Before getting on to the challenging items, here are a few cases where there wasn’t much question as to an item’s importance or usefulness:
- Old movie reviews (what used to be Offtopic Perspectives): Purely for fun, and no, I don’t plan to gather them all together, add an index and publish them. Not a chance. Nor do I plan to stop doing them until the movies run out (and unless something happens I’m down to the last…hmmm…240 or so, so that could happen in 2-3 years).
- The Back in Cites & Insights–I hope it’s interesting, I know it’s fun, it’s rarely of any importance.
Mildly tricky cases
Then there are cases where I thought something was either important or usefully interesting, but couldn’t see it being either long enough or used enough to be anything but a Cites & Insights essay. With those, I’m always interested in tracking apparent readership. For example:
- The pieces demolishing the myth that public libraries are closing down all over the place. I thought that work was important, but it’s only useful if someone’s raising that particular nonsense. So it belonged in C&I (I think–it was too long for one of the trade journals). Readership of those issues has been solid (2,400 to 2,500 between articles and issues, through the end of last year). Was the point made? Damned if I know.
- Academic library circulation: I thought this was interesting, and it turned out that the common knowledge was offbase. Still…not really book material (I don’t think), especially because it wouldn’t be directly useful and it’s probably more interesting than important. The odd thing here is that the March 2013 readership, so far, has been considerably lower than either of the two OA issues before it–but also considerably below the “mostly random pieces” issue after it. (As in: through the weekend, 990 downloads for 13:1, 1149 for 13:2, 914 for 13:4–but only 573 for 13:3, the one on academic library circulation). Still–573 readers isn’t bad, and the readership will continue to grow.
- The Mythical Average Public Library: This was fun for me and interesting. Important? Useful? Dunno. So far–and it’s really early yet–it’s doing OK.
Were all of those worth doing? Were any of them important enough to deserve something more prominent than publication in an odd venue such as Cites & Insights? I don’t have ready answers.
And those are the relatively easy cases. Maybe more about tough cases–and one potential case in particular–in another installment.
Oh, meanwhile and slightly off-topic: Thanks to whoever picked up not only The Big Deal and the Damage Done but also Graphing Public Library Benefits, Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)…and Library 2.0: A Cites & Insights Reader and Open Access and Libraries. Hope you find them all worthwhile. (I’m assuming that was a single order, although I really don’t know that.) If you’re considering me for some possible work that I might be suitable for…well, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org