Thursday, December 13, 2007

map mash-up of medical libraries in NYS

[update on this: this application already exists here! Not sure yet if I'm more relieved I don't have to spend time to build it or depressed because I don't get a chance to play with the technology...]

I want to create an interactive map mash-up that uses a map of NY State and shows the location of medical/health and SUNY/CUNY libraries. Each location would include links to the library web site as well as their catalog and perhaps display their hours of operation when applicable (and of course, a way to get directions to each).

This would be an application for our upcoming nursing bachelor's program, to which I am liaison. The students will primarily be adult distance learners (those working in the field with an RN already) and spread throughout the state and beyond. We have an extensive online library, but our students do have the occasional need to consult a print book or journal, so having such an application would be valuable.

However, at first glance it appears that one must have some knowledge of JavaScript (or PHP) in order to manipulate the Google or Yahoo API directly and create such an application that way. Alas I don't have such knowledge at present (although learning Javascript basics is at the top of my prof dev list!).

On the other hand, I have found a couple possible programs that do most of the programming work for you that I think could work:
I actually just now found an application for metro NYC libraries that is almost exactly what I would want on a state-wide scale and uses Community Walk.

Has anyone used some of these applications and have a preference? Are there hidden disadvantages to some of these? I'm being purely lazy here and hoping to cut the corner of having to evaluate and compare them myself...

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