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Foursquare, Location-Based Social Networks & Library Apps

October 25, 2010

Where are You?: Location and Library Applications
by Jason Clark the Head of Digital Access and Web Services at Montana State University Libraries (he is using the hashtag #lib-location if you want more info/have a question to ask via Twitter)

Talking about location as a concept and what it means for libraries. Content is not king anymore–context is. Or in other words, how do you use location as an important data point for searching. “About half of the queries on Google have a geographic component” (Andrew Foster). Location is a metric for interest–so how do we use it?

Moving to library applications: use mapping of data (creating custom Google Maps), check-in services (Darien Library and Enoch Pratt Free Library use this), Crowdsourcing data (New York Public Library is using this on their map collection), local interest apps (NCSU WolfWalk, San Jose Public Library).

Building Geolocation applications
New W3C Geolocation API: uses Javascript and is very accurate
Yahoo Query Language Location Tables: Web Services, Server-side and/or Client-side scripting
Many other options

BooksnStuffNearby: Beta App
Created by Jason Clark. Browse to it, determines where you are, and uses WorldCat to bring back information that is relevant to your location.

Resources
Location Awhere (blog): http://locationawhere.com
Where 2.0 Conference http://where2conf.com/where2010
Geolocation API–diveintohtml5 http://diveintohtml5.org/geolocation.html

Joe Murphy on Trend of Relevancy of Information based on location
Location as trend: heightening information relevancy based on proximity. Foursquare is the most popular location based service, Gowalla is one of the least popular now. Benefit for libraries= claim your venue and use it for connecting with your patrons (can track statistics and also do promotions). Need to think about how to use location based services to connect easily with our user groups. Plus it is kind of fun.

Summary
Great session with lots of resources to use when you want to create location based applications and use location based services for your library. Context (i.e. location) of a person is a key information/data point that we need to be using when we are creating search tools and applications for our libraries.

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