Summa@Oslo 2008-11-20

I am writing this blog post while waiting for my flight at Oslo airport. Unfortunately the airport doesn’t seem to have wifi so the actual posting will have to wait until later. I would have thought that all airports would have wifi by now, but I thought wrong.

So why am I in Oslo? I was invited to give a small talk about Summa/Search at Biblioteklaboratoriet. In particular I was asked to talk about the various services we have integrated in the web interface.

The talk itself went quite well I think (slides available here for the interested).

The main presentation was about a project called Pode, which is a library project working on mashups and alternative presentations of library information. They weren’t that far along in regards to actual implementations – however they appeared to have some good ideas, and I hope the meeting as a whole was able to provide some inspiration for them as well.

biblioteket.se also presented what they were doing. They have a nice website mashing up data from various sources, but what I actually found most interesting were some of their statistics. More than half of their users come to them through Google – ie. they completely bypass the site’s search interface and any information that might be available on the front page, and instead go directly to the full record view.

Also they have (among other things) user created tagging, ratings, and reviews. Their conclusions were pretty clear: Practically nobody writes reviews, tagging does a bit better, and ratings is the thing that actually gets used.

Another project they were involved in is Öppna Bibliotek. This is an attempt a creating an open service were libraries can store additional metadata about items (for instance reviews, discussion, etc.), and all the data is under a Creative Commons license.

After the presentations there were some general discussions about mashups and their potential – but the focus rather quickly shifted to that of ownership of the library records. It was seen as a real hindrance to creating open communities that the libraries were unable to give interested users a programmatic access to their records. And looking at things like the situation with OCLC I can only agree.

All in all it was a good trip, and I got to talk to some interesting people working on interesting projects.

A few random pictures from the trip:

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