Libraries and public perceptions:
A comparative analysis of the
European press
Methodological insights
Anna Galluzzi, MSc,...
Speech contents
• Origins of the research
• Aims and contents of the research
• The numbers
• Processing the articles
• So...
Origins of the research
• Much research and discussion about
the future of libraries, particularly
public libraries
• The ...
Origins of the research
• The issue of the future of libraries has
gone beyond the boundaries of
the librarians' playgroun...
An alternative method
• The analysis of newspapers
• Looking at newspapers is an attempt
to move outside the specialised
l...
Experimenting a
bottom-up method
6
Strenghts and weaknessess
• News selection starting mainly from the
national and international press agencies
• The choice...
Strenghts and weaknessess
• From the points of view of promptness
and audience, the traditional newspapers
have been compl...
Strenghts and weaknessess
In sum
• Newspapers are not completely
representative of the public opinion
anymore
• But they a...
Aims of the research
• Aim: Quantifying and qualifying the presence of
issues concerning libraries in the European
press o...
Criteria and parameters of the
research
• Chronological span covered:
2008 to 2012
• The focus has been put on Europe
• Co...
Criteria and parameters of the
research
• Newspapers: Two for each country in
their print editions - among those of
nation...
Criteria and parameters of the
research
• The selected newspapers:
▫ The UK: The Times and The Guardian
▫ France: Le Figar...
Criteria and parameters of the
research
• Sources:
▫ Lexis Nexis™ News for Le Monde only and
Factiva™ for all the other ti...
Criteria and parameters of the
research
• Query parameters:
▫ "librar*" and "bibliot*" as keywords in the full
text search...
The numbers
• The articles retrieved: 41,611
• The pertinent ones, i.e. those articles
which concern libraries in a proper...
Uses of “library” not pertinent
• personal libraries
• house furniture
• the place where an event or an exhibition is held...
Processing the articles
• After the selection, a text and content
analysis of the articles was needed
• The analysis was c...
Processing the articles
• Why?
▫ risk either to run the wrong procedures and
queries or to create fictitious relationships...
Phases
• Each article was identified with a univocal name
• An Excel worksheet was prepared
• The articles were analysed a...
Coding parameters
• Country
• Newspaper title
• Year of publication
• Prevalence or not of libraries as subject of the art...
The topics
• Mission/Roles
• Conservation/Holdings/
Catalogue
• Digitisation/Digital
libraries
• History
• Reading/Marketi...
The topics
• Some groupings need an explanation
▫ Conservation/Holdings/Catalogue
▫ Acquisitions/Open Access
23
Some first findings
• The data analysis and processing is
ongoing and the research findings are far
from being complete an...
Articles where the library subject is
prevalent vs. those where it is not
1653
45%2003
55%
Non prevalent
Prevalent
25
Types of libraries (% on articles where the
library subject prevails)
1% 16%
48%
18%
8%
9%
Libraries in general
Public
Nat...
Types of libraries per country (on articles
where the library subject prevails)
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
France Italy Spain...
Ranking of the most popular topics
(over the 5% threshold)
1. Politics/Strategy/Management
2. Library closures/Budget cuts...
Main topics (over 5% threshold) per country (%
on articles where the library subject prevails)
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
...
Main topics (over 5% threshold) per year (% on
articles where the library subject prevails)
30
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
35...
Conclusions
• The main trends:
▫ the prevalence of public and national libraries
in the debate
▫ a general agreement on th...
Conclusions
• The research proves to be
effective:
▫ to highlight topics and approaches
▫ to understand how they relate wi...
Thank you!
anna.galluzzi@gmail.com
33
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Libraries and public perceptions: A comparative analysis of the European press. Methodological insights

  1. 1. Libraries and public perceptions: A comparative analysis of the European press Methodological insights Anna Galluzzi, MSc, PhD 5th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries 1
  2. 2. Speech contents • Origins of the research • Aims and contents of the research • The numbers • Processing the articles • Some first findings • Conclusions 2
  3. 3. Origins of the research • Much research and discussion about the future of libraries, particularly public libraries • The economic crisis has exacerbated the situation 3
  4. 4. Origins of the research • The issue of the future of libraries has gone beyond the boundaries of the librarians' playground • Many methods have been applied to prove the social and economic impact of libraries 4
  5. 5. An alternative method • The analysis of newspapers • Looking at newspapers is an attempt to move outside the specialised literature concerning libraries 5
  6. 6. Experimenting a bottom-up method 6
  7. 7. Strenghts and weaknessess • News selection starting mainly from the national and international press agencies • The choice depends on the interests of readership • But nowadays traditional newspapers are not the one and only conveyors of public opinions 7
  8. 8. Strenghts and weaknessess • From the points of view of promptness and audience, the traditional newspapers have been completely walloped by the other media • Role in commenting, debating and analysing the news 8
  9. 9. Strenghts and weaknessess In sum • Newspapers are not completely representative of the public opinion anymore • But they are an important detector of the issues at stakes 9
  10. 10. Aims of the research • Aim: Quantifying and qualifying the presence of issues concerning libraries in the European press over the last years • Research questions: ▫ the most discussed topics ▫ differences between the European countries ▫ differences between the European newspapers 10
  11. 11. Criteria and parameters of the research • Chronological span covered: 2008 to 2012 • The focus has been put on Europe • Countries taken into account: The UK, France, Spain and Italy 11
  12. 12. Criteria and parameters of the research • Newspapers: Two for each country in their print editions - among those of national relevance and the most widespread, covering both the centre-left area and the centre-right 12
  13. 13. Criteria and parameters of the research • The selected newspapers: ▫ The UK: The Times and The Guardian ▫ France: Le Figaro and Le Monde ▫ Spain: El Mundo and El País ▫ Italy: Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica 13
  14. 14. Criteria and parameters of the research • Sources: ▫ Lexis Nexis™ News for Le Monde only and Factiva™ for all the other titles • The source selected was the national print edition (without the local editions) 14
  15. 15. Criteria and parameters of the research • Query parameters: ▫ "librar*" and "bibliot*" as keywords in the full text search, according to the language of the newspaper (for the French newspapers only "mediat*” too) 15
  16. 16. The numbers • The articles retrieved: 41,611 • The pertinent ones, i.e. those articles which concern libraries in a proper sense: 3,659 16
  17. 17. Uses of “library” not pertinent • personal libraries • house furniture • the place where an event or an exhibition is held • the place where a murder or a crime occurs • the title of a book series • a bunch of physical or digital objects (e.g. iTunes as a music digital library) • the name of sections of newspapers • idiomatic expressions and figures of speech encompassing the term “library”, like “Library of Babel” or "bookworm" (which is "library mouse" in French, Italian and Spanish) • libraries cited in tender announcements • libraries cited in biographies and stories 17
  18. 18. Processing the articles • After the selection, a text and content analysis of the articles was needed • The analysis was carried out manually and no text analysis software was used 18
  19. 19. Processing the articles • Why? ▫ risk either to run the wrong procedures and queries or to create fictitious relationships among concepts and documents ▫ furthermore, the analysis of articles in four different languages would have increased the variables and the potential inconsistency of the results 19
  20. 20. Phases • Each article was identified with a univocal name • An Excel worksheet was prepared • The articles were analysed and coded ▫ the texts were carefully reviewed and all concepts and ideas were annotated and then grouped • A number of pivot tables were used to sort and summarise the data 20
  21. 21. Coding parameters • Country • Newspaper title • Year of publication • Prevalence or not of libraries as subject of the article • Type of library considered • Main topic of the article • The newspaper section where the article is published • In case the article talks about libraries of other countries, the country it talks about 21
  22. 22. The topics • Mission/Roles • Conservation/Holdings/ Catalogue • Digitisation/Digital libraries • History • Reading/Marketing • Politics/Strategy/ Management • Library closures/ Budget cuts • Internet/E-book/ Technology • Services/Users • Staff/Recruitment • New libraries/New buildings • Acquisitions/Open access • Buildings/Architecture 22
  23. 23. The topics • Some groupings need an explanation ▫ Conservation/Holdings/Catalogue ▫ Acquisitions/Open Access 23
  24. 24. Some first findings • The data analysis and processing is ongoing and the research findings are far from being complete and somewhat meaningful • As for now, some first findings in form of tables and graphs can be offered with some first comments 24
  25. 25. Articles where the library subject is prevalent vs. those where it is not 1653 45%2003 55% Non prevalent Prevalent 25
  26. 26. Types of libraries (% on articles where the library subject prevails) 1% 16% 48% 18% 8% 9% Libraries in general Public National Academic School Special/Specialised 26
  27. 27. Types of libraries per country (on articles where the library subject prevails) 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Italy Spain UK Special/Specialised School Academic National Public Libraries in general 27
  28. 28. Ranking of the most popular topics (over the 5% threshold) 1. Politics/Strategy/Management 2. Library closures/Budget cuts 3. Digital/Digitisation 4. Services/Users 5. Conservation/Holdings/Catalogue 6. New libraries/New buildings 7. Mission/Roles 28
  29. 29. Main topics (over 5% threshold) per country (% on articles where the library subject prevails) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% France Italy Spain UK New libraries/New buildings Services/Users Library closures/Budget cuts Politics/Strategy/Management Digital/Digitisation Conservation/Holdings/Catalogue Mission/Roles 29
  30. 30. Main topics (over 5% threshold) per year (% on articles where the library subject prevails) 30 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 New libraries/New buildings Services/Users Library closures/Budget cuts Politics/Strategy/Management Digital/Digitisation Conservation/Holdings/Catalogue Mission/Roles
  31. 31. Conclusions • The main trends: ▫ the prevalence of public and national libraries in the debate ▫ a general agreement on the most popular topics ▫ no relevant connection between the political areas the newspapers belong to and the topics dealt with ▫ the effect of the economic crisis on the evolution of the debate is evident 31
  32. 32. Conclusions • The research proves to be effective: ▫ to highlight topics and approaches ▫ to understand how they relate with the common thoughts and the general feelings 32
  33. 33. Thank you! anna.galluzzi@gmail.com 33

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