Each year we look back at the most-read stories on Geosynthetica. One of the fascinating things about this year’s list is how our readers were doing the same: looking back. More than half of the Top 10 articles are from previous years. The 2018 volume of stories performed particularly well.
It’s a testament to the enduring relevancy of the geosynthetic engineering work and the topics involved. It is also a fitting way to close out 2020’s volume, because we celebrated our 20th anniversary this year. To see so many stories continue to draw strong interest is a gift from our readership. Now, we’re left wondering what of this year’s new stories will re-emerge in 2021 or 2022’s most-read articles.
GEOSYNTHETICA’S MOST-READ STORIES 2020
We lost Dr. Robert Koerner and Paula Koerner in December 2019, a shocking development that quickly became 2019’s most-read story. (It actually made it into the Top 10 for 2020 as well.) In February 2020, we lost another industry colleague quite suddenly: Dr. Tim Bauters. He was a well-liked figure in the field and news of his death became the most-read article on Geosynthetica for the year. In fact, the only other page on the site that was more often visited was the home page.
This came as something of a surprise for Geosynthetica’s team, as we revisited this 2018 article for a #ThrowbackThursday post in social media and as part of a wastewater series on Geosynthetica. Johnny Oriokot, Donovan Bate, and Gerard Dirks’s 2018 article was the biggest project story of 2018. In 2020, it caught fire again, buoyed by social sharing (particularly on LinkedIn).
In November 2019, Geosynthetica managed the GAP 2019 conference with multiple federal agencies involved. The focus of the event was Geotechnical Aspects of Pavements, Railways, and Airfields and its proceedings were released on Geosynthetica throughout the first and second quarter of 2020. The interdisciplinary focus was of keen interest to readers.
This is a cheat, honestly. It is not a proper article. Rather, it is an oft-updated post on webinars and online events of interest to the geosynthetics community. BUT, the strength of readership for it underscores one of the field-altering stories for 2020: the embrace of online education throughout the geotechnical engineering world.
Never underestimate the power of video! While we are never surprised to see a video story in the Top 10, we were very surprised to find a short 2015 note about this Geofabrics’ video surge in readership in 2020. Geofabrics is still advancing its applications with this drainage system, by the way.
During April 2020, Geosynthetica celebrated 30 Days of Earth Day, and part of the celebration involved revisiting the best of our sustainability stories. José Miguel Muñoz Gómez’s 2018 story returned to the most-read list as we recognized the 50th Earth Day.
Gabion wall stories have had a strong history on Geosynthetica, so it was not surprising to find this entry from Maccaferri among the most popular reads this year. However, this particular case study is another 2018 article that re-entered the Top 10, through a mix of social media sharing and organic search performance. FUN FACT: This story had the exact same number of reads as the previously listed story on the carbon footprint of HDPE geomembranes.
HUESKER garnered a lot of interest for its work in slope erosion control applications in 2016, as evidenced by the strength of readership for this story then. This year, readers returned to it, in part from application searches on the site and in part from Google searches for the product.
The trend of pulling from the past continued as TenCate’s article from 2017 burst back onto the list. Certainly, some of the performance of the story has been supported by Geosynthetica’s redesign and how our work behind the scenes helps articles in internet searches. But, it’s also the quality of the engineering and topical interest from the audience. We were really happy to see this story grab the spotlight again.
As mentioned in the top story about the death of Tim Bauters, the December 2019 loss of Dr. Robert Koerner and Paula Koerner of the Geosynthetic Institute and Koerner Family Foundation was still very much in our thoughts in 2020. Our late 2019 in memoriam article continued to draw readers through February. Coming in at #10 for the year, it is a fitting bookend to the list.