Maps in the Rochester NY Library for the NY State Archives Day 2011
Maps in the Local HistoryDivision, Central Library ofRochester and Monroe CountyRRLC Archives Day 2011
Why are maps important?• Dr. Edward Tufte from Yale, a renowneddata visualization expert, has said thatquality cartography is without equal invisual information density.• RPL holds many maps that are goodexamples of that statement.
Questions and Answers!• How many are there?• How are they arranged?• What formats?• How are they accessed?• How are they used by patrons?• What has been done digitally?• Any outreach?
How many are there?• There are roughly 3000 maps tin thecollections, with cases in the division.• These include plat maps, USGS surveymaps, items taken from city directories, andwall maps from various sources.
How are they arranged?• Basically, thematically. But there are otherconsiderations such as fragility, size,and how often they are used. Frequently usedmaps have to be easily accessible but also be keptsafe and handled carefully.Gloves are provided for patron use with theoriginal maps.
What formats are they in?• Naturally, most of them are on paper. Buthere are some that are on aperture cards. Apicture follows.• Others are in digital format, and still othersappear on the page of books. Some of thosebooks have been digitized.
How are they accessed?• 1. From the actual map files.• 2. From Rochester Images. These have fulldescriptions and cataloging. They also can use thefree Zoomify software to enlarge and enhance theviewing of the maps.• 3. Local History has a separate web guide to whatmaps are online and cataloging for them• Alma Burner Creek’s book “Maps of the GeneseeValley” is still a good start, and so is James Folt’s“Genesee Region”
Can they be copied?• No, not on a photocopier. But if they havebeen digitized, patrons can access orpurchase digital copies. They are alsowelcome to take their own digital photos, ororder a scan.
What has been done digitally• About 750 maps have been made digitally.Examples are found on the library’s mappathfinders page.• If they have been digitized, then copies canbe made for access and use. These areespecially popular with teachers andstudents.
Examples of Outreach:• The library did a display at the local GIS-SIG in April 2011, and following are a fewpictures from it.• Story about big map -see slide!• Maps are used as part of the online exhibits,Many Roads to Freedom, and also inRochester’s First Superhighway: the ErieCanal.
One of the featured speakers found important familyinformation on these maps!
Plans for the future?• Catalog the maps so that they can be easily foundonline in the main library catalog.• Digitize more maps for easier access.• Have more hard copy prints made from delicate oldermaps to enhance accessibility and encourage use,especially by students.• Perhaps sell copies of some of the more popularmaps?• Encourage the use of the maps for KML/KMZ files.
What’s a KML?• Its the method that Google Earth usesto collect all of the data that you add toyour map (video, layers, photos, placemarks, etc) and keep it all together sothat it can be saved and opened again.Students or others can visualize andappreciate concepts in a new way.
Where are the maps thatbelonged to the RHS?• They are now in the collection of the RHS,which is located on the north side of thesecond floor of the Rundel building.
Is there a “catalog” of mapswithin books?• No. Users may have a reference to one, orstaff knowledge can allow access. But ifthere are useful maps within a title, the onlyeffective access is through a reference in the“hard-to-find” ready reference file. A goodexample of that would be Native Americansettlements, geological data, etc. Folts’ andCreek’s books attempt this.
Usage metrics.• The division makes a written record of itsquestions, and has for decades. These showmap use. But there have never been sign inor sign out sheets specifically for their use.