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.


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.


(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.




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.