Thursday, August 21, 2008

Highlights from Mashup the Library

Mashup the Library! Highlights from the CARL IT Interest Group Workshop

The theme for the 4th Annual CARL Information Technology Interest Group Workshop, held on July 25, 2008, was Mashup the Library.

This workshop focused on exploring technology trends that have us remixing library and information resources in new and exciting ways. Drawing over 70 attendees from around the Bay Area, the day offered a full spectrum of speakers and demonstrations, and even a tour of the newly opened and innovative Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center and Orradre Library at Santa Clara University. This year’s workshop was held in their very elegant St. Clare Room.

First up was Rachel Smith, Vice President of NMC Services for the New Media Consortium, who directs the creation of the annual Horizon Report (a collaborative project of the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative). The Horizon Report identifies and describes emerging technologies that are likely to have a large impact on teaching and learning that goes on in higher education. Attendees enjoyed her approachable and energizing introduction to the six emerging technologies that have been identified in the 2008 edition of the report. Using a VUVOX collage, rather than traditional Microsoft PowerPoint, Rachel walked through this year’s forecast which included descriptions and applications of Grassroots Video , Collaborative Web, Data Mashups, Collected Intelligence, and Social Operating Systems.

Rachel also described the process for distilling the viewpoints of over 175 international members of the Horizon Report advisory board . There are no face-to-face meetings, all work is done online and documented in a wiki. View Rachel’s VUVOX collage, including links to examples of technology applications.

Next, Dr. Raymond Yee, a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s School of Information where he teaches the course "Mixing and Remixing Information" and author of Pro Web 2.0 Mashups: Remixing Data and Web Services , focused attendees on what mashup technology is and how it works. Using examples from Google Maps and the Cragislist website, Raymond demonstrated how Housing Maps creates a visual display of current home rental opportunities in various Bay Area locations. Other examples demonstrated were the LibraryLookup Project by John Ludel and Geotagging in Flickr using Google Maps. Additionally, Raymond explained how to create a mashup using Yahoo Pipes. His example used the New York Times World Section and Google Maps. Google Maps is a popular mashup visual resource. In fact, Google embraced this trend and released an API (application programming interface) that formalizes how people can use Google Maps for all sorts of mashups. Learn more about the work of Raymond Yee at his blog Data Unbound.

In the afternoon, attendees immersed themselves into even more examples and demonstrations of mashup technology. Jill Tinsley, a recent MLIS graduate from the University of Arizona, provided a survey of visual searching resources, including oSkope Visual Search, Aquabrowser, WebBrain, Tafiti, Viewzi, and SearchMe, to name a few.

This year’s Cool Tools! demonstrations included three exciting tools that utilized mashups and web 2.0 technologies. Virtual Shelf was demonstrated by UC Berkeley School of Information 2nd year Masters students Devin Blong & Jonathan Breitbart. This student project created for the Open Library Project (Internet Archive) allows users to visually explore online print collections. Harrison Dekker, Data Services Librarian at UC Berkeley’s Doe/Moffitt Library, got playful with Google’s versitile visualization tools for numeric data available in their web-based spreadsheet application. And Laura Moody, Music Librarian and CARL member from San Francisco State University, provided a tour of LibGuides, a new tool from Springshare that helps libraries use web 2.0 technology to organize and distribute subject and research guide resources (example from SFSU).

And if that wasn’t enough of a visual and informative feast, the day was capped off with an introduction and tour of the Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center and Orradre Library. SCU University Librarian Liz Salzer, our workshop host, described the opening of their new facility, and tour guides offered attendees a glimpse of the building, which includes their Automatic Retrieval System (ARS), reconfigurable collaborative spaces, casual lounge seating, video editing suites, educational experimentation rooms, a café, and much more.

This year’s workshop attendees carried away ideas and, hopefully, a new understanding of what mashup technology can do, and is already doing, for libraries.

Special thanks goes to the dedicated CARL members who help make these workshops happen:

Mari Miller, the original organizer of this IG who provided leadership for previous workshops of the past 3 years. Mari has finally received a break from being chair of this group, but continues to provide valuable program planning contributions. Thank you Susan Boyd, who was indispensable as our location coordinator in charge of all venue arrangements and making it possible for our being at the beautiful St. Clare Room.

Thanks to our program planners for handling all the details, big and small: Pam Howard, Ya Wang, Carol Pearce, Jackie Siminitus, John Wenzler , Christine Holmes, and Rob Boyd.

Sheila Cunningham
Ann Hubble

Co-Chairs, 2007-2008
CARL North IT Interest Group


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