Information Integration: Mash-ups, APIs and the Semantic Web

Over the last couple of years, the British Library have been running a set of internal courses on digital skills for librarians. As part of this programme I’ve delivered a course called “Information Integration: Mash-ups, APIs and the Semantic Web”, and thought it would be good to share the course structure and materials in case they were helpful to others. The course was designed to run in a 6 hour day, including two 15 minute coffee breaks and a one hour lunch break.

The materials here were developed by me (Owen Stephens, on
behalf of the British Library. Unless otherwise stated, all images, audio or video content included in these materials are separate works with their own licence, and should not be assumed to be CC-BY in their own right.

The slidedecks are made available as a PDF containing slides and speaker notes. The speaker notes are just prompts and not full notes. Where I can speak to the slide without the prompts, there are no speaker notes.

The materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License It is suggested when crediting this work, you include the phrase “Developed by Owen Stephens on behalf of the British Library”.

Session title Session description Materials Length of session
Data on the web A presentation describing the web, including the concept of “a web of documents” and how “data” is different 1 Data and the web CC-BY slide deck (pdf)


What is a mashup A presentation describing ‘mashups’ drawing on examples from music, video and data 2 What is a mashup CC-BY slide deck (pdf)


Mashups in libraries and the scholarly domain A short session giving examples of mashups of specific relevance to libraries 3 Mashups in libraries CC-BY slidedeck (pdf)


APIs: what they are and how they are used in digital scholarship An introduction to the idea of an API – what one is, and what you might do with one, including examples of the use of APIs by digital scholars 4 APIs CC-BY slidedeck (pdf)


Using an API – hands on exercise A hands-on exercise to retrieve data over an API, extract a specific part of the data retrieved and display the result. Google Spreadsheets will be used to do this. There are further exercises and challenges in the documentation which can be used if time allows.


Mashing up your collections Discussion session in which participants will be asked to consider what opportunities their might be to build on collections under their responsibility, potentially using data from collections in combination with data and services from elsewhere. No materials


A brief introduction to Linked Data A presentation covering the fundamentals of Linked Data. The focus is on the use of URIs to identify things. Examples are given of how Linked Data is being used in the library sector, and more broadly in digital scholarship 6 Linked Data CC-BY slidedeck (pdf)


Review of the day A recap of the material covered during the day No materials


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