February 17, 2018

David Pattern | Movers & Shakers 2009 – Tech Evangelists

David Pattern, University of Huddersfield, EnglandIdea Generator

“Dave Pattern has a knack for improving things and/or making them much funnier,” explains Kathryn Greenhill, emerging technologies specialist, Murdoch University, Western Australia. “He exemplifies the qualities of curiosity, sharing, play, and experimentation so necessary for contemporary library staff.”

Pattern is best known for the catalog enhancements he created for the University of Huddersfield, which range from “did you mean” spellchecking to more experimental features, such as personalized book suggestions based on previous borrowing, a tag cloud visualization of subject headings, and an opportunity for users to add star ratings. Future plans include creating free web service versions for other libraries to duplicate; already some 20 libraries use the spellchecking functionality. And it’s all in his blog.

Long term, Pattern wants to get “maximum value out of usage data.” His vision: “If we can all find a way of safely and securely aggregating our usage data, whilst ensuring the anonymity and privacy of our users, we can take a huge step forward. Collectively, we could build a recommendation system that makes Amazon’s look amateurish!” By releasing Huddersfield’s book usage and recommendation data, he says, “we’re hoping to start a debate around the topic.”

These qualities jibe with Pattern’s view of Library 2.0, which includes “finding time to play with new things, keeping an open mind and being receptive to new ideas, being flexible, grasping the key benefits of new web tools and technologies, experimenting…and occasionally failing. Finally, and most important, it’s about having fun!”

Indeed, his Library 2.0 Idea Generator combines random 2.0 people and ideas with random actions and comments to create phrases that almost make sense (like “empower Flickr just to annoy Michael Gorman”). “I love playing with data and trying to come up with unusual ways of visualizing it,” explains Pattern. “When you start playing around with stuff, one thing leads to another, and you sometimes end up with something useful.”


University of Huddersfield, England

POSITION Library Systems Manager

DEGREE B.A., Computing, University of Huddersfield, 1998

BLOG Self-Plagiarism Is Style; www.daveyp.com/blog