A Travellers Map in Yahoo Pipes

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Before putting together the Surrey Fiction Book Map for work I was considering the possibility of creating a map of the world that would link from markers to Surrey Libraries’ catalogue. I didn’t fancy creating it manually and I was sure it could be done via Yahoo Pipes. However, at the time I hadn’t used Yahoo Pipes in this way before, so I didn’t follow through with the idea.

Now I’ve had a bit more time to think about it, I’ve managed to put something together using a spreadsheet version of our Subject index and Yahoo Pipes.

Firstly, the spreadsheet contains all of the information I need – text description of the location, plus the sub topic (eg Travel; history; etc). It also contains the Dewey number and our Reader Interest Categories (RIC). In Surrey the RIC is used to shelve our stock by subject area – helping to bring together related stock that would otherwise be separated.

Section from Subject Index spreadsheet

I created a Yahoo pipe that pulled in the spreadsheet information.

It then filtered the subject headings based on the ‘NewRIC’ column, removing any subject headings that weren’t location-based. In the above example you can see some subject headings in the original source file that it excluded eg Aramaic Language; Arboretums; Archery.

The pipe combined the Heading/Subheading fields (so they appeared in the title) and the RIC and Dewey number (so they appeared in the description). It’s a librarian thing I do to scare off the public 😉

I also fed the title field into the ‘Location builder’ module and it did a pretty good job of identifying the map locations mentioned. It did have some problems, as you can see from the fact that “War of the Roses” has been mapped to just off the Australian coast! This was due to the fact that some of the text wasn’t precise. I’m correcting these issues gradually, as there are over 800 items to check.

War of the Roses, just off the coast of Australia!

Finally I created a link from each marker pin back to the library catalogue. As the subject index contained Dewey numbers I could add this information to each link via the String builder module. The link basically acts as a catalogue search.

If you’re interested you can take a look at it here.

As a next stage I need to tidy up the subject index, so it maps more accurately and removes subject headings that I can’t map correctly.

It would also be useful to be able to present the map so it is less tightly packed and maybe add a location search too. Maybe with some location images, as well.

Also, if you do want to know what each part of the pipe does in detail, feel free to ask.

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