Because I have been running into some PHP road blocks that I have been unable to resolve, I needed to answer a dumb question: How long are the articles in CCC over the past twenty years?
This simple line graph charts the page count of CCC articles over the period in question. It answers my question, and it also more or less affirms the lengthening of article manuscripts–a gradual inflation we may well know about implicitly. Glancing the stacks in this way simply attests to it. The shortest are, these days, less short; the longest are longer. At this rate, in as little as 50 years, scholarly articles will on average exceed 100 pages. With any luck I will retire before then. If nothing else, the next half-century will require us to be more discerning readers, if the manuscript up-tick we have already witnessed has not already.
In putting the graph hastily together, I have neglected a number of factors–pull quotes that made articles slightly longer, changes to the layout of the journal around 2000 (did the average words per page remain constant?), and probably a few other things I haven’t thought about yet.
What remains puzzling is that the PHP script I have been working with will not do its thing with Rouzie’s 49-page article from 2001, but it is successful with Selfe and Hawisher’s biggest-of-them-all, a 50-pager from 2004. The difference between them is slight. It can be measured in words. I will see to that soon. But I am closer to troubleshooting the PHP, closer to figuring out why. Think of this as one of the what crumbs sprinkled along the uneven path.