Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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She Wore An Itsy Bitsy

 “Statistics are like bikinis.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”  ~Aaron Levenstein”

I had a post in mind today, one about metrics and statistics, some of which you may have heard if you were at my presentation . Before starting I Googled “quotes about statistic”, as I thought I wanted to use a starting quote that was better than the obligatory  “98% of all statistics are made up”. I have discovered that quotes about statistics are bit like statistics themselves, many, and varied, they can be also both humorous and pointless. So I shall drop several more through the post as I had trouble deciding which I liked most.

“Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything.”  ~Gregg Easterbrook

So why statistics? Well there are many different areas with which statistics are important in libraries, but for me the main statistical set that has me beating my head against a brick wall is blog statistics. It is true that with any activity within the workplace, their needs to be a justification for that activity. Often the easiest was to prove/ or disprove that justification is with statistics.  For the blog, Tararua District Library Blog, statistics are any essential part of any justification.

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts – for support rather than for illumination.”  ~Andrew Lang

The trouble with the statistics are they are often inconsistent across harvesters and often they don’t tell me the story I want to know. I can start with the statistics generated by wordpress. They record how many times a particular page has been viewed in a browser. They don’t tell me a location of the reader, nor if the reader is a unique visitor who viewed multiple pages. So for example last month [October] I am told the blog had 1,420 page views, at an average 46 page views per day. This is well and good, but not terribly satisfying for those with an interest in metrics.

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.”  ~Author Unknown

I needed to see some more statistics, so I created a free account with sitemeter, which tells me both unique visitors and page views. Except this service tells me for the month of October we had 1,129 visits, viewing 1,592 pages. Yes that’s 172 page views more than the blog tells me. That’s more than a discrepancy in date/time [I.E. one site recording at GMT, while the other NZ local time]. One thing I would be like to be able to report is the numbers of locals reading. Sitemeter will tell me an approximate locale of the viewer, but that is based of the ip address, and they are usually registered in bulk to one of the main centres.

“There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.”  ~Rex Stout, Death of a Doxy

To add to my confusion I have recently started channelling my links through bit.ly. Now this has told me some interesting statistics which is meant to report how many times the link has been clicked. The obvious conclusion would be that for every click you would receive a corresponding page view. I have discovered this is in fact not true. I can create a link to my latest posting, send it to twitter via bit.ly. I have observed that in bit.ly I can have 12 or 13 clicks yet not one page view.

“Satan delights equally in statistics and in quoting scripture….”  ~H.G. Wells, The Undying Fire

To add another element in the quest for an accurate picture of readership, there are also blog harvesters like alphainventions.com or http://stumbleupon.com, which will allow people to read your blog without actually viewing it.  Not to mention the question of whether you can get an accurate readout of how many people have subscribed via a RSS feed.

It means that any validation of the blog as a worthwhile activity, justified as active part of the library workload is problematic. I feel sometimes as though I am out there, dancing in that bikini on the street front, not knowing how many are checking me out, and living in fear that the powers that be might just notice and decide I need to be engaged in a more appropriate activity.


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There is an element of serendipity, the randomness of connections and discovery, within social media which fascinates me.

For example, I have recently started up my own Librarything account, and the zeitgeist features with the random connections that the service brings up really interest me. The way it shows who likes what, which books are the most popular, which ones are the least. The way it judges whether you will enjoy a book, or not, based on your library and ratings. It’s an element that I really want to bring onto our catalogue. This self generated data is such a powerful tool to aid people in finding books they might enjoy.  

Another example is in the search terms that bring people to blogs. On this blog up until this last week lots of our traffic has not been generated by searches. I know this because prior to this weekend, the most searched terms that had brought people to our blog was the name “Room of Infinite Diligence” with a huge total of 29. In fact the list of search terms has been quite small. Rather most of the traffic has been generated from twitter, and bookmarking. This weekend however, and I am struggling to think why, we have a massive amount of hits from the terms “epic fail” and “fail”. All of a sudden they have leapt to 99 and 44 hits respectively, nearly all on the weekend. It will be interesting to see if they bring more hits.

Indeed the search terms that have brought people to my other blog, Tararua Library, are many more and varied, but equally interesting. Below I posted pictures of the recent search terms bring people here, and the top search terms from Tararua library. From Tararua library 39 clues, and searches for the library/library blog dominatie. Not that unsurprisingly really, but where does “big women” come from, and why has it brought in so many hits? Its just plain weird.

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