Portrait of the tablet user

A new study of over 2,500 tablet users in the US (produced by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and Frank N Magid Associates) makes interesting reading.

Tablet ownership explosion

  • 74 million US users have a tablet device – this constitutes a 31% adoption rate (up from 12% in 2011)
  • Adoption rate is expected to hit 47% by Q2 in 2013
  • 58% of tablet users are ‘very satisfied’ with their device

Embedded use

  • 74% of table owners use them every day
  • On average users are spending 13.9 hours with their tablets.
  • 32% are using two screens for 3.1 hours per day.

Main tablet activities

  • 94% cite accessing content/information is their main tablet activity
  • Other key activities include accessing email, news, weather and entertainment content

Paid content and advertising

  • 61% of tablet users have purchased content in the past year.
  • The tablet app market is estimated at $2.6 billion for 2012 (almost doubled figures for 2011)
  • 38% of tablet users have made purchases after seeing tablet advertising

You can access the full report here.

Read more analysis of the report on TheNextWeb

Supermarkets sweep into digital content

Supermarkets are already key players when it comes to selling ‘physical’ books, movies and music.  Now they are increasingly moving into the online entertainment space.  Two news stories this week highlight the digital content strategies of the big supermarkets as they jockey for position in what is a growing market for ‘non-physical’ content.

As part of its strategy to become ‘a key player in the digital entertainment market’, the supermarket Sainsbury has announced it has bought HMV’s stake in the digital book retailer and social network Anobii, meaning it now owns 64% of the business.

Anobii enables its 600,000 users to research and read ebooks on a range of devices.   It is the social media element of the service which Sainsbury believes differentiates Anobii from other ebook retailers such as Amazon and Apple.

Meanwhile, Tesco has announced it is buying the music streaming service We7 which offers personalised online radio services to subscribers.  Tesco already has a stake in the movie/TV streaming service Blinkbox.  It offers streaming services to its Clubcard members, part of a growing trend of offering ‘merged’ physical and digital’ content to customers.

European businesses and information risk

Although intellectual property can represent a high percentage of a company’s value, a significant proportion of organisations are failing to protect their information assets.

According to research undertaken by Iron Mountain and PwC, European businesses are not taking the protection of corporate secrets and intellectual property (IP) as seriously as other information risk issues.

The research shows that only 41% of mid-sized European businesses have plans to protect intellectual property and that 54% of companies believe that safeguarding this type of information is less important than protecting financial, customer and employee information.

Four industry sectors (financial services; insurance; manufacturing; pharmaceuticals) in six European countries (France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, UK) were analysed.  The pharmaceutical industry, despite being IP intensive, performed the worst – only 30% of the companies include IP in their information risk management and data protection plans.

Companies should focus beyond the direct cost of data loss or theft and take into account other, less direct costs, such as the potential impact on brand reputation and public trust.  According to the research, the best companies:

  • Treat information as a board room issue
  • Have a balanced information strategy – which is regularly monitored
  • Have a multi-disciplinary team in charge of information risk

A summary of the report (Information Risk Maturity Index) is available here.

Students – leading the way or falling behind?

Two interesting pieces of research look at how students are interacting with digital information and e-resources.

A recent CourseSmart survey finds that more students are bringing laptops to class than a print textbook.  Only 5% said that a print textbook was the most important item in their bag.  90% of respondents said that the use of digital devices, e-readers etc helps them to save study time.  68% estimate they are saving at least two hours a day by using technology.

On average, students are using three devices per day – and 40% of them claim they can’t go for more than ten minutes without using some form of digital technology.

Easybib, a service which creates citations, has analysed the websites that students use most frequently – and discovered that four of the top ten are user generated sites including YouTube, Answers.com and Wikipedia.

Easybib has created an infographic (available here) which shows the key role of librarians in helping develop students information literacy skills.  The company will also work with the American Library Association to spread awareness of the importance of digital/information literacy.

Twitter use trends in the US

The latest report from the Pew Internet Project looks at the patterns of Twitter use in the US.

Pew introduced a standalone Twitter question in November 2010 and the latest figures show that 15% of online adults are now Twitter users.  8% of them are using Twitter on a typical day (a figure which has quadrupled since late 2010).

Other key findings:

Smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter

  • 20% of smartphone owners use Twitter
  • This may help explain the recent growth in Twitter use among young adults, who have largest increase in smartphone ownership

Some demographic groups stand out among their peers as having higher Twitter usage rates.

  • These include young adults, African Americans and urban and suburban residents

Twitter use on a typical day decreases with the respondents’ age

  • 20% of young adults (18-24) are Twitter users on a typical day
  • 11% of those aged 25-34 use Twitter
  • Only 1% of those aged over 65 are regular Twitter users.

Multi-lingual searching

Are you searching in more than one language?

According to Greenlight’s Search and Social Media Survey more than three-quarters of online searchers are using more than one language.

Spain, Italy and Belgium top the table of multi-lingual searchers – an astonishing 100% of respondents from these countries claim to search in multiple languages.  The findings underline the relative prevalence of English language web pages.  Unsurprisingly, the mainly English-speaking countries (Canada, UK and USA) appear at the bottom of the league table.

There are some differences according to occupation too.  Those working in marketing, communications, internet and technology roles are the most likely to search in more than one language.  Those working in the hospitality sectors are the least likely.

More information is available from Greenlight.

Equitable access to digital content

As the amount of content being delivered digitally increases, libraries are facing new challenges to their goal of enabling broad information access to their communities.  The American Library Association’s (ALA) new report E-content: the digital dialogue  features a number of articles and opinion pieces outlining the current challenging e-book landscape in American public libraries.

The ALA report explores a number of issues, including library-publisher relations and the wide variety of licensing models that are muddying the waters.  The publishing model has changed dramatically, and the lessons of the music industry are reverberating.  Publishers are struggling to find new ways to retain their financial viability while new competitors and business models are encroaching.  Major distributors such as Apple and Amazon are competing with both publishers and libraries by becoming e-book publishers and lenders.

The current uncertainty is reflected in the sheer number of licensing and purchasing models – from Harper Collins’ infamous 26 e-book loan limit to Random House’s offering of perpetual access to e-book purchases – but at a higher unit price.  Other big trade publishers are simply not selling e-books to public libraries at all.

Other models being tested include the ‘metering’ or pay per download model that enables publishers to get revenue for backlist titles, but is more challenging for libraries that have to be able to predict usage in order to set budgets.  The simultaneous access model allows libraries to buy broad access to e-books when they are popular and scale back after the initial demand is met.  Rent to buy, subscription plans and annual packages (called ‘bookshelf’ models) and ‘embargo’ models are also available.

The challenge is finding models that are deemed equitable for and by all stakeholders in the process – publishers, patrons, distributors, authors and their agents as well as libraries.  These parties have some common goals but also some conflicts.  The ALA believes that the debate is fundamental because it addresses why libraries exist and what their role will be in an increasingly ‘e’ world.

The report is free to download from the ALA website.

Research libraries in the 21st century

Although the purpose of academic and research library collections remains the same – to support the creation and dissemination of new knowledge – the nature of collections is moving away from ‘local’ to collaborative and multi-institutional.  New forms of scholarship are transforming user expectations for broad, barrier free collection discovery and access.  Libraries must transform their approaches to meet new user demands.

The Association of Research Libraries’ (ARL) briefing paper for research library leaders sets out to draw a ‘big picture’ of the future of research library collections.

Key findings – the research environment

  • Publishing output will continue to increase
  • Global/interdisciplinary research will grow
  • The value of personal collections will increase
  • Open content will proliferate

Key findings – the future of libraries

  • Researchers must understand intellectual property frameworks – libraries can provide support
  • Other new roles for research libraries include: digital preservation and data management experts and as supporters helping researchers collaborate even more
  • There will also be roles to support the open content movement, for example as publishers as well as IP rights advisers
  • Metrics about value to the research community must be improved
  • Research libraries will need to maintain linked, digital content in order to enable discovery and future use.
  • Resources will increasingly be allocated to the development of tools, an activity well suited to inter-institutional collaboration.
  • There will continue to be moves to providing just in time services rather than building just in case collections

The report is available to download from the ARL website.

In the humour for rumour

We all know that information (and rumours) spread quickly in social networks – but they can also be quickly denied and corrected too.  The Guardian newspaper in the UK explored how misinformation about the London riots spread via Twitter.  Comedian Graham Linehan deliberately started a Twitter rumour which, as he noted on his blog, soon spread and mutated.

Computer science researchers at Germany’s Saarland University say that they can now provide twelve pages of mathematical proof for this phenomenon.

Tobias Friedrich, Benjamin Doerr and Mahmoud Fouz say that their research suggests that information spreads much more quickly in social networks than in networks where everyone communicates with each other, or in randomly structured networks.  They say that the speed of spread is due to the combination of people with many contacts and people with a few contacts.  Those with few contacts (or new members) are likely to connect with highly connected individuals and this helps facilitate the speed of information flow.

I look forward to someone managing to explain the maths in 140 characters or less so I can spread it to my network!

(Thanks to Marydee Ojala for spotting the original story.)


ICT skills shortages – where are the women?

The technology sector may well be suffering from skills shortages but it is still not attracting enough women.  According to research conducted with 2,500 IT leaders from around the world, women are badly under-represented in IT roles.  Even more depressingly, there is little sign that this state of affairs will change soon.

The proportion of female technology leaders and CIOs has remained more or less static for the last seven years.  Only 7% of those responding to the survey were women.   35% of those surveyed reported that their organisations have no female technology managers while 24% have no women at all in their technical/development teams.

While digesting this report I came across this blog post by Lydia Leong of Gartner.  Lydia has a distinguished resume, having worked in IT for 20 years. She draws on her experiences – good and bad – to emphasise that corporate culture is what will make the difference when it comes to improving the representation of women in IT.

She also reports this jaw-dropping story.  At a recent Dell customer/partner summit in Copenhagen a controversial entertainer addressed the audience:

 “The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out. The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy,” (and asking the women, “What are you actually doing here?”).

At the time no-one from Dell felt moved to apologise about these comments – although it has since done so via Google+.  This kind of culture – one that hires ‘booth babes’ and speakers with well-known controversial opinions about women in the workplace – is what needs to change if women are to be better represented in IT.

The CIO Survey 2012 is available to download from Harvey Nash.