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The Public Humanities summer comes to an end: a small statistical evaluation

Outside, it has become unmistakably autumn. The wind sweeps around the corners and whirls up the colorful leaves. Not only is summer generally over, but so is our Public Humanities summer. Over the past weeks and months, you’ve been able to read a weekly blog post from the DH community about the Public Humanities in this space. Every Monday at 11 a.m., a new post went online (as well as the – mostly English-language – translation of the post shortly thereafter). Thirteen wonderful digital humanities scholars (teams) participated in the blog series and gave an insight into a total of 8 projects as well as a kind of meta-insight into the digital public humanities (5 posts).

Note: This is the English translation (automatically with DeepL). The German original written by Melanie Seltmann (ULB Darmstadt) can be found here.

Outside, it has become unmistakably autumn. The wind sweeps around the corners and whirls up the colorful leaves. Not only is summer generally over, but so is our Public Humanities summer. Over the past weeks and months, you’ve been able to read a weekly blog post from the DH community about the Public Humanities in this space. Every Monday at 11 a.m., a new post went online (as well as the – mostly English-language – translation of the post shortly thereafter). Thirteen wonderful digital humanities scholars (teams) participated in the blog series and gave an insight into a total of 8 projects as well as a kind of meta-insight into the digital public humanities (5 posts).

A small statistical evaluation of the blog series

At the end of the blog series, I would like to look back and evaluate a little statistically what you readers were particularly interested in. First of all, it can be said that August was the month with the highest number of hits and visitors. Although five different blogposts went online in August, and only four in July and September (each in a German-language and an English-language version), especially in terms of number of visitors as well as hits, the numbers are much higher than this point could account for. And also the number of different visitors is about a quarter higher than for example in September – but this number should be the same if the same visitors would just go to the website more often to read an additional blogpost. I could imagine that these higher numbers are mainly due to August itself: the stress of the summer semester is over, the second event days of vDHd2021 haven’t started yet, many are on vacation and might have a little time to read, and the media are in summer slump so there’s not quite as much competition.

To give you an idea of what I’m writing about here, I’d like to give you the numbers, of course: In August, we had almost 1.3k unique visitors, just over 3.3k visits, and a total of over 28k hits on the site. A great start for a young, humanities blog!

Where are we read?

If we look at the country accesses (over the entire period, i.e. about 9 months), we find a surprise: In first place by far is Sweden (21.4k and thus 48% of all accesses). Either we have a large Swedish digital public humanities and vDHd2021 target group that I don’t know yet, or IP addresses were assigned incorrectly. 2nd place for country accesses goes to France (11.5k accesses), which I would attribute in particular to the French Hypotheses. On place 3 is the United States of America (5.5k hits). So the translations into English definitely seem to have paid off (anyway, the list is 71 countries long). Germany finally appears in 4th place (3.4k hits). 

However, the fact that origin is not the same as language becomes apparent when we take a look at the access distribution to the German- and English-language blog posts. Here, the total number of hits for the English-language posts is around 3.5k, while the number of hits for the German-language posts is 9.8k. Consequently, the German-language posts were read (or clicked on) much more frequently. The most frequently read English-language post had only about as many hits as the fourth most frequently read German-language post.

Two types of blog posts

For my evaluation, I sorted the submitted blog posts into two different groups. On the one hand, we had concrete project presentations, and on the other, metaposts that wrote something more general about public humanities. Regardless of the language, the metaposts were accessed significantly more often than the project reports. If we look at the mean within each category, we have just under 400 hits per German-language project description, but more than 1.3k hits for the metaposts. For the English-language metaposts, the lead is not quite as large (300 to 250). However, the large lead for the German-language metaposts is mainly due to the two top posts of the entire blog series, which alone account for 3.2k and 2.2k hits respectively. If you exclude the two posts, the average value is just over 400 and is thus similarly close to the project descriptions as with the English versions.

The most popular blog posts

To find out the most popular blog posts, however, I didn’t use the total number of hits (since the posts were accessible for different lengths of time and even the older posts still get hits), but picked a reference month each time. If the blog post was published at the beginning of a month, this is the month of publication, otherwise the following month (since the statistics are all taken from Hypothesis’ inherent statistics tool, I unfortunately could not use a fixed period of x days, since that can only output fixed months).

For the German-language blogposts, the top 5 look like this, with the first two posts having a clear gap to the other posts (namely, even in the reference month, over 2k hits versus less than 1k):

  1. Barbara Heinisch: Ein Pfad durch den Begriffsdschungel der Public Humanities
  2. Claudia Frick: Live is live
  3. Jens Bemme: Die Datenlaube: Open Citizen Science mit Linked Open Storytelling beim Erschließen der Gartenlaube
  4. Sebastian Balling, Saskia Alina Rahn, Charis-Fey Wesensee: Disability History als Public History? Zu Fragen von Inklusion und zielgruppengerechter Wissenschaftskommunikation am Beispiel eines digitalen Ausstellungsprojekts
  5. Simon Meier-Vieracker: Public Humanities als offene Bühne oder: Warum Wissenschaft in Social Media auch Spaß machen soll

For the English-language blogposts, the distribution of the top 5 shifts slightly, but the posts themselves remain identical:

  1. Jens Bemme: The Data Arbor: Open Citizen Science with Linked Open Storytelling in Unlocking the Garden Arbor
  2. Barbara Heinisch: A path through the Conceptual Jungle of the Public Humanities
  3. Sebastian Balling, Saskia Alina Rahn, Charis-Fey Wesensee: Disability History as Public History? On questions of inclusion and target group-oriented science communication using the example of a digital exhibition project
  4. Claudia Frick: Live is live
  5. Simon Meier-Vieracker: Public Humanities as an open stage or: Why science in social media should also be fun

Which article did you like best? And did you prefer the metaposts or the project presentations?

What’s next?

But even after the blog series, this blog will of course continue to be filled. Do you have any wishes about what you would like to read here or maybe even an idea that you would like to write about yourself? Tell us and get in touch with us! By comment, tweet or mail! We look forward to your input.

This article is licensed under the following license: CC-BY 4.0. When reusing, please include the attribute rel=”canonical” in the link to the original post!

How to cite this Article: Seltmann, Melanie (2021): „The Public Humanities summer comes to an end: a small statistical evaluation“. In: Seltmann, Melanie and Schumacher, Mareike (eds.): Public Humanitieshttps://publicdh.hypotheses.org/408.


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