Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mashups What Happened?

I recently read where the Journal of Biomedical Informatics recently had a call for papers for their special issue on Semantic Biomedical Mashups. I look forward to reading it when it comes out. However, this has me thinking. Where are all the library mashups? Talis had the Mashing up the Library competition last year, but I haven't seen any information on it for this year. The Talis Mashing of the Library competition boards are silent. The last post was made by David Rothman over 27 weeks ago. The Second OCLC Research Software Contest ran from July 1, 2006 through September 2006, however I haven't heard anything about it this year.

Where have all the mashups gone? Of all the Web 2.0 things out there, I honestly thought mashups would be BIG. A mashup combines two or more other applications creating another application that can help you better perform different activities. Some examples are: "A Customizable 'Mash-Up' for Model and Disease Organisms" (presented at MLA 2007), (online real estate valuation guide), Umlaut (OpenURL mashup), Slidecasts (mashup of PowerPoint slides and audio).

So what happened? Are the mashers too busy working on their latest creation to be discussing it online? Are mashups still too technical for the average person to create to be popular in the library world? Are librarians victims of their closed systems, thus limiting the amount of mashups created and used?


At 3:41 PM, Tony Hirst said...

A week or two ago, Stephen Downes linked to Innovate and Integrate: Embedding Innovative Practices Research with the comment "I sometimes despair of seeing innovation happen in the wider e-learning community and I sometimes try to simply forge ahead and let the community take care of itself."

He then draws on a quote from the linked report to clarify his position: "The skewed view of 'innovators' limits opportunities to embed innovative practice." Specifically, "Practitioners and managers nominated be their peers as 'innovators' tended to have one particular innovation style - Exploring."

So maybe, a year ago, when mashups became 'easy' for the explorer/innovators to knock up, the low hanging fruit from the library sector was duly picked and mashed.

There is a world of difference in going from prototype to production system, however, and so it's probably hardly surprising that legacy systems haven't been washed away by lightweight mashups.

As for a continuing stream of newer mashups? Maybe when libraries reciprocate with some accessible data ;-)

At 9:42 PM, Edward Vielmetti said...

I wrote a response on Superpatron - echoing your question mashups - what happened?.

Some piece of easier mashups depends on libraries providing easier access to data, and some part of new mashups will revisit the old cool ideas and splice them into new channels.

I'm guessing the next one I do if I get a spare half hour is the "rss feed of new cookery books + twitterfeed" to put that stream into Twitter.


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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: