The Mashup, where data from one or more sites is brought together to add value to the data on another site, is only four years old. Google Maps, the basis for so many of these was released in February 2005. The iconic early example being HousingMaps.com which brings together [mashes up] data from Craigslist.org and displays it on a Google Map. Nevertheless in those few short years the mashup has become an established part of the web, and libraries are not immune from the trend. Links out to Google Book Search, WorldCat, and many other ways of enriching the library interface are not that uncommon an addition to OPAC and other library interfaces.
As this month’s Gang – Tallin Bingham, Marshall Breeding, Nicole Engard, and Frances Haugen - discuss, it is not just about adding interesting widgets to our interfaces. These mashups depend on data being reliably available from within the library system and other external services in a form that is easy to understand and consume. The mashup phenomena has spread so quickly because they are so easy to produce and the library world needs to follow that trend by agreeing some conventions for the exposure of data - biblographic, usage, statistical, etc. – in a way that it easy for others to consume. Many of the most successful mashups use data in a way that the publisher’s of that data did not initially envisage.
During the conversation the following were referenced:
Competition This month’s show launches the Library 2.0 Gang Mashup Idea competition. To enter you need to send in your idea for a library mashup. It can be as simple or complex as you like. The only restriction being that it must include library data or functionality somewhere within it. The best three, as judged by Nicole Engard and myself, will each receive a copy of the Library Mashups book she has edited. Closing date is August 31st, send your entries to email@example.com.