Buildings of Texas: Supporting Visual Browsing of Geospatial Archival Holdings through Web Mapping




Hansen, Grace

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Providing access to geospatial archival and library holdings through visual browsing has profound implications for academic fields such as digital humanities as well as non-academic audiences. LIS institutions must navigate numerous challenges to create a set of geospatial data that is useful and accessible as they work to open their geospatial holdings. As part of the University of Texas at Austin Libraries' effort to build an infrastructure to support its geospatial data, the presenter is standardizing, geocoding, and creating a web map to display a spreadsheet inventory of the Alexander Architectural Archives' collection of research material for Gerald Moorhead's Buildings of Texas collection.

This Lightning Round Presentation will discuss both conceptual and technical considerations that went into this project. First, I will discuss our decision to conceptualize the web map as an archival finding aid, and the ways in which spatial browsing better supports discovery for collections of this nature. I will also describe the diverse user needs that must be supported by the Alexander Architectural Archives and the implications of these needs on the standardization and design decisions. Finally, I will cover the technical challenges of cleaning, standardizing, and transforming a detail-rich dataset generated by the archival records' creator into a usable product, as well as the creation of a replicable workflow for treating other geospatial collections.


Grace Hansen is a graduate student specializing in archives at the University of Texas School of Information and expects to graduate in May 2018. She has worked at the Harry Ransom Center since 2014, where she filled roles as a library assistant, collection assistant, and graduate research associate. In her academic and professional work, Hansen focuses on making archives welcoming, accessible, and inclusive for new audiences of users.