17 February 2015

Review: Nicole Engard, More Library Mashups

Nicole Engard (editor), More Library Mashups. Medford, NJ: Information Today, 2015.

This is Engard’s second volume of examples and illustrations of how libraries are using open data sources to provide better information tools and services. Mashups, or combinations of distinct products into something new (like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups), look for ways to use free tools to aggregate, distribute, and increase access to information. Examples in the book range from an automatic weather search triggering a tweet about library closure status to integrating book cover images into the card catalogue, creating computer availability maps, or using drupal to create a library calendar.

The projects aren’t terribly technical. They are meant to show what can be done with available tools, and to inspire further investigation and development by readers. The authors vary, of course, but most chapters are clear and easy to follow. More than any single project, though, these ideas are valuable for developing new ways of thinking about what our users need and how we can help them get and use that.

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