Saturday, August 2, 2008

PL 19/08: Physical and virtual traffic

Filed under: IFLA, statistics, traffic — plinius @ 11:43 am

Libraries depend on their users.

Libraries are text providers rather than temples. Governments and politicians are increasingly watching traffic – or usage – rather than buildings and collections. They speak the language of economy and look for tangible benefits from their investments in libraries and other public services.

We may call this NPM – New Public Management. Some embrace it. Others oppose it. But nobody can avoid it. In the industrial economy culture was insulated from the market. In the post-industrial economy, culture IS the market.

The production and consumption of symbolic or cultural goods – media, education, research, entertainment, travel – is our new economic core. Libraries are moving towards the centre, losing their sacred status “beyond the market”.  The time of reckoning – and library statistics –  has arrived.

I hve prepared two studies of library traffic – one based on physical, and one on virtual statistics – for IFLA 2008 in Quebec. The relevant links are here:

Count the traffic

This is an empirical study of visitor behavior in Norwegian public libraries in 2007-08 – with Drammen Public Library (at “Papirbredden”) as the main case.

  • Slide set. Forty-eight slides as a Google Docs presentation.
  • Slide set on SlideShare.
  • Paper in PDF-format on IFLA web site
  • Paper in HTML-format at Google Docs

How much is much?
Developing and interpreting national library visitor statistics

This is a conceptual study – with empirical illustrations – of web traffic to national libraries.

  • Slide set. Eighteen slides as a Google Docs presentation
  • Paper in PDF-format on IFLA web site
  • Paper in HTML-format at Google Docs




  1. See PL 46/09. New indicators for public libraries for links to two new papers on library stats.

    Comment by plinius — Saturday, July 18, 2009 @ 11:48 am

  2. […] How much is much […]

    Pingback by P 121/09: Trafikk og politikk « Plinius — Wednesday, August 26, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

  3. […] 19/08. Physical and virtual traffic. My two papers for Quebec both deal with […]

    Pingback by P 8/12: News from the North « Plinius — Sunday, March 4, 2012 @ 10:33 am

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