3 Million

Aaron’s cool Wordle visualisations prompted me to have a look at our ever growing log of OPAC keyword searches (see this blog post from 2006). We’ve been collecting the keyword searches for just over 2.5 years and, sometime within the last 7 days, the 3 millionth entry was logged.

Not that I ever need an excuse to play around with Perl and ImageMagick, but hitting the 3 million mark seemed like a good time to create a couple of images…

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The only real difference between the two is the transparency/opacity of the words. In both, the word size reflects the number of times it has been used in a search and the words are arranged semi-randomly, with “a”s near the top and “z”s near the bottom.

If I get some spare time, it’ll be interesting to see if there are any trends in the data. For example, do events in the news have any impact on what students search for?

The data is currently doing a couple of things on our OPAC

1) Word cloud on the front page, which is mostly eye candy to fill a bit of blank space

2) Keyword combination suggestions — for example, search for “gothic” and you should see some suggestions such as “literature”, “revival” and “architecture”. These aren’t suggestions based on our holdings or from our librarians, but are the most commonly used words from multi keyword searches that included the term “gothic”.

..and, just for fun, here’s the data as a Wordle:

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ITV Unforgiven – campus shots

Following on from the last blog post, here’s some of the “on-campus” photos…

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(that naughty faked “York” signage)

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(Quayside, staged to look like a student cafeteria)

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(The Art & Design section of the Main Library — apparently the few seconds of footage that appeared in the final programme took 3 hours to shoot!)

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(St Paul’s Hall — a venue that attendees of the world famous Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival will be familiar with)

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(outside the Creative Arts Building — the foundation stone was unveiled by The Queen in 2007)

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(inside the Creative Arts Building, with St Paul’s Hall in the background)

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(Storthes Hall, student accommodation)

Hey up — we're on TV!

The last episode of “Unforgiven” (IMDB) has just finished, and it featured quite a bit of footage filmed on-campus at the University of Huddersfield — mostly in the new Creative Arts Building, opposite the library…

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However, if you watched the programme, you probably spotted that the TV production crew covered up the University of Huddersfield signage and replaced it with “University of York”. They even used the same font and design as York!!!

I’m not sure if there’s anyone from York reading this blog, but I’m curious to know what exactly happened. Presumably the University of York gave the production company permission to use their corporate branding? If so, why didn’t they just do the filming at York in the first place? I’m also surprised that the top brass at Huddersfield gave the production company permission to dress our University as another one — especially one that wasn’t a fictional university :-S

Anyway, if you did watch the final episode, the parts where Ruth Slater (played by Suranne Jones) followed her sister (Emily Beecham) to the university were filmed at Huddersfield in the Creative Arts Building and in the Quayside area of the Central Services Building.

Britannica 2.0

Whilst reading an article on The Times web site about Britannica turning up late to the 2.0 party (“Britannica 2.0 shows Wikipedia how it’s done“), this sentence jumped out at me:

Mr Cauz [Britannica's president] said the Britannica site was “definitely not as popular” as Wikipedia, attracting about 1.5 million people each day compared with Wikipedia’s approximate 6 million visitors a day.

Do those figures seem a little fishy to you? As Information Professionals, is your usage ratio of Britannica to Wikipedia 1:4?

According to Quantcast, in the USA alone, there are an average estimated 8,300,000 people visiting the wikipedia.org domain every day (or 69,565,464 people per month). A 2007 report on the comScore web site indicates that the USA represents around 20% of the worldwide internet audience so, potentially, Wikipedia may be attracting up to 41,500,000 people per day**.

The comparative US figures on Quantcast for the britannica.com domain are an average estimated 170,300 people per day or 3,925,622 per month.

Maybe Quantcast isn’t that relaible? So, I went to Alexa and downloaded their daily list of the top 1,000,000 web sites. Not surpisingly, Wikipedia was near the top of the list (#8). Britannica doesn’t even make the list. In fact, according to Alexa, the following sites (which do make the top million list) are more popular than Britannica…

…I wonder if Mr Cauz lies awake at night worrying that YouTube user happygal17 (SFW) is apparently more popular than Britannica?

I guess it’s true what they say — you can’t always believe everything you read in newspapers!

** – the figure will likely be much lower, as Wikipedia doesn’t make the top 50 most visited sites in China (it’s currently #65)

Talis Podcast

I can’t remember if I was using my “posh telephone voice”, but Richard Wallis has just posted a podcast that was recorded yesterday afternoon with Patrick Murray-John.

It’s definitely worth fast-forwarding past my inane waffley bits to listen to Patrick’s comments, as he makes some great points. Using usage data for marketing purposes wasn’t something that had occurred to me, but it’s a fantastic idea!

Even though it was an informal chat, I kept feeling twinges of “job interview syndrome” — that horrible sensation you get when you’re busy talking and you realise you’ve forgotten what the actual question was :-S

For my sins, I’m going to be doing something about OPACs and usage data at the upcoming JISC Developer Happiness Days event along with Ken Chad.

p.s. Can I propose a drinking game for this podcast? The rules are you have to have a drink every time someone mentions Tony Hirst‘s name ;-D

"They are a generation abandoning print and paper"

Interesting article in The Guardian today: “Internet generation leave parents behind“…

  • children are spending increasing amounts of their lives in front of televisions, computers and games consoles, cramming in nearly six hours of screen time a day
  • from the age of seven, children are building multimedia hubs in their rooms, with games consoles, internet access and MP3 players
  • reading books is falling out of favour – 84% said they read for pleasure in 2006, 80% in 2007 and 74% this year
  • one in three said the computer is the single thing they couldn’t live without
  • pupils are using the internet less while at school, frustrated by the low-tech access and the restrictions put in place to stop them from accessing inappropriate material
  • they are a generation abandoning print and paper, and the whole integration of technology and the way they glide from one to the other is seamless