Mashcat programme for tomorrow

Mashcat is tomorrow (5 July). It is being held at the Clinical School in Cambridge. Mashcat is  supported by DevCSI (@devsci). There may still be places free: check our Eventbrite page or contact us if you would still like to come.

Below is the current planned outline of the day:

0930-1000 Coffee and welcome.
1000-1225 Morning sessions, including talks from Richard Wallis, Ed Chamberlain, and Paul Stainthorp on linked data, OCLC, and the COMET and CLOCK projects.
1225-1315 Lunch.
1315-1500 Afternoon unconference sessions 1.
1500-1530 Coffee.
1530-1700 Afternoon unconference sessions 2.

The afternoon at Mashcat will consist of unconference-style sessions, pitched for and decided upon on the day. Please do consider delivering a session! It could be hands-on mashing, speaking about something you have done with bibliographic data, or something else. Below are some of the ideas that attendees have had already. Please do let us know by email at, Twitter (@orangeaurochs) or by leaving a comment if you would to add your idea to the list.

Gary Green (@ggnewed)
Using Yahoo Pipes, Google docs & hackable URLs, this session will explain how to make a mashup that plots subject headings covering UK locations onto a map and links back to/runs a search on the library catalogue – providing a different way to browse the library catalogue. An example of this mashup can be found at:

Thomas Meehan (@orangeaurochs)
How Big Is My Book? AACR2/MARC records store much quantitative information as text, e.g. “31 cm.” or “xi, 300 p”. This is not easy for computers to deal with. This session will look at using Javascript and regular expressions (wildcards turned up to eleven) to get instead a size in mm that computers can use and compare (e.g. “310” or “311”) in a computer programme or spreadsheet. The main focus will be on regular expressions and the format of cataloguing data. I intend to look first at the 300$a, and at least pose the question “How high is my book?” using the 300$c. No prior knowledge of Javascript is assumed although it would be useful, and I plan to include a brief introduction to regular expressions, where the main focus will lie.

Richard Cross (@llrrichardcross)
Relic (the Resource List Item Checker) is a simple mash-up which checks for the existence of an ISBN, ISSN, DOI or LCN on a resource list (Talis Aspire) and augments the result with metadata drawn from OpenLibrary, CrossRef, LibraryThing, and the library’s discovery systems (Primo, SFX and Aleph). Relic is used as a look-up tool by library staff at Nottingham Trent University working on acquisitions and stock management processes. This session will provide a brief demonstration of Relic, describe the key request/responses it uses, and describe some of the future enhancements currently being worked on.

Tim Hodson (@timhodson)
There is a lot of interest in re-modelling library data from its current record centric form to graph based Linked Data models. There is already a lot of best practice around Linked Data that the cataloguing community can benefit from. Tim Hodson from Talis Systems will give a brief overview of the key thoughts underpinning the British Library’s Bibliographic Data Model for Linked Data, and how you can extend it to meet your own use cases. He will also give you practical pointers to running a Linked Data project in your own organisation and how to make the most of the Links in Linked Data. This session is designed to be interactive and responsive, so if you have specific questions about how to model some aspect of a Marc record as Linked Data, or indeed any other related questions then we can use this time to explore the answers.

Owen Stephens (@ostephens)
Making the most of MARC. While there is much talk (often by me) of how “MARC must die”, there is a huge amount of data in a MARC record much of it not exploited in traditional OPACs or indeed so-called ‘next generation’ discovery solutions. Many of the current wave of discovery products are based on a search technology called Solr ( In this session I want to use an Open Source discovery product (Blacklight to demonstrate how it can be configured to exploit MARC more fully than traditional OPACs.

While using a specific product, since the underlying technology is shared with other systems, the ideas will apply to other systems as well – and will, I hope, increase understanding of what these systems are truly capable of, as well as almost inevitably highlighting some of the problems with current cataloguing practice in terms of creating data that can be fully exploited by computers.

This session is squarely aimed at cataloguers who want to understand the capabilities of discovery products – whether to help with library workflows, or to deliver services to users. While I’ll show some code, and those who want to can dive into the relevant configuration files and code, there is no requirement to understand or write code to appreciate the session. Developers who want to find out more about MARC and Blacklight/Solr are also welcome of course.

If you’ve got some MARC records you’d like to use in the session as test cases or to see what we can do with them, bring them along with you and we can give it a go. I’m especially interested in how we might adapt the software to deal with specialist materials – music, rare books, manuscripts, etc.

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