This week’s topic is mashups. We’ll learn what they are, take a look at some cool examples, share ideas about how libraries might use them, and find out how to create them.
Listen to this week’s podcast (or read the Week 10: Semester 2 podcast transcript) and then read the info below. If you have any questions about anything along the way, be sure to contact us - we’re happy to help!
What is a mashup?
The term mashup originally referred to the practice in the music industry of creating a new song by mixing two or more already existing pieces. In technology terms, a mashup is a web application that combines information from more than one source into a single, new tool.
For a bit more info, view What Is a Mashup? from ZDNet.
As is mentioned in the ZDNet video above, mashups are the “fastest growing application ecosystem in the world today,” and you don’t need to be a programmer to be able to create them. The most popular services for people experimenting with mashups are Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Flickr, Google, Yahoo, and YouTube.
Top Mashup Tags from ProgrammableWeb:
- You already encountered a Flickr mashup in Semester 1 of Project Play! It’s called Spell with Flickr and was included in fd’s flickr toys, which includes many other Flickr mashups for your entertainment.
- HousingMaps is powered by craigslist and Google Maps and enables people to find housing for rent, sale, or sublet.
- Daily Mashup pulls together the day’s popular photos, links, and news items.
- Netvibes is an aggregator that mashes together information from a variety of sources of your choice. Pull in weather, web searches, news feeds, Flickr photos, to do lists, and more from your own online accounts or generic sources. Similar to iGoogle which allows you to do similar things with even more access to customizable widgets.
- EveryBlock Chicago compiles news sources, public records, and other local sites, so Chicago residents can track what’s happening in their neighborhood.
- Meebo Map shows where IMs have been sent or received over the past 15 minutes worldwide.
- Newsmap is an application that “visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator.”
- PlaceOpedia connects Wikipedia articles with their locations.
- Zip Code Census Dashboard uses United States Census information to share demographic info by zip code. Great way to learn about your community!
Library Mashup Examples
- Go-go Google Gadget was created by John Blyberg for the Ann Arbor District Library. It brings together data from their online catalog and Google widgets for iGoogle.
- Hot Titles Carousel is provided by the Cambridge Libraries & Galleries in Ontario, Canada. The Carousel brings together data about most popular books with book covers and links to their online catalog. Great visual presentation!
- LibraryThing for Libraries brings LibraryThing and library online catalogs together. Search any one of the catalogs in the Libraries Using LibraryThing list and find the full record of an item (try a mainstream title for the best results). On the full record you’ll see book recommendations, a tag cloud, and reviews integrated with the catalog from the LibraryThing database.
- MeL Delivery Locations uses Google Maps to share the delivery locations of the Michigan Library Consortium member libraries. I created something similar mapping OWLS member library locations.
- Libraries 411 is a public library directory. Don’t see your library on the map? Read Secure Access for Public Libraries to find out how to get yours added.
- Barns of Winnebago County is a mashup created by one of our very own Winnefox Project Play-ers, Keetra Baker! It’s a nice complement to the digital collection of the same name available here.
- Learning 2.0 Throughout the World shows a map of libraries who have participated in the Learning 2.0 program created by Helene Blowers at PLCMC. Project Play is on it - can you find us?
How To Make a Mashup
There are generally three ways to create a mashup:
- Point and click - This method is used when the site you’re visiting offers an “add an app” kind of link where you can select a widget to include on a page. iGoogle’s widgets and Facebook apps are good examples.
- Clone - Yahoo! Pipes is an example. View Learn How to Build a Pipe in Just a Few Minutes for more information on using Yahoo! Pipes. Microsoft Popfly is another example, and you can view some video demos about it (after installing their video viewing software, Silverlight). Dapper is another option.
- APIs (application programming interfaces) - Google, Amazon, del.icio.us, Flickr, LibraryThing, and YouTube all offer APIs, but this method requires a bit more web savvy to create a mashup.
Visit ProgrammableWeb for more examples of mashups, along with loads of other info about what’s happening with mashups these days.
If you’d like more information about creating mashups, visit ProgrammableWeb’s How To Make Your Own Web Mashup.
And, if you have an hour to spare sometime, you might want to view the SirsiDynix Institute’s archived presentation, “Mashups: A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That” for a well-rounded review of mashups in general.
Add your library’s location to the Project Play sandbox map on mapbuilder.net. If your library has already been added by someone else, feel free to add your favorite restaurant, park, theater, etc. instead. You will need to use the username and password sent to you in this week’s email to sign in to add your location to the map. View a brief screencast to see how to use mapbuilder. Be sure to login before you try to add your information to the map and select the Sandbox map to edit! (Note: Mapbuilder can be difficult to view in 600×800 resolution. You may want to change your screen resolution to one step higher for a better experience. Ask your system contact for info on how to do this if you need help.)
The map is a sandbox area, but please be kind and do not delete what other players have entered. My hope is that in the end we’ll have a map of all of our players’ location and/or favorite places.
Write about your impressions of mashups in your blog. Do you have any creative ideas for something you could create for your library?
The map will also be posted here and will be updated daily (but not on weekends), so you can view the changes as Project Players add locations to it. I will not be posting the map here for viewing - locations are being deleted as other players log in to add their own, so the result isn’t representative of what everyone has actually tried to post. We’ll use mapbuilder as a sandbox rather than a living map instead.
Cartoon by Rob Cottingham at Social Signal.API, census, craigslist, Dapper, Flickr, Google, mapbuilder, maps, mashups, Meebo, netvibes, Popfly, ProgrammableWeb, Social Signal, Yahoo! Pipes, zip code