Monday, July 17th, 2006

Library 2.0 podcast / Too tasteless for Talis

Talis hosted its first in a new series of bi-weekly “Library 2.0 Gang” podcasts, this one on “mashups.” You can hear it here.

I was in on the call, as were leading lights of the Lib2.0 demi-monde. It’s hosted by Talis’ Paul Miller. This week also included Richard Wallis, who made LibraryThingThing. Rather than list the rest—with inevitable perils of description and order—I’ll just mention those I know somewhat, namely John “AADL Dynamo” Blyberg and Ed “Super Patron” Vielmetti. I don’t know Jenny “Shifted Librarian” Levine, but I read her blog. Casey Bisson will be in on future podcasts; I guess this week he had Paris Hilton on the brain.

“Library mashups” were the topic, with a nod to Talis’ Mashing up the Library competition. We ended by talking about our “dream” mashup. John* wants a Netflix for libraries. Ed wants something like Coverflow for books. Richard Wallis wants a sort of “browser book vulture,” watching what you browse and helping you find related books.

I argued that the first step was getting libraries to provide more mashable data, and the second would happen when non-library people got involved. After all, the cartographers didn’t give Google Maps lift-off, so why should the librarians be the ones working on library mashups? Pushing that a bit I said:

“I want to see a mashup that no one on this panel approves of. That’s when we know that library mashups have succeeded, when everyone thinks it’s in bad taste.”

I’m actually semi-serious here. Unexpected, “uncalled for” mashups have often been the most interesting—think Google Maps and sex offenders or the High-Yield Detonation Effects Simulator (Google Maps and blast radiuses). Googleing “tasteless mashups” I get the cartoony San Francisco Earthquake mashup. And the issue gets at library data vs. patron privacy, IMHO the most important barrier to Web 2.0 in the library, and a good topic for a future podcast.

Let’s open this up to comments, shall we? Talis is offering £1,000 for their competition. I can’t offer as much for my Too-Tasteless-for-Talis Competition. How about eternal ignominy? Remember, you can post anonymously!

*Earlier, John** suggested library data on iPods. Andy Latham, at Talis, took up the topic on Panlibus. I think he missed the point in talking about text-to-audio. You can get textual information on iPods very easily. I’m not sure how useful a “This Week in your Overdue Books” would be.
**Another asterisk on John Blyberg (why isn’t he working for LibraryThing?). I also plugged his Virtual Card Catalog. Doing so got me jazzed up about it again. I think LibraryThing’s going to steal it—it’s open source after all. Talk to me about that too, if you want.

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