editor by day, a love-’em-and-leave-’em type at night, and it’s killing her. She drops out, moves to Greenwich Village to paint, falls in love with a scientist in the same building (O’Keefe)—and can’t escape an old paramour. Murder ensues, with a solid attempt to frame her. The naïve scientist is disillusioned, but things work out. Fine drama, well acted. Downgraded for a noisy soundtrack, but still worth $1.25.

Whistle Stop, 1946. b&w. Léonide Moguy (dir.), George Raft, Ava Gardner, Victor McLaglen, Tom Conway, Jorja Curtright. 1:25 [1:21]

Not really a mystery, but an interesting film. A woman (Ava Gardner) who’s been a success in Chicago returns to her hometown—a whistle stop. She still owns a house there, to which she returns, greeted by the family she’s been renting it to—including the son, who’s an old flame who goes out every night drinking and (small-stakes) gambling and doesn’t seem to have a job. (The father’s the station master.) There’s also the suave and maybe overslick owner of a local bar & grill, who has a thing for the woman—and who doesn’t get along at all with the son (George Raft). Oh, and the son’s supposed to have another girlfriend, who he basically ignores in favor of the woman.

Various plot bits, various arguments, winding up with a botched burglary/murder effort involving the friendly bartender—and a real murder that’s an attempt to frame the son. Thanks to the bartender having superhuman abilities of a sort (I won’t give away the ending, but it’s a trifle implausible), it all works out.

And, oddly enough, it’s pretty good—even though the chemistry between Raft and Gardner isn’t there, Raft’s character isn’t particularly likable, and some of the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A bit missing here and there, but overall I’ll give it $1.50.

Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case, 1940, b&w. Harold S. Bucquet (dir.), Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day, Shepperd Strudwick, Samuel S. Hinds, Walter Kingsford. 1:17 [1:15].

It’s a little tough to approach a 1940 medical mystery with millennial standards. Young Dr. Kildare’s brave move to save a patient who’s “lost his mind” while surviving a brain surgery that the patient explicitly refused (a different surgeon) by injecting him with a massive dose of insulin in the middle of the night…well, Malpractice City sounds about right. But these were more innocent times.

Good cast. Decent acting. Plots within plots within… It moves right along. Entertaining enough if you don’t start wincing. I’ll give it $1.25.

Poppies are Also Flowers (or Las Flores del Diablo), 1966, color. Terence Young (dir.), Omar Sharif, Senta Berger, Stephen Boyd, Yul Brynner, Angie Dickinson, Rita Hayworth, Trevor Howard, Trini Lopez, E.G. Marshall, Marcello Mastroianni, Anthony Quayle, Eli Wallach, Gilbert Roland, Grace Kelly, Harold Sakata, Hugh Griffith. 1:40 [1:34]

I spotted trouble right at the beginning, with a Serious Woman telling me how Important the drug problem was and how the UN was involved and how so much of it revolved around that innocent little flower with not much smell. Yes, that’s right, it’s a movie with a message. Also an all-star cast, presumably working for minimal wages because it’s a Message. Xerox sponsored it at the UN’s request.

Too bad it’s also not great. I would go so far as to say that much of it doesn’t make any sense, but that might be too strong. There’s lots of action, in the Iranian outlands (back when Iran was one of the Good Guys, ruled by a friendly despot), in Monaco, in France, on a cargo ship, on a yacht and finally on a train—but it seemed more helter-skelter than anything else. Maybe the missing six minutes would have helped.

The “color” didn’t help. I’m sure it was filmed in color, and sometimes there were some colors in what’s on the disc, mostly reds and browns, occasionally—very occasionally—pale greens and deep blues, maybe even once or twice a little yellow. But at times it was pure black-and-white and there was never either a bright color or a proper flesh tone: Time has not been kind to this flick. Oddly, other than the mostly-missing color, the print is excellent—full VHS quality.

Even given the earnestness, I can’t give it more than a mediocre $1.00.

Coping with the Numbers: Worth Doing? (Part 2)

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on March 18th, 2013

A few weeks ago, I had “One quick question for librarians” and received a couple of positive responses.

This is the next step–offering a basic outline of the proposed book, in the hopes of getting more feedback, either positive or negative.

I anticipate a down-to-earth book, not intended to make readers statistical whizzes but intended to make them better able to recognize bullshit misleading statistics when they see them, maybe more familiar with the basics of “statistics” (really numbers more than anything fancy enough to be called statistics), and definitely able to gather their own comparative information from the big national databases without investing in new tools or needing to become statistical gurus.

[Part 4 would, for each of the two library categories, take a possible example of something your library might want as background and show, step by step, how to do it with the tools you probably already have.]

Worth doing? I’d like to think so, but unless I have reason to believe that at least one hundred and preferably a few hundred library folks also think so, it’s not economically feasible.

Feedback?

The Mythical Average Library: Coping with the Numbers–Outline

Part 1. Problems with Statistics and Graphs

  1. Misleading Graphs
  2. Misleading Samples: When 30 is Not Enough
  3. Exaggerated Exactness
  4. When Normal Distribution Doesn’t Work
  5. Doing it Right: Transparency and Ethics
  6. Fair Presentations and Coping with Outliers

Part 2. The Basics of Real-World Number-Handling

  1. The Terms You Need to Know
  2. The Other Terms You’ll Encounter
  3. The Tests You Can Probably Ignore
  4. The Tools I’m Using for This Book
  5. Mostly Numbers, Not Really Statistics

Part 3. The Real Complexity of Library Numbers

  1. Public Libraries
  2. Academic Libraries

Part 4. How-To: Getting the Most out of Public Datasets

  1. Using Excel to Expand Your Public Library Awareness (using IMLS)
  2. Using Excel to Expand Your Academic Library Awareness (using NCES)

Part 5. Beyond Numbers

  1. When You Need Actual Statistics

Backmatter

Notes

Intended length: <200 pages.

To be made available as an ebook (at least PDF, probably Kindle, maybe EPUB) and print book; prices set at $8 above costs. (Which would suggest $9.99 for ebooks, probably around $18 for trade paperback, $28 for hardback–but since the length and outline are both subject to change, so are the prices.)

Feedback of any sort, either as comments here or as email to waltcrawford@gmail.com, would be greatly appreciated.


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