Thursday, August 03, 2006

Big Brother

No, not the dreadful reality TV show. I'm thinking of something more Orwellian.

I stumbled on ClustrMaps, a nice little app that adds a world map to a website, showing the locations of visitors. I can already look at the geographic location and server names of visitors to the blog using the data I get from Google Analytics, so it doesn't really add anything new for me.

So why is it there, and why am I writing this post? It's there, and the same goes for Google Analytics to some extent, because I can put it there. There's a need to be able to monitor the use made of any service we provide, because that's one of the things we're measured on as a library service. It's useful to know where our hits come from and what technologies people are using (which GA can do), so we can tailor content to identifiable groups at some mythical future point.

The main reason the map is there, at the bottom of the sidebar on the right, is that I think it looks nice. I like colour. It makes things look more interesting. I'm not using the Big Brother-esque stuff to spy on people; I see myself as more of a benevolent dictator. :)


Bibliothecary said...

Having just watched V for Vendetta, I'd be very wary about styling yourself as any kind of dictator... not that I'm suggesting one of us might turn into a masked avenger of some sort, but we might end up with a lot of alliteration on this blog.

On a more serious note, programs like ClustrMaps and Google Analytics can be useful pieces of kit. We can use the raw data to find out basic statistics (like how many hits we get), but there's also the more qualitative information, like how the visitor came to the site and where they go when they're on it. That's less of an issue on a blog like this, but when, in the dim and distant future, we morph into an all-singing, all-dancing virtual library enviroment, it will be vital. In fact, with the R&D Michael's doing on this project, we'll be laughing.

michael said...

You're exactly right. It's useful to develop ideas on a smaller scale before embiggening them.

There will come, I'm sure, a brave new world in which we can provide a huge range of online library services. In many ways, we're blazing a trail here.

swlrir said...

Michael : I completely agree! And it's nice to see "embiggen" &"meatselves" and the like given a wider currency!

If anyone is buying V you should know that the 2 disc region 1 has way more features for a tiny price premium : check out

Michael : there is a meeting tomorrow about website developments : do you know about this or will you be there?

Is it timely to link to the blog, or too soon?

Reviews coming soon, and top 10 SF list!

michael said...

Swlrir: neologism is the future of the language. New "things" need new words.

I didn't know about the website development meeting, so presumably it's an internal thing? Probably a bit late for me to appear as a special guest star now... Maybe next time.

The blog *might* be moving soon, but I'm sworn to secrecy on details. Linking to it might not be a good idea for that reason; also, I do think it's a bit soon.

That's only my opinion though, so do what you think is right!! I am, after all, a benevolent dictator :-)

The Region 1/Region 2 disparity is an odd one. Batman begins comes with a mini comic book in its deluxe Region 1 incarnation (or maybe inplastication, since we're on a neologism tip?), which Region 2 purchasers are denied. Still, anybody bothered enough will have a multi-region DVD player , as I (and no doubt you) have.

I'm hoping to get a wider discussion set up around blog-powered online reader development activity. Invites will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to your SF list, as a I'm a bit of a neophyte in that area...

michael said...

Blog strangeness ahoy:

I edited my original post (it should have been "No, not the reality TV show..." rather than "Not, not..."), and the smiley at the end vanished. This has the net effect of giving the impression that I *am* a dictator, rather than someone who assumes the mantle for comedic purposes...

For the record, I'm not really any kind of autocrat. Just so you all know.

swlrir said...

Does that make you a notocrat, then?
If anything interesting happens at the meeting (It would be a first for Friday afternoon meetings!) I'll keep you posted

michael said...

Swlrir: thanks for keeping me posted. I *really* need to get out and about more, something I'm planning to do over the next couple of months.

I'd rather be part of an anarcho-syndicalist commune: come see the violence inherent in the system!