mashups and data visualization

October 31, 2007 at 6:20 pm (conference notes, Library 2.0) (, , )

Darlene Fichter

“The eyes only see what the ming comprehends.”

A mashup takes info from multiple services to make a new service. Like putting photos from flickr onto locations in Google Maps, that sort of thing. Creators and consumers of information get blended together more and more, and mashups are part of that process.

Here’s my mashup idea – take actor bio information from imdb, and create/find a database that has the main characters from lots of famous books, and then have people cast movie versions of books that they like (whether they’ve been made already or not) to do a kind of Fantasy Movie Maker sort of thing (similar to fantasy football?). Anyway, I’d do it.

Lots of sites either are mashups of use mashup technology someplace on them.

In Toronto: Maps with location of beer stores and which ones are open – library could do something similar with library and other service locations, add hours of operations with a clock function, and show which libraries, copier places, notaries, courts, law library, museums, etc. are open, plus links to their sites, etc. You can do this really easy with Google My Maps (well, locations, anyway – not sure about the clock part)

chocomap.com – location of chocolate stores. coffee maps, etc.

Using maps to make an online index of aerial photos over time.

First you have to get an API Key to the information source you want to use, like Google Maps API. Use the code and change locations by changing the lat and long in the code, stuff like that.

Yahoo Pipes has a Tutorial. Find a mashup that you like, and clone the code and put your own info in to make it useful to you. Yahoo Pipes has a find a library mashup, and you could take it and put your own libraries in it. Pipes is a social site, and the sharing and reuse/repurpose of mashups is encouraged, so theres a lot of support around to help you do the things you want to do.

Cambridge Public Library has a bookcover mashup slider showing the top 20 books (what about the most recently returned books? Tee hee)

Unintended consequences of mashups – some happy, some not so much. Garbage in garbage out – be sure that you are using good data and open API, and stuff like that. Link to the sources of the data, so people can track where it’s coming from.

Lots of graphics and charts being made, visual representations of information being created to show complex information. http://www.aharef.info/2006/05/websites_as_graphs.htm – shows visual representations of website structure.

Newsmap is profiled – seen that before, but it’s a favorite. Color coded map of news by type in different countries. Elastic Lists – faceted browsing type of thing. Visual column-type list of Nobel Prize winners – shows everything available, allows you to limit as you go and see results below, stop when you want, or continue in granularity.

Social sites for data visualization – look at data analysis tools and respond to them. Also use social sites to upload and manipulate all kinds of data for use in your own presentations, etc. but also give benefit to other users of the social site, so others can benefit from the data vis that you did. Swivel is one, Many Eyes is another. – Star Size comparisons chart is pretty sweet. Bird sightings chart is cool, too. Lots of text display and analysis going on, showing how words are used in relation to other words, etc. Many Eyes is cool – you can use the existing data or upload your own, watch data, rate it, etc.

liveplasmo – gleans relationships between actors, directors, movies.

Gapminder – trendanalyzer software bought by Google – transforms global trends into lively visualizations. Hans Rosling – Ideas Worth Spreading video on YouTube.

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