Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo! Pipes’

Where have you been all my life?

Posted on November 22nd, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

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.


1. My Foursquare check-in location data, available from, as KML.

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2. The locations of photos I’ve uploaded to Flickr, accessible from a feed at the bottom of my photostream page as KML (most recent few photos only).

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3. Tweets geotagged using Twitter’s (often somewhat unreliable/easily-distracted) location service. This was the most complicated: taking my RSS feed of recent tweets at and feeding it through this Yahoo! Pipe results in this KML file.

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4. Find which other [social] websites might be offer up geotagged feeds of my activity.

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 display, though you can do so easily in Google Earth.)

6. ???

7. Profit!

Mash it up, mash it in, let me begin

Posted on April 15th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

I went to Goldsmiths, University of London, today, at the invitation of Craigie-Lee Paterson, for a mashlib event of sorts.

While I remembered my camera, I forgot to put its battery in: so unfortunately no photos from me. Here’s one from CLP, though: entitled “Earnest, Pensive and Nonchalant“.

Phone camera photo by Craigie-Lee Paterson

And another one of me pretending to understand open bibliographic data.

Photo by Chris Keene

There were about 17 people there, so it was nice and intimate! Mostly drawn from member institutions of the M25 consortium, but at least one delegate had come from as far away as York St John University.

First speaker in the morning was the University of Sussex’s Chris Keene, who gave a high(ish)-level overview of the principles of mashing up data, and the ways in which the Web is changing.

Next, Gary Green went through some more practical examples of how the ‘standard toolkit’ of Yahoo! Pipes, Google spreadsheets, Firefox extensions, Twitter et al.

Lastly for the morning session, I talked about Jerome before a bit of a group discussion about the difficulties in developing a mashup ‘culture’ in universities.

After a very healthy(!) lunch (surely not a real mashed library event; not with fruit on the table…), we moved into an I.T. lab in Goldsmith’s library for the hands-on afternoon. Gary walked the group through Yahoo! Pipes 101 before people had a go at manipulating their own data and feeds in Pipes (I saw people hacking into EPrints, Google Reader, Twitter and the Guardian, amongst other data sources). Finally, we discussed ways of presenting RSS feeds to users, and I rounded it off with a look at using Google spreadsheets and cheap tools for manipulating and presenting journal information.

Thanks to CLP for the invitation to take part. And thank you for all the positive|feedback|and|nice|comments.

Tweets from the day (hashtag #clp25mash) are saved in Twapper Keeper.

List of UK public libraries with downloadable e-books (mashup)

Posted on February 21st, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

This week, I spotted that my local public library service (Lincolnshire County Council) have launched an e-books service. Hooray for them – they’ve also recently upgraded all the PCs and introduced wifi in my local branch library.

With many local libraries being cut or placed under threat, and their technological relevance criticised (often ignorantly), even by the PM, it’s great to see investment going in to library technology in Lincolnshire.

The Lincolnshire county libraries e-books site is at:

(It’s not obvious who provides this e-books platform, but it appears Warwickshire County Council—and possibly no-one else—has chosen the same provider.)

It got me wondering: how many UK public libraries currently provide an e-book download service?

To try and find out, I’ve created a (publicly-editable) Google spreadsheet wiki, containing the names of the 232 top-level local authorities in the UK, along with a column indicating whether or not they provide an e-book download service {1|0}, and columns for the URL and provider of that service.

At the time of writing, there are 48 public library e-book download services listed. If I’ve missed one that you know about, you can edit the spreadsheet yourself.

Screenshot of the public library downloadable e-books spreadsheet on Google Docs

I’ve then used a simple, 4-part Yahoo! Pipe to turn the CSV data output from that spreadsheet into an RSS feed containing only those councils that do provide downloadable e-books.

Screenshot of my public library e-book download Yahoo! Pipe

The finished RSS feed is at:

Screenshot of the RSS feed of public library e-book download services

Next, if I can remember my way round the GeoNames/ Maps APIs, I’ll have a go at plotting the e-book-providing libraries on a map.

Mashing for the M25 consortium

Posted on February 16th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

I’m speaking at a one-day cpd25 event on ‘Mashups And Libraries‘ at Goldsmiths, University of London, on Wednesday, 13 April 2011. cpd25 is a ‘Staff Development and Training Organisation working in association with the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries‘ in the south-east of England.

The event costs £45 for cpd25 members (£65 for non-members). I’ll be talking/demoing/guiding people in using Yahoo! Pipes and Google spreadsheets for library mashups.

From the cpd25 website:

This event will give you an overview of mashups from some of the experts, relating mashups to the Library setting. Then in the afternoon you can have a go at creating your own mashups.

What are Mashups?

They are web applications that combine freely available data from various sources to create something new and potentially more useful into a single tool. They can be a very powerful way to meet our user’s varied expectations and provide excellent web-based services adding value to library websites and library catalogues. They can also allow libraries to promote Library services where the users are.

Venue: Goldmsiths, University of London

Event programme

9.30-10.00 Coffee and registration
10.00-12.45 Presentations including examples of mashups in Libraries
12.45-1.45 Lunch

1.45-4.30 Create your own mashups – hands on session (Paul Stainthorp Electronic Resources Librarian) yahoo pipes/google data 101 session. Parallel session tba.

All day event – you can come for just the morning presentations or stay for the whole event (both options include lunch)


Chris Keene Technical Development Manager(Library, University of Sussex)

Julian Cheal Systems Developer (UKOLN)

Gary Green technical Librarian (Surrey County Council)

Paul Stainthorp Electronic Resources Librarian (University of Lincoln)

to attend the morning session – £35 for cpd25 members (£55 for non-members)
to attend all day – £45 for cpd25 members (£65 for non-members)
Lunch and refreshments included in both prices.

Please note that places are limited.
To book a place please use our online booking form or email the administrator via

Cancellations less than one week before the event will be charged a 50% cancellation fee. In the event of a ‘no-show’ on the day, the full fee will be charged.