Using Maps to Access Library Resources

The public has a great interest in being able to access information by typing in an address, entering a zip code, selecting a location on a map, or automatically receiving content via GPS detection in their mobile devices. Google Maps mashups are almost expected on every site.

Who represents me in the Utah Capitol? legislature interactive map
This extremely useful mashup by Scott Riding shows what is possible in combining Google Maps with geographic data from the Automated Geographic Reference Center and legislative directory information from Legislative Research and General Counsel. Just type in your address or select your community from a list to see who is representing you (thank you Phil Windley for the alert).

Mappify is another truly wonderful mashup that Scott Eldredge at the BYU Harold B. Lee created and demonstrated to the UALC Digitization Committee on January 12. It uses the user-friendly geo-spatial browsing tool, Mappified to pull some test Savage collection photographs from their CONTENTdm repository. BYU intends on adding the Overlands Trail Collection in the future. Here are some things to try out:

  1. Drill down by Collection browse, by Geography browse, and by Chronology (date) browse. Then try the search feature for the word “canyon”.
  2. Then click “View Timeline” to view images in a Timeline.
  3. “Map Overlay” is one of the coolest features. Click “Go to Map Overlays”, then zoom in and click “High Res”. Use the Opacity slider to compare 1930s maps of the border between Denmark and Germany with the current map in Google satellite view. I can imagine that this application will be of tremendous interest to genealogists interested in comparing old maps with the modern landscape.

Scott received a grant in 2007 to do something interesting with historical maps and this is the result. BYU added longitude and latitude values to their CONTENTdm DC.coverage metadata fields. It was laborious, so they are now developing a database of the longitudes and latitudes associated with town names. Clicking on a city name will automatically add the coordinates. Google automatically adds the towns with no manual intervention required. The title and description showing in Google Maps is pulled from CONTENTdm from the Title and Description fields.

Scott says that as long as you can get at the data from OAI-PMH command and put it into a mySQL database, you can use this process. BYU intends to share the code they have for others to use.

ISIS: Interactive Spatial Image Search
Cory Lambert and Alex Dolski at the UNLV library built this project to showcase maps in their Special Collections and to create a portal for searching Nevada maps.

Cory and Alex say that ISIS can be installed by anyone. It’s open source and not specifically tied to CONTENTdm. You can download the source code and download the User’s Manual at Google Code.

Virtual Utah

Jeannie Watanabe reports in the AGRC GIS blog that representatives from the University of Utah Marriott Library, State History, State Archives, Utah Geological Survey, Utah Dept. of Community and Culture, and AGRC met this past week to discuss how best to provide map access digital historical information and to kick-off a group interested in building a Utah History -GIS Portal.

She writes that the vision of Virtual Utah “is to provide online access to digital historical documents, photographs, maps, audio and video materials based on location identified on an interactive map. Accessing the historical assets of these organizations would be a beginning. Other rich sources of historical information lie with local governments and private collections. It is anticipated that by combining efforts under this initiative, the group can take advantage of future funding opportunities such as grants.”

If you are interested in adding your expertise to this project, please join AGRC’s Virtual Utah Project Forum.

Published by

Ray Matthews

Government Documents and Digital Library Services Coordinator, Utah State Library