Technology Description

Mashups are Web applications that aggregate data from different websites, recombining it to provide new interfaces or services. Mashups gather data using Application Protocol Interfaces (APIs), Web services, RSS, or other means. These are then processed either on the server or by the user’s browser. Examples of mashups include websites such as:

As this type of service has become more popular, applications have been developed to simplify the creation of mashups. These tools include:

While mashups have been developed for many purposes, many have focused on providing users with alternative means of visualizing data. This is especially true of geographic data, making mashups using Google Maps and other map websites the most common type of mashup available.

Archival Applications

In library environments, mashups have become more common as institutions have developed map mashups and supplemented catalog records. Similar opportunities exist for archives to bring together outside data sources to provide additional context for archival materials. Possible applications include:

  • Providing geographic browses of archival holdings and subjects
  • Integrating information about the context of archival materials into interfaces

Case Studies in Archival Applications

Jeremy Heil and Frank Huntley, “Stones: Using Mashups to Understand a City’s Social Tapestry”


A few individuals and institutions are beginning to experiment with developing mashups. Below is a sampling of some of these projects. For an extended list, check our implementation listing at

If you are developing a mashup and would like to appear in the list, send a bookmark in using the tag for:interactivearchivist.


Berlind, David. “What is a Mashup?” ZDNet. (accessed Feb. 20, 2009).

Freeland, Chris, Martin Kalfatovic, Jay Paige, and Marc Crozier. “Geocoding LCSH in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.” code{4}lib Journal 2 (March 24, 2008), (accessed Feb. 20, 2009).

Gorman, Jonathan. “Respect My Authority.” code{4}lib Journal 2 (March 24, 2008), (accessed Mar. 24, 2009).

Wikipedia. “Mashup (web application hybrid).” Wikimedia Foundation. (accessed Mar. 24, 2009).