Mashed Libraries? Would you be interested?

I’ve been at ALA for the last few days, and as usual, time out of the office has triggered some ideas. The one I’m most excited about is that I think we could do with having an event in the UK that is about bringing together interested people and doing interesting stuff with libraries and technology.

The kind of thing I’m thinking of is along the lines of the recent ‘Mashed Museums’ event which Mike Ellis blogged about at

I’m also inspired by the annual ‘Hackfest’ that happens in conjunction with the ‘Access’ conference in Canada – described by Roy Tennant, and the various Barcamp and Unconference events that spring up quite regularly now.

At this stage, I’m looking for some interest and answers – please leave comments below about the idea and if you want, answer the following questions:

  • Is this a good idea?
  • Would you come?
  • Are weekends or workdays better?
  • Would you be worried about not being ‘techie’ enough to participate?

Here’s hoping it’s not just me sitting in a room with my laptop…

Technorati Tags:

25 thoughts on “Mashed Libraries? Would you be interested?

  1. This is certainly a good idea, and I would love to come if I find financial support by my institution and / or a cheap flight from Austria. I would prefer weekends (as financial and “moral” support by my current employer is unlikely). And yes, I would be a bit “worried about not being ‘techie’ enough to participate”, but I have some experience with (teaching) social software in libraries, and I plan to develop into being more of a ‘techie’ anyway and so I would love to talk about mashed libraries with other people.

  2. I’ve love to see a library unconference in the UK… I’m just too lazy to try and organise one myself! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Count me in and, if nothing else, I can guarentee there’ll be two of use sitting in a room with our laptops!

  3. Hi Owen
    Thanks for the mention. I think it’s a great idea (of course!)…
    One of the things I’ve found is that you can often get non-geeks to participate as well by focussing on content and ideas – so instead of having web applications as the outputs, encourage ideas and concepts as well. So non-technical people might put together a simple flow-chart or powerpoint slides of an idea rather than having to code it. Also, I’ve tried (and not always succeeded) in bringing together groups within the day, either people working on a similar idea or bringing ideas people and do’ers together – I think if that could be cracked then things could get really exciting.
    Look forward to seeing what you come up with. If you want to bounce any ideas off me, I’d be delighted to get involved

  4. Hi,
    I’ve been considering the same thing myself, watching the barcamps idea with envy. Weekdays suit me better as I’d struggle with childcare at the weekends, although you could do a sunday/monday? I’d be interested in helping to organise.
    I’m not worried about not being techie enough, as I can ask lots of questions if I don’t understand (that’s the whole point isn’t it). Let’s do it!!

  5. I think it’s a great idea and would love to attend an event like this in the UK. From what I’ve read about other’s experiences of unconferences a lot of great ideas can be discussed and developed during the day as well as other ideas to take forward after the event. I’d love to have the opportunity to meet with other people in the UK interested in libraries and new technologies and although I’m not that “techie” it certainly wouldn’t put me off attending, I’m sure I’d learn a lot from the more technical people which would be incredibly useful.

  6. I’d be very interested in a mashed up libraries event. Our own digital library is ten years old this year and we are completely rethinking how it works. This would be perfect timing.
    I’m based in Ipswich and could provide a venue here, although London would probably be more generally acceptable.
    I’m easy on weekdays/weekends.

  7. * Is this a good idea?
    YES! Thanks for suggesting it
    * Would you come?
    Would try to (so ‘yes’ unless prior commitments or lack of funds)
    * Are weekends or workdays better?
    Would prefer workdays and try and convince employer that this is a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚
    * Would you be worried about not being ‘techie’ enough to participate?
    I’m in no way a developer and write really really bad perl & php really really slowly. So would probably look on in annoyance as others discover a new api/language/system and are creating new cool applications with them 5 mins later, but hey, I’ll sit in the slow readers corner and bash away quite happily.

  8. We absolutely need more of this. We hosted a SALCTG Web 2.0 Show & Tell last month and the organiser was overwhelmed with requests to participate – we ended up with 12 presentations, and I’ve personally had several follow-ups by email.
    As a systems person, it’s particular good to get involved in ‘vendor neutral’ developments and discussions
    We’d certainly try to send someone, and workdays would be better

  9. Hello, I’m a first-time reader and commenter: I came to this post via Dave Pattern’s blog.
    * Is this a good idea?
    Yes, definitely!
    * Would you come?
    Probably – more likely to if it’s in London.
    * Are weekends or workdays better?
    Probably weekends, though my employer might give me time to attend in the week if I can justify it!
    * Would you be worried about not being ‘techie’ enough to participate?
    Yes – though I’m a techie person I’m also new to coding and not had much time to develop my skills, so I’d need to learn as I went along. However it’d be great just to see what sort of ideas people have, even if they don’t have the technical ability to bring them to life immediately.

  10. This is a great idea, and I’m interested in participating. Of course, travel budgets are limited everywhere these days, it seems…so I and others could realistically plan to participate virtually, but probably not on-site.

  11. Count me in as another definite maybe! Would try to come, depending on timing and location. Unfortunately my coding is at the Janet and John stage comparecto Dave Pattern’s Shakespeare (are there any famous authors from Huddersfield?).

  12. Sounds good to me! I’d prefer weekdays – my weekends are usually busy!

  13. I think there’s only Simon Armitage, Ian! That’s one of the things I like about Perl — well written and badly written code (like mine) looks more or less the same! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Another 1st time commenter here…
    Yes, I think its a great idea – good suggestion.
    I would do my utmost to attend and weekday / weekend not too much of an issue for me. Venue might be crucial for me and a lot of others though I guess…
    As to the techie side, I’m average (at best!), but I’ll try not to hold everyone else back too much.
    There’s a fantastic amount of creativity ‘out there’ so it’d be a good step towards pulling us all closer into a really worthwhile community

  15. Yes, I think it would be a good idea. Yes, I would come, especially if it was in Scotland, Newcastle, Nottingham, or London. Work days would be better, and I’m not worried about the techie aspects.
    It would be good to have a “vendor neutral” event as it helps us all towards ideas for enhancements to our own systems.

  16. Mashed library – it’s happening

    OK – following the overwhelming response (ok, a few people, but all very keen) who responded to my recent post on a kind of unconference/hackfest/barcamp thing around library technologies, I’m going ahead with it.

  17. This is a great idea. I just wish I lived closer to London (or even in the same country would be nice). Owen, you said you were at ALA – did you get up and ask a question at the “Future of Catalogs and Cataloging” session? Or was that one of your countrymen? It was a fascinating session.

  18. Hi Karen – yes, that was me – although I think it was probably more a rambling statement than a question – at least, the panel seemed non-plussed ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. An excellent idea Owen.
    There was some thoughts, a while back that didn’t come to anything, about trying to hold a code4lib Europe Conference, which we at Talis were happy to consider supporting in someway. What you suggest sounds, from the other comments here, more likely to get off the ground at this time.
    I/we would be very interested in exploring how we could get involved.

  20. I’d certainly be up for this. I’m not a ‘techie’ but have been called a geek before ๐Ÿ™‚
    It’s a very good idea, I would come, workdays are better as it’s harder to get Saturdays off (the joys of public libraries…) and I’ll come if I can get away with just being a bit geeky!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.