From the Editor: Working Dogs –
Reasoned Perception or Illogical Vision
In the News
Evolutionary Changes in Domesticated Dogs:
the Broken Covenant of the Wild, Part I
The Gentrification of Working Breeds
Qimmiit Utirtut is Four Years-Old!
Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update
Behavior Notebook: Curious Naturalist
Remembering a Stunning Achievement
Book Review: The Polar World: the Unique Vision of Sir Wally Herbert
IMHO: You, a Reader of The Fan Hitch
You, a Reader of The Fan Hitch
by Mark Hamilton
Over the course of the last year or so we've added a number of features to the website. You now have access to back issue articles indexed by "Subject" as well as by "Volume Number", and recently we added an internal search engine as well. There is now a "Resources" page with a broad range of information relating to both the Inuit Dog and the North, as well as a page devoted solely to providing up-to-date information on purchasing Ken MacRury's thesis, The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History.
We've also included something invisible on about 20% of The Fan Hitch pages on our site. It's a small piece of code that provides us with a little information about our readership. I think it's best if I first tell you what this code and information is not. It's not the kind of detail that you see accessed on those TV crime shows. We don't know who you are or where you live, nor do we have the know-how, ability or interest in finding out that kind of information. What we do get are statistics about time of day, numbers of visitors, time spent on site and the number of pages visited. We also get a location by city/town/hamlet, but that often is the location of the "central office" for your internet service provider (ISP), not where you actually live. We also get information on operating systems and browsers used as well as screen resolution of monitors, which probably interests someone, but not us. Still, we've learned some interesting things, and we thought you'd likely find them interesting as well.
Over the course of the last year (February 22, 2008 to February 21, 2009) we've had 5,746 visits from 3,726 different visitors. There were "at least" 20,771 page views. For some of our information we have to say "at least" because only 20% of the back issues are coded for information gathering. (We back-tracked only as far as volume 9, number 1.) The way the visitor/page/time-on-site information breaks out is this: 3.61 pages per visit and 4:02 minutes per visit. Collectively you spent "at least" 386 hours visiting The Fan Hitch and for all of that, Sue and I would now like to say, "Thank you."
Your visits came from 76 different countries and territories. 26% of you appear to have added The Fan Hitch to your favorites list as you came directly to our site. 38% of you found your way here via referral from another site, and 36% of you used a search-engine.
65% of our visits were by first-time viewers. On the other hand, we count 1,259 of you as readers of all editions of The Fan Hitch, and 1,994 of you as returning visitors.
The Fan Hitch averages 15.66 visits per day, but that number is a pretty meaningless statistic. Actual readership (measured in terms of visits) more closely follows our four times per year publishing schedule. As we approach a publishing date we see our visitor numbers increase. Those visits are generally short in duration, just a quick trip to the front page to see if the next edition of The Fan Hitch has been posted. Traffic spikes immediately after a new edition is posted, and after a week or so the readership numbers start a gentle decline. The following graph has been compressed enough to help illustrate the four spikes.
You'll also notice in this graph that during the second half 2008, in the period after each publishing spike, the continuing readership level is higher than it was in the first half of the year. From that we take it that The Fan Hitch readership is still growing, and Sue and I would like to say "Welcome!" to all our new readers.
We also can look at "hit" numbers on the individual pages and get a sense of what you collectively like to read. While some preference is shown for particular articles, we find that, across the categories of topics as we arrange them in the "Subject" index, you're reading everything. That's good news for us, as most of the content of The Fan Hitch is generated on the basis of current events. Writing to satisfy just specific interests would be extraordinarily difficult for us. Actually, it would be impossible.
The "hit" numbers tell us other things as well. For instance, recently ISD enthusiast Stijn Heijs, from The Netherlands, presented us with a model for establishing an index of articles by "Subject". Once it was established, the "Subject" index very quickly became one of our "Top 10" pages viewed. And today it is the second most viewed page on The Fan Hitch site. Its demonstrated value was what led us to add the latest site feature, the "Custom Search".
Information about search engine "key words" tells us what people were looking for when they found The Fan Hitch. The most searched upon words for visitors in 2008 were "Nadine Gerth", closely followed by "Qikiqtani Truth Commission". Of course, now you can just use our search engine on The Fan Hitch site to repeat those searches for yourself to see what the buzz is all about.
So that about covers what we've learned about readers of The Fan Hitch, and it's good to know it. Where this information highlights other enhancements we can make to The Fan Hitch we'll do what we can to respond. And, just like with Stijn's suggestion for establishing an index of articles by "Subject", we'd love to hear your suggestions as well.