Cites & Insights survey results

Thanks again to the 39 people who responded to the first formal survey of Cites & Insights readers.

I have no real idea how many people actually read Cites & Insights on a semi-regular basis. Through yesterday, only 368 have so far downloaded the first 2012 issue, so 39 could be more than 10% of the regular readership–but at the end of last year, every issue had been downloaded at least 635 times (not including the hiatus 2-pager), and all but one had been downloaded at least 727 times, so I’m inclined to think that 39 is about 5% of the core readership. At least I hope I still have 720+ core readers!

Here’s a dump of the results, followed by some notes:

Results table

How read? Print PDF HTML Online PDF Varies Total
11 3 16 9 39
Always Usually Sometimes Never AU %
Bibs & Blather: R 19 15 5 0 39 87%
B&B: E 14 21 2 0 37 90%
My Back Pages: R 10 14 13 1 38 62%
MBP: E 6 22 8 1 37 72%
Offtopic:  E 12 14 13 0 39 67%
Offtop :E 6 23 6 1 36 74%
MiW: R 15 14 7 1 37 74%
MiW: E 12 16 6 0 34 72%
TQT: R 19 16 3 1 39 90%
TQT: E 18 16 2 0 36 87%
Language-related (writing, reading, ebooks, pub): R 18 13 7 0 38 79%
Language: E 14 17 7 0 38 79%
Blogging & social networks: 20 12 5 0 37 82%
Blog: E 19 12 7 0 38 79%
Policy-related (copyright, OA, etc.): R 14 18 7 0 39 82%
Policy: E 14 19 5 0 38 85%


How you read it

The second row is the responses to the first question: how do you read C&I?

To me, the most significant figure is the “3” for HTML. If that figure had been a lot higher, I might have worked a little more on the Word template I use for the HTML versions of essays. Given that it’s only one-thirteenth of responses, it would be tempting to say “ah, the heck with it, who needs HTML?”–but some essays have apparently been viewed (even in 2012 so far, several essays have been viewed more than 200 times, and from the time I started doing them through 12/31/11, 369 of the essays had been viewed at least 1,000 times, with 227 viewed at least 2,000 times and 40 viewed at least 5,000 times–all in addition to issue views).

So I’ll keep doing HTML, but don’t plan to spend more effort making it prettier than it is.

Then there’s the Online PDF vs. Print PDF–and it’s not a great surprise. What I’m not sure is what, if anything, I can do to make the online PDF easier to read without making the print PDF more wasteful of paper. (A single-column 8.5″-wide issue is really not an option: That damages readability far too much.) If I come up with good ideas that don’t require much additional effort, I might do another survey. If you have great ideas, I’d welcome them. (If you’ve commented at this blog before and don’t use multiple links, direct comments might work. Otherwise…well, send them to waltcrawford at gmail dot com, since I’m still getting more than 100 spamments a day, so don’t really skim them for legitimate comments.)

Category Readership and Enjoyment

I’ve abbreviated the questions, but I think it’s fairly obvious. The first row of each pair is for readership, the second for enjoyment, and as for those abbreviations that aren’t obvious:

  • Offtopic = Offtopic Perspectives, my old-movie mini-reviews.
  • MiW = Making it Work, essays on librarianship.
  • TQT = Trends & Quick Takes.

Incidentally, if you’re snooping around in my Diigo lists, I use the latter two abbreviations there as well…for now, although MiW has lots of subtopics (e.g. miw-balance).

The rightmost column, “AU%,” is the percentage of all respondents that answered “Always” or “Usually” for this question. Note that “all respondents”: The divisor is always 39, even for Making it Work, where only 34 people responded to the “Enjoy?” question. (“Only” is, to be sure, quite high for a survey response!) I’m offering the most negative interpretation of the answers by using this larger divisor.

What I see, then, is that every one of these sections except My Back Pages is usually read by at least 2/3 of you (and MBP isn’t that far off), that–to my surprise–Making it Work is the least commonly-read of the serious sections (whatever Offtopic Perspectives may be, “serious” isn’t the right descriptor), and that most sections are read by most readers.

As for whether you enjoy the sections–well, I really did treat this as an anonymous poll (if I have access to the IP addresses, I’ve never looked and don’t plan to), so I’m gratified that no section scored lower than 72% “always” or “usually” enjoyed. It’s interesting that My Back Pages and Making it Work are tied for lowest percentage here.

I’m not terribly surprised that, for “always enjoyed,” you’re a serious bunch: Offtopic Perspectives and My Back Pages are tied for last, with only six enthusiastic responses each–and most serious sections are clustered fairly closely near the top.

What will I do with those results? Not a whole lot, because they don’t suggest clear futures. I could downplay Making it Work, and that may happen anyway as I’m generally not focusing on academic libraries–but I’m not likely to downplay language-related areas or policy any more than I already have.

I could put this another way, given plans I’d already started formulating. To wit:

All Those Sections Are Gone–Except The CD-ROM Project

That’s right. Bibs & Blather, My Back Pages, Trends & Quick Takes, Making it Work, Offtopic Perspective, The Zeitgeist (which I didn’t even bother to ask about), Interesting & Peculiar Products, Copyright Currents & Comments, Library Access to Scholarship, Old Media/New Media, even Perspective itself: All gone. Kaput. Finit.

What’s left? You’ll see–in the next Cites & Insights and beyond. Coming some time in March 2012.





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