More Library Mashups Introduction

Whenever I give a talk about mashups, I like to start with a picture of s’mores. It’s the most delicious type of mashup. The term mashup didn’t originate with the s’more though; it started in the music industry, as a reference to mixing two or more songs together in various ways. For the purposes of this book, a mashup has to do with taking data from multiple sources and mixing the data together to provide better services for library patrons.

If you read Library Mashups, the precursor to this book, then you probably learned a lot of great ways to mash your data up. My favorite mashup from the first book—if an editor is allowed to choose a favorite—is that of Delicious (delicious.com) with your website. I used Delicious to bookmark all of the links found for this book (delicious.com/nengard/mash2nd) and for all the books I’ve written, so that I can generate easy-to-access pages of links for your reference. All it took was a consistent taxonomy and a little snippet of Javascript provided by Delicious. For example, to get the links from Chapter 1, I just pasted

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/js/nengard/mash2ndch1?title=&count=200&sort=alpha"></script>

onto the links page. To learn about how you can use Delicious in this way, check out Chapter 5 by Brian Herzog in Library Mashups.

In More Library Mashups, I bring together some familiar names and many new ones to share all new tips, tutorials, and stories of how libraries are using mashups. Some are as simple as copying a snippet of code while others are a bit more complex, but all are fascinating reads and will kickstart your creativity for mashing up your own library resources.

Part I begins with a few introductory chapters—some basic mashups that anyone can do with just the knowledge of a few simple web applications. These will introduce you to IFTTT (ifttt.com), a tool that allows you to pull in data from many sources to make content delivery and publication easy; ArcGIS (arcgis.com), a mapping application that makes map mashups easy; OpenRefine (openrefine.org), a tool for working with messy data; and Umlaut (github.com/team-umlaut/ umlaut), a just-in-time aggregator of “last mile” specific-citation services (you’ll have to read more to learn what that means).

Part II introduces you to various ways to enhance your library website with outside data. The authors in this section will help you integrate outside tools such as cover images, event calendars, subject guides, and social networks into your library website to give your patrons a one-stop shop for information. Some of these mashups require a bit of programming knowledge, while for others, it’s just a matter of finding the right widgets for the job. Whatever the case, the authors give you all the tools you need to get the job done.

In Part III, experts will walk you through ways to create mashups with your library catalog data. Five years ago, the hardest mashup to achieve was the catalog data mashup, and things have not really changed much, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. Learn how to answer reference questions on Twitter with a bot and present library information on a map. Explore an interactive physical device that lets users do anything from looking up and exploring library books to finding top stories on Wikipedia and delivering them alongside library holdings information.

Part IV takes you from the textual to the visual, through creating timelines and maps, and sharing pictures from your library. Visualizations are some of the most obvious types of mashups; in fact, the most common type of mashup listed on ProgrammableWeb (programmableweb.com) is the map mashup (Figure I.1).

Finally, Part V will cover general ways to add value to library services, including BookMeUp and Serendip-o-matic, two tools that help you find library resources; SearchWorks at Stanford for finding information in any library collection; and MarcEdit and Libki, each with Koha, for providing better data and services for your patrons. It also shows you how to use various data sources to generate a current awareness service.

Besides directing you to online tools to help you mash up data at your library, I hope More Library Mashups sparks your imagination. The contributors and I would love to hear from you after you’ve read the book, so contact information is provided in the About the Contributors and About the Editor sections at the end of the book. A website with links to resources in the book and stories from our readers will also be maintained at mashups.web2learning.net.

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