Data, pipes, geeks and cake: Pancakes and Mash at Lincoln

In lieu of someone posting some decent photos from the day

Pancakes and Mash, the eighth (!) Mashed Library event was held yesterday, organised by the gang at University of Lincoln. It was a great day looking at various existing projects that involved mashing data together (in various ways and by various means) as well as giving attendees a chances to get involved in library-related mashups.

The keynote speaker was Gary Green (Surrey County Council), one of the key people behind the ‘Voices for the Library‘ campaign. Gary gave an overview of how this project began and how it facilitates sharing info between the many local library campaigns underway. He also gave an overview of the various tools that have helped make it such a success. Among these, the VftL team credits Twitter with playing a major role in bringing the project together while they also use Facebook, Delicious, email lists, Google Fusion tables, wikis and blogging to help get the word out.

One aspect of this I hadn’t fully explored until now was the map of libraries under threat — which is now generated using Google Fusion tables from data on Public Library news. You can see the map on libraries.fromconcentrate.net. If you haven’t explored the Voices for the Library website yet, it’s a great resource of campaign news and advice.

The second session was split into a few different workshops. I attended the ‘Metadata Forum: building a community around metadata‘ session led by Stephanie Taylor from UKOLN — while trying my best to also stealthily follow the other sessions on Twitter. The Metadata Forum is a JISC-funded project that aims to build a community around metadata for those who work with it in any capacity. They’re interested in all levels of metadata users, not just the specialists and based on attendance, a *lot* of us are working with metadata. You can read more about the forum on their blog on the UKOLN website.

The other sessions were “We Can Haz Ur Data!?” with Alex Bilbie & Nick Jackson from the University of Lincoln and “Using Web2.0 tools to save libraries” with Gary Green, building on his keynote talk. Both sounded really interesting and hopefully notes and/or slides will be circulated soon.

After lunch, Alison McNab (De Montfort University) gave a talk on ‘mash at lunchtime’ for those looking for shorter, onsite events and Stephanie Taylor (UKOLN) led the discussion on ‘Across the divide: how geeks and non geeks can have meaningful conversations with each other, and how we’re all the same, really‘. There was also the option to get some mashing done in the other spaces open to attendees — which turned into a great walkthrough session on Yahoo Pipes by Paul Stainthorp.

It was a productive and creative day and I think it’s safe to say that everyone went home brimming with ideas and armed with an extensive list of web apps and tools to try out. Thanks to Paul and the rest of the gang at Uni of Lincoln for organising such a great event (and to Elif Varol for the cakes). Only tentative rumours about the next mashed libraries day at the moment but keep an eye on the wiki as I’m sure there be more news soon and there’s plenty to get started with in the meantime.

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