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Exploring Map-Based Discovery Services in the Digital Library Environment


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Presented by Brianna Marshall at the 2012 Special Libraries Association Annual Conference.

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Exploring Map-Based Discovery Services in the Digital Library Environment

  1. 1. Research  Experiment  Implement • Google Geocoding API The data available to you will make or break your efforts. Depending on the size of • Yahoo! Maps Geocoding API the dataset you want to map, you will likely want to automate the process by • running a script that will take your data and map it for you in batches. APIs are • GPS Visualizer great for this purpose, so no worries there. However, your ability to use an API and • BatchGeo depends on the data you have. In order for most services to map items, you will need latitude and longitude coordinates or an address for each item. This could1. Consultants vs. in-house mapping. Does your institution prove to be a significant challenge, depending on the level of detail in the metadata you have. have a budget that enables you to consider hiring an outside service to do the mapping for you? Most do not, in which case Things to consider you’ll need to rely on your department’s staff. • Do you have data for the items you want to map, and if so, does this data2. Gather a team. Project manager, researcher, programmer, contain locations? • If yes, are the locations within structured or unstructured fields? etc. Maybe even an intern if you can wrangle one! While In May 2012 I began a 3-credit, 180-hour internship in the Indiana University Digital Library Program (DLP), where I have since • How granular is the location-related metadata? Is it at the county-level, city- many of the first steps will be research-based, as the project been immersed in learning about ways that the DLP can incorporate mapping and discovery services for their online archival level, or street-level? progresses it is helpful to have people with who are able to collections, Image Collections Online (ICO). As I wrap up my internship in the upcoming weeks, whether the DLP will choose to support each other and develop realistic workflows. implement any of my findings remains to be seen. It is a process that requires energy and forethought, but looking back it is Incomplete metadata doesn’t necessarily mean that an item isn’t mappable. One apparent to me that mapping an image-based collection is much more straightforward than I previously thought. On this poster solution for less-than-stellar metadata includes geoparsers, which are natural3. Open source? Does your institution have a preference on I’ve included some aspects of the mapping process to consider if your institution is interested in utilizing map-based discovery language processors capable of plucking place names from unstructured text. whether you use an open source tool to do your geocoding services—I hope you find it helpful! These place names are then resolved against a gazetteer. If geoparsing is not the and/or mapping? For some, an institutional preference will way your institution wants to go, it is an option to clean up you data manually or there are services available that can clean your data for a fee. determine which services are possibilities.4. Take a hard look at the data you want to map. The In the case of the DLP, ICO contains a multitude of collections, each of which has ubiquity of GPS systems in our society can send the message Mapping image-based collections tackles the more literal interpretation of • Check out my internship blog, Info Apprentice, at: had different catalogers—leading to vastly different fields and levels of completion. mapping: figuring out where the photo was taken and mapping it to that location. An option the DLP is strongly considering due to the many data issues it has is to that mapping large sets of data is stress-free. However, many Alternatively, images could be mapped according to what repository contains create guidelines to pass on to the individual collections detailing the information people overlook the time it will take to clean up the data so them, if applicable. Mapping text-based collections is less common, though it is • Peruse the resources I read during my research on needed to create maps. This way, rather than mapping being a service the DLP becoming more and more prevalent as scholars take locations that are mentioned that it is in mappable shape. Be realistic about what you are the Map-Based Discovery Service team’s Zotero provides directly, moving forward the catalogers can invest their time in creating within a novel or historical document and map them to reveal new ways of mappable metadata if their collection values that service. This negates the need working with! thinking about the topic. With the rise of digital humanities scholarship, an bibliography, Map Interfaces: interest in mapping has even spawned the term “spatial humanities.” In the case for the DLP to retroactively clean up massive quantities of unhelpful metadata. Of5. Try things out. See what happens. After mulling over the of the DLP, my co-intern has done research and prototyping on ways to map course, this precise scenario is only directly applicable to a digital library setting; aforementioned considerations, start reading. Pick some tools mentions of locations in the Indiana Magazine of History (IMH). In this instance, • Contact me at with any smaller collections interested in mapping could also consider altering their the mapped locations act as a discovery portal to the IMH just as the images I cataloging workflow and map only newly created records. and explore what works for your institution’s needs. have mapped act as a discovery portal to ICO. questions you may have!