Leveraging Library Expertise:
Infusing Collaborations and Collections with Geography
Kevin Dyke • Ryan Mattke • Justin Schell
University of Minnesota Libraries
At the University of Minnesota Libraries, we're engaged in a variety of geohumanities work.
Some of this work occurs at the level of a subject library (in our case, the John R. Borchert Map Library).
Elsewhere in the Libraries, DASH is a cross-disciplinary project fostering collaboration around emerging digital tools and methodologies.
Outside the Libraries but with strong connections is U-Spatial, a spatial research support center at the University of Minnesota.
Building interfaces for analog collections
Making use of “raw”
What came first, the digital collections or the engaged audience?
It turns out, digitized maps (like pretty much all other digital
objects) benefit tremendously from some kind of presentation.
Targeting different audiences
Generally used as part of an exercise in one class session.
By 2007, the Borchert Map Library had a collection of over 15,000 digitized aerial photographs.
How to help users quickly find the most relevant aerial photos?
Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online
aka MHAPO (the "H" is silent)
Uses Esri products for front and back ends.
Recently added large scale Minneapolis photos.
University of Minnesota Campus History
Used current footprints (provided by U of M Enterprise GIS) as a baseline.
Next, used georeferenced maps to recreate building footprints across campus over time.
Working with other collections in the Libraries
Upper Midwest Jewish Archives
Map created by Clarence Miller in partnership with the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center
Illustrates an area of North Minneapolis during the 1920s where many Jewish immigrant families lived
Tying information from photos and oral histories to locations on the map in hopes of understanding a neighborhood that was basically demolished in the name of urban renewal.
Kautz Family YMCA Archives
Part of Archives & Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries
Collects the historical records of the Y's national resource office, YMCA of the USA, and also holds records of the Greater Twin Cities and Greater New York YMCAs.
Created a prototype map showing YMCA locations in the Greater New York area over time.
Move towards "born digital" projects that aren't necessarily rooted to
a particular collection.
How to Do (Digital) History
Undergraduate history course focusing on digital history
How undergraduates interact with and create different conceptions of history as part of their digital lives
1853-1854 Pacific Railroad Surveys
Materials from Borchert Map Library and the Library of Congress, and support from U-Spatial and DASH.
Used ArcGIS Online for mapping aspect and Google Sites for the final report
Working with Rebecca Krinke, a local artist and faculty member in Landscape Architecture
Large wooden map (around 5ft by 8ft) of the Twin Cities
Took the map around town and asked people to draw on areas of the map that they associated with either joy/pain
We're now in the process of recreating the project for the Web.
How to channel the communal/collaborative spirit of the original?
Mapping La Comédie Humaine
Three Balzac novels
1814 map from the Borchert Map Library collection
Created a list of place related French phrases
Used Voyant to identify places
Manually plotted on the map
Geocoded for reference and future web version
Traces movement of three main characters throughout the city
Semantic Mapping and the Minnesota Hip Hop Archive
The Twin Cities are home to a (for some) surprising number of hip-hop artists.
Placenames are a common part of lyrics
We're scraping lyrics and running them through a customized geoparser (utilizes Named Entity Recognition)
End up with a nicely formatted JSON response with a list of the places, organizations, and people mentioned in the inputted lyrics.