Archive for the 'Liblogs' Category

But Still They Blog: Two sample profiles

Posted in Liblogs on July 8th, 2010

I haven’t tried to promote But Still They Blog after the initial run of posts summarizing each chapter–and that may be a mistake. (So far, it’s sold 17 copies. Pathetic.)

I’m not ready to give up and just run the chapter contents (but not the profiles) in C&I, and don’t plan to do so, although I might offer a few excerpts here or there. This really is a good book, in my not-at-all-humble opinion, well worth the $35 (cheaper as a download), and I think you should buy a copy. (I’m thinking about doing something different but not entirely unrelated this Fall…but it won’t replace BSTB.)

For the moment, here are a couple of blog profiles from the book, indicative of what you’ll find.

The Distant Librarian

By Paul Pival. Began October 2004.

Metrics 2007 2008 2009 C08-09 C07-09
Posts 44 38 53 39% 20%
Quintile 2 2 1 1 1
Words per post 177 190 222 17% 25%
Quintile 4 4 4 4 2
Comments per post 0.9 0.4 0.3 -13% -63%
Quintile 2 4 4 3 4

While many of the posts relate somehow to distance librarianship, Pival views that as broadly as most bloggers view librarianship in general and brings a clear, thoughtful voice to his posts.

School Librarian in Action

By Zarah Grace C. Gagatiga. Began April 2005.

Metrics 2007 2008 2009 C08-09 C07-09
Posts 36 10 53 430% 47%
Quintile 2 4 1 1 1
Words per post 335 243
Quintile 2 3
Comments per post 0.3 0.7 0.5 -25% 111%
Quintile 4 3 3 4 2

An impressive blog from a Filipino school librarian. Unfortunately, the new WordPress template blocks attempts to measure length (and the pages are too crowded to use my alternative trick). This is also another blog with a “Reactions” line that only allows for highly positive reactions—but it’s an interesting and, I think, important blog for all that.

Where and Why

Those two profiles appear on page 57 of the book. Why there? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out…

But Still They Blog: First review (that I’ve seen)

Posted in C&I Books, Liblogs on January 1st, 2010

I’d like to call your attention to this post by Jennifer Macaulay on Just Another Day (you may know Macaulay from her previous blog, Life as I Know It).

I would quote excerpts, but it’s a nicely compact post (unlike certain blabbermouths like Walt Crawford, Jennifer Macaulay knows how to write tersely and well), so here’s the whole thing:

I find the topic of library blogs and blogging fascinating. As such, I always look forward to Walt Crawford’s commentaries about the topic. In this vein, I did buy a copy (pdf version) of his latest book, But Still They Blog. I admit that the statistical analysis made my head spin a bit (I get lost whenever quintiles come up), but the book was certainly worth a read for anyone who is interested in the seeming decline in blogging intensity within the library sphere.

After reading But Still They Blog, it is clear that people blog – and stop blogging – for a variety of reasons. People have wildly different ideas about the impact of tools like Twitter, FriendFeed, etc. on blogging – and on the worth of blogging. Ultimately, blogging isn’t dead, but it isn’t the same as it was several years ago. Crawford tells us all this through statistical analysis and through quotes from the blogs that he profiles. It is the story told through these glimpses at the various blogs which is my favorite part of the book (and is often my favorite part of many of his articles in Cites and Insights).

I am, of course, delighted by this review. (I think quintiles are the best way to model certain data, but I admit they can be daunting. Sorry about that.) Thanks, Jennifer!

Reminder

But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009 is still on sale for a special early-bird price until the end of ALA Midwinter–that is, about 18 days from now.

And a word about formats: Lulu will handle ePub now, but it’s up to me to do the conversion. If I have indications from, say, three people that they would buy an ePub version (and won’t buy the PDF or print version), that might make it worth the trouble…assuming that freely-available software does the job properly.

The Rest of the Liblogs (But Still They Blog, 12)

Posted in Liblogs on December 14th, 2009

This post is about Chapter 12–the last chapter–of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

The Rest of the Liblogs

Here’s the full text of the chapter–except for the profiles!

This is the point in the book at which I should find profound meaning from these metrics. It’s the perfect opportunity for sweeping conclusions—if there were any.

You’ve seen smaller conclusions throughout the chapters. Yes, a fair number of bloggers have stopped (when has that not been true?). Yes, there seem to be a lot fewer new fairly-high-profile liblogs in 2008 than in previous years. Yes, most bloggers are blogging somewhat less (and very slightly longer).

And yes, some of that can probably be traced to FaceBook, Twitter and FriendFeed, along with the usual reasons—fatigue, changes in life and work, balance, boredom.

Underlying all that, however, liblogs still offer a broad, varied landscape of people with interesting and worthwhile things to say. Blogging may be dead (if you believe some pundits)…but still they blog.

The remaining liblogs—those that didn’t turn up in a previous chapter—aren’t “leftovers” by any means. A few of these are among my personal favorites, one or two are among those I choose not to comment on so as to avoid snark, several have gone by the wayside—and many just don’t have quite enough frequency, long enough posts or enough comments to stand out in a metric (or had metrics problems).

Again: metrics only measure quantity, not quality. You need to judge quality for yourself.

The Profiles

In this case (and this case only), the profiles are in alphabetical order, since I couldn’t come up with any better scheme.

Stopping and Pausing (But Still They Blog, 11)

Posted in Liblogs on December 13th, 2009

Like Chapter 10, Chapter 11 is entirely new to But Still They Blog.

Why does a blogger pause (which I’ll define as not blogging for at least four months) or stop altogether? I’m certain the most common reason is premature blogging, that is, starting a blog before you really know whether you have much to say. I suspect other reasons are all over the map, with the second largest probably running out of steam or losing interest (or, these days, finding that saying what you have to say is easier and faster on Twitter, FaceBook or FriendFeed).

A fair number of libloggers stopped between mid-2007 and mid-2008, or at least paused for so long that they don’t have any posts—at least 13% of those with enough impact to make it into But Still They Blog and probably more than that among the broader liblog population. Some returned; many didn’t.

What follows is a sampling of posts on why people have stopped or paused blogging—or, in some cases, the fateful final posts that don’t appear intended to be final. Included are some “haven’t been blogging much lately” posts.

In Case It’s Not Obvious…

This post is about Chapter 11 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

After the introductory section above, this chapter consists of quotes from blogs and comments on those quotes. Portions, in somewhat different form, may appear in the January 2010 Cites & Insights.

Profiled Blogs

The chapter includes profiles for these liblogs, mentioned in Chapter 11 and not previously profiled.

Why People Blog–and How Blogs Change (But Still They Blog, 10)

Posted in Liblogs on December 12th, 2009

This post is about Chapter 10 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

Why People Blog–and How Blogs Change

This study includes 521 blogs. What they have in common is that each involves one or more “library people” as defined very loosely—people who have some connection to the library field and write, at least part of the time, about library-related issues.

How do these people blog, and how is that changing? That’s largely what this book is about, on an objective, quantifiable basis. I discuss qualitative areas in Cites & Insights from time to time.

Why do these people blog—and how is that changing? There are many reasons for blogging, some more sensible than others. Here’s my quick take on plausible and implausible reasons for starting and maintaining liblogs, followed by some comments from bloggers themselves.

The chapter begins with some reasons I believe people blog–just a few of the many–and continues with material from the July 2009 Cites & Insights, followed by new material (some of which will probably appear, in different form, in the January 2010 Cites & Insights).

I believe it’s an interesting and worthwhile discussion, which is why it stayed in the book (there’s nothing similar in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008) even as it became clear that this book was on the long side…

Profiles

The following blogs, mentioned in Chapter 10 and not previously profiled, are profiled in Chapter 10.

Correlations and Averages (But Still They Blog, 9)

Posted in Liblogs on December 11th, 2009

This post is about Chapter 9 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

Ordered your copy yet? I won’t claim it’s a great holiday present (unless you’re stuck for a gift for library people who write blogs), but if you buy it now at the bargain introductory price, you’ll have it in time for Midwinter–just the thing for that long plane flight. (And I’ll be happy to autograph it, as is true with any of my books…)

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

Correlations and Averages

A short chapter, and I can’t claim to have found anything startling. It’s much less graphically interesting than the corresponding chapter in the earlier book, as I chose not to prepare scatterplots (they’re fun to do, but I didn’t find them meaningful in these cases).

Profiles

None–which isn’t surprising, because no individual blogs are named in Chapter 9; it’s all about overall patterns, such as they are.

That’s also why this post is “doubled up” rather than appearing a day after the post on Chapter 8.

Patterns of Change, 2008-2009 (But Still They Blog, 8)

Posted in Liblogs on December 11th, 2009

Here comes another verse, not quite the same as the other verse…

This post is about Chapter 8 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

Excerpts

There’s one peculiarity for 2008-2009 that wasn’t present in 2007-2008: Half a dozen blogs that went from no posts to some posts—and are included because they also had posts in 2007. Since moving from nothing to something is an infinite increase, these show up as having significantly more and longer posts with significantly more conversational intensity…

If patterns of change across the landscape were completely random, each of the fully-indented rows (combinations of three metrics changes) would have roughly 56 blogs and 1,660 posts and show 13% in each percentage column.

None of the eight patterns is close to those figures.

Three outliers are interesting:

  • The most common pattern by far is the “discouraged” pattern: Fewer, shorter posts with less conversation. That pattern represents 125 blogs (28%) but only 11% of the posts.
  • The next most common patterns are two with fewer posts and more conversation—77 blogs with longer posts and 71 with shorter posts. Combined, those represent a third of the blogs and 28% of the posts.
  • The pattern with fewest blogs is the same as for 2007-2008: More posts, but shorter and less conversational. That has 20 of the blogs (4%) and 564 posts (4%).
  • It’s interesting that two-thirds of blogs had (slightly) longer posts—and that a solid majority had more conversation.

The chapter also goes through the “better model” of triplets. You’d need to read it and study the tables to gather much meaning.

Profiles

These liblogs are mentioned in this chapter and hadn’t already been profiled–and by this time, most blogs had already been profiled.

Patterns of Change, 2007-2008 (But Still They Blog, 7)

Posted in C&I Books, Liblogs, Writing and blogging on December 10th, 2009

This post is about Chapter 7 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.


So far, the book looked at one metric at a time (except for chapter 6) but a blog is more than its individual metrics. This chapter and the next look at patterns—patterns of change from one year to the next. Three elements make up the change pattern for a blog:

  • Change in number of posts: Were there more posts in 2008 than in 2007, fewer, or about the same number?
  • Change in post length: Was the average post in a given blog longer in 2008 than in 2007, shorter, or about the same length?
  • Changes in comments per post: Was the blog more conversational in 2008 than in 2007 (that is, did the average post have more comments), less conversational, or about the same?

Table 7.1 offers a simplified view of these three changes—“simplified” because it breaks blogs down into “More” or “Less” (where no change at all is counted as “More”)—and that overstates the significance of small changes.

For those who read last year’s study, note that there’s one significant change this time around, for both the simplified table and the triplets: I’m leaving out blogs that lack length metrics in either of the two years being compared. That’s never more than 10% of the blogs, and it means the tables can be considerably shorter (24 lines rather than 36 in the case of Tables 7.1 and 8.1) and easier to understand. Since every blog with a length metric has a valid comment metric (even if the comment count is zero), that further simplifies the process. Blogs are omitted if they have no posts in 2007 as usual—but not if they have posts and no comments. (Note that a blog with zero posts in both years would be counted as having “more” conversational intensity in the second year—an example of the problems with straight up-down comparisons.)

That’s the start of the chapter. Most of the chapter deals with triplets–blogs that have increased or decreased more than 20%, and those that haven’t changed all that much. It’s a rich measure; I won’t attempt to provide a summary here.

Profiles

These liblogs are mentioned in Chapter 7 and weren’t previously profiled.

Another PS

Hmm. As I was completing the book, I came upon a situation that suggested that my methodology for controlling liblog profiles (deleting them from a master document as I moved them into chapters) failed on one occasion–that I had one more profile than I should. I now know where that happened, in this chapter, and probably won’t correct the trivial error.

Standouts and Standards (But Still They Blog, 6)

Posted in C&I Books, Liblogs, Writing and blogging on December 9th, 2009

Chapter Six is entirely new–a discussion with no parallel in The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008. Here are the first two paragraphs:

Before considering patterns of change (how blogs change across multiple metrics), let’s look at some standouts and standards: Blogs that are within the same quintile either across all three key metrics (frequency, post length and conversational intensity) or across all three years within a given metric, and are also within the top three quintiles for the metrics in which they show consistency.

This chapter is about consistency—falling into the same general population across several metrics. It’s not about quality, and no larger conclusions can be drawn. Think of this as a break in the narrative. You’ll discover early on that no blog is in the first quintile throughout—although two come close, with consistently top rankings in two of the three years.

In case it’s not obvious…

This post is about Chapter 6 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

As I was saying…

Which two? The Blue Skunk Blog in 2007 and 2008; UK Web Focus in 2007 and 2009.

Beyond those, there are surprisingly few blogs that rank in the first quintile (or consistently in the second or third) across the three primary metrics even in a single year–e.g., four in the top quintile in 2007, two in 2008 and five in 2009.

Looking at single metrics across multiple years, it’s not surprising that there are more–e.g., 44 blogs are consistently among the most prolific in all three years, 26 have consistently long posts, and 45 have consistently high conversational intensity.

My overall conclusions for the chapter boil down to a single word with a one-sentence expansion:

Don’t. That is, don’t attempt to draw too many conclusions from these consistency notes—especially since some standout blogs in one or two years couldn’t be measured in other years.

Profiles

Profiles for these blogs–mentioned in this chapter and not previously profiled–appear in Chapter 6:

  • Not So Distant Future
  • The Rock & Roll Librarian
  • infomusings
  • Zzzoot
  • snail
  • The FRBR Blog
  • It’s all good
  • Infoblog
  • Random Musings from the Desert
  • Tombrarian
  • Superpatron – Friends of the Library, for the net
  • T. Scott
  • Marcus’ World
  • One Big Library
  • Library Cloud
  • LibraryTavern
  • Chicago Librarian
  • uncaged librarian
  • librarytwopointzero
  • mélange
  • LibraryLaw Blog
  • Pop Goes the Library
  • RSS4Lib
  • CogSci Librarian
  • The Bunless Librarian
  • PS

    I believe there have been, through Chapter 6, two cases where–because of their order on some specific metric–two liblog profiles appear in “alphabetic order,” that is, the same order in which they appear in the index. There is no prize for figuring out the two cases…

    Conversations (But Still They Blog, 5)

    Posted in C&I Books, Liblogs, Writing and blogging on December 8th, 2009

    This post is about Chapter 5 of But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009, now available at the special introductory price of $29.50 paperback, $20 PDF.

    This 319-page trade paperback provides a sweeping look at liblogs (blogs created by library people but, generally, not blogs that are official library publications), with trends, facts, figures, graphs, and profiles for each of 521 liblogs. It continues the most comprehensive detailed look at liblogs (or any category of blogs) that I know of, showing measurable characteristics and how they’re changing over the years.

    Conversations

    Is blogging publication or conversation? Yes and sometimes. Blogging is always a form of publishing—but some posts on some blogs become conversations. The conversational function varies heavily from blog to blog, and newer tools—particularly FriendFeed and FaceBook—may have weakened blog conversations, with the odd result that some extended FriendFeed conversations are based on blog posts and might otherwise take place on the blogs.

    Some blogs don’t have comments, either because the blogger doesn’t allow them or because the posts don’t attract comments. And, there are some blogs where I couldn’t determine the number of comments—although there are also blogs where I couldn’t track length but could count comments.

    This chapter considers overall comments for each blog during the three-month study periods (March-May 2007, 2008, and 2009)–but also the more interesting metric: conversational intensity or average comments per post. There’s an anomalous change in the highest overall comments (dropping from 1,689 in 2007 and 1,219 in 2008 to 581 in 2009), almost certainly the result of one particular blog moving onto the inscrutable (or at least unmeasurable) LJ/SLJ blog platform–I’d call it “blowing a fuse,” but that would be a cheap joke. In fact, highest conversational intensity went up sharply in 2008 (from 28.9 to 53.0) and stayed up in 2009 (51.0), although the gap between the highest CI and the second highest CI was huge (second highest: 13.8 comments per post, with four others over 10).

    The chapter also includes three-year patterns for changes in conversational intensity. It’s hard to draw any overall conclusions, since over the 2007-2009 period, roughly 40% of blogs increased significantly (more than 20%) in conversational intensity while another 40% decreased significantly!

    Liblog Profiles

    These blogs are profiled in Chapter 5 because they were either among those with the most overall comments in 2009, the highest conversational intensity in 2009 or at least 50% more conversational intensity in 2009 than in 2008–and they hadn’t already been profiled in Chapters 1-4.


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