A snapshot of content on Paperight: December 2012

In the first phase of Paperight’s development, the broad goal of the Paperight content team was to have 1000 products listed on Paperight in four months (November 2011-February 2012). This was achieved on the Paperight alpha site, you can see that breakdown of content here. When the full-featured Paperight website went live in May 2012, its technical requirements meant this catalogue had to be rebuilt almost from scratch. The content on Paperight has also shifted from primarily Creative Commons licensed and public domain works, to include titles from a total of 36 publishers. We continue to have a large base of CC-licensed and public domain material, but this has been supplemented by contemporary African and South African fiction, academic work, study-guides, and teachers resources.

Research & analysis of listed titles

The graph below roughly illustrates, based on year of publication, the composition of the current Paperight database in comparison to that of the database in February 2012. The comparison illustrates that we currently have a much larger proportion of contemporary, licensed titles than we did before. Due to the fact that some of our earlier public domain texts have not yet been processed for upload on the site, there has been a drop in the amount of public domain titles listed on the site.

Since February we have nearly doubled our acquired content, and have increased the amount of documents that have been processed for automatic download tenfold. Currently there are 1146 processed documents listed on the site, with 771 documents awaiting processing (and which will be completed when automated doc-processing has been developed).

Content composition

The composition of listed titles is further demonstrated by the following data visualisations, which provide an overview of the percentage of books per genre. The second and third charts show the composition of sub-genres within two of the primary genres of ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’.

Themes identified within listed content

The books on the Paperight website encompass a wide range of themes in the social sciences, both of an academic and general nature. These mostly include books on politics (political parties and parliamentary politics), history, civil society and  mass media. There is a also a strong collection of African biographies and memoirs, African poetry and plays, African literary criticism and a broad collection of books on conservation and environmental issues. There is also an incredible collection of books on higher education, especially in Africa. Some of the books in our collection (especially books on African philosophy, the biographies and seminal works by past and contemporary African intellectuals) are not as easily available anywhere else in South Africa as they are on Paperight.  There are also books on cellphone culture in Africa,  African popular culture, books on gender and a wide-range of popular and literary fiction.