Open for Reuse: Library data and mashups


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Presentation given at CILIP Cymru conference in 2012

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Open for Reuse: Library data and mashups

  1. 1. Open for reuse: library data and mashups Owen Stephens CILIP Cymru 2012 ConferenceWednesday, 23 May 2012
  2. 2. an initiative to improve resource discovery by establishing a clear set of principles and practices for the publication and aggregation of open, reusable, metadata, 23 May 2012A lot of my thinking in this area informed by work I’ve done with the UK Discovery project,although I’m not here directly representing the project, and views my own!What is Discovery? - the one liner:“an initiative to improve resource discovery by establishing a clear set of principles andpractices for the publication and aggregation of open, reusable, metadata”RDTF - The ‘Resource Discovery Task Force’ – set up by JISC and RLUK (Research Libraries UK) to“discuss what needs to be provided to help people discover and access items from Higher EducationLibraries, Museums and Archives throughout the UK. “ ( )Result was a ‘Vision’ document, which set out a strategy of useful data aggregations built on“open metadata about institutional collections”
  3. 3. Justin Hampton (originally posted on, 23 May 2012What is a mashup? “a digital media file containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video, and animation, which recombines and modifiesexisting digital works to create a derivative work.”For me - creativity meets technology. While I think it is arguable that technology is not an essential part of this, I believe it is theease with which digital content can be repurposedlatter not essential but enables?Probably earliest ʻmashupsʼ were musical (term coined around 2001 as far as I can tell) - the Grey Album being a high profile example (2004)- remixing JayZeeʼs Black Album with samples from the Beatles White Album.With the increasing availability of video in digital form, as well as ways to share the results easily (i.e. YouTube), video mashups also becamecommonHowever the mashups Iʼll be talking about today mashup not music or video, but information
  4. 4., 23 May 2012So much data has a geographic aspect - when you combine that with map data, powerful way tovisualise thingsGoogle Maps has clearly led the way here, but with the Ordnance Survey opening up their data, thisopens new opportunities in the UK
  5. 5. Powered by craigslist and Google Maps (this site is in no way affiliated with craigslist or Google), 23 May 2012So much data has a geographic aspect - when you combine that with map data, powerful way tovisualise thingsGoogle Maps has clearly led the way here, but with the Ordnance Survey opening up their data, thisopens new opportunities in the UK
  6. 6. ra ry L ib da ta “Life is like a box of chocolates”Wednesday, 23 May 2012Well, sort of, sometimes, if the box is locked, hidden and/or without a guide to what’s inside
  7. 7., 23 May 2012What does ‘open’ mean?Not a simple binary open/closed... but rather a continuumAmount of friction...Things that create friction:Explicit restrictionsUncertainty about possible restrictionsUnusual/Unfamiliar interfaces (Z39.50 anyone?)Lack of information on data and where it is availableFormats - Paul Walk argues we need a ’richer understanding of openness’ which encompassesnot just permissive licensing but, more broadly, the ease with which data can be used, takinginto consideration aspects such as format and access mechanisms
  8. 8., 23 May 2012Friction can be good. What is not good is thoughtlessly or accidentally introducing friction.Frictionless means losing control (over the data) - that’s ok if that’s what you want. Cancombine approaches by making your interface the easiest to use (Kasabi and other datamarketplace)Going to talk about three aspects today: Licensing of data Discovering data Accessing data
  9. 9. Openly LicensedWednesday, 23 May 2012Licenses, OBD ©Things that create friction:Explicit restrictionsUncertainty about possible restrictionsProblems with anything beyond PDDL and CC0 - does anyone own the metadata? Conflictinglegal advice and decisionsDo you have database rights?
  10. 10. The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid “people simply didn’t believe the postcards in our museum shop were showing the original painting”, 23 May 2012Examples of ‘open’, and friction (some friction is OK?) Europeana BNB - originally released with an “NC” license. Moved quickly to CC0 Problems with NC Repositories - problems of understanding what is allowed. Not common not machinereadable. Don’t really understand what the repo want to achieve (what is it they want tostop?)
  11. 11., 23 May 2012US Government produced catalogue of available data at
  12. 12., 23 May 2012UK Government
  13. 13., 23 May 2012Now other organisations doing similar - Universities like (and others)
  14. 14., 23 May 2012Local Government - eg Warwickshire
  15. 15. Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  16. 16., 23 May 2012
  17. 17., 23 May 2012
  18. 18., 23 May 2012
  19. 19. LinkedData/linkeddata.htmlWednesday, 23 May 2012
  20. 20. http://datos.bne.esWednesday, 23 May 2012
  21. 21. national-bibliography-and-authority-data- released-with-open-license/Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  22. 22., 23 May 2012
  23. 23., 23 May 2012Not necessarily about open licensing - but being clear about T&CAmazon, Twitter, Guardian - not open, but still used. Not always the only factor. Amazonhave T&C that dictate ‘purpose’ and mandate linking to Amazon - deliberate friction that hasnot prevented massive uptake of the API
  24. 24. Openly Accessible, 23 May 2012Things that create friction:Unusual/Unfamiliar interfaces (Z39.50 anyone?)FormatsAPIsAPIs are not experimental: More than half of all the traffic to major companies like Twitterand eBay come through APIs ( Jeff Bezos threatened to fire anyone who didn’t offer APIs to content/assets theywere responsible for
  25. 25. “It’s the API designer’s job to make life easy for developers” design-is-ui-for-developers/Wednesday, 23 May 2012’s the API designer’s job to make life easy for developersStandards no-one has heard ofOne-way (publication not interaction)Z39.50 does not make life easier!
  26. 26. Openly Discoverable, 23 May 2012Things that create friction:Lack of information on data and where it is availableSchema.orgCKAN/Datahubgetthedata
  27. 27., 23 May 2012
  28. 28., 23 May 2012
  29. 29. Wednesday, 23 May 2012This is not an excuse to show a picture of my two gorgeous children, but to show how Flickrintegrates with my photo management system
  30. 30. Wednesday, 23 May 2012There is an API, but you wouldn’t know, unless you are ‘in the know’
  31. 31. Wednesday, 23 May 2012Not just about on your site - also advertise elsewhere - e.g.
  32. 32. Wednesday, 23 May 2012.... engage with those looking for your data - e.g.
  33. 33. http://libraryhack.orgWednesday, 23 May 2012Australian initiative to encourage Library mashups -
  34. 34. Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  35. 35. Wednesday, 23 May 2012We don’t tell anyone about themNeed more on Illustration of rich snippets
  36. 36. Wednesday, 23 May 2012 ?What is the outcome of ‘open’?Rufus Pollock said “The coolest thing to do with your data will be thought of by someone else”- but is this true?
  37. 37. “internal use of APIs is going to have the largest impact for most businesses” explaining-the-api-revolution-to-your-ceoWednesday, 23 May 2012
  38. 38. “We built APIs to simplify internal apps, open data is just a happy fallout.”!/jacksonj04/status/ 183123086491660289Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  39. 39., 23 May 2012Libraryhack entry ‘Queensland Churches’
  40. 40. Lewis Wagner,, 23 May 2012What happens? My local council (Warwickshire) released a number of data sets and ran acompetition to encourage local developers to build applications on top of this data. One set ofdata with a list of new books in the library - and a local developer (nothing to do withlibraries) built this - shows books, covers (from Amazon) and links to previews in Googlebooks. This WON the competition.Not the only example. Rewired State is an organisation which “runs hackdays wheredevelopers show government what is possible”, recently ran a ‘Youth’ event - and one of thewinners was based around integrating library services into FacebookBelieve it or not Library Data is SEXY!
  41. 41., 23 May 2012Competitions and events to encourage exploitation suggest that skills and enthusiasm existto innovate with open data: Discovery developer competition Europeana ‘Hack day’ - incredible outcomesMight question if these would happen without ‘priming’ - manipulating the marketEuropeana Hackday example - take photo of picture/art, brings back data from Europeana
  42. 42., 23 May 2012
  43. 43. iTunes App StoreWednesday, 23 May 2012Cambridge iPhone app suggests even outside this there is appetiteDiscovery will be doing more to demonstrate what can be built...
  44. 44. GIST, State University of New York College at GeneseoWednesday, 23 May 2012Not just about pretty things for library customers thoughThe Getting It System Toolkit (GIST) is a customizable set of tools and workflows that will enhanceinterlibrary loan and just-in-time acquisitions services; purchase request processing; and cooperativecollection development efforts.Developed at the State University of New York College at GeneseoBrings together disparate information sources with key data, such as: uniqueness; free online sources;reviews and rankings; and purchasing options and prices
  45. 45. Wednesday, 23 May 2012Have a look at or basically the whole of for useful tips and tricks forgetting started (and getting more complex) with mashups. Suggest UKSG presentation goodstarting place
  46. 46. Wednesday, 23 May 2012How can we find the resource to do this type of innovation? Doesn’t have to be ££££ Barcamps and UnconferencesThe final push to do something was an event organised by Mike Ellis - previously at the ScienceMuseum, now at Eduserve - the ‘Mashed Museums’ event. So I shamelessly reappropriated the nameand so...Mashed LibrariesAfter I got back from ALA, I wrote a speculative post for my blog suggesting the idea, and got a reallyenthusiastic response. Luckily I was at a meeting with Paul Walk from UKOLN that same week, and heencouraged me to press ahead and offered support from UKOLN to make the first event happen.I setup a ning to enable discussions and get some idea of who might come along and what they’d like to seeon the day.We got a venue provided for free (by David Flanders, then at Birkbeck, now at JISC) , the catering costscovered by UKOLN, and speakers who all gave their time for free - and about 30 people came along.There were problems (not enough power, and me failing to organise vegan options on the catering) - butoverall it was fun, and the response was positive, and Dave Pattern quickly volunteered to run a 2nd event inHuddersfield - Mash Oop North. This was quickly followed by Middlemash at Birmingham City University inthe same year, followed by ‘Liver and Mash’ (Liverpool). The next event is at the end of this month (MashSpain Bath - still time to sign up), and currently Haggis and Mash in Edinburgh in January 2011 being planned,with a further one being hosted at the University of Lincoln at some point in 2011For me as much as the events is the ongoing sense of community - I think we are starting to build acommunity of tech interested and able librarians - and others (not just about librarians!) - twitter key forme.
  47. 47. Wednesday, 23 May
  48. 48. http://www.mashedlibrary.comWednesday, 23 May
  49. 49. Step 1: Find a venue, get a dateWednesday, 23 May 2012Organising a Mashed Library event is simple. 6 Steps described here, see also
  50. 50. Step 1: Find a venue, get a date (this gives you a deadline!)Wednesday, 23 May 2012Organising a Mashed Library event is simple. 6 Steps described here, see also
  51. 51. Step 2: Tell peopleWednesday, 23 May 2012
  52. 52. Step 2: Tell people (twitter, mailing lists, blogs,, facebook, etc.)Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  53. 53. Step 3: Find speakersWednesday, 23 May 2012
  54. 54. Step 3: Find speakers (if you want)Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  55. 55. Step 4: Look for sponsorshipWednesday, 23 May 2012Don’t need much money, best sponsorship may be getting the venue donated!
  56. 56. Step 4: Look for sponsorship (companies, publishers, data providers, Universities, etc.)Wednesday, 23 May 2012Don’t need much money, best sponsorship may be getting the venue donated!
  57. 57. Step 5: CateringWednesday, 23 May 2012Cake is very important
  58. 58. Step 5: Catering (but can tell people to bring their own, or have near/in a cafe if you want)Wednesday, 23 May 2012Cake is very important
  59. 59. Step 6: Let people registerWednesday, 23 May 2012Charging? Maybe good to have nominal charge - makes people commit. But not necessary.
  60. 60. Step 6: Let people register (and pay if you are charging)Wednesday, 23 May 2012Charging? Maybe good to have nominal charge - makes people commit. But not necessary.
  61. 61. What’s the worst that can happen?Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  62. 62. Wednesday, 23 May 2012Remember - Doesn’t have to be a big all day event - DMU MashedLibrary - lunchtimesessions run at De Montford University in Leicester
  63. 63., 23 May 2012
  64. 64. Wednesday, 23 May 2012
  65. 65. Wednesday, 23 May 2012 ?
  66. 66. Actions • Consider what ‘friction’ there is for others wishing to use your data • Start to exploit the APIs for your own purposes • Engage with developers - ask them what they want, and find out what they can do • Organise a mashed library eventWednesday, 23 May 2012What ‘friction’ is there in your systems around re-use? Is it deliberate or accidental? Could itbe useful to introduce some friction?Are you using your own APIs? How could these already help your work?Where are the developers - do you actively engage with them? Do you promote your APIs?
  67. 67. Eat chocolate; Share chocolateWednesday, 23 May 2012
  68. 68. Thank you @ostephensWednesday, 23 May 2012