Mucho Mashup

The best part of winning a competition is, by far, is that I get to sport my very own winner’s tile!

Given all the other wonderful entries, I was very surprised and honored to find out that I won Talis‘s Mashing up the Library competition. The fact that Talis offered the competition in the first place is a testament to their dedication toward building a new kind of library system–one that places its users at the center. Whether that user be a patron or a systems guru, mashups imply openness: a virtue that the beleaguered Old Way lacks. By promoting development in such a way, by extending this competition to anyone–not just their customers–Talis has valued the message over the messenger. Back in June, the competition was announced. It was followed by a series of blog posts and a podcast introducing the library community to mashups and their significance. This gave librarians time to digest the concept and experiment with it.

I was impressed with all the entries. Several, in particular, caught my eye as either particularly interesting or meaningful. Of course, the second place entry, submitted by the Alliance Library System for their Second Life library is unique indeed. Paul Miller lauds their spirit of cooperation. I think it’s just dang cool and I would participate more in it if I could figure out how to take the grand piano off my head!

Another interesting entry was submitted by Art Rhyno and Ross Singer. Their idea was to use Google Desktop as a catalog repository. As far as mashups go, it’s a little more technically involved, but its possible applications are very compelling indeed.

The folks at The State and University Library (In Denmark?) submitted what looks to be a search engine that aggregates a number of data sources. It appears to be modular so that new sources can be easily plugged in. Definitely a project worth watching. They call it Summa.

Mike Cunningham threw together a slick little book cover browser using Yahoo’s carousel component. It’s definitely a mashup in the true sense of the word and it gives me some ideas…

Someone whose username is dburden put together a little text-to-speech reference robot. I couldn’t get it to work on my laptop, but the idea seemed solid and was ingenious!

Talis has decided to renew the competition but keep it open on an ongoing basis. My hope (and theirs too) is that more library folk will join the fray and showcase their creations for the betterment of libraries everywhere.

Thanks to Talis and all who participated.

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