L&LR staff blog

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Mash’um in the middle.

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As threatened, I was at BCU in Birmingham a week ago (30th Nov) for #middlemash. The morning after the official mashed library Pre-conference Networking Activity (PNA), a good few of us met on the train up to Perry Barr railway station near the campus.

sure_its_funky

One of @chriskeene's slides.

I’m not going to do a chronological write-up of the day (you can find other people’s here, here, here and elsewhere): instead here are five disconnected #middlemash-related statements…

1. I gave a presentation in the morning.

View more presentations from pstainthorp.

I’ve tidied up the slides a bit from the version created on the day (which were a bit last-minute), and added captions. Also, here’s the latest list of examples of subject feeds created using RefWorks:

Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Animal Sciences

Faculty of Business & Law

Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences

2. I wave my hands around a lot when I speak.

3. Twitter got some serious hammer.

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(Image: word cloud of #middlemash tweets, created using www.wordle.net)

Owen Stephens (OU) has already noted on his blog that this was one of the most ‘tweeted’ conferences he’s been to; it certainly felt that Twitter played an important fuction as a backchannel / reporting tool / way of opening up the discussions to people who couldn’t attend in person.

4. You can do good, practical stuff on the day.

At the first two Mashed Library events, I found it difficult – and a little bit intimidating – to get involved in the practical mashing activities. I tend to find I only start to have usable ideas several days after the conference ends.

So I was pleased that, suitably inspired by Tony Hirst’s Yahoo Pipes walk-through, I managed to take an idea that came up in conversation with Jo Alcock and turn it into something practically useful, there and then.

The idea was this:

It would be useful if subject librarians could be automatically notified about the existence of new editions of books on reading lists in their subjects.

The practical solution was ready-made, in the form of this pipe which makes use of OCLC’s xISBN web service.

So, mid-mash, I added an extra button to my existing new-book feed pipe, which takes the working ISBN for each book and throws it at the xISBN pipe – the result is a list, in RSS format, of all related versions of any particular book. Anyone can subscribe to this feed and – here’s the killer bit – be notified when a new edition (and thus a new ISBN) is added!

I can see this being a really useful addition to any bibliographic service, especially for the subject librarian or interested academic.

screenshot_newbooks_xisbn

Gives…

screenshot_xisbn

I’m going to try and tweak this to make it prettier, then I’ll blog more substantially.

5. A summary of each of the presentations is on the #middlemash blog

Quite a few of the presentations are on slideshare, too.

[cetsEmbedRSS id='http://middlemash.wordpress.com/feed/' itemcount='5']

Next stop – hopefully – Liverpool in early 2010.