Archive for the 'Cites & Insights' Category

Cites & Insights 13 (2013) – annual print edition available

Posted in Cites & Insights on November 4th, 2013

The annual paperback edition of Cites & Insights is now available for Volume 13, 2013 at

The 414-page 8.5″ x 11″ paperback costs $25.99.

Highlights of this 12-issue volume include:

  • Catching Up with Open Access, Parts 1 & 2 (and Hot Times for Open Access)
  • Academic Library Circulation: Surprise! (two parts: 2008-2010 and 2006-2010)
  • The Death of Books (or Not) and Deathwatch 2013!
  • The Mythical Average Public Library
  • The Big Deal and the Damage Done (excerpts)
  • Social Networks
  • Books, Books and (Books?), a set of excerpts
  • Erehwon Community Library: A $4 to $1 Example
  • The Ebook Marketplace, Parts 1 and 2
  • and more…

If you’re wondering, the cover shot was taken in or around Papeete, Tahiti, on April 1, 2001–but it’s been flipped left-to-right to work better as a cover. (Otherwise, the front cover would be almost entirely water…)


Posted in Cites & Insights on November 1st, 2013

I was notified this morning that somebody donated $5 for Cites & Insights via PayPal.

I responded with a thank you.

It was a sincere thank you.

Consider: If everybody who reads C&I donated $5 for each issue they read, I’d have more revenue than I used to have when it was sponsored.

If everybody who reads it donated $5 for each issue they found worthwhile, I’d presumably have some significant fraction of that.

Even a few people donating means that some people find it sufficiently worthwhile to pay something.

So: Thanks. I really do appreciate the $5.

Cites & Insights 13:12 (December 2013) available

Posted in Cites & Insights on November 1st, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:12 (December 2013) is now available for download at

The issue is 34 pages long.

The single-column 6″ x 9″ “online version,” optimized for faster download and online or tablet reading, is also available–

The issue contains one essay:

Words: The Ebook Marketplace, Part 2  pp. 1-34

More on the last few years in the ebook marketplace, this time focusing on ebook pricing, ebook and ereader sales, software, the past and future, (intentional) humor, rights–not so much DRM as ebook readers’ rights, and a few miscellaneous pieces.

If you’re waiting for “ebooks and pbooks” (note and, not versus)…that’s coming in January 2014.

This completes Volume 13.

The indices will only be available as part of the print version of Volume 13, which will be announced when it’s ready, probably some time within the next couple of weeks.


Cites & Insights 13:11 (November 2013) available

Posted in Cites & Insights on October 1st, 2013

The November 2013 Cites & Insights (13:11) is now available for downloading at

The issue is 36 pages long. The “online version,” designed for reading online or on a tablet or large-screen ereader, is 69 pages long.

This issue includes:

The Front: Erehwon Community Library: A $4 to $1 Example   pp. 1-4

An example of what a library could derive from $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, using a mythical “median library” that’s the average of the two public libraries with precisely median service population. (This essay is very similar to a September 27, 2013 post at Walt at Random, except that the post misspells the library name.)

Words: The Ebook Marketplace  pp. 4-30

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at a range of ebook-related issues. This roundup covers up to four years–and it’s really Part 1 (of at least two and maybe three or four parts). It includes items related to ebook devices, competition, collusion, DRM, stupidity, ebooks going beyond narrative text, “what’s a book?” and miscellany. (Part 2 will include sales, pricing, software, history and future–and probably lots more.)

The Back  pp. 30-36

Sixteen mostly-snarky little essays on a range of topics–including one that’s really not snarky: What if a stereo magazine had three successive reviews of three different speaker systems, found all of them excellent–and the three were priced (per pair) at $106,800, $29,800 and $159.99 respectively? (Yes, that’s a decimal point in the third price.) Oh, and what if the second and third were designed by the same designer–who added his signature to the nameplate of the $159.99 version?

Reverting to form

For the last few issues, announcements didn’t link directly to the PDF(s). Instead, announcements linked to the C&I home page, which now has the “Pay What You Wish” section just above the current issue table of contents and links.

I was hoping this speed bump–adding one click to the process of getting to the issue–would encourage a few more people to contribute.

I think it worked. A little bit. For a while. But it’s now one day shy of three months since there’s been a donation. So, at least for now, I’m reverting to the direct links.

Of course, I’d still very much appreciate donations. Of course, donations would still encourage me to keep going with C&I. Oh, and it’s still the case that donating $50 or more will get you a PDF version of Your Library Is… if you want it.


C&I article links: Worth the trouble?

Posted in Cites & Insights on September 24th, 2013

For the first few years–OK, actually for the first 10.5 years–of Cites & Insights, I didn’t include hyperlinks for articles and posts I was discussing. I provided the title, the date, the author and the source, figuring that was enough. Of course, for the first few years, I assumed most everybody was printing out the issue anyway, so links would have been pointless.

Some time in 2011, I started providing hyperlinks, since PDF supports them (and since I’d also started the single-column “online version” where I assume people are reading online).

I’m beginning to wonder whether they’re worth the trouble and the slight defacement of the printed/online page. I could use feedback on this, although for various reasons the rest of Volume 13 will certainly have hyperlinks.

The peculiarities

I started thinking about whether hyperlinks serve much purpose in what’s still primarily a designed-for-print ejournal when I was editing some material and noticed a couple of cases where I forgot to include the hyperlink. I delete items from Diigo as soon as I finish discussing them, so I couldn’t just go to Diigo and pick up the link…

So I’d select the article title (typically a level-3 heading just above the discussion), plug it into Bing or Google, and probably 99% of the time the desired item would be the first result.

This made me think: If that’s what I do to resurrect a link, isn’t that what a reader can do to find the article?

The downside of including the links is that they result in underlined type (and colored type–which for people who use some printers to print copies will result in slightly higher printing costs). Oh, and that I frequently have to (or at least should) trim the URL, since what’s in Diigo is likely to include a huge suffix provided by feedburner or twitter or…

The pros

I suppose clicking on the hyperlink is a little faster than copying-and-pasting into a search engine, if you’re actually reading online. (There are also sometimes links within the discussion, but those are also usually pretty easy to replicate–I mean, if I reference a company, you can get there exactly the same way I generate the link!)

If you’re reading the issue a few months or years down the road, it’s possible that the article itself will have moved down the results page in Bing or Google. Not terribly likely except for a few very short titles, but possible.

It’s also possible that the article itself will no longer be available via a search engine–but in those cases, it’s also quite likely that the link in Cites & Insights will no longer work. (When I’m doing essays that cover two or three years, it’s not unusual to see at least 10% of the tagged items disappear because of broken links.)

Whaddya think?

I’ve been tempted to set up a C&I Advisory Board consisting of those people who contribute a significant sum within a given rolling two-year period to keep the publication running. If I did that, this query would go out as email to that group. But as of now, that group represents no more than 1% or 2% of C&I readers–or at least I hope that’s true!

So I’m asking it here. Whaddya think?

Comments or email to invited.

(Relevant comments, that is. The paratroopers and athletic shoe vendors and all the rest of the spammers that provide 99% of comments will continue to be treated as spammers.)

Cites & Insights Annuals: A new page

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on September 23rd, 2013

Since early 2008, I’ve been producing annual paperback volumes of Cites & Insights through Lulu. I went back and prepared a volume for 2006, so there are now seven such volumes, volumes 6 through 12 for 2006 through 2012.

To some extent, I do these volumes because I want to have each volume readily available, and determined that it costs just about the same to produce a volume through Lulu, even if nobody else purchases it, as it does to print all the issues and get it Velobound at the nearest Fedex Kinko’s–and the results are far superior. In 2001 and 2002, I was able to get taped-spine bindings, but they stopped offering those. I continue to toy with the idea of preparing Lulu versions of Volumes 1-5, although there are feasibility problems.

The bound volumes have several nice features:

  • They include volume indexes (only available in the printed volumes) and, except for 2006-2008, overall tables of contents.
  • A couple other items are uniquely available in the printed volumes–an introduction in one year, the phantom Cites on a Plane issue [only available online for 14 days] in another.
  • Most volumes have wraparound covers consisting of large versions of my wife’s travel photographs with type overlaid. (One volume has front and back photos; one, the year C&I almost disappeared, has a front photo and an admittedly nearly unreadable spine.) Heck, if you don’t want the book, for $23 to $27 you get an 11″ x 18″ (or thereabouts–the width varies) full-color photo you could rip off the body of the book and frame. Or not. (I happen to think the pictures are terrific, perhaps especially 2006, 2009 and 2012.)

For a while, I was regarding these volumes as an actual C&I support mechanism, pricing them at $50.

Now, they’re priced comparably to other C&I books–designed so that each sale yields around $8 net revenue. Prices range from $22.99 (for Volume 11, the slenderest of the lot) to $26.99 (for Volume 9, the fattest).

I’ve never pushed these volumes, but they’re actually pretty nice. A few copies have sold, maybe a dozen in all (not a dozen per volume!).

They also cluttered up the C&I Books footer here, on the Cites & Insights home page and on my personal website.

I’ve fixed that–and offered some highlights from each volume.

There’s now a single link on the C&I Books footer that takes you to Cites & Insights Annuals.

That page has, for each volume, the number of pages (including indexes and front matter), price, link to the book’s page at Lulu, and a bullet list of a few highlights from the volume (mostly longer essays).

Oh, and one more thing: A 300-pixel-high copy of the entire wraparound cover (again, except for 2007 and 2011). These small versions can only hint at the actual spectacular covers (which are 3,300 pixels high–although the 300-pixel versions include a tiny bit at the top and bottom that’s trimmed off the actual covers).

Take a look. You might find one or two of them worthwhile–or, for a library serving a library school or with a focus on the semi-gray literature, maybe the whole set. If there’s specific demand and promise to purchase, I’d consider doing hardcover versions (which would inherently cost $10 more), preparing volumes 1-5 (if that turns out to be feasible) and maybe fixing the spine of Volume 11 (which is currently just a little hard to read).



Cites & Insights October 2013 (13:10) available

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on September 3rd, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:10 (October 2013) is now available at

The issue is 48 pages long. The single-column 6×9 “online reading version” is 65 pages long.

In fact, most of the regular version also fits into a 6″ width; it’s made up of book samples that didn’t reduce neatly to the narrow column of the two-column version.

The issue consists of one big essay in six smaller portions plus an introduction:

The Front: Books, Books and (Books?)   pp. 1-48

It’s all about books–specifically, Cites & Insights Books for libraries and librarians: What may be happening with older books, two important new books, one potential new book and two new combinations of old material.

   Weeding the Virtual Bookstore   pp. 2-3

Some of the existing Cites & Insights Books may go out of print (that is, be removed from potential production) shortly. This section explains why, which books are involved and why–if you actually want one of them–you need to act soon.

  Your Library Is…: A Collection of Public Library Sayings   pp. 3-10

An inspiring and interesting tour through what America’s public libraries choose as their mottoes and slogans on their websites, based on a complete scan of all 9,000+ libraries (or at least those for which I could find websites). 1,137 unique mottoes and slogans, plus 88 mottoes and slogans shared by 205 libraries. General comments, price and availability (this one’s available as an $8.99 PDF!) are followed by the Cs: Sayings from libraries in California, Colorado and Connecticut, roughly 9.5 of the 157 text pages in the book.

  $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Vol. 1, Libraries by Size   pp. 10-24

Designed as a tool to help librarians and Friends tell their library’s story to retain and improve funding, this book also provides a detailed picture of public libraries in FY2011 and how usage changed from FY2009. The section includes notes on how this study differs from Give Us a Dollar…, followed by portions of Chapter 1 and all of Chapter 4.

  $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Vol. 2, Libraries by State   pp. 24-38

This book does not yet exist. The section includes notes on what it would include and the circumstances under which it will be completed (basically, sales of the two books just mentioned), followed by the draft version of what would be the first two of 49 state profiles (DC and Hawaii, with single public libraries, get much shorter profiles), those for Alabama and Alaska.

  The Compleat Give Us a Dollar… Vol. 1   pp. 38-44

This book provides the most in-depth discussion of public library benefits and budgets you’re likely to find, combining all but Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four with graphs and commentary to flesh out the discussion. After a brief introduction, there’s an excerpt consisting of roughly the first half of Chapter 4.

  The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar…  pp. 44-48

This massive book (433 8.5″ x 11″ pages) combines all of the text from Give Us a Dollar… with all of the graphs and commentary–except for multicolor line graphs that won’t reproduce well in a black-and-white book. (There are no such graphs in Volume 2 of The Compleat…, so this volume is a complete print replacement for that volume, but an incomplete replacement for volume 1.) In addition to commentary and pricing, there’s an excerpt consisting of the section for Alabama.

Do note that there are two ways to acquire Your Library Is…: You can buy the $8.99 PDF ebook (6×9, no DRM) or $16.99 paperback–or you can get a special deluxe PDF version by contributing at least $50 to Cites & Insights. (What makes the special deluxe version special? It adds the front and back mosaic covers from the paperback edition as first and last pages.)

Thanks again–and a status report

Posted in $4, Cites & Insights on August 27th, 2013
I just sent this to those who contributed to the $4 to $1 campaign. It’s a good summary of where things stand and my suggestions for those who would find this stuff useful, so I’m just repeating it here:
Thanks again for your contribution to $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (and related books).

As you no doubt know by now, the campaign failed, and your contribution has been returned.

I can think of several possible reasons for the failure (books to help libraries improve budgets aren’t as sexy as hot new devices or as intriguing as other possibilities, I don’t have a wide enough social network, I didn’t pound pound pound on it enough…whatever), but see little point in attempting to analyze the failure. It could have been worse–the final figure was just over $500, or just over 20% of the goal.

Since you have some interest in this project, here’s some suggestions for what you can do now:

1. $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Volume 1, Libraries by Size is now available. It’s a 213-page 6″ x  9″ book. The link here will take you to the paperback (which is priced at $24.95, since it will–eventually–be available on Amazon, but it’s discounted 20% at Lulu, making the price $19.95). It even has an ISBN: 978-1-304-35588-1. It’s also available as a $9.99 PDF ebook or a site license edition PDF ebook for $39.99, the latter explicitly allowing multiple simultaneous usage and downloads within a library school (including distance students), single-state library consortium, state library association, college, university or other similar situation. I think the book came out very well. You can read more about it at Walt at Random, and the draft version of Chapter 3 is still available as most of the September 2013 Cites & Insights. (That link brings up the single-column PDF version; the chapter begins on Page 7.)

2. If you’re buying $4 to $1 for a library school or a library or as a consultant, and especially if you’re buying it in print, I’d also suggest The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, a $26.99 433-page 8.5″ x 11″ paperback that provides the most complete discussion I know of regarding 2010 public library benefits and budgets ($4 to $1 uses 2011 data and changes from 2009; it uses fewer measures and simplified benchmarks). It combines tables, graphs and discussion–and it’s inCompleat only because it lacks multicolor line graphs for some measures. The Lulu book page includes a preview that should give you a good sense of what the book is like.

3. Your Library Is… : A Collection of Public Library Sayings just came out yesterday (the working title was A Library Is…). It came out much better than I expected. The link takes you to the 163-page 6 x 9″ $16.99 paperback; an $8.99 PDF ebook is also available–but I recommend the print book, given that this is the kind of book you want to read a few pages of, bookmark, then come back to every day or two. The book includes 1,137 unique mottoes and slogans as well as 88 mottoes and slogans shared by 205 public libraries. Some sayings are humorous; some are profound; some may be inspiring. By the way, you can also get a special deluxe PDF ebook (what makes it deluxe? it wraps the front and back book cover images at the front and back of the ebook) for free–by contributing at least $50 to Cites & Insights and requesting a copy when I thank you for your contribution. (Or, for that matter, you can contribute at least $100 and, on request, I’ll send you an autographed paperback copy–but that will take a few weeks!) The Lulu book pages (either link) include a preview that should give you a good sense of what the book is like.

4. What about Volume 2, Libraries by State? I believe it would be a fascinating set of comparisons, but it’s not directly useful for individual library purposes. I’ve prepared the matrix and set of measures to be included (dropping two of the measures from Libraries by Size to save space), and I plan to prepare the draft version of the first two states and introductory material, to appear in the October 2013 Cites & Insights, probably out next week. Volume 2 will appear if there are enough sales of Volume 1–at least 50 and possibly 100 before I prepare the rest of the book and publish it.

5. One last thing. The final offer for the $2,500 goal, which would have returned $2,400 to me, was that I’d make the PDF version of Volume 1 entirely free. I’ll restate that offer in terms of sales: When (or if) sales of Volume 1 total $2,400 in net revenue (which would only take about 80 site-license copies or about 300 individual copies), I’ll reset the PDF price to $0. The same goes for Your Library Is…: If it ever reaches $2,400 in net sales, I’ll make it free. (“Sales” through donations to C&I will count as $8 each toward that goal.)

That’s more than enough! This letter will also appear as a post at Walt at Random. As you’ve probably already guessed, your email addresses are blind copies, since some of you preferred anonymity.

Thanks again,
Walt Crawford

Cites & Insights 13:9 (September 2013) available–special issue

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on July 16th, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:9 (September 2013) is now available for downloading at the Cites & Insights homepage.

The early, special issue is 10 pages long. If you’re reading online or doing anything other than printing it out, you’re much better off downloading the single-column online edition, which is 24 pages long, as most of the special issue is a rough draft of a book chapter that includes graphs and tables, which had to be compressed (reducing the type size in the tables quite a bit!) to fit into the narrower columns of the print version.

The issue consists of a single essay (albeit one that includes a draft book chapter as an example):

$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets–Help Needed  pp. 1-10

I’ve started the followup to Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), and I’m trying to crowdfund inexpensive or free versions of the book (and presell copies) through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

This issue describes the project: Two books (one with libraries by size, one with libraries by state) combining tables, graphs and commentary to offer reasonably detailed pictures of countable public library benefits for FY2011 and how they’ve changed from 2009 to 2011, and A Library Is..., a collection of public library slogans and mottoes.

In addition to describing the project, why I’m trying crowdfunding, what happens if the campaign does (or doesn’t) succeed and how this relates to existing books, I provide a rough-draft sample of what the book will include–Chapter 3, covering libraries with fewer than 1,000 potential patrons [more than one-ninth of America’s public libraries and systems].

The campaign runs through mid-August. This is the September 2013 C&I: There won’t be another one for at least six weeks and probably more.

Cites & Insights 13:8 (August 2013) available

Posted in Cites & Insights on July 1st, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:8 (August 2013) is now available for downloading at

The regular two-column print-oriented issue is 28 pages long; the online-oriented 6×9 single-column version is 54 pages long.

The issue includes:

Perspective: Differences  pp. 1-7

Yes, Perspectives is back–this time with an essay about perception and value.

Social Networks   pp. 7-21

A summer essay with relatively old material–mostly on Delicious, the early days of Google+, and the Great Pseudonymity Discussion.

Media: Mystery Collection Part 6   pp. 21-28

Discs 31-36 of this 60-disc 250-movie collection.


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