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February 22, 2007

I have an inkling ...

Which candidate will be the next dean for the School of Information at the University of Michigan? is a new market on inkling, a futures prediction site. Most reassuring is the bottom ranking for "none of the above."

It will be interesting to see how this particular example of the "wisdom of crowds" will play out. It may depend on how informed the traders are (not inside info, but how much they know about the candidates, UM, SI, and academics in general). Will the market prevail with a correct prediction, or prove the Despair, Inc, slogan "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

Thanks to Ed Vielmetti for noticing this market and posting on his blog. For more information on prediction markets, see the Wikipedia article or this introduction by NewsFutures.com

Has anyone used this for gauging interest or likely success of a new library service or feature? Any thoughts on how successful it would be?

Posted by janeblum at February 22, 2007 09:04 AM


You're not the only one using "michigan" as a tag, Ed, as I'm sure you know. I'm not sure what it says about us that the majority of markets tagged "michigan" relate to sports in some way.

I'm not sure how predicting holds on a book would benefit the library - the holds themselves are an indicator of interest that drives pruchasing decisions. But, being in an academic library, I have somewhat different interests than the public library does, even though AADL is one of my favorite institutions.

It might be an interesting exercise to open a market on how many people will attend a partiuclar class, but if it weren't directly on one of our web pages I don't think it would get much input. Still, it's worth continuing to give some thought to how we might use this.

Posted by: janeblum at February 24, 2007 11:43 AM

Thanks Jane.

If you look for the tag 'michigan' you'll see a few more markets set up. I host a weekly Thursday lunch and am predicting attendance; next week's contract (A2B3A) is currently priced at $18 e.g. 18 people attending.

I'm thinking what I can do to get feedback from libraries. The AADL has hold counts online, so you could do short term markets in the # of holds on a particular book (e.g. Harry Potter) and predict that. If other library metrics like total circulations were readily and regularly available that would be nice to forecast.

Posted by: emv at February 23, 2007 02:46 AM

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