2013 liasa poster putting gis librarianship on the south african map_online

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Poster created for the 2013 LIASA Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa

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2013 liasa poster putting gis librarianship on the south african map_online

  1. 1. Putting GIS Librarianship on the South African map by Linda Kelly, UCT Libraries – Linda.Kelly@uct.ac.za for LIASA Conference 2013 Introduction Weimer and Reehling (2006) state that libraries are information centers that can no longer afford to solely exist as map repositories where librarians organize, store, and provide services associated with printed maps and associated cartographic materials. 2. What is GIS Librarianship? “My role as a GIS/data librarian focuses on geographic information systems (GIS) and is central to collecting, managing, disseminating, and teaching about geospatial data.” (Ricker 2007) It is unfortunate that the GIS Librarian has not gained traction in South Africa while the profession has existed and steadily evolved in the USA and other European countries. We are living in an information age where data is increasingly abundant and it is now possible to give almost any data a geographical location making it mapable. Maps are both an art form and a research tool because they can visualise and analyse large amounts of data to communicate patterns and trends that would otherwise be limited to conventional data visualisations, namely tables and graphs. This in turn makes maps and GIS a tool for all disciplines. Aim To create awareness amongst library colleagues about the profession of a GIS Librarian, its importance for all research disciplines and to showcase what has been happening at the University of Cape Town (UCT) to advocate this profession. The following text, tables and diagrams attempt to answer the following questions: 1. What is GIS? 2. What is GIS Librarianship? 3. How are GIS library services developing overseas? 4. What is happening at UCT Libraries? 1. What is GIS? The table below provides GIS definitions and the figure graphically shows how tabular data is used to create data layers that can be combined and depicted cartographically, i.e. in the form of a map. Definition 1 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) combine maps with tables of information. The information – words, numbers, or images – can be linked to locations on the map Definition 2 Definition 3 Weimer and Reehling (2006) broadly define Geographic Information Librarianship (GIL) as “the profession of providing geographic information resources and services in a library setting. This … definition of GIL is intentionally broad and has three areas of expertise: a) cataloging of cartographic materials b) traditional print map librarianship c) GIS librarianship” "Geographic Information Librarianship supports all media (paper to digital) that contain geographic information” (Weimer and Reeling 2006). 3. How are GIS library services developing overseas? • • • • • A unit or dept. within the library provides the following services related to GIS: Research consultations Geospatial portals enable the discovery of geospatial data – similar to discovery platforms for finding books or journal articles Collection development for geospatial data Training workshops about GIS & geospatial data Cartographic Referencing Guides for maps (print, digital, online, GIS software) & geospatial data List of common requests at the University of Kansas Libraries, USA finding specific datasets; generating a map or image from spatial data; converting data among various formats, such as open source or proprietary; subsetting data or clipping data layers; creating data, such as point, line, or polygon features and editing associated (attribute) information; GIS service level Example of Query Summarised Definition high-level “I want to make a map of outdoor camping facilities in Minnesota by country using this table of data I collected.” full GIS set-up mapping tabular data using geographic coordinates for point locations, or collected with a global positioning system (GPS); mid-level “I’m researching the socioeconomic makeup of a region across the country and would like to look at a map showing demographic features of an area.” GIS applications available via the Web which require user input mapping tabular data by linking (joining) to a GIS layer with the same geographic variables; “I need maps of China, both current and from other points in the twentieth century.” static maps available through the Web Definition 4 The GIS (Geographic Information System) is a tool for computational treatment of geographical data and their associated data banks. It can be seen as a support system for decisions that unite spatially referenced data in a problem response environment. GIS groups, bring together and unite information. Through this, available information becomes more accessible, and old information is put into a new context. A GIS can be represented as several different layers where each layer holds data about a particular kind of feature. By layering information such as wells, industries, and population, spatial relationships among the objects being mapped can be emphasized. Someone might see that the highly contaminated wells are located next to a particular industry. Or, they could see how many families are potentially at risk if their drinking water comes from a contaminated well. See Figure 1. GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map. This enables people to more easily see, analyze, and understand patterns and relationships. Tiba et al. (2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2012) National Geographic Society (2013) low-level integrating an image, such as a scanned map, into a GIS using geographic coordinates (geo-referencing); and spatial data analysis. Source: Adapted from Kowal (2002, cited in Kelly 2013) Source: adapted from Houser (2006). 4. What is happening at UCT Libraries? GIS Librarians in Training Group Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2012) Group of librarians meet once a month to do online introduction GIS courses • 20 November is an international day for hosting GIS activities to show case how GIS can help to solve real world problems • A 2013 GIS Day workshop was run for UCT Libraries staff to create awareness about the GIS Librarian profession and to show case how GIS and maps can help to solve real world problems • The aim is to run an annual GIS Day workshop for UCT academics and students Library Workshop about map collections & services Figure 1. What is GIS? About GIS Day Sinton and Lund (2007) Activities First workshop on maps and geospatial data that included all UCT librarians who deal with maps in various ways (i.e. government, Special Collections, etc.) as well as the UCT GIS Lab • A reference guide for maps and geospatial data was created in collaboration with Cartographic reference guide for maps (print Brock University Library, UCT GIS Lab, UCT LISC and Subject Librarians at UCT & digital) and geospatial data Libraries • Available online on the UCT Environmental & Geographical Science LibGuide Visit GIS Librarians at MIT (USA), Harvard (USA) and Oxford (UK) The author met with GIS Librarians in order to gain a better understanding of the profession and services associated the profession. References Environmental Protection Agency. 2012. What is GIS (Geography Information Systems)? Available: http://www.epa.gov/region5fields/gis.html [2013, September 20]. ESRI. 2013. What is GIS? Available: http://www.esri.com/what-is-gis/overview#overview_panel [2013, September 20]. Houser, R. 2006. Building a library GIS service from the ground up. Library Hi Tech, 28(1): 131-151. Kelly, L. 2013. Maps, libraries and the “GIS Librarian”: an informal review of cartographic libraries. South Africa Journal of Geomatics, 2(2): 163-174. Available: http://www.sajg.org.za/index.php/sajg/article/view/77 [2013, September 20]. A Geographic Information System… • integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. • allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. • helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. • GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework. Source: ESRI (2013) National Geographic Society. 2013: GIS (geographic information system). Available: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/geographic-information-system-gis/?ar_a=1 [2013, September 20]. Ricker, K. 2007. GIS/Data Librarian. In A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science. P. K. Shontz and A. Murray, Eds. Westport, USA: Libraries Unlimited. Sinton and Lund. 2007. Understanding Place: GIS and Mapping Across the Curriculum. ESRI Press: California. Tiba, C.; Candeias, A.L.B.; Fraidenraich, N; de S. Barbosa, E.M.; de Carvalho Neto, P.B.; de Melo Filho, J.B. 2010: A GIS-based decision support tool for renewable energy management and planning in semi-arid rural environments of northeast of Brazil. Renewable Energy, 35(12): 2921. Weimer, K. and Reehling, P. 2006. New Model of Geographic Information Librarianship: Description, Curriculum and Program Proposal. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 47(4): 291-302. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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