Refreshing C&I revisited

If you don’t read Cites & Insights, you really won’t care about this post. (Of course, I’d ask why you read this blog if you don’t read C&I, but that’s a different question…)

If you do read Cites & Insights, you should be aware of the surveys I’ve taken relating to the ejournal’s readership–and if you’ve read the current issue, you should be aware of the results of that survey (and my own thinking).

The issue has now been out for two weeks. I thought it was worth noting how things have been going.

Format Used

Of those who chose one format for reading C&I, 11 read the PDF in print form–which is what it’s designed for–while 16 read the PDF online and three read the HTML separates. (For nine readers, it varies.)

While I know that 39 responses out of a readership that I hope is in the high hundreds or, eventually, low thousands is anecdata, it’s the only data I have. So I did something about it: I created a PDF specifically designed for “online”/e-device reading, that is, a 6×9 page (with margins) with a single column of print, which should work pretty well on most devices with 6″ or larger screens–and should work beautifully on iPads, Kindle DXes and competitors, netbooks and notebooks.

So far, the traditional two-column PDF has been downloaded 373 times.

The single-column PDF has been downloaded 117 times.

From everything I’ve been told, “pageviews” for PDFs in Urchin are redundant, and downloads include in-browser views. If that’s NOT true, then all my readership estimates for past years are way on the low side, and in this case the numbers would be 937 for the traditional PDF and 267 for the single-column PDF. I’d love to claim that much-higher readership, but am reluctant to do so.

HTML separates?

  • Social Networks has been viewed 171 times.
  • The other three sections–The Front, The Middle, The Back–are roughly tied, with 124 to 128 views each.

So do most people who read C&I on screens prefer the two-column version? Or have they just not downloaded it yet?


The second survey–the post for which was viewed at least 98 times and the sample PDF for which was downloaded 17 times–only got five responses.

All five of the respondents said they would possibly pay for or contribute towards the online PDF version–but they wouldn’t pay much: Four said no more than $10-$12 per year, one said up to $25 per year.

So I lowered the suggested contribution levels on the Cites & Insights home page. I now say:

I haven’t set a fixed amount for support. I’ll suggest $5 if you feel a specific issue is worth having and $25 or more for a year’s worth (or $10 if you don’t think it’s worth $25 or just can’t afford it).

The results to date? Well…

  • I received a total of four donations in 2011, of which three were in the first four months of the year. (The donations didn’t total quite enough to pay for hosting C&I, but came close. They were/are greatly appreciated.)
  • I received a total of zero donations between January 1 and March 6, 2012, when this issue came out.
  • So far, since the lower suggested donation and the positive responses on the poll, I have received a total of zero donations since March 6, 2012.

It’s too early to say this is conclusive, but it’s telling.

By the way…

If you’d really love to buy one or more of the Cites & Insights Books, but you hate the idea of having to set up an account on Lulu in order to do so:

Good news! You no longer need to establish a Lulu account in order to order and pay for a book.

So you can know run right off to my “spotlight page” and buy those books you’ve so desperately wanted.


Yes, I’m a little discouraged. No, I’m not giving up. (And if I had sponsorship for library research, at a reasonable level, I’d probably stop bugging y’all about this.)

Indeed, the April issue of Cites & Insights will feature original research–an analysis of public library closures in 2008 and 2009 (and whether those libraries are still closed). And, given information provided to me just today, it’s highly likely that a future issue (maybe May, maybe not) will extend that research to cover 1998 through 2007.


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