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I stumbled across a pretty cool site, dedicated to educating, and providing librarians with the tools they need to hack--of course with an emphasis on APIs. Libraries Hacked mission is "analyzing and promoting open source technology hacks and projects in libraries", and providing a wealth of resources for institutions along the way:

APIs - open systems online to integrate into your hacks
source code - open-source apps, and projects to explore and enhance
data - links around the web to download reports and stats in various formats (pdf, excel...)
hack events - past and future events to get involved in and get inspiration from
articles - articles on relevant subjects to the site, with guest contributions
tutorials - how-to guides and reviews of software tools and apps to use when hacking

In the API section, they provide a nice introduction to what is an API, and why you would use an API, including nine library focused APIs:

  • copac - search over 70 UK and irish academic national & specialist library catalogues
  • culture grid - provides uk library listings, searchable by location, authority, region - and also lists associated collections
  • europeana - an interface giving full and searchable remote access to all of the Europeana collection data
  • european library api v2.0 - data describing the collections and catalogues of national and research libraries in 48 countries
  • google books family - APIs to integrate with google data on books such as searching via title and retrieving data such as isbn and cover images
  • nature.com website data - bibliographic search for content on nature.com: news, research articles and citations
  • oclc worldcat search - provides catalogue search facilities across all participating libraries (worldwide). also search for libraries by location
  • open library - one web page for every book. open library exposes an API to gain access to all their book data in various formats
  • rluk linked open data - not really an API, but research libraries uk have published nearly 20 million bibliographic records from 34 libraries as linked open data

Libraries Hacked is available as a Github, so any librarian, can fork, and launch for their own purposes, with everything licensed CC-BY. I think that librarians hold the key to our future, and ensuring librarians have the latest resources they need when it comes to APIs, open data, and open source software is critical to all of this working.

Sites like Libraries Hacked, not only save me a lot of time in researching priority areas like libraries, but also make me hopeful for the future, in a world where I’m bombarded by warning signs around how technology is used, and knowing that librarians are getting equipped, makes me feel a lot better for all us.

P.S. I also love it when people use icons. I think I have an icon problem.




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