Springer Images: A simple but important idea

Eoin Purcell

A screen capture from the SpringerImages site
A screen capture from the SpringerImages site

I like SpringImages.com and not just because I am the kind of nerd who will use it. Even without paying a subscription you get pretty broad usage terms:

If you are a Registered and a Subscribed User, you may

* Access, browse, copy, collate, display, search, bookmark, retrieve, display and use the Content for educational, personal, scientific, or research purposes, including illustration, explanation, example, comment, criticism, teaching, research or analysis in accordance with these Terms of Use.
* Add keywords to Content and save prior searches of the Content on your Account, and you may use the Content to tailor your Account in accordance with these Terms of Use.
* Download or create printouts of certain Content under certain restrictions and conditions. All reproduction and distribution of such printouts, and all downloading and electronic storage of materials retrieved through the Content shall be for your own internal, personal or scholarly use.

There is much more detail about the site here! In terms of what most casual users would need, this certainly hits the spot. Opening up these images is a very smart move and one that should be pretty widely welcomed. This is exactly the kind of material it is hard to find in the real world of web search which is the real value of opening up the database for searches even if the results of those searches might yield unusable images (for subscription reasons). I wonder how well the site plays with Google?

Go have a look!

Guardian innovates

Eoin Purcell

Open Platform
In what seems like a smart play to me the Guardian has created an API and a data tool. The API puts articles and news features (and crucuially advertising from The Guardian) onto partner websites and the data tools allows access to a number of curated datasets. All very smart and digitally I think you’ll agree. From the piece:

Open Platform

The Cass Sculpture Foundation is using the service to add Guardian articles about British artists to its site.

Other partners for the launch of the service include web design firm Stamen and OpenStreetMap, a free, open alternative to commercial map data services. Stamen and OpenStreetMap developed a service that they hope will encourage Guardian readers to “geo-tag” the newspaper’s content, positioning every article, video and picture on a map so users can find news, commentary, video and other content related to their area.

Data Store

The Data Store launched with 80 data sets from trusted sources, including figures on child poverty in England and world carbon emissions by country. Simon Rogers, news editor, graphics, at the Guardian, will highlight some of the data sets in a Datablog, suggesting ways that the sets could be combined, or mashed up. It will also be a place where the Guardian highlights some of the best projects from its partners.

This seems like an intelligent play and I’d expect to see it copied by other major newspapers and media players. I can see the first mover being able to lock in considerable space from a program like this!

I’m sure there will be much more discussion on this!

Do you have a Digital Development Manager?

We don’t. Not unless you count me!
But Gill & Macmillan do and he has just started a really interesting blog: Binary or Bust
The title kinda gives his games away and the tagline offers even further proof:

A collection of ramblings on how we can replace books with digital media/devices and stay sane while getting there, also will have several unrelated rants when something annoys me.

Looking forward to some interesting stuff,

LibraryThing using Google Book Search’s API

Eoin Purcell

On the one hand this is pretty sweet:

The official Google Blog and the Inside Book Search Blog just announced the new Google Book Search API, with LibraryThing as one of the first implementors. (The others are libraries; I’ll be posting about what they’ve done over on Thingology.)

In sum, LibraryThing now links to Google Books for book scans—full or partial—and book information.

Google Book Search links can be seen two places:

* In your catalog. Choose “edit styles” to add the column. The column reflects only the exact edition you have.
* On work pages. The “Buy, borrow, swap or view” box on the right now includes a Google Books section. Clicking on it opens up a “lightbox” showing all the editions LibraryThing can identify on Google Book Search.

But on the other:
This is a little worrying. Google are stepping into the flow of traffic and pulling it in with content. You cannot blame them, they have put the investment in, they have been far sighted and now they are in a position to exploit that. I’m just getting a little uncomfortable with their power in this area and what they might mean going forward.

As a consumer I’m going to enjoy the feature though, despite my reservations and the limitations that Tim highlights in the rest of his blog post! But there is some good stuff too Here:

LibraryThing and its members can also like to take credit for moving the API along in another way. Your help with the Google Book Search Search bookmarklet forced the issue of GBS data. The message to Google was clear: our members wanted to use GBS with LibraryThing, and if Google wouldn’t provide the information, members would get it themselves. After some to-and-fro with Google, we voluntarily disabled the service. But I think it moved the openness ball a few feet, and that’s something for members to be proud of.

Worried and thinking!

Go local with Librarything & Well Done Ice Cream Ireland & Head Rambles

Eoin Purcell

Monday, bloody Monday!
Mondays have been getting busier for some reason and today was no different. On the plus side Good Times & Bad was put @ No. 4 in the Irish Times paperback Non-Fiction Bestseller List. It’s a really great read and well worth it at only €19.99.

Blog Awards
Well done to two/three soon to be Mercier Author’s; The Brother’s Murphy who were named best business blog for Ice Cream Ireland and Grandad who won joint best personal blog for Head Rambles at the Irish Blog Awards in Dublin over the weekend.

Librarything have been doing some excellent stuff and doing it well for a good while now. I remain amazed that a publisher hasn’t bought the remaining shares (assuming they could be bought) or even just bought Abeboooks to get the share they own of the company. They are really doing exciitng work in two areas right now and have today launched a third. The newest is called LibraryThing Local and it allows users to add pretty flexible information about everything from fairs to bookstores:

LibraryThing Local is a handy reference, but it’s also interactive. You can show off your favorite bookstores and libraries (eg., mine include the Harvard Bookstore, Shakespeare and Company and the Boston Athenaeum) and keep track of interesting events. Then you can find out who else loves the places you do, and who else is going to events. You can also find local members, write comments about the places you love and more.

You can see an example here where I have added information about the Dublin Book Festival which is on at the end of the week.

Although it will be a while before this feature builds into the rich stream of information and knowledge it has the potential too, it, like the recent Common Knowledge feature they rolled out are excellent ways to harness and pool the minds, thoughts and knowledge of their members to everyones advantage.

More pleased heading to sleep than I was waking up, is that good or bad?