11th September, 2006. Today, Talis announced the winners of the first global competition intended to openly encourage innovation in the display, use and reuse of data from and about libraries – Mashing Up The Library 2006.
For all those users of libraries who have ever wished they could bring information from their library to life outside the virtual walls of its Web site, this competition presented an ideal opportunity to see some of what the future might hold.
Announcement of the Mashing Up The Library Competition in June generated great enthusiasm amongst diverse groups across the world. Tim Spalding of LibraryThing commented "LibraryThing draws on libraries for its data, so I'm well aware how rich this is, and how relatively unexploited by programmers in general. I'm looking forward to seeing what creative mashers do".
The competition unveiled fascinating examples of pushing library information out to existing audiences in new ways, or reaching totally new audiences with compelling and captivating applications.
The first prize of $2,000 was awarded to John Blyberg of Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, MI. His entry, Go-Go-Google-Gadget, shows how simply library information can be integrated into the personalised home page offered by Google, and is described by competition sponsor and member of the judging panel, Talis' Paul Miller, as "an excellent example of taking information previously locked inside the library catalogue and making it available to patrons in other contexts where they may spend more time than they do in their catalogue."
Available information includes new and the most popular material in the library, and patron-specific information on checked-out and requested items. ‘Superpatron' Ed Vielmetti applauded the simplicity of this entry, remarking in a clear invitation for others to follow John's lead that "the visible source code is very tiny and easily hackable." Vanderbilt University's Marshall Breeding concluded, "I like this entry's spirit of opening up information in the library system and putting it under the control of the user."
A close second prize of $1,000 was awarded to the Alliance Library System in East Peoria, IL, and their global partners in the Second Life Library. Their entry, the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0, was described by Talis' Miller as "both a testament to international co-operation amongst libraries and a compelling demonstration of the ways in which traditional library functions can be extended into cyberspace, reaching new audiences in ways exciting and relevant to them as they live their lives." Alliance Library System intends to use the funds to extend their work within Second Life.
Rather than being locked inside the library system, your data can add value to the experience of your users wherever they are, whether it's Google, Amazon, the institutional portal, or one of the social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook.
By unlocking data and the services that make use of it, the possibilities are literally endless, and it is here that efforts such as those around the Talis Library Platform become important.
At Talis, we have witnessed growing awareness and utilization of the first set of Talis' Platform Web Services, which will result in a veritable explosion in the ways in which library information can be ‘mashed up'. This will significantly lower the current barriers to participation and sharing by ordinary libraries around the world.
Helene Blowers, Public Service Technology Director, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Charlotte, North Carolina commented, "I think it's exciting to see a major library automation company like Talis take the lead in encouraging and rewarding library innovation from the user community. What really sets this competition apart in my mind is that Talis has defined the user community as anybody, not just their customer base. And to raise the innovation bar even higher, potential developers or contest participants don't even have to use or interface with Talis' products to create an entry. That speaks volumes in my book! I'm looking forward to see the entries - and winner too! Thanks again for taking the lead here. It truly is exciting".
The Mashing Up The Library competition marks an important step forward in encouraging open and inclusive innovation from libraries around the world, regardless of their consortial memberships or vendor allegiance. Improved tools, improved access to data from and about libraries, and increased awareness mean that libraries are in for an exciting and challenging journey. Talis is committed to helping libraries to reach out to existing and new markets for their capabilities, and the ongoing support of this competition is one aspect of that strategy.
What's next? Rather than re-run the same competition again next year, we wish to encourage innovative work on an ongoing basis. As such, the competition web site reopens today, and will accept new entries. We welcome approaches from library systems vendors and other interested parties willing and able to join us in celebrating and rewarding all that is best in innovating around the display, delivery and use of library information, today and into the future.
Talis is an established provider of library and information management software to public and academic libraries and has a long history as a technology innovator, a pioneer for open standards, and as a partner for its customers.
Working closely with world standards bodies such as World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and NISO, ongoing research activities include Web Services, Services Oriented Architectures, RDF based metadata and RSS.
Talis has recently announced a new Talis Library Platform which is an open, extensible, Web 2.0 based software platform which will be the foundation upon which next generation applications will be developed. The Talis Platform incorporates semantic content management, a global collections directory, with a Service Oriented Architecture that enables low cost institutional integration.
Through the Talis Developer Network, Talis welcomes developers to join its development community and build the next generation of applications and services on a shared platform.