Monday, May 11, 2009

Curate a Local Calendar for Your Community

I don't know if any libraries have taken this task on, but I think it would be really cool and make a lot of sense for a library to take on the role of helping create a community calendar. I'm not thinking about having a library meticulously build the calendar from scratch; instead, there are tools out there that can help you harvest calendar data on the web, aggregate it, and then republish the package so that people can then add as an overlay to their personal calendars (in Google Calendar and the like).

This spring, Jon Udell has written a number of blog posts about his elmcity project. Udell has found a way for people to use Delicious to gather together web sites that publish calendars. Following his instructions, those who set up a Delicious account for a specific town or city use specific tagging conventions as they add items to their Delicious accounts. Udell, in turn, passes the data that builds up in Delicious on to a system he set up using Microsoft Azure. The calendar data for each community is bundled together then and offered as a unified iCalendar feed. You can see examples of these bundled community calendars on this aggregator page Udell set up. Udell offers a number of ways to learn more about this project:
Basically, all that a library would need to do would be to set up a dedicated Delicious account, bookmark some calendar feeds in Delicious, and then publicize the new calendar that has been built. There's no coding, no programming required; just bookmarking and tagging. It doesn't take too much imagination to see that a library, particularly a public library, could really provide an outstanding service to its community by participating in this project.

1 Comments:

At 8:30 AM , Blogger Jon Udell said...

Excellent writeup, Stephen, thanks. And you're right. I don't intend for instances of the elmcity hub to be "destination sites" but rather infrastructure that supports an existing website that serves a community.

Entities that might operate such websites include: newspapers, libraries, schools, chambers of commerce.

Because of the focus on curation, I agree that libraries might be an especially good fit. Any of your readers who might be interested are invited to contact me: jonu@microsoft.com.

 

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