Ross Singer, Umlaut, and Judging

I’m pleased to note that Ross Singer’s Umlaut has just been announced as winner of the Second OCLC Research Software Contest. (The link is to OCLC’s announcement.) (Ross Singer is at Georgia Tech; Umlaut is currently running on Georgia Tech’s catalog. Details are available from the link.)

Umlaut is an interesting approach to OpenURL link resolution, using a number of innovative techniques (and a number of OCLC and other web services) to provide better results–and specifically to get the user directly to full text whenever that’s feasible.

In the spirit of a recent post, you could say it’s an unusually elegant “mashup” (or combination) of various web services to improve effective online use of library resources.

I participated in this year’s judging, along with three old friends and acquaintances (Liz Lane Lawley and Roy Tennant, both of whom I’ve known for more than a decade, and Thom Hickey, who I’ve certainly known of but only recently gotten to know better). The others also judged last year’s competition, and unanimously agreed that this year had a stronger (and larger) group of entries. The judging process was interesting and a little intense; the conference call that concluded the process was collegial, frank, and a true meeting of minds

Congratulations, Ross–and thanks, Thom, for asking me to judge.

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