Map and GIS Resources in an Institutional Repository : Issues and Recommendations
Map librarians are increasingly digitizing and making available scanned map images over the internet. These digitized map collections are growing quickly in size and number. The issue of access and long term preservation to these scanned map collections is still in the early stages. Libraries suffer from a communication gap between the groups actively scanning maps and their IR staff. This is evident with the number of map scanning registries which are not part of an IR nor larger digital library initiative. The registries are increasing and both overlap and compete with each other. The benefit of an IR over both a basic web presentation and a digitized map registry is clear, due to the Google Scholar search capability and those configured as an OAI-PMH data provider, which result in freely harvested metadata. CNI conducted a survey to assess the deployment of IRs in the United States and among their findings was that nine repositories had map materials in their IR, twelve planned to include maps in the next by 2008. One example of a successful collaboration between a map librarian and IR staff is the Geologic Atlas project at Texas A&M University Libraries. In 2004, the Texas A&M University Libraries deployed dSpace. The Libraries digitized and uploaded the complete 227 folio set of the Geologic Atlas of the United States to dSpace. It was published by USGS between 1894 and 1945, and contains text, photographs, maps and illustrations. This collection serves as a pilot project to study scientific map and GIS resources in an IR, generally, and specifically, the use of geographic coordinates in metadata in building a map-based search interface, and the addition of GIS files in an IR environment. For this set, geographic coordinates were added to the metadata, including “coverage.spatial,” “coverage.box” and “coverage.point”. Fortunately the maps in this set are a very regular rectangle and coordinates were readily available. The map coordinates supported the creation of a YahooMap! interface. Each folio is located on a map of the US and can be readily found with a visual interface. The digitized maps are being converted into GIS files, and will be used to assess feasibility of GIS resources in the IR. These are some excellent examples of advanced geospatial data libraries which can serve as a model: NGDA (National Geospatial Digital Archive- UCSB and Stanford libraries), NCGDAP (North Carolina Geospatial Data Archiving Project), CUGIR (Cornell University Geospatial Information Repository) and GRADE (Geospatial Repository for Academic Deposit and Extraction) project. These groups and others are tackling the issue of long term preservation of GIS data in digital libraries. There are increasing numbers of map resources in digital libraries and IRs. The maps serve an important role in communicating scholarly information. Map librarians should collaborate on scanning standards and metadata creation. Map librarians and digital libraries staff should increase their communication and collaborate in order to improve the access to these collections.