Saturday, August 17, 2013

You win some, you loose some...

As I'm finishing my transition from Blogger (a Google product) to (NOT self-hosted, I'm encountering issues I did not expect.

One is...the usage stats are still higher for Blogger than for WordPress.  Why is that?  Could be because what few readers I have still subscribe to the Blogger feeds.  Woops!  I just realized that the RSS buttons are not appearing on the home page of my new site!  Well, this has been fixed.  But, if you subscribe to both - great!  But if you haven't subscribed to my Libraries are for Use site on, please do so's the link: .

I noticed that WordPress shows I have 33 took me a while to look into that - turns out 32 are via my (now professional) Facebook.  I'm not sure that really qualifies - I mean, just because I thrust my postings on my Facebook friends doesn't mean they really follow.  But it is nice when folks mention something that was posted.

And what about my Google Followers?  I thank you for adding me to your Google+ profiles.  It's interesting to see who has shown interest in my ideas.  But Google pulled its app for displaying Google Friends Connect widget for sites (although there is one for the self-hosted sites).  I'm not ready to go self-hosted yet - so I ask my Google+ Followers to, well, follow me to WordPress.  There is a Google+ share button on my posts, though.

Finally, I don't know what to do with the postings on this Blogger site.  Some of the pages are still getting hits - particularly the Ranganathan pages.  But replacing my content with re-directs would be both time-consuming and disruptive to the Google search chain.  For now, I've added a note with the URL in the header of the blog.  I'll check into additional moves later.

I'm not regretting my decision to move - I really do like the template, and I'm hopeful that the WP connection will enable my blog to grow.  Any other ideas?

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Long-Tail in Libraries

Cross-posted from my new blog, Libraries are for Use....

I know, I know...the Long-Tail is not exactly a new concept.  It's been a buzz-word since Chris Anderson's article in Wired in 2004 (I remember that article).  Indeed, it is merely an extension of power-laws that have been known for centuries.  Even librarians have been familiar with these distributions for decades, looking at all those circulation and journal use studies.
This article, however, is pretty intriguing because it extends that concept a little farther than I had seen before (request through ILL if you don't have access):
Petros A. Kostagiolas, Nikolaos Korfiatis, Marios Poulos
A long-tail inspired measure to assess resource use in information services
Library & Information Science Research, Volume 34, Issue 4, October 2012, Pages 317–323
What is most interesting is how the authors applied measures of income disparities between countries to disparities of book usage.  I had learned about these "macroeconometric" measures, the Lorenz curve and the Gini coefficient, in my readings of The Economist, so I was quite intrigued by this application.
So, I've been reviewing the application of "long-tail" distributions in library & information science, reading these articles to get back up to speed:
The problem that I see with applying the long-tail concept to book circulation is that books are physical items, although Netflix DVDs are often included in long-tail discussions.  But libraries have not yet successfully implemented a delivery model that rivals Netflix's.  I would, however, like to look more carefully at applying these models and concepts to journal usage, particularly given the growth of discovery systems.  Has the long tail extended?  Anderson started his inquiry into long-tail distributions when he was told that 98% of all songs available by a particular "digital jukebox" provider were accessed at least once a quarter.  98%!  Book circulation studies have shown much, much shorter tails - the best I've seen was 50% of titles circulated at least once in 5 years.  Can discovery systems lengthen this tail?  Even better, can it "thicken" the tail (getting more usage of our articles)?