Unexpected usage no. 7: Predictable readers?

Pierre-Carl Langlais has a PhD in information and communication science and is working with OpenEdition Lab on the unexpected reader detector. Studying OpenEdition’s statistics, he discovered several enlightening cases of how content on the platform has been read and reappropriated, which we are sharing here.

If you would like to tell us about other cases, please contact us at lab@openedition.org

Unexpected usages are not always unpredictable: some publications seem to “periodically” attract crowds of readers. An article published in 2011 by the journal Volumes suddenly attracted the interest of dozens of readers between late February and early March, i.e. during the Rio Carnival. The article describes the emergence of the samba, a Brazilian genre that, according to the author, is “associated with the early days of the Carnival”.

As the map below shows, French speakers around the world (France, Dominican Republic, Algeria, Brazil, etc.) were clearly hoping to learn more about this emblematic cultural event at this time of the year.

For the time being, we have only used the unexpected reader detector for high-quality statistics collected by OpenEdition since December 2016: it will be retroactively applied to these older data as soon as they have been “cleaned” (in particular, excised of recurrent consultations by robots). We are expecting to find similar peaks in the readership of this article from Volumes during previous Carnivals …


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