Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Working on the Blog - Statistics, Subjects and Tags

Although you may have to look closely to see, I did a lot of work on my blog last week, adding three important new indices on the left hand side:
  • I added a tag cloud for ratings, so you can see how many ratings I've assigned, and click to see what's got what,
  • I added a "publisher index" so you can see how many books I've reviewed for different publishers,
  • and I changed my regular "Tags" list to a "subject index," so you can see reviews or articles by topic.
I'm hoping that these features prove useful to visitors interested in learning more about what I really do here- who and what I read, and how I feel about it. I added the publisher tags and FTC and affiliate disclosures, and standardized the top line of each review where I list the publisher and date of publication to just about every review I've written since 2008. I also added notes on hardcover and/or paperback availability, but those aren't consistent. My arm was aching when all was said and done, and I didn't even get to 2007!

All of this work got me thinking about some things. Wondering what publisher I've reviewed the most, I found out- surprise!- it's Random House, publisher of most crème de la crème literary fiction. I was surprised to learn how many Penguin imprints I read, and not surprised to learn I read lots of Macmillan, publisher of high-quality genre fiction like The Tricking of Freya and literary gems like Wolf Hall and Doghead. It was also interesting to see the number of smaller publishers I've read, if only one or two or three books each.

I tried to keep all imprints of a single publisher together but I broke up graphic novel imprints. DC Comics and Minx, for example, are owned by Random House but I listed them separately, and First Second is a Macmillan-owned imprint I listed on its own. I made this decision because it's more meaningful to me when it comes to graphic novels to see imprints separated from the parent company.

I was chatting with a fellow blogger about this project during the week and she asked me if I was going to index every mention of a book or just reviews. I'm going to stick with indexing just reviews, because if I'm trying to see (and show) what I'm actually reading, indexing mentions would water down the numbers and render them less useful. What do you think? There's always the whole indexing-authors thing, which is a little overwhelming to me to think about right now.

Another thing that occurred me was the possibility of re-running and/or revising older reviews, things posted in 2007 and early 2008, when I had basically no readers, to spotlight some older books and some more idiosyncratic reading choices. These were the books I read before I had the luxury of many review copies (although lots of my early reviews were galleys I picked up at ALA in 2007). I'd also like to get some mileage out of that stuff, have a reason to revise them and help me out on slow weeks. What do you think?

How do you organize tags and subjects on your blog? Is it something you think about much or not at all? When I started, I was happy just to post; all this other stuff would have overwhelmed me but it's fascinating to me to see how my own blog has evolved over time. What's happened with yours?