The year was a defining one for Rabble and MUSICat, the local music platform we’re building with public libraries. We launched several new sites: PlayBack with The Seattle Public Library in August, BoomBox with Nashville Public Library in October, and an upgraded Yahara Music Library with Madison Public Library in December.
Edmonton Public Library’s MUSICat site Capital City Records won the Canadian Library Association/OCLC Award for Innovative Technology. Madison Public Library nabbed an IMLS National Medal, the nation’s highest honor for library service to communities, based in part on its MUSICat site, Yahara.
Rabble was honored to be a finalist in multiple competitions in 2016 including the Knight News Challenge that asked “How might libraries serve 21st century information needs?” the Force for Positive Change competition headed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Wisconsin Innovation Awards. We were also chosen to take part in the Forward Fest Startup Showcase.
In the new year, we’ll rewrite MUSICat to improve site performance and facilitate developer integration, improvements that will bring us closer to our long term goals to release a Software as a Service version of MUSICat and an open source DIY toolkit. Rabble is on track to bring 10 additional library partners on board in 2017.
Preston Austin, Kelly Hiser, and Matt Wheeler co-founded Rabble in August 2014, but our history begins nearly a year earlier. Beginning in the fall of 2013, Preston and Kelly worked with Murfie and the Madison Public Library to create the Yahara Music Library, an online collection of local music freely available the library’s cardholders. We founded Rabble to make it possible for all libraries to host collections like YaharaMusic.org.
In the fall, we began developing our MUSICat software, which expands the capacity of Yahara’s software. We’re working out of Horizon, a location that allows us to continue to consult with the folks at Murfie.
Just a month after our start, Xconomy ran a great article on Rabble, with sound bites from both Preston and Kelly.
In December, we finalized a partnership with the Edmonton Public Library, Library Journal’s 2014 Library of the Year. Together, we’re preparing the library’s Capital City Records project for a spring 2015 launch. Capital City Records will be both a collection of local music and a record of the city’s musical past. We’re also continuing to work with the forward-thinking Madison Public Library to enhance YaharaMusic.org.
Over the next year, Rabble will partner with about a dozen libraries to build local music collections and continue to develop MUSICat in preparation for the open release of its source code and its broad availability as a Software as a Service in late 2015. We’re looking forward to all kinds of other fun things in the new year, including the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference and a partnership with the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities.