Bibs & Blather
Looking at Liblogs: You Can Help
I still don’t much care for “biblioblogosphere.” For one thing, there are loads of “biblio” blogs—that is, blogs about books—outside of blogs written by library people. For another, “sphere” implies something I don’t necessarily agree with. So I’m using “liblogs,” also less than ideal since it could apply to blogs from libraries. There isn’t a perfect word. Life is like that.
I plan to do another investigation of sorts, probably significantly different from last year’s. I haven’t started work on it (and won’t until after ALA), and I haven’t made final decisions about how and what. There are two things that libbloggers out there can do to help, or at least to clarify.
· Want to opt out? If you don’t want your blog included, send email to citesandinsights @gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading Liblog optout, and give the name of your blog and an email address I can use to verify that it’s you and not someone else. (If anyone does “opt out” for someone else’s blog, I will do my best to publicly humiliate you, on Walt at random and elsewhere.) You don’t need to provide a reason. (This year’s piece will be less “hierarchical” than last year’s, and I can’t imagine why you’d want to be excluded, but it’s your blog and your business.) If you opt out, your blog just won’t appear or be mentioned. Period. Email should reach me by July 15, 2006.
· Usage numbers? I’d like to try to correlate Bloglines subscription counts with direct/indirect readership. You can help, if you have access to stats for your weblog. I won’t name names or provide individual figures, but if I get enough numbers, I may do a paragraph or two about correlations. Here’s what you can do to help:
1. Find two figures for May 2006: The average sessions per day (or total sessions: I can divide by 31), which is almost always easy to find, and the unique visitors during the month—or “unique IP addresses” in most cases. Sometimes that’s a little harder to find.
In a standard Urchin install, go to Domains and Users, then IP Addresses. The first page will have text something like “IP Addresses (1-10) / 1,930.” The number after the slash is the number I want—in this case, 1,930. (That’s the number for the week of June 4-10 for Walt at random, if you’re wondering.)
In a standard Weblog Expert install, it should be right on the General Statistics page, as “Total Unique IPs.”
I know it’s readily available in WebTrends, and should be available in most any statistics package.
2. Send email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Liblog usage, and include in the body the name of the blog and the two figures (clarifying whether sessions are average per day or total for May 2006).
3. Email should reach me by July 31, 2006.
That’s it. I hope not to get any optouts, but will honor whatever I do get and can verify. I hope to get at least 15 or 20 of the second category. As Gmail users can guess, I’m using the subject lines so I don’t have to gather up lots of individual emails; I should wind up with one “conversation” in each category, or at least I can tag them all automatically.
Thanks. Oh, by the way, if you have a liblog—not an official library blog—that you think I’ll overlook because it’s not listed in any of the typical places, you could also send appropriate email.
As planned for some time, this is the last substantive issue for a while—until the September issue in mid- to late August (when I anticipate doing the “Looking at Liblogs” report). Of course, plans could change. I’ve been reminded lately of how much things can change. For example, this is also the last C&I to list me as a senior analyst at RLG; as of July 1, I’ll be working for OCLC.
There will be an August issue (again, if plans don’t change), but most of you can skip it without wondering what you’ve missed. I plan to discuss and illustrate the typography and design of C&I (both the PDF and HTML forms); I don’t plan to discuss much of anything else.
Enjoy the summer. I certainly intend to.
For some reason, I always feel odd about “chunky” issues—issues with fewer than six sections. I’m not sure why that is, except for a sense that there should be a variety of topics in each issue. This is a chunky issue—not as chunky as some (there’s more than one essay), but chunky still.
Assuming readership and download/HTML read figures are similar, my odd feelings aren’t warranted. The most widely read issue ever was also the chunkiest issue ever, with one 32-page essay. The second most widely read issue was also one big essay. This issue could consist of one big essay but I wanted to have a little variety. And so it goes.
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