Farewell to 2014

The end of the year is a time that invites self-reflection and speculation for the future. As the editor of The Collation, late December makes me want to assess how our year here went—how many readers did we reach, how much information and entertainment did we convey, how well did we open up our collections? So here is a quick look at what 2014 brought us.

Looking at our top posts of the year is always my favorite aspect of looking at these stats, not because it shows how popular The Collation is, but because it shows what topics our readers are interested in. What sparked your curiosity this year?

  1. Buzz or honey? Shakespeare’s Beehive raises questions” (April 2014)—9,811 pageviews
  2. Free cultural works! Come get your free cultural works!” (August 2014)—3,609 pageviews
  3. In memoriam: Nadia Seiler” (August 2014)—3,258 pageviews
  4. Learning to write the alphabet” (May 2013)—3,008 pageviews
  5. Woodcut, engraving, or what?” (February 2012)—2,882 pageviews
  6. Learning to ‘read’ old paper” (June 2012)—1,902 pageviews
  7. Deciphering signature marks” (August 2012)—1,462 pageviews
  8. EMMO: Early Modern Manuscripts Online” (November 2013)—1,351 pageviews
  9. Let’s make a model!” (June 2014)—1,101 pageviews
  10. From tweet to resource” (March 2014)—1,006 pageviews

What lessons do I draw from this list? The first thing is how evergreen our content is: three of this year’s top 10 were published in 2012 and one in 2013. The second is that this year was marked by occasion-specific posts. So how does this compare to our all-time top ten posts?

  1. Learning to write the alphabet” (May 2013)—10,009 pageviews
  2. Buzz or honey? Shakespeare’s beehive raises some questions” (April 2014)—9,811 pageviews
  3. Woodcut, engraving, or what?” (February 2012)—6,180 pageviews
  4. Deciphering signature marks” (August 2012)—3,945 pageviews
  5. Free cultural works! Come get your free cultural works!” (August 2014)—3,609 pageviews
  6. Filing, seventeenth-century style” (March 2013)—3,516 pageviews
  7. Spectral imaging of Shakespeare’s ‘Seventh Signature’” (March 2012)—3,390 pageviews
  8. Learning to ‘read’ old paper” (June 2012)—3,273 pageviews
  9. In memoriam: Nadia Seiler” (August 2014)—3,258 pageviews
  10. Welcome to The Collation” (August 2011)—2,607 pageviews

Clearly Collation readers like learning how to understand material text culture: how early modern texts and images are made. And my guess is that a fair number of Collation readers are coming to us from course syllabuses. To my mind, this is exactly one of the target audiences we want to be hitting: current and future researchers.

Popularity isn’t the only hallmark we want to measure success by, although it’s the easiest one to count. In my look back at the work we’ve done, I’d also point to the great number of readers who answer our crocodile mysteries, the guests who share their knowledge with us, and above all the Folger staff who help the Library meet its mission of sharing and expanding knowledge of the early modern period and Shakespeare.

Thank you, all, for helping make 2014 a successful year. We’ll be laying low over the holidays, but look forward to continuing our conversations with you in 2015. If you’re a Folger reader who would like to contribute to The Collation, get in touch. And if you’re a Collation reader who has some suggestions about what you’d like to see from us, please leave a comment below!