Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mashing It Up - Tom Zillner

Slides are available at

Define mashups and APIs
Wikipedia - A mashups is a website or web application that seamlessly combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience

Most mashups are mapping related

Mashups interact with the web through javascript code. Your data comes from multiple places and ends up on the web.

APIs (application programming interface) are like a bunch of tools in a swiss army knife. They provide a standardized way of communicating for programs and web services.

Mashup examples
Map Mashups - You provide local data, Google maps (usually) provides geodata

The Seven Wonders of Wisconsin - - compare average listing prices for U.S. cities - search Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon for the best price

Why Mashups are important
They free data from isolated silos through their use of APIs. - and they bring people back to Google and Amazon.
They bring together data from disparate sources to inform, entertain, and enlighten.

Some library-related examples - Amazon A9, Google, Microsoft Live Search - Search for books in Amazon and find in your public library (SCLS is in this) - Amazon Light, alternative Amazon interface - New books in the Ann Arbor District Library - Populated by an RSS feed put out by the library

Screen Scraping - programmatically capturing a stream of data that is meant to be displayed by an application and extracting selected content (use when APIs don't exist). Takes a long time and is fragile.

Mystery Carousel -

Tools for mashup writers
There are many Javascript presentation tools that are available for free:
Most are high quality, open source, some from big companies, others from independent developers. Users communities report bugs.

How about "Library Light" ?
A multiplicity of custom clients for the catalog? Prediction can come true through APIs and mashups.

There are as many ways of searching as there are library patrons.

Write a mashup with Yahoo Pipes -

Easily create map mashups with Google Maps - - go to "my maps" tab

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