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Fast Facts

Gary Pattillo is reference librarian at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, e-mail: pattillo@email.unc.edu

Disinformation is big business

The Global Disinformation Index is an organization working to create the first global rating system for the world’s media that will assign a rating to each Internet source based on the probability of that source carrying disinformation. Their latest study estimates that ad exchanges pay $235 million each year to disinformation domains for carrying brands’ programmatic advertising. The estimate is based on estimates for 20,000 disinforming domains gathered from around the web.

Global Disinformation Index, https://disinformationindex.org/research (retrieved September 9, 2019).

Web search results

In July 2019, for the first time, a majority of all browser-based Google searches resulted in zero clicks away from the results page, according to a study from software company SparkToro. Google’s functionality has changed to keep users within the Google ecosystem rather than refer them outside of it. Ninety-four percent of all search engine searches happen on a Google property.

Rand Fishkin, “Less than Half of Google Searches Now Result in a Click,” SparkToro, August 13, 2019, https://sparktoro.com/blog/less-than-half-of-google-searches-now-result-in-a-click (retrieved September 9, 2019).

Graduate student debt

The percentage of graduate students who received any federal financial aid was 39 percent in 2003–04 and 41 percent in 2015–16. The average amount of federal financial aid received by graduate students receiving federal aid was $19,100 in 2003–04 and $23,800 in 2015–16.

National Center for Education Statistics, “Trends in Graduate Student Financing: Selected Years, 2003–04 to 2015–16,” NCES 2019-485, September 6, 2019, https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2019485 (retrieved September 9, 2019).

UK print and audiobook sales

Sales of print books in the United Kingdom fell 5.4 percent in 2018 after having risen annually the previous four years. Audiobook sales, however, rose 43 percent in 2018. Consumer ebook sales in the UK continued to decline, down 2 percent.

Mark Sweney, “New Chapter? UK Print Book Sales Fall While Audiobooks Surge 43%,” The Guardian, June 25, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jun/26/new-chapter-uk-print-book-sales-fall-while-audiobooks-surge-43 (retrieved September 5, 2019).

Postsecondary education

The percentage of 2009 ninth-graders who were enrolled in postsecondary education in 2016 was 50 percentage points larger for the highest-socioeconomic status (SES) students (78 percent) than for the lowest-SES students (28 percent). Among the highest-SES 2009 ninth-graders who had enrolled in a postsecondary institution by 2016, more than three-quarters (78 percent) first pursued a bachelor’s degree and 13 percent first pursued an associate’s degree. Among the lowest-SES students, in contrast, the percentage who first pursued a bachelor’s degree (32 percent) was smaller than the percentage who first pursued an associate’s degree (42 percent).

Joel McFarland, Bill Hussar, Jijun Zhang, Xiaolei Wang, Ke Wang, et al., The Condition of Education 2019 (NCES 2019-144), U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2019144 (retrieved September 9, 2019).

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