2020 Pop-Up Map Studio

A one-day workshop on data and community mapping topics for public library staff.

The Pop-Up Map Studio is a one-day workshop that invites librarians and library staff to learn about mapping technologies AND build actual map-based, data-driven applications for use in their home communities.  Throughout the day, attendees will alternate between informative training sessions and building their own map-related project, while working with professional cartographers.

"Faith in the City" Digital Mapping Project

"Faith in the City: Chicago's Religious Diversity in the Era of the World's Fair" is a digital humanities project focused on religious movements and figures in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The project, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Newberry Library, displays hundreds of historical points as well as essays from over a dozen prominent scholars related to the theme.  The map technology allows visitors to toggle between a custom-generated modern map layer of

Atlas of Historical County Borders

Historians and genealogists searching for historical records can often be challenged by geographical changes over time.  As county and state borders have shifted throughout US history, locating physical records can be tricky.  Over ten years ago, The Newberry Library created a digital atlas of every historical county, state, and territorial boundary in US history, dating to the first colonies.  The data was served via an Esri ArcGIS viewer application which made it difficult for non-geographers to use effectively and required expensive in-house server resources.

Using "Arches" for mapping historical and cultural resources!

You can create simple online maps using free tools like Google's My Maps, but for serious collections of local landmarks, or historical/cultural resources, you'll need something more powerful, such as the custom platform that we built for Chicago Ancestors.  I recently came across the open source platform "Arches," popularized by a digital history project in Los Angeles, that provides powerful geodata management capabilities perfect for digital humanities projects.

 

Who's Out There? The Power of Spatial Data

Library communities today are not just melting pots, they are roiling stews of people moving in and moving out.  Sometimes it seems like our communities are changing almost as fast as technology! So how do we get a handle on serving that dynamic community? How can we identify the services they need if we don’t really know who they are?

The good news is that there is data and expertise out there to help a library understand more about the people living in the shifting neighborhoods that make up their service area. Using data in the library system combined with census data, and other spatial data, a library can learn who is and who is not using the library. They can identify areas of growth and plan for a new library and they can learn who lives in that growing area to ensure the collection and services reflect their needs. https://digitalcommons.du.edu/do/search/?q=author_lname%3A%22Ayre%22%20author_fname%3A%22Lori%22&start=0&context=7293930&facet=

Location, Location, Location - Putting Your Library On the Map

Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed a virtual explosion of geospatial software, services, and tools—that is, software and tools that enable us to easily map people, places, things, and data.  Libraries are uniquely poised to take advantage of these new tools to improve operations and decision-making and to engage their patron communities.  These software tools are frequently referred to as geographic information systems, or “GIS.”

GIS can be (incredibly) oversimplified to the concept of “digital maps.”  Humans have been using maps for thousands of years—we’re “location-aware,” to borrow a phrase from the software industry.  Maps are a way to visualize data, much like pie charts or bar graphs—but in the case of maps, we’re visualizing the physical world around us.  And even as libraries deliver more services virtually, they remain physical centers of the neighborhoods and cities they serve. And spatial data can help us learn more about the neighborhoods and cities where our libraries are anchored.

Get Your Spatial Data On!

There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate in libraries today.  Everything is changing very fast including everything related to the Internet, what we mean by “phones”, user expectations of customer service and discovery, DRM, funding levels, the increasingly long list of devices  and technology that people use to create things, and the composition of our communities. 

One of the things changing almost as fast as technology is our communities.  Many communities are not just melting pots, they are roiling stews of people moving in and moving out with some communities getting older while others seem to maintain a permanently younger set.  As people flee their countries of origin due to climate change, violence, or just to pursue opportunities, what were once static  communities change and morph to accommodate the new arrivals with new cultures, practices, foods, and religions.  

The good news is that there is data out there to help a library understand these migration patterns and to help the library understand more about the people living in the various neighborhoods within their service area. Using data in the library system combined with census data, and other spatial data, a library can learn who is and who is not using the library. They can identify areas of growth and plan for a new library and they can learn who lives in that growing area to ensure the collection and services reflect their needs.