Providing users with the best possible access to the unique cartographic materials found in libraries has been a constant challenge for map librarians. In a Web 2.0 world, existing mapping APIs make it possible to extend the library OPAC past the text-based search and enable users to locate maps using a familiar interface, such as Google Maps. This article describes how librarians at the University of Minnesota developed MapHappy, a "mashup" of their existing map MARC records into a geospatial Web application providing unique access to the print maps in their collections. As expected, this project raised many questions and produced a new set of challenges and opportunities; two such problems, the issue of missing or faulty map coordinates and aligning the interface design with user expectations, are discussed. And while still in beta, a variety of future plans are considered for further development and improvement of MapHappy. This project demonstrates that the representation of library records in a geospatial format provides a more intuitive and streamlined method of identifying maps and makes accessible a wide range of data previously meaningless or invisible to users.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Map libraries
- User-centered Web development