Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book_Arts-L and Book Arts Web Demographics and Usage

Every once in a while I wonder how many postings and members Book_Arts-L has, and love to look at Book Arts Web usage in Google Analytics. It's a sick habit, but someone needs to have it and do it.

Book_Arts-L was founded in June of 1994 and quickly grew in subscribers and posting activity. The Book Arts Web started about a year later and was also the list "homepage" with links to the archive and the FAQ. With VERY few exceptions the archive(s) hold all postings since 1994, and they continue to be a valued resource. Unfortunately, there are no usage statistics for those.

So, the past few nights (rather than working on my Ernst Collin bibliography) I downloaded the basic metadata (A word with eight letters) from the Archives (1994-2009) and (2009-present). These included message subject, poster, date, lines/message (since 2009). Total number of subscribers shot over 1000 quickly, and then grew to the 2400+ we have now with dips and spikes along the way.

Below some (messy) graphics... As always click to enlarge.

Since 2010, an overall decline in number of postings to list...

Posting activity varies greatly from month to months with summers and New Years low(er) points...

Here a different way to view same data, very similar patterns month by month, year by year.

And here the data for both of the above...

We tend to post more messages Monday-Tuesday & Thursday-Friday than on Wednesday and weekends...

Wednesdays in March seem busiest, Mondays in December quietest...
The list "hall of fame" (or shame) of top-15 posters. Ignore Peter D. Verheyen, he's the listowner.
Reviewing all subscribers by postings was like a walk down memory lane. Some are still very active, others no longer subscribed (or posting).

Names, years active, and total postings. We hit 200 total postings in the list with subscribers #43, 100 with #108, 50 with #268, and 10 with #1270... There are 74521 postings total in the archives.

Here some Book_Arts-L demographics from 2004, showing where the 1789 subscribers came from. Important to note in the below charts, a Gmail user in Germany, Australia, ... will show up as being in the US due to the .com...

And, here from 2006... with 1922 of us.

And here from today (10/17/15), 2451 subscribers from 22 countries.

So, we have less posting from an increasing number of subscribers... Postings are often substantive though, certainly more so than on Web 2.0 "social media," we're still Web 1.0 here.

Google Analytics captures usage of the Book Arts Web since 2007.

I started using Google Analytics in December 2006. Just as the number of overall number of listserv postings is declining, so is the amount of traffic to the website...

A little spikier than the graph above where Book_Arts-L postings are overlaid as I am also showing monthly data...

Here the demographics by top 10 countries for the Book Arts Web.

(2007 - 10/1/2015)
Click to enlarge

Below, some statistics for the Book Arts Web. Though no longer in publication, The Bonefolder (2004-2012) continues to be downloaded at a very high rate with regular citations of articles in other publications whether print, blogs, email postings, twitter, tumblr, ...

Top 25 pages overall (2007 - 10/1/2015)
Click to enlarge

Top 25 social media referrals (2007 - 10/1/2015)
Click to enlarge

And finally some pictures of the tech people use to access the Book Arts Web, and presumably our Book_Arts-L subscribers as well.

Operating system (2007 - 10/1/2015)
Click to enlarge

Browser (2007 - 10/1/2015)
Click to enlarge

So, despite what we may think about the artsy crowd being largely Mac users, ahem... Also interesting the low number of mobile users. The site does work on a mobile...

What does all this tell me (us)? That there are more subscribers but less postings to the list, esp since about 2008 when Google Analytics became available. These declines seem also to affect usage of other platforms such as Bookbinding (formerly an active list on Yahoo, now a forum), the Book Arts Forum, various other similar sites. The Guild of Book Workers listserv I started in 1997-8 is also very low volume. I also like to participate on some German sites, and have seen similar declines, an example being Bücher Binden, a list started by Peter Baumgartner who was active here as well, and is the author of several books on binding. Since then we have however also seen an "explosion" of other media such as Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter. So we have more choices in where we find our information.

Some time in the future, I'll rework my Getting us out / Bringing us together: How listservs and the Web have changed the way in which book artists work and communicate. I presented this at "Hot Type in a Cold World," a symposium celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Silver Buckle Press at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. November 20, 1998. That was 4 years after the Book_Arts-L started, and 3 after the University of Idaho Bookarts, Richard Minsky, and I/the Book Arts Web went online (more here).

The Book Arts Web at the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive.
Regardless, what we have here is an incredibly robust community that has been sustained over 20 years, having also been very stable in terms of web presence as well. Some URLS have changed, but not as many as one might think.

Thank you!

ps: I'd love to find some way to determine a list of subjects discussed based on volume of responses... Anyone?