ALIA Information Online 2017 Conference, 13-17 February 2017 Sydney: Data Information Knowledge
This conference paper discusses how digital humanities mapping tools can be effectively used to collate and present library collections and links to related content via an interactive map.
Abstract: Taking a geohumanities approach to telling the story of Geoscience Australia and its predecessor organisations’ involvement in the geographical place names of Antarctica, an interactive web map was created to complement a written article. The map showcased related digital items from the library’s collection, Geoscience Australia’s image database, as well as links to the Australian Antarctic place names Gazetteer. Over 110 Antarctic geographical features were identified as being named for former employees of Geoscience Australia and its predecessor organisations. Using the free online mapping tool ESRI Story Maps, pins were placed on an Antarctic map to show the location of each geographical feature. Pop up boxes were then created containing basic information such as latitude and longitude, a brief biography of the former employee and a link to the full Antarctic Gazetteer entry. Where possible, links to the digitised full text copies of the scientist’s Antarctic Reports, Records and Bulletins from the library’s collection, as well as photographs from Geoscience Australia’s image database were included.
The written article “Geoscience Australia’s Antarctic heroes” was published in Geoscience Australia’s online newsletter insights with a link to the accompanying Story Map. The map has been viewed over 600 times and has successfully linked related information which was previously unconnected. Anecdotal feedback from users indicated that they found the map to be an easy access point to discover the Antarctic collection without having to interact with a text based catalogue search screen. The interactive Antarctic map allowed connections to be made in an easily accessible and visual manner between items in the library’s collection as well as to other collections within Geoscience Australia and the broader Antarctic community. This map has led to a digitisation and crowdsourcing transcription project of Geoscience Australia’s Antarctic field notebooks to enable the future linking of related library resources and to increase online access to our Antarctic collection.