This is something of a ‘hobby’ rather than a work-related library blog post.
I recently started using Foursquare, the “location-based social networking website“, and it’s got me thinking (again) about genning up on geolocation and how to handle geodata in practical, mashup-y ways. (My brother works with geographical information systems and geodata professionally; I’m a bit of a cartophile at heart; I’m interested in library geolocation and space/time services – I’d like to bring all of these things together and really learn how to handle web mapping data properly.)
So: I’ve begun to mess around with location data that I’m producing myself, through various sites on which I have a profile, and which is available in KML or some other standard geodata format.
5. Mashup! I’m reading up on the Google Maps APIs, which are the standard tool for manipulating KML in a web browser. (It’s not possible to display multiple KML files in the standard maps.google.co.uk display, though you can do so easily in Google Earth.)
In talking about authentication issues, the notion kept coming up that single, central, shared registries of information about libraries (e.g. the WorldCat Registry) could be valuable in helping publishers to make it easier for users to navigate to subscribed content via their own institution’s login option(s).
This spurred me to thinking: in what central/shared registries are our library details held, and what use can I [and our students/staff] make of this information?
This’ll be one of those blog posts that I’m still adding to in a year’s time, as I remember more stuff. I’ve(And a passing thought – wouldn’t it be cool if there was a single über-registry for libraries that brought all of these details together using a single API? Anyone?)
The University of Lincoln has library information registered with:
1. ISIL – International Standard Identifier for Libraries
University of Lincoln: Great Central Warehouse University Library
University of Lincoln: Theology Reading Room, Chad Varah House
University of Lincoln: Riseholme Park Campus Library
University of Lincoln: Holbeach Campus Library
University of Lincoln: Hull Campus Library
2. LibraryThing local
LibraryThing local (www.librarything.com/local) is a user-maintained directory and “gateway to thousands of local bookstores, libraries and book festivals“. LibraryThing users can create and edit entries for individual libraries, browse libraries by geographical area (including via a nice Google Maps display), add libraries to a list of favourites, and subscribe to RSS feeds of library events in their area (e.g.). We don’t really make use of these features – we don’t run a lot of ‘public’ events at the moment.
We’ve had directory entries since 2009 for four out of our five libraries, which I’ve “claimed” using my own LT account – writing this, I’ve noticed that the Theology Reading Room doesn’t have an entry.
Our OpenURL link resolver (EBSCO LinkSource) is registered with the OpenURL Router service, maintained by EDINA for all UK HE and FE institutions. The registry holds details of our base URL for constructing links, our preferred link resolver button image , and our authentication details (UK Federation scope and IP ranges).
Service providers can construct OpenURLs for our users with the base URL: http://openurl.ac.uk/
4. Talis Silkworm Directory
We have (had?) entries in the Talis Silkworm Directory (directory.talis.com) for all five of our libraries. This is (was?) a community-driven open directory of information about libraries, that powers (powered?) mashups like Philip Adams’ SCONUL Access libraries maps on the De Montfort University library website.
As you can probably tell from my present/past tense confusion above, I don’t know if this directory is still operational. I’d heard it was defunct some time ago, and it now appears that the directory.talis.com subdomain has been switched off.
5. Social networking websites
The GCW University Library has a page on Foursquare, the “location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore”. An interesting one this – it’s not a library-focused service, and not one we ‘control’ (though the official @unilincoln Twitter account is listed as ‘staff’), but probably the site that most of our users will interact with.
We also have a Flickr profile: I used it to upload a set of (mainly) historical photos of the GCW building, back in October/November 2008. I haven’t used it since. We’ve never bothered with specific Library accounts on Twitter or Facebook*.
6. UK Access Management Federation
We’re a member of the UK Access Management Federation: this controls all sorts of authentication to third-party electronic resources and comes with its own set of jargon:
Our ‘scope’ is: lincoln.ac.uk
Our ‘entity ID‘ is: https://idp.lincoln.ac.uk/shibboleth (N.B. this is not a ‘real’ URL!)
This is the newest one on me: although I think I remember someone from OCLC (Mark Allcock?) talking about it at the first UK Mashed Library event in 2008; it was only a Twitter conversation last week that promopted me to look at it in earnest.
Again, four out of our five libraries already have profiles (which I’ve now “claimed”). I’m still exploring the site, and I haven’t yet updated/registered all of our details, so I’m not entirely sure what benefits we can get from it – I’d appreciate any advice from WorldCat Registry old hands. I don’t understand how the WorldCat Registry relates to the WorldCat Affiliate Tools—if at all—either.
So: how did it go? I enjoyed the day, just as I’ve enjoyed every mashlib event… but as organiser (and one with a pessimistic streak), I seem to only be able to remember the things that went wrong! That’s no reflection on the speakers and workshop co-ordinators: without whom the day just couldn’t have happened: but I don’t feel we quite got the balance between conference-style organisation and unconference-anarchy quite right. The afternoon, particularly, I felt lost a bit of focus and left people feeling un-cared-for. Maybe a mashup challenge or group activity would have kept people’s spirits up?
Anyway, it’s given me something to think about as I plan my next mashlib.
Thank you to everyone who attended; a big thankyou to the brilliant speakers; and thanks also to my fellow organisers and all the people at the University of Lincoln who made it work on the day. Finally, thank you to RLUK: without whose generous sponsorship, no pancakes. See you at the next one.
Various people spoke throughout the morning about different aspects of open library systems, including products such as VuFind and Blacklight; software toolkits like Juice*; Linked Data and RDA… followed, in the afternoon, by the now-traditional practical mashing workshops.