Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GIS and Digitization -

I attended two very different workshops too close together but here’s the kernel

GIS for librarians. Geographic Information Systems allows one to geo-reference data – that is, add location information. We all know the library created maps like http://home.alleganycountylibrary.info/locations.htm and http://www.mapquest.com/mq/2-Cyfy1DlF4k3SLuaSbi*q . My interest was in creating a map, using a historic base map and adding the locations I wanted or the layers of information.

It was a very busy day, and it was clear early that other people in the class wanted to do the more conventional type, using census data on a standard map of the county or state. I need to try to implement the method that was mentioned to use the historic map as the base and add points, lines and polygons on it, and labels. Look for an amazing map of the C&O Canal to appear on Whilbr shortly.

What other librarians in the region may find of interest was the free mapping software that was introduced:

GRASS – Geographic Resources Analytics Support System http://grass.osgec.org/
Google Earth – free educational license – apply GEEC@google.com
ArcExplorer http://www.esri.com/

The Business and Government Information Center at the Washington County Free Library has ArcInfo which is the gold standard for mapping software.

The Digitization for Preservation and Access conference held at the National Archives in Washington DC was power packed with important people from the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, National and Maryland Archives, so a lowly public librarian thoroughly enjoyed herself. Lots of discussion about whether we digitize photographs and manuscripts to preserve them, or for access (the answer of course is both), and discussion about how and with what. The afternoon session with the practitioners was most useful – librarians from Princeton Library, the Michigan Archives, and the University of Denver described the large task ahead of them to digitize their holdings – the Princeton Librarian said he had accomplished .00011% of his task.

Without a doubt the prize for the most exciting webpage displaying historical materials – http://www.digitalvaults.org/ . As soon as we come up with the funding and Tracy finds the time and realizes the importance of Whilbr, look for being able to create your very own posters and movies from Western Maryland historical material !

1 comment:

Joe said...

Jill just mentioned to me that the correct URL for the National Archives Experience web site should be http://www.digitalvaults.org/.