Ting: collaboratively sourced library infrastructure

Lorcan 1 min read

Ting is an initiative which is creating a shared systems and data infrastructure for Danish public libraries – and potentially others. At its heart is a ‘data well’, an enriched aggregate of data (see a list of data sources here). Another important component is Ding, a Drupal-based content management system for presenting library resources.
Libraries currently participating are Copenhagen and Aarhus public libraries. They are working with DBC, the provider of the Danish union catalog,, among other services,
Some features of the websites are described on the Ting blog. I liked the emphasis on the integration between website and database. Facets are on top of the results display rather than on the side. There is some work-based clustering. There is a nice suggestion feature on the search box.
Here is a high-level architectural view:

Ting is an interesting initiative. I do not have a lot of context to assess it. I do not know how well its aggregation of data will compare with others and I only spent a little while looking at the library websites. It provides an example of the shared approach I recently suggested would become more important. I was introduced to it last week in a nice presentation by Mats Hernvall at a meeting in Lund. He discussed the importance of scale and collaboration in developing library services and noted that DBC were interested in further partnerships.
Note: updated from beta to production URLs for the library websites.

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