Finally I’ve started to see more museums picking up the absurdly easy to implement Opensearch method of delivering a live search result from their website as RSS/XML.
The National Maritime Museum in the UK is one who has recently made their implementation of Opensearch available. Here’s a feed of a search of their collection for compasses.
Here’s a feed of that same search for compasses but from the Powerhouse Museum site.
Anyone who wanted to make a website about compasses could easily do so by simply combining these and other search feeds – a search mashup if you will. This is an extremely easy lightweight way to implement a cross-collection search – and whilst it does have significant scalability (how many institutions’ compasses do you want to combine?) and ranked combining issues (whose compasses do you show first?) – the actual technical implementation, if you run your own collection search already on your website are extremely trivial.
We’ve had Opensearch here at the Powerhouse for two years now and it provides slow and steady trickle of users. Libraries Australia uses our feed to provide a Powerhouse search within the libraries portal all over the country, and the Collections Australia Network and the Museum’s own dHub use it to offer a Powerhouse search on their sites.
So, why haven’t you implemented it yet? Or, if you have, let’s start sharing our feeds.
Our Opensearch description file which specifies the syntax for queries to return results either as HTML or RSS/XML is located here. Feel free to use it and tell us about your creative mashups.