118 Years in a Drawer: Cataloging the Conrad Collection on Dutch Waterways
On June 10, 1903, bookseller and publisher Martinus Nijhoff of The Hague, Netherlands sent a correspondence to Stanford University outlining the contents of some 10 boxes from the J.F.W. Conrad library. Along with Conrad’s personal catalog, this brief letter represents the only documentation preserved from the purchase of this stunning collection describing the development of Netherlands’ modern system of canals, bridges, polders, seawalls, city grids, and train stations. While the collection’s books and pamphlets were cataloged, some 2,500 maps, plans and other materials remained locked away.
In 2021, this finally changed when a project to enable access through cataloging and digitization began. Though these materials were left inaccessible for over a century, modern tools now allow us to bridge some of the gaps in knowledge and create a more robust catalog for them. Moreover, Stanford’s digitization program enables us to share them with a much wider audience than would have previously been possible.
In this talk, we’ll present some of the unique challenges we’re facing in processing such a sparsely documented collection and the solutions we devised. We’ll also examine how the ever-changing topography of the Netherlands informs our research strategies and share some of our favorite finds from within the collection itself.
Cartographic Performance and Spectatorship
Collaborating with a course instructor on experimental class assignments can lead to new ways to embed
cartographic collections and information literacy principles into a course. This talk will highlight the use of a
map collection in a graduate level Performance Studies course, including an overview of the assignment
discussion topic, the process of creating a collage map from facsimiles held in the map collection, and the
final performance of the newly created maps. Elevating the library instructional session from simply finding
and evaluating an information resource to a creative exercise aligned the session with other assignments in
the course and led to cartographic literacy being featured in a discipline that historically hadn’t utilized the
Collaboration makes it happen: Lessons learned assessing GitHub learning materials
Several years ago at the WAML Conference I attended a workshop on using GitHub Pages as a way to share instructional materials. This seemed like the perfect solution for to share learning materials especially with the push to online learning from COVID 19. After a year of informal feedback I decided to formally assess my materials (content and structure) for effectiveness. As a single person offering GIS/Visualization services at a mid-size university considering the following were integral to moving this small project forward:
- Collaboration and Financial support
- Emerging trends (Open Educational Resources)
- Measurable outcomes (for the stakeholders)
This session will discuss our experience and summarize preliminary study outcomes based on our roles as the project librarian and RA. We will answer any questions the audience might have on implementation at their own institution.
Dutton’s Atlas: How Cartography Helped the Canyon Become Grand
A 19th century book and companion atlas authored by Clarence Dutton provided the world’s first comprehensive treatment of Grand Canyon geology. It delivered an unprecedented combination of literature, art, and cartography whose reach extended far beyond its original intention. What began as a work of science has survived as an unparalleled work of literature and landscape aesthetics. The Tertiary History of the Grand Cañon District with Atlas revolutionized how modern society came to conceptualize and valorize the Grand Canyon.
This short lightning talk will introduce audiences to a project currently underway at Arizona State University called, “Dutton’s Atlas: How Cartography Helped the Canyon Become Grand”. With financial support from the Arizona Humanities and a multiple ASU entities, Dutton’s Atlas involves the production of four interrelated components: (1) a digital counterpart to the rare physical atlas, (2) an online exhibit curating the atlas in historical-geographical and sociocultural terms, (3) a complementary in-person exhibit, and (4) a culminating in-person symposium event exchanging insights on the impact of Grand Canyon cartography on geographical thought and nature-society relations.
We invite the WAML community to join us in engaging with one or more of these project components, especially the Dutton’s Atlas symposium event on October 22, 2022. The symposium event will be entirely free, open-to-the-public, and available for both in-person and online viewing.
Enhanced Geographic Discovery in the Arizona Memory Project
This presentation will highlight new GIS features and geographic metadata functionality implemented on the Arizona Memory Project (AMP).
The Arizona Memory Project is an online platform for digitized historical content related to Arizona. AMP includes approximately 1,600 maps, 44,000 images, 390 city directories, 120 historical newspaper titles, and thousands more items in other formats.
In 2022, AMP staff migrated the entire site to a new Digital Asset Management System called Recollect. The migration process entailed adding or enhancing geographic metadata to this content, which emphasized the need to organize and link the same geographic locations sitewide.
New features and functionality in Recollect satisfy this need, including a GeoMap widget, geotagging, and a “Place” landing page that serves as a hub to all identified geographic locations.
The results make managing AMP easier for admins and it drastically improves discoverability and navigation for patrons.
Exploring What Can Be Done with Map Annotations: Georeferencing, Metadata Development, and Machine Learning
In fall 2020 work began on the Machine Learning for Geographic Information Systems (ML4GIS) project, which was envisioned as a multiyear collaborative effort to create software, workflows, and datasets that would allow the University of Texas Libraries and its project partners to explore the development of machine learning algorithms for workflows involving georeferencing and information extraction from scanned maps images. We started this project with the ultimate goal of eventually enhancing scanned map images from our collections so that they could more easily be discovered and utilized in GIS software. The first phase of this project was focused on the development of a new customizable, open source annotation application that could be used to locate, identify, and describe specific features on scanned map images. This annotation tool has now been used to produce annotation data for hundreds of scanned map images from the UT Libraries’ collections and the data that has been generated with this application is currently being used to test out new automated metadata development and georeferencing processes. This talk will describe recent successes utilizing the new annotation tool, the promising results obtained thus far with automated processes that use map annotation data, the difficulties encountered scaling up the annotation creation process, and the vision we have for using the annotation data to train machine learning models.
Michael Shensky, University of Texas, Austin
Tuesday, September 20th | 10:00 -10:20 am PDT
Karl Baedeker and his Handbooks for Travellers
In 1835, Karl Baedeker published new French and German versions of Rheinreise, which then became the first guidebook actually published by his firm. With this book, which was both modeled after and copied from John Murray III’s Handbooks from England, and supplemented with his own personal observations of the Rhine region, Baedeker began a series of publications that have become synonymous with quality, timeliness, scrupulous attention to detail, and practical recommendations
From the early beginnings, the Baedeker tradition of including minute details, accuracy, first-hand observations of everything described in the guides, and descriptions of every possible inn, café, monument, roadway, and point of interest, continued well into the 20th century. Through economic turbulence, war, fierce competition with other publishers, and travelers’ increasing thirst for information about far-flung countries, the Baedeker family continued to publish their highly regarded travel guides.
An outstanding feature of the Handbooks was the inclusion of numerous maps and plans, created for Baedeker by the firm of H. Wagner & E. Debes beginning in 1872.
According to author Herbert Warren Wind, these maps were a primary reason Baedeker’s Handbooks were so popular. “By and large, it was the sheer technical skill of the staff at Wagner & Debes that kept the Baedeker Handbooks well ahead of their rivals in this particular aspect of publishing.” Examples will be show from 3 editions of the handbook “Paris and Environs Handbook for Travellers.”
Louise Ratliff, UCLA (Retired)
Monday, September 19th | 1:10 – 1:30 pm PDT
Lost in Translation: Engaging Student Employees to Surface Japanese Language Maps for a Broader Audience
The University Libraries’ collection of more than 2,800 Japanese language maps is the largest holding of non-Western cartographic materials at Ohio State and ranks among the largest known collections of East Asian cartographic materials in North America. Nevertheless, the contents of this potentially distinctive collection are not well understood and remain underutilized. In this presentation, we will describe and evaluate the early stages of a collaborative project that considers these maps as an untapped resource for promoting non-Western cultural heritage materials for teaching and scholarship.
A fundamental premise behind this project is the idea that although historically Eurocentric in representation and scope, the library’s map collections hold great promise for broader engagement with diverse cultural, historical, and geographic perspectives. With this in mind, we recognized the need for cross-unit collaboration and formed a team with librarians in Japanese Studies, maps, and geospatial information, and student employees with advanced Japanese language skills. The members of our team will discuss the library’s Japanese maps holdings in the context of Japanese (Studies) collections at Ohio State, collection assessment efforts focusing on diversity and inclusion, contributions of student employees, and project next steps.
The involvement of student employees is particularly notable and highlights alignment with the University Libraries’ emphasis on educationally purposeful student employment. While the maps examined during this project were already in the library catalog, the metadata contained in these records is limited in terms of language, geographic, subject, and other descriptive content. Students’ expertise has resulted in new information for enriching this descriptive metadata. Student presenters will discuss ways in which they applied and developed their language skills, the beneficial and challenging aspects of their work, and how this project enhanced their curiosity about Japanese history and culture. We will close by briefly considering how this project connects to strategic initiatives supporting student success and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) at the organizational level and the importance of such priorities and values in map and geospatial librarianship.
Santa’s Got a Gun : a case study of cultural stereotypes embedded in a map
In the 20th century, the General Drafting Company was one of the “Big Three” American road map makers. It prided itself on producing accurate, up-to-date maps. Yet when it came to their Christmas card maps, cultural biases overrode the company’s commitment to high standards. Starting in 1930, General Drafting produced a series of Christmas card maps that featured Santa Claus. The 1930s pieces covered only the United States and parts of North America, while the later maps showed the entire world. Cultural and regional stereotypes are highlighted in the 1930s maps; the 1950s maps reveal not only cultural biases but also a prominent American nationalist worldview. Additionally, the 1950s maps contain geographic errors. Although Santa Claus generally serves as an avatar for the benevolent “Traditional American” who is generous and jolly, the Santa of General Drafting maps portray him in a different light. On these maps, Santas can be seen harvesting natural resources, hunting animals, and being shown deference by non-Americans while simultaneously disparaging the Soviet Union. Most disturbingly, Santa is shooting a Native American in the back, and enslaving other Santas in Siberia. The kindly image of Santa Claus masquerades abhorrent behavior in order to make his (Americans’) actions more palatable. These Christmas card maps are compelling and unique examples that illustrate how even the objective, rational standards of cartography can be outweighed by deeply engrained cultural stereotypes and ideologies.
Christopher J.J. Thiry, Colorado School of Mines
Monday, September 19th | 1:30 – 1:50 pm PDT
Strategies for Promoting new Maps and Geospatial Resources and Technology
This session will focus on describing the strategies used to promote a new interactive map display kiosk and new GPS equipment to users. This talk will provide examples of marketing materials, sample demonstrations of new resources and technology, and examples of interactions with users. A new interactive map display kiosk was installed in the entrance of the Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information at Penn State University Libraries during the early Spring 2022. This interactive kiosk provides an entry point for users to interact with maps and geospatial content from our library websites and ArcGIS online applications. Examples will be provided of connecting with individuals touring the space. Additional examples will be provided on the promotion of new GPS equipment to users and the development of additional examples related to ArcGIS Field Maps to complement the use of the Bad Elf Flex GPS unit. These approaches can be implemented with other new resources and technologies that libraries are obtaining for users. This presentation will be follow-up on information shared at the WAML 2021 conference on the acquisition of these new technologies.
The Mountain Legacy Project: Real physical world collaboration
Canada’s western mountains were photographed from the 1880s onward by Canada’s Department of the Interior Dominion Land Survey, Geological Survey of Canada, and other government agencies by surveyors such as Morrison P. Bridgland, Richard W. Cautley and Arthur O. Wheeler resulting in over 120,000 historical images.
Since 1997, the Mountain Legacy Project-MLP, currently based at the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, has repeated close to ten thousand of the original images.
In the summer of 2022, geospatial librarian dBM accompanied graduate students Claire Wright and Laura Turner to Waterton Lakes National Park at the boundaries of Alberta, British Columbia and Montana to repeat more photographs.
This presentation will focus on the MLP’s history & objectives, repeat photography methods, geospatial processing techniques once the repeat images are captured, and long-term storage measures.
Understanding racial equity and social justice through GIS
Maps and spatial analysis provide insight into patterns of inequality and can provide common understanding across communities. Data layers, training, case studies and other resources are available through the Racial Equity GIS Hub to help students and scholars apply GIS to racial equity and social justice issues. Through increased understanding, communities can design policies and programs that promote equity.
Angela Lee, ESRI
Monday, September 19th | 11:40 – 11:45 am PDT
Using ArcGIS Field Maps for collecting sensitive data
This lightning talk will reflect on how we helped a group of gerontological researchers use ArcGIS Field Maps to collect data in a project. The talk will be of interest to those curious about how to deploy this technology for a research project that requires stringent data management protocols for handling identifiable information, and those interested to learn about administrative implications of the new tracking function in Field Maps. Specifically, these aspects will be covered:
The overall set-up of ArcGIS Online and Field Maps to assist with field data collection, which involves sit down and walk-along interviews.
Thoughts on appropriate data storage and retention given the cloud-based nature of the ArcGIS application and the ethical expectation to minimize privacy risks by disclosure of identifiable information.
The implications of setting up tracking, a new function in Field Maps, for the ArcGIS Online administrators.
Using the GeoNames APIs to Create Geospatial Metadata
GeoNames is a database with millions of placenames across the globe – the perfect resource for looking up placename information for geospatial metadata projects. Tasked with creating new metadata for a collection of historical aerial photos, I decided to use GeoNames as our main thesaurus. Obviously, looking up individual coordinate locations on the GeoNames website several thousand times over would have been a total drag. This was clearly a job for… Python! The only catch: I didn’t know Python! After countless hours of teaching myself how to write basic commands, and countless more of testing and debugging, I finally created a script that queries the GeoNames database, retrieves a coordinate location’s nearest placename, and write the information to a CSV. In this talk, I will explain how the GeoNames APIs work, demo a Python script that queries two of these APIs automatically, and share lessons learned along the way.