Providing a Spatial Context for Library and Archival Collections: Mapping Historic Aggieland
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Libraries and archives have large collections of historic maps and photos. Creative digital exhibits allow users a unique framework to these collections, with mapping platforms providing a spatial context to collections and serving as a visually appealing browse mechanism. Librarians and staff from the Map & GIS Library at Texas A&M University used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to present “Mapping Historic Aggieland,” a digital collection of historic maps, aerial photos, and photos of significant sites and buildings on campus. These materials, which span a century, are gathered to tell the story of the growth of the university over 100 years. GIS is used to display the digitized copies of the maps in georeferenced form, and photos in their correct geographic location on campus. Users, from alumni to current students make use of the digital collection and gain understanding of the expansion of the campus and styles of architecture over the years. Archival photos of campus buildings include the dates that they were built which allow the user to browse the collection over time period using a time slider. Esri’s ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Viewer for Flex were used to create this web service, and will be described. Other lightweight mapping tools will also be reviewed for those wanting to create a similar exhibit for their library or archival collection.