Surveying the biblioblogosphere

Meredith over at Information wants to be free has set up a survey of the biblioblogosphere. (That link’s to the post, which has the link to the survey.)

The initial survey was a little more biased toward ML[I]S-holders and future ML[I]S-holders than Meredith really intended–as a “library person” who’s not a professional librarian (and frankly unlikely to become one at least before retirement), I couldn’t get past the first page of the survey. Which was fine–I’m an oddball case. (Drop the “case” if you prefer.)

I let Meredith know about the problem, somewhat ungraciously. The problem was corrected very rapidly: The intent really was not to exclude “library people” who don’t have the degree and don’t plan to get it. (My apologies for the tone of my original comment; rough week…) So I returned and did complete the survey, which is (I believe) well designed [with the little glitches taken care of).

[If I wanted to nitpick, it would probably be about the geographic question. I don’t think of California as either “Southwest” or “Northwest”–I think of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico as “Southwest,” while California is “Pacific Coast.” But “Southwest” will do, I guess–even as the survey also has the traditional “Midwest,” about 1,500 miles to the east of “Southwest” and “Northwest.” Or does Northern California count as “Northwest”?]

If you write a blog and you’re a library person, go take the survey. It won’t take long (despite one visual cue, it’s really only one page). It doesn’t ask loaded demographic questions (income, religion, politics…) and doesn’t ask you to identify your blog.

I believe the results will provide an interesting complement to my study–if enough people respond. Are there more than, say, ten library bloggers over age 50? [Interesting: I first said “five” and was going to say “I think I can name four, and I’m not certain of one of them”–and at this point, I think I can name six–although I’m not certain of one or two. I won’t name them, except for Walt Crawford…] What’s the distribution among types of libraries? Geographic distribution?

6 Responses to “Surveying the biblioblogosphere”

  1. Steven says:

    Wow, a mention of your relative age without telling us that you are cranky. Score two points for Walt!

  2. Meredith says:

    No worries, Walt. It can be so easy to misconstrue things in this online medium. I’ve certainly been guilty of being snarky from time to time. 😉 I agree that Central CA is not the Southwest, nor is Maryland the Northeast or the Southeast, but I didn’t want to put up a million categories for the U.S. and ignore the rest of the world. I felt far worse about calling what’s between eastern and western Canada “the middle of Canada”!!!

  3. walt says:

    Simple enough, Steven: Work’s been so busy and strange the past few months that any residual crankiness was easily explained. Even when the inevitable (and blessedly small) amount of negative reaction over my study came out, it didn’t make me particularly cranky–and if I had been, it would have nothing to do with being (lessee, counting now) 22 days shy of Six-Oh. And I promised I wouldn’t use the “cranky old” cliche for at least a year, so I got out of the habit…

    Gotta say this for the stuff at work: At least it shows me that I’m still capable of learning fundamentally new tools and techniques, and learning rapidly when it’s needed. Which, I suppose, is one way of keeping … well, “young” is the wrong word, but “flexible and alive” apply.

    As for geography, I just did a little checking, and I guess I can accept Mountain View as “Southwest.” Turns out MV is almost due west of Richmond, VA–we’re at latitude 37.39, while Richmond, VA is at latitude 37.55, which puts MV just a bit south of Richmond, VA (San Francisco’s almost precisely west). Curious.

  4. I took the survey–fun, though I agree the regional question was too subjective. Would have been easier to split the question (are you from the U.S.? Yes –> State dropdowns). But creating surveys is how you learn. We brought in an outside consultant this year, and she was wonderfully helpful in refining our survey. Surveys be innerestin’!

  5. Walt, I found your look at Library Blogs interesting. I went out and did my own ranking of library blogs on your list based on the the PageRank score Google assigns each one. It can be found at: This is yet another way to look at blogs that some my find of interest.

  6. walt says:

    (Some day soon, I need to pull the many pieces of this discussion together…)

    Michael, another person suggested using PageRank as well. Maybe for next time (ITIANT), I’ll add that–at the same time that I drop Google link: count, unless Google’s dropped their “this is just a sample” proviso. I’m not sure how much weight it deserves, and it’s certainly another “The rich get richer” measure, but interesting nonetheless.

    If I do add that, it’s an easy enough one to do that I’d use it as part of the original “reach” calculation done against 200+ blogs, not just the 60 more carefully studied.