I’d be interested to see whether Fichter’s chapter on Mashups scared the rest of the class, as much as it did me. Her story of Tom Owad and what he was able to do with mashups (Fichter, 2009, p.15) should be enough to make people think long and hard about what they make available online.
For those that are risk averse, I would think that the drawbacks greatly outweigh the benefits in the case of Mashups. To be completely honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with the final product in a lot of cases. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the amount of effort, creativity, and intelligence that these things take to put together – creating one no doubt takes more brain power than I have to work with (case in point – I was quick to choose the Google Map Maker option as my activity for class this week, instead of the MapBuilder option). Mashups do make things easier and can save users time – but I just don’t know that the amount of effort that gets put into creating them is necessarily justified by the end result. I shouldn’t be so quick to judge (especially since I didn’t even take the time to attempt making one myself), but in comparison to the other topics we’ve covered in this course so far, Mashups just didn’t really catch my interest.
The Google Map Maker activity was fairly straightforward, although it did take me a while to come up with something to add that wasn’t already present. I ended up outlining a baseball diamond near my parents’ house. As with the majority of Google applications, it was really simple to use. I didn’t know that it was possible for people to go in and add things to Google Maps, so in that sense, it was definitely a great learning experience. It was also nice to see that the things that users add have to be verified before they’re truly added to the Google Map. When I first started the activity I was a little nervous because it seemed a bit too close to the Wikipedia style of collaborative projects. The verification step of the process was a nice safeguard that paranoid people like me can truly appreciate.
Fichter, D. (2009). What Is a Mashup? In N.C. Engard (Ed.), Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data (p. 3-17). New Jersey: Information Today, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.infotoday.com/books/books/Engard/Engard-Sample-Chapter.pdf