“Mapping the Southwest”: UNT-UTA Collaborative Project
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Mapping the Southwest is a 3-year project (2010 to 2013) funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) We the People grant. For this project, the University of North Texas (UNT) Libraries partner with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) Library’s Special Collections to digitize 5,000 historically-significant (mostly) rare maps. The collection includes maps dating from 1493 to the present and features noted cartographers. While containing maps of all parts of the world, the collection particularly emphasizes the region of the Gulf Coast and the Greater Southwest, which has been defined as the area comprising the state of Texas and the other southwestern states annexed by the United States after the U.S. War with Mexico of 1846-1848. All of the materials digitized for this grant project will be available online for free public access through The Portal to Texas History. More than 1,000 items are already available at http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/UTAM/browse/. We have registered almost 20,000 uses, and as we complete the project, we expect even more users around the world to access this new collection. In addition to showcasing the cartography of the region, the Mapping the Southwest project seeks to promote best practices and to advance the capacity of academic libraries to reliably curate, preserve, and provide seamless access to historic maps, atlases, and related wide-format items. This panel brings together diverse stakeholders and provides information on the project’s background, deliverables, workflow, and major areas of activity. The participants on this panel will discuss a number of issues from both institutions’ perspectives: • The UTA group will discuss the importance of the collection, selection criteria, cataloging and metadata operations (including workflow for maps without existing MARC records), preparation of the maps for transporting, and the possible impact of the project in facilitating access to such unique and valuable resources. • The UNT team will discuss organization and management of collaborative activities, workflow for capturing and processing digital images of the maps, assessments and enhancements of the quality of the digital images and metadata records, ensuring long-term access and key lessons learned along the way. As we are now starting the second half of the Mapping the Southwest project lifecycle, the project team looks forward to sharing its progress at the upcoming 2012 TCDL Conference.