Middlemash: the third Mashed Library UK event (part two)

QRCode created using SplashURL

The afternoon sessions of Middlemash were a chance to collaborate. It was loosely divided into 3 groups, although participants were free to break off into their own groups to develop and exchange ideas.

The main sessions were

  • Javascript User Interface Componentised Extensions (JUICE)
  • Yahoo Pipes
  • Mapping libraries

I had originally intended to attend the JUICE session (led by JUICE creator, Richard Wallis), as I think a move towards a standardised way of managing and implementing web extensions for library systems is a great idea. JUICE has just moved to a new website and new documentation is being added everyday so if you are interested in finding out more, visit http://juice-project.org/.

But in the end I decided to  join the Yahoo Pipes group (while still trying to keep an eye on the JUICE discussions – with only limited success). Yahoo Pipes formed the basis of many of the mashups mentioned during the day and was a much more powerful tool than I’d previously realised. The session, led by Tony Hirst, from the Open University, gave us an overview of the possible uses for Yahoo Pipes. You can view the slides for the session via slideshare. Also, it’s worth checking out some of Tony’s previous posts about pipes, such as the 2D journal pipe . One of the many interesting things about Yahoo Pipes is that, as well as RSS, it allows you to import data from other sources, such as XML and CSV files.

While Tony Hirst’s knowledge of Yahoo Pipes is incredibly advanced (and then some), his presentation is well worth viewing even as an introduction. As with everyone else who attended, I left the session blown away by the potential for data manipulation using pipes. There are also introductory videos available for those just getting started. You can sign up for an account and experiment with some simpler options such as merging and filtering RSS feeds. Another option is to ‘clone’ existing Pipes, which is a great way to find out what’s ‘under the bonnet’ of other people’s creations.

And to finish, a non-pipe but very useful technique for using SplashURL.net to create QRCode. These are graphical representations of URIs, to save us all from having to copy down long web addresses in the midst of (un)conference fever.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch any of the ‘mapping the library’ discussion but details about the project can be found at the Mashed Library wiki. There is also a bit about the session on the Panlibus blog.

Thanks again to Damyanti Patel and others at Birmingham City University for organising such an inspiring event. Can’t wait for Mashed Library 2010.


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