What Librarians Could Learn From Journalists

On Tuesday, the Poynter Institute (a school for journalists, future journalists, and teachers of journalists) released results of their EyeTrack07 study — an examination of reader behavior in the print and online mediums. An article on their website goes into more detail about the initial data but what caught my eye as of interest to the library community is the headline (“The Myth of Short Attention Spans”) and this conclusion “The reading-deep phenomenon [thoroughly reading a selected story] is even stronger online than in print.” Their website site has a video which explains the process and some of the initial results.

This could leave one to wonder how a similar study could impact the design of another information delivery tool: the average library website or content subscription service. I’m particularly struck by this quote from the video attributed to Nelson Poynter on November 2nd, 1946: “We have learned that as an industry, we are backward in research, and that we are not seizing the new technologies and discoveries of recent years. As an industry we must improve and expand, or we will dwindle and die.”

Sound familiar?

Via Ron Murray, no relation, at the Library of Congress. Thanks, Ron.

The text was modified to update a link from http://eyetrack.poynter.org/short/eyetrack_short.html to http://eyetrack.poynter.org/video.html on January 19th, 2011.

(This post was updated on 21-Nov-2012.)