Look what you can do with library circulation data!

The JISC MOSAIC project Developer Competition attracted entries from England, Scotland, Wales and the United States. The winner of the £1000 award was Alex Parker, an undergraduate studying Computer Science at the University of Southampton, who developed a compelling presentation of the library user activity data represented as the ‘Book Galaxy’. The runners up were Andrew Isherwood (2nd place – University of Aberystwyth) and Alistair Young (3rd – University of Highlands and Islands)

The MOSAIC project is investigating the possibilities for data covering user activity such as book circulation across UK Higher Education libraries. In summer 2009, the project ran the Developer Competition to see what applications might be imagined and built on such data, looking for innovative approaches in terms of applications, query and display interfaces. Entries were required to use data released under Creative Commons licence by the University of Huddersfield, containing circulation records linked to the course affiliations of the borrowers. 

The judges received 6 working applications, which exceeded expectations in terms in terms of quality and imagination. In addition to the award three winners, the judges commended entries from Tony Hirst and Owen Stephens of the Open University and from Sean Hannan of John Hopkins University. Ken Chad (Ken Chad Consulting) summed up the feelings of all four judges in commenting ‘I had an enjoyable couple of hours with these; it warmed my heart to see them – hats off to these guys!’  

The applications covered three important areas:         

Improving Resource Discovery:     

  • Navigate the ‘Book Galaxy’ through links based on borrowing habits–        
  • Users create and share reading lists        

Supporting learning choices:       

  • Get a feel for a course based on the books students actually borrow       
  • Possible courses suggested based on books you’ve enjoyed reading        

Supporting decision making:       

  • Assess circulation relating to departments and courses–        
  • Value the loans per courses as a collection performance indicator 

The MOSAIC team will be seeking feedback from Higher Education library and learning practitioners on all six applications at the series of workshops over the next month at the Universities of Edinburgh, Sheffield, Sussex and the Open University.  

The applications will also be featured at the concluding MOSAIC event at the University of Wolverhampton on Wednesday 18 November, which will inform the project recommendations to JISC and to the SCONUL Shared Services project on the opportunities relating to activity data and recommendation services that might be pursued within the sector. All interested parties are invited to sign up for the event by emailing david.kay@sero.co.uk.  

Download this document for URLs and further details for the six entries plus the MOSAIC project demonstrator.