Monday, September 11, 2006

Talis announces winners of International Mashing the Library Up 2006: Alliance Second Life Library Project Wins Second Place!

This information taken from theTalis website:

Talis is delighted to announce the winners of the first competition intended to openly encourage innovation in the display, use, and reuse of data from and about libraries - Mashing Up The Library 2006.

First Prize

The First prize of £1,000 was awarded to John Blyberg of Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, MI. His entry, Go-Go-Google-Gadget, shows how simply library information can be integrated into the personalised home page offered by Google, and is described by competition sponsor and member of the judging panel, Talis’ Paul Miller, as “an excellent example of taking information previously locked inside the library catalogue and making it available to patrons in other contexts where they may spend more time than they do in their catalogue.” Available information includes new and the most popular material in the library, and patron-specific information on checked-out and requested items. ‘Superpatron’ Ed Vielmetti applauded the simplicity of this entry, remarking in a clear invitation for others to follow John’s lead that “the visible source code is very tiny and easily hackable.” Vanderbilt University’s Marshall Breeding concluded, “I like this entry’s spirit of opening up information in the library system and putting it under the control of the user."

In recognition of the current exchange rate, the sum of $2,000 has been paid to John.

Second Prize

The Second prize of £500 was awarded to the Alliance Library System in East Peoria, IL, and their global partners in the Second Life Library. Their entry, the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0, was described by Talis’ Miller as “both a testament to international co-operation amongst libraries and a compelling demonstration of the ways in which traditional library functions can be extended into cyberspace, reaching new audiences in ways exciting and relevant to them as they live their lives.”

In recognition of the current exchange rate, the sum of $1,000 has been paid to the Alliance Library System, and they intend to use the funds to extend their work within Second Life.

For all those users of libraries who have ever wished they could bring information from their library to life outside the virtual walls of its web site, this competition presented an ideal opportunity to see some of what the future might hold.

From Jon Udell's early work with LibraryLookup to the current fashion for Greasemonkey plug-ins and the more structured exposure of Web Services by Talis, Amazon, Google and others, there are significant advances being made in the ways in which libraries offer their services to the outside world. At least as important is the revolution occurring outside the library, as those beyond the walls take and manipulate library data on their own.

Modern approaches to thinking about provision of library data and services online create opportunities for numerous applications beyond the traditionally defined library management system. By adhering to standards from the wider Web community, by considering the library system as an interlocking set of functional components rather than a monolithic black box, and by taking a bold new approach to defining the ways in which information from and about libraries are ‘owned’ and exposed to others, we make it straightforward for information from the library to find its way to other places online.

Rather than being locked inside the library system, your data can add value to the experience of your users wherever they are, whether it’s Google, Amazon, the institutional portal, or one of the social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook. By unlocking data and the services that make use of it, the possibilities are literally endless, and it is here that efforts such as those around the Talis Library Platform become important.

One very early example of combining library data with other sources in order to add value to both is the whole area of the ‘Mashup’. Mashups are not only found in the library world, but are proving increasingly prevalent in association with a whole host of Web 2.0 companies and ideas. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, defines a Mashup as;

“... a website or web application that uses content from more than one source to create a completely new service.”

This competition was for anyone in the community that had harbored a yearning to see information from or about libraries put to best use and displayed to best effect alongside information or services from other sources. The Mashing Up The Library competition was open to all, and carried a first prize of £1,000 for the best entry.

This competition is intended to celebrate and showcase all that is best in these efforts to push library information out to existing audiences in new ways, or to reach totally new audiences with compelling and captivating applications. The 2006 competition marks a beginning, and we look forward to watching the sector grow in coming years.

Announcement of the Mashing Up The Library competition in June generated great enthusiasm amongst diverse groups across the world. Tim Spalding of LibraryThing commented “LibraryThing draws on libraries for its data, so I'm well aware how rich this is, and how relatively unexploited by programmers in general. I'm looking forward to seeing what creative mashers do”.

Helene Blowers, Public Service Technology Director, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Charlotte, North Carolina commented, “I think it's exciting to see a major library automation company like Talis take the lead in encouraging and rewarding library innovation from the user community. What really sets this competition apart in my mind is that Talis has defined the user community as anybody, not just their customer base. And to raise the innovation bar even higher, potential developers or contest participants don't even have to use or interface with Talis' products to create an entry. That speaks volumes in my book! I'm looking forward to see the entries - and winner too! Thanks again for taking the lead here. It truly is exciting”.

Darlene Fichter, Data Library Co-ordinator for the University of Saskatchewan encouraged, “Love books? Love libraries? Love programming? Here's your chance to dive in and make a mashup with library stuff. It's sure to kick start the creation of several mashups using library data which will benefit everyone”.

At Talis, we recently announced the first set of our Talis Platform Web Services, and we fully expect to see growing awareness of their capabilities leading to a veritable explosion in the ways in which library information can be ‘mashed up’, and a significant lowering of the current barriers to participation and sharing by ordinary libraries around the world. This year’s competition marks a beginning. Improved tools, improved access to data from and about libraries, and increased awareness mean that libraries are in for an exciting and challenging journey.

What’s Next?

The Mashing Up The Library competition marks an important step forward in encouraging open and inclusive innovation from libraries around the world, regardless of their consortial memberships or vendor allegiance. As we move forward and traditional library groupings become less appropriate and sustainable in today’s rapidly changing environment, it becomes increasingly important to encourage open approaches such as these. Talis is committed to helping libraries to reach out to existing and new markets for their capabilities, and the ongoing support of this competition is one aspect of that strategy.

Rather than re-run the same competition again next year, we wish to encourage innovative work on an ongoing basis. As such, the competition web site reopens today, and will accept new entries. We will periodically assemble a team of judges to select the best submissions since the last time entries were judged. In addition, we will seek to reward particularly innovative or compelling examples on an ad hoc basis, outside the normal cycle of judging.

We welcome approaches from library systems vendors and other interested parties willing and able to join us in celebrating and rewarding all that is best in innovating around the display, delivery and use of library information, today and into the future.

The Entries

A total of eighteen entries were received for the competition, spanning everything from very simple enhancements to existing library functions right through to a collaborative effort to provide library services inside the Second Life 3D online digital world. Entries came in from public and academic libraries, as well as from the commercial sector. As is the trend with Mashups more generally, map-based Mashups proved common.

All eighteen entries are described in detail at, and comprise;

Alliance Second Life Library 2.0, submitted by the Alliance Library System in East Peoria, Illinois, on behalf of the gobal staff of the Second Life Library;
Amazon2OU Library Pivot Browsing, submitted by Tony Hirst of the Open University;, submitted by Aaron Huber of the Broward County Library System in Broward County, Florida;
Book Cover Browser, submitted by Mike Cunningham of Cambridge Libraries in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada;
Book Trackr, submitted by Jim Robertson of the New Jersey Institute of Technology;
Consuming Library New Book Feeds, submitted by Tony Hirst of the Open University;
Danish contribution, submitted by Jens Hofman Hansen of the State and University Library, Aarhus, Denmark, on behalf of the summa development team;
Feed Based Library Interface, submitted by Tony Hirst of the Open University;
Go-Go-Google-Gadget, submitted by John F. Blyberg of the Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan;
Lib 2.0 library toolbar, submitted by Casey Durfee of the Seattle Public Library, Washington;
The Library Catalogue in Google Desktop, submitted by Art Rhyno of the University of Windsor and Ross Singer of Georgia Tech Library;
LibMap, submitted by Tim Hodson of Herefordshire Libraries;
Library Map Mashup, submitted by Michael McDonnell on behalf of ‘the Bruncherati’, members of a library interest group in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada;
Library Patrons Who Borrow Create, submitted by Michael L. Johnson;
Lillian - A Virtual Librarian, submitted by David Burden of DADEN Ltd in Birmingham, UK;
Maps of Place of Publication, submitted by ‘MMcM’;
OU Traveller, submitted by Tony Hirst of the Open University;
NJIT catalog, submitted by Jim Robertson of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The Judging Panel

For this first competition, we assembled a team of judges who offered many valuable insights during the judging process. These judges were:

Jeff Barr, Web Services Evangelist for;
Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies & Research at Vanderbilt University;
Jenny Levine, well established library blogger as The Shifted Librarian and newly of the American Library Association (ALA);
Paul Miller, Talis;
Andrew Pace, Head of Information Technology at North Carolina State University Libraries;
Chris Pirillo, Lockergnome;
Gary Price, Director of Online Information Resources at and Publisher of;
Tim Spalding, founder of LibraryThing;
Jon Udell, InfoWorld;
Ed Vielmetti,
We certainly owe all of them our thanks for their hard work throughout the competition.


The competition Web site is hosted as part of the TDN; a Talis-supported initiative to support those developing and working with library systems. Like the competition, the TDN is open to anyone, anywhere, regardless of the library system with which they work.

Areas of the TDN support discussion between developers, the sharing of scripts and knowledge, and the provision of access to web services from Talis and others.

Membership of the TDN is free of charge, and more information is available from the TDN site.

Supporting Images

An archive file containing supporting imagery is available for download. This archive comprises;

Portrait of John F. Blyberg of Ann Arbor District Library (AADL), winner of the competition’s first prize;
An image, by John Blyberg, of his winning entry. This image was taken from Flickr, where other versions are also available at ;
A logo for the Second Life Library 2.0, winner of the competition’s second prize;
A screenshot from Second Life ( depicting the outside of the Second Life Library 2.0, and the ‘avatars’ of Talis’ Paul Miller and library technology consultant, Phil Bradley;
Talis logo;
Mashing up the Library competition logo;
Portrait of Dr Paul Miller of Talis, competition organiser and sponsor, and member of the judging panel.


Talis is an established provider of library and information management software to public and academic libraries and has a long history as a technology innovator, a pioneer for open standards, and as a partner for its customers. Working closely with world standards bodies such as World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and NISO, ongoing research activities include Web Services, Services Oriented Architectures, RDF based metadata and RSS.

Talis has recently announced a new Talis Library Platform which is an open, extensible, Web 2.0 based software platform which will be the foundation upon which next generation applications will be developed. The Talis Platform incorporates semantic content management, a global collections directory, with a Service Oriented Architecture that enables low cost institutional integration.

Through the Talis Developer Network, Talis welcomes developers to join its development community and build the next generation of applications and services on a shared platform.

For more information, visit, where you can find detailed information, read our blogs, join our discussion forums, and listen to our industry podcasts.

Further Details

For further details, please contact:

Ceri McCall, Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing., +44 (0)870 400 5029

Paul Miller, Technology Evangelist;, +44 (0)776 974 0083


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